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Old Nov 10, 2005, 9:09 AM   #1
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OK, so I think I may have overdone it a bit, but....



What do you think?
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Old Nov 10, 2005, 9:17 AM   #2
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Howzit! How come the weavers in my garden look nothing like this, nor their nests for that matter:-)

I found it quite refreshing - definitely Hallmark Inspirational card genre! I don't know enough about digital manipulation yet but the bird is fantastic.
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Old Nov 10, 2005, 9:19 AM   #3
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Excellent,

I don't think it is overdone. if fact I would selectively bring out more of the shadow detail in the body of the bird and add more saturation and contrastthere too. You need to boost it right up. In reality the bird is in the shadow which is why the sunlight is not bringing out its full colours. But so what, edit itso that it looks ... wow.

Pity the leaves cut through the crop. Therefore if it were meI would clone out the ones that crop the border with some sky blue to clean this up to a finished image. The nest is ok as it is, but the leaves are looking scrappy. Love the sun bursts.

Great shot.
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Old Nov 10, 2005, 9:47 AM   #4
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Wow..

it took me a second to orient myself here.. couldnt tell if i was looking up, to the side, or what.. very cool!!

i agree with LB here (gasp! :blah .. i could use a little more detail and saturation on the bird..

nice work man... one of my favs you have posted recently!!

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Old Nov 10, 2005, 10:10 AM   #5
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OK, haven't had a go at the leaves yet, but here's a boost.



I was very pleased with the original, it was definitely a keeper but I wasn't sure what to do with it. This was one route. :-)

I'll post the original at the end of the thread. :P
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Old Nov 10, 2005, 10:22 AM   #6
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mmm ... no....now it looks overdone. I thought you should just bring up the bird. Try not to do the rest as that is exposed well and looks realistic as it stands. The bird just needs to pop out a bit more. Only a reasonable amount as not to spoil it. Although a little extra colour on the nest has come out well also. But not as much as it distracts from your bird.

If you lasso the bird and bring to separate layer, you can work on it alone. Or you can do the whole picture and use the history brush to paint back in the original state of the nest leaves and sky.

When you bring out more shadow detail the contrast will drop. So this need to be upped.However don't use the shadow/highlights and contrast tool, but instead try to use the levels command to do this in one. The results are far superior and more subtle. Your selective colour is a nice option to work on the birds plumage. You can swing the slider quite a lot on this command. Play around with the different colours after you have selected yellow. Also selecting black and then reducing this can have major effects.

Actually looking at it again, Craig, I think you have done a good job on the bird (now perfect), and the nest (maybe to 70 percent).But it just has to be done selectively. I think it would be better if you get the non subject features back to the way they were. This will highlight your bird and in general make it look more realistic. See my suggestions above about doing that. You probably know that stuff already right ?

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Old Nov 10, 2005, 10:24 AM   #7
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Over all the picture and the editing job are outstanding...

really interested in knowing the story behind how and where you got this shot.. what was the editing workflow to make it this wonderful..

my only suggestion is if you were able to capture eye of the bird that would have been 100% perfect..



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Old Nov 10, 2005, 11:47 AM   #8
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I love it. God knows how you did it but the original looks superb. I agree with LBoy - the second is a bit overprocessed.
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Old Nov 11, 2005, 6:51 AM   #9
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I can only hope that one day I will take a shot like that.
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Old Nov 11, 2005, 8:32 AM   #10
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Thanks for the comments.

Here's the original ...




The weaver was pretty much directly above me, I was standing under the nest. It took a while for them to get used to me, but after 30 minutes or so they carried on with the nest building.

So I had my zoom at around 160mm for this shot, set in AV mode to the widest aperture f5.6. And I took a lot of shots, using the centre AF point and a high shutter speed of 1/500 and ISO400 to keep the shutter speed up as I wanted to freeze the wing motion which is very fast, as anyone who knows weavers can attest to.

I had to overexpose the sky, (I do wish these DSLRS had a bit more dynamic range :-) ) to get enough detail on the bird to do something with.

I shoot RAW and run the promising shots through DXO optics for the conversion, I've tried other RAW converters, but I actually find that DXO does stuff automatically that I really struggle to achieve with other programs, and it's very good at rescuing blown highlights.

Then while viewing it in photoshop I was musing on how much of a pity it was that you couldn't see the beautiful blue sky above.

First I used the clone stamp to take out most of the barely visible leaves and twigs in the rest of the picture, actually these are already cloned out in the version above.

I realised that I was going to find it difficult to get a decent blend around the branch, so I cropped in tighter, keeping the 3:2 ratio in case it was worth printing. This of course has led to the cropping problems Lboy mentions with the leaves.

Next I used the magic wand to select the sky and used the fill command in photoshop to put in some blue. Actually I cheated a bit because the sky wasn't really quite so blue, the Jo'burgers will know the actual shade I mean.

But as is even the problem with real African skies, it looked fake, just a plain blue background wasn't working, so I used the photoshop Filter->Render->Clouds command and adjusted the opacity to give a fairly subtle look.

I happened to notice that there was a Filter->Render->Lens Flare command right there too, so I thought I'd give it a try.

And voila!

The editing was fun, but I'm actually quite proud of the underlying photograph, it wasn't easy to get.

I think it deserves a print, so any suggestions as to how to go would be most welcome.
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