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Old Jun 26, 2004, 12:25 AM   #1
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It's for situations like this that I got the 600mm. I was telling someone that a bird they saw away off was a cormorant (which it was) and I saw this odd head sticking up over the reeds behind it. And instantly I knew it wasn't a Great Blue. I was hoping for a Little Blue, but this is just as good. A little tracking with the car (I was at a National Wildlife Refuge which is very car-based. Very few trails, only a place to drive) and got about 200 feet away or so. Not great, but I can't walk on water 'ya know.

But with the 600mm & my 1.4x TC it was good enough for this shot. And this is reduced a bit too. Not my sharpest shot, but it was moving and rather far away.

I think the details are fairly visible for 1/250 and the contrast isn't bad for such a long shot (I was shooting through 200 feet of moist air... it was overcast and threatening to rain all day. Finally did after the sun set.)

Camera: 10D 600mm + 1.4xTC, 1/250, f5.6, ISO200,tripod

Photoshop: RAW convert, neat image, Curves (contrast, exposure), crop, reduce, sharpen.

Eric

ps. If you think you can make the picture better, please try. And then post a detailed description of how you did it. Then we can all learn!
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Old Jun 26, 2004, 12:38 AM   #2
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I'm amazed that you are using a teleconverter on this shot. The color and contrast are wonderful. Excellent capture Eric. The "blue" on this bird is nothing less than exceptional!
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Old Jun 26, 2004, 1:00 AM   #3
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This was a really good shot of a great bird to add to your life list Eric. I sure don't have it on my list...

You were using your 600mm lens with a 1.4x TC? Giving you a total of 840mm? Wow.
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Old Jun 26, 2004, 1:13 AM   #4
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Thanks for the comments. I actually thought that the contrast would be worse because of all the distance. But it was actually fairly good even in the original. It was not nearly as bad as the original of the Great Blue that I posted last week. I'm still getting used to this lens, that is for sure.

I feel it's lacking some detail on the neck, but I'm a perfectionist (as many here know.) But I'm generally happy with the shot, all things considered.

geoffs, don't forget that the sensor on the 10D gives me an extra 1.6x crop-magnification on this shot as well. So it was really 1344mm. Oh, and it was fairly windy too. I think that Image Stabilization really saved me on this shot. The manual says not to use it on a tripod, but forget that! :P

Eric

ps. I still find myself typing "100-400" when I reference the lens I used. Ahh, the joys of a new lens.
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Old Jun 26, 2004, 2:55 AM   #5
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WOW very nice for such a long reach.
I would love to go that far .

Greetings,
Frank
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Old Jun 26, 2004, 6:54 AM   #6
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It is unfortunate that this image is posted at this resolution but as such it lacks the qualities that would make it exceptional. As it is presented it lacks resolution and contrast that would make it pop. The focus although a little soft is adequate for the subject matter, however more feather detail is always a bonus. 600mm plus a 1.4ext seems it would have handled this distance better, are you certain of the distance to subject. Judging distance it the most difficult task for most folks, it requires a nack or alot of practice.
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Old Jun 26, 2004, 10:42 AM   #7
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There is a smaller version of this same picture at:

http://www.marx7.org/~esmith/web_pos...red-heron1.jpg

If you think that smaller would make it look better. The one above is actually slightly reduced (after a better compositional crop) the other is the same crop but reduced more.I agree that the lack of feather detail is a pity, especially in the neck (at least, that is where I see it lacking the most) I can't decide if it looks a bit soft there, or if it's just lacking detail... but I think it doesn't look "right". I did have to rather sever JPG compression to make the image areasonable download. Oh, another issue is the bird was moving when I shot this. You can see his left (front to us) leg is up in the air.... it's just visible through the grass.

I am certainly no expert at judging distance. I'm better at shorter ones (as is most everyone.) Let see, my parents house is 44 feet long (my childhood universal measuring stick.) 200 might be too much... maybe a bit over 100 would be a better guess. There were no landmarks between me and the bird. Just lots of water.

I played with the contrast but found that (to me) any more darkening lost detail in the bird and lightening seem to do odd things to the grass. If you'd be willing to download and adjust the contrast more to your liking (with info on how you did it) I'd greatly appreciate it. This is one of the best way to learn. You can attach it to the thread so you don't even need web space.

Eric
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Old Jun 26, 2004, 11:14 AM   #8
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Eric, This is in addition to whatever you did in the copy posted. I open a levels layer then adjusted each color channel level by moving left and right sliders to the edges of the histogram, then in the RGB level I adjusted the gamma slightly. Added a slight S curve layer, then pulled some shadow detail out with Fred Miranda's Shadow Recovery.


Don't know if you like the changes or not. To me, it adds a bit of pop. Of course this was done from your posted image instead of an original RAW/TIFF file.
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Old Jun 26, 2004, 1:10 PM   #9
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While I agree that it it adds pop, it is not the actual color of the bird. The brown/grey on the back was not actually white, like in your shot (but if you knew that, you'd probably have saved it.)

Now, many pros would say "so what?" because what they want is something that sells, not what is a reflection of reality. (If you want, I could send you the RAW if you want to do something to that... as always, as long as you say what you did. Send me a private message and I'll upload it for you.)

You did a great job of not loosing the feather detail. Really good job, actually. Is that all to the credit of the FM action?

Could you explain what you think the gama adjustment helped fix? That is something I haven't really played with.

Eric
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Old Jun 27, 2004, 2:29 PM   #10
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The FM action just works to lighten up the shadows. It has several levels of intensity, then you can also use the opacity layer to adjust to taste. You can do the same thing with shadows/highlights basically.

Regarding the color, I probably clipped the highlights withslidera bit further than I should have, hence the lighter coloring you described. I didn't really alter the color any as much as I took out any casts and narrowed the tonal range. Apparently, I lowered the highlight tones too low causing the grays to appear brighter. . It's much easier to control with 16 bit data than 8 bit jpg. It also helps to have several images to look at to get the colors you really want. I'm sure compression of the image didn't help it any either.

The middle slider in the levels command represents the mid-tones or gamma value, which is the brightness level of the medium grays of the image. I find that very minor tweaking achieves the desired results in most properly exposed images. In your image, I don't recall the value, but I think it was a very slight adjustment to darken the midtones just a bit. I never use the brightness/contrast sliders because they affect the entire image and generally do not achieve the look I'm looking to achieve.
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