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eric s Jul 16, 2004 12:03 AM
I slipped out of work for a bit and took this picture of 2 American Kestrel babies. I got pictures of the parents 4 months ago at 7am in 30 degrees doing it on a billboard. Then we lost them.... until they were found last weekend only a few blocks from there. I wonder if these are the babies that I saw being made?

This is reduced by about 50%. That made sharpening a bit trickier, because it was already sharp in a some places.

The crop is a bit odd, but I'm trying to get into the habit of cropping to dimensions that work better printed. I'm not sure if this worked. I wanted it a bit tighter, cutting off about one whole vertical board on the left.

I was told by others that I missed their first official "flight" by about 2 hours. The person who told me about them came home at 6:30 to find them on the TV antenna on the next house over, and she watched one fly off of that.

But now the question for Eric CAN. I tried again to "shoot to the right". I agree that it seems to make NeatImage unnecessary. I didn't use it here. But I found that the hot spots were harder to deal with. I converted it twice, once about -0.5 stop and once about -1 stop (Note the RAW has data there so those spots aren't technically blown out.) Then I erased on the leg and a few other spots. I'm not thrilled with how those came out, but I accept it. The problem I had was with contrast & a color cast. I was getting a red tint (not brown or cream, which would be correct for the bird) in the almost over exposed parts. It got worse when I increased contrast. This caused me to not raise the light end of the contrast as much as I would have liked. Do you have this problem? I don't believe I've ever seen this when I just try to "Expose correctly".

Camera 10D 600mm f4 1.4x TC f8 1/750 +0.5EC ISO400 RAW
Photoshop: double RAW conversion with exposure reductions into layers. Combined the layers, Curves, Crop, Reduce, Sharpen.

geoffs Jul 16, 2004 12:10 AM

These young kestrels are rather cute! Is it you they are looking at Eric? With both having their heads turned in the same direction, it certainly seems so.

That one that is peeking out from under the railing is really funny.

I am not going to touch the technical questions with a ten foot pole...

Normcar Jul 16, 2004 12:15 AM

Superb photographs. My only wish was that the background would be less specific and I'm sure you've considered that yourself. The birds are spectacular, as usual, and the expressions are priceless.

PS - I also understand that it would be impossible to make the background more blurred. In other words, this photo is next to perfect.

Eric CAN Jul 16, 2004 6:36 AM

Eric, I have to go to work now, I'll get back to you on this afternoon.

Superb shots btw ;)

aladyforty Jul 16, 2004 8:36 AM

nice shots, cute birds.

eric s Jul 16, 2004 9:02 AM

I think their heads are turned to look at their father (who had been feeding them that day.) I don't know that for sure but at one time I was shooting them and they kept looking up right (towards the porch) and I finally thought "what are they looking at?" So I took my eye from the camera and saw the father perched on the railing. So I took some pictures of that too!

I do have a shot or two of them staring right at me. So they knew I was there, but were usually interested in other things.

The one thing that I never saw but was told about was that the adults would some times sit on a wooden scarecrow owl (for keeping the pidgens of the porch, but it didn't work.) He would just land on top of it's head. Now that would have been worth printing and framing!

I agree that I'd have rather seen them in a better situation. But they are fairly rare now (starlings share nesting desires with them and they are way more numerous so they win out) so I was just happy to find them again. I'm actually thinking of making some kind of "urban birds" poster... showing birds you wouldn't expect in urban situations (like these guys.)


geoffs Jul 16, 2004 9:08 AM

eric s wrote:

The one thing that I never saw but was told about was that the adults would some times sit on a wooden scarecrow owl (for keeping the pidgens of the porch, but it didn't work.) He would just land on top of it's head. Now that would have been worth printing and framing!
I'll bet that the effectiveness of that scarecrow increased by orders of magnitude with the adults perched on top of it! :-)

zoomn Jul 16, 2004 10:03 AM

Eric very nice shots. Like how you caught the second one peeking out from under the board.

I was looking at those birds and they just didn't look quite right to me.

I have been watching Kestrals and their babies for some months now out here in Idaho. So I went and looked at some of my shots and was quite surprised to see the color variations between your eastern kestrals and our western kestrals. Your birds have a very brown color, ours have more of light tan and more spotted. Almost doesn't even look like the same kind of bird.

I post this shot here solely to demonstrate this color difference. Please no commentson the shot, I think I may have posted it here before.

geoffs Jul 16, 2004 10:40 AM

Zoomn, the color differences are due to Eric's birds being juveniles and the bird you posted a picture of being a mature kestrel. Really pretty birds, don't you think?

zoomn Jul 16, 2004 11:33 AM

geoffs, nope that can't be it.

The bird I posted a shot of is just one week out of the nest box. Just barely learning to fly.

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