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Old Jul 5, 2004, 8:40 PM   #1
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I always find it funny how some herons hunt. I know they do it for good reasons, but the way they tilt their heck/head to the side seems a bit... well, like something from a silly walk in Monty Python.

I believe they do it for several reasons; to reduce reflections on the surface of the water (letting them see their lunch), remove their shadow from where they will lunge, and to make it easier for their eyes, which are very forward facing (i.e. they can't just rotate their heads, because then only 1 eye would be able to see the spot they are aiming at.)

I had a shot where their neck/head was even more tilted to the side, but the head was more out of focus, so I choose this one.

Camera: Canon 10D, 600mm 1/750 f4, 200ISO, RAW
Photoshop: RAW covert, neat image, curves, layer exposure blending, levels, crop, reduce, various sharpening.

Eric

ps. This is, I believe, the same heron from my heron displaying shot posted a little while back.
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Old Jul 5, 2004, 8:46 PM   #2
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Beautiful shot to say the least Eric, that lens was meant for this kind of birds, longer distance, big ones.

May I ask why you are using Neatimage to remove the noise ? I've shown you a better technique before which preserves the details/quality of the feathers. Not that this shot is not awesome, I'm curious how it would turn out without neatimage.

Gimme that photo in high rez and I'll show you the way , LOL !

J/k, it's your prize, keep it this way

Cheers
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Old Jul 5, 2004, 8:55 PM   #3
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Great shot! Man that big lens really does an excellent job.

Thanks for sharing the shot.
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Old Jul 5, 2004, 9:04 PM   #4
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Very nice Eric. Good detailing. Just curious...how heavy is that lens?
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Old Jul 5, 2004, 9:50 PM   #5
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And a very gorgeous heron that is, Eric! Great shot!

Eric CAN: I'd like to know what that noise reduction technique is that you had previously explained to Eric S.

Picky question of the day: What is that round white spot in the grayish/blue feathers of the heron's back? It looked too perfect to be natural, but I guess it could be.
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Old Jul 5, 2004, 10:02 PM   #6
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It's interesting that you say this lens is for larger things futher way. I was actually fairly close with this bird. Only about 25-30 feet. That is about 10 feet further away than the sparrow that I shot earlier (and infact I had a larger aperture then than this time.)

I know many professional photographers that use both 500 and 600 f4's to shoot small birds. It is a very reasonable thing to do. I really just think I need to get better at it. The smaller birds generally move more (Defence?) and are harder to shoot. In less than idea light this leads to less sharp images due to shutter speed. At least this is the cause of some of my less sharp yellow warbler and sparrow shots.

I'm starting to think that the DOF calculators that I'm using are wrong. Maybe I have the distance WAY off, but at 30 feet with the numbers I gave the DOF is supposed to be 1.2 inches. There is NO WAY this heron has has only 1.2" in focus. I mean really, that wouldn't even cover his neck width. 50 feet (based on the same calculator) would give me 3.6", which doesn't seem like enough either. My parents house is 44" long and I know he wasn't further away than the length of that house. Either way... I digress.

I use neatimage because it does a good job. I've tested it many times. You can select a region and toggle between the noise removed and present. And if you have a good place to train it, I have not seen it remove detail (and I check, with almost every image.) I don't use it on the highest setting because removing all noise can produce a "plastic-y" image, and what little noise it leaves behind is not intrusive until I enlarge the image for big prints (and then if I want I can redo neatimage and remove/reduce that enlarged noise.)

I'll upload a copy of the original. I'll private message you on the location. You are much, much better with PS than I am, so it would be interesting what you can do with it (beyond just noise removal.)

Chako, the lens is darn heavy. It's 12.5 pounds, roughly. So far it's been worth it, but my neck does hurt some days.

Eric
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Old Jul 6, 2004, 3:32 PM   #7
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Ouch. Hmmm...if it were me, I would make a gun stock mount for it. Personally, I would buy a cheap but sturdy toy crossbow or like plasticstockto modify (the ones that shoot plastic bolts), epoxy or bolt on a tripod screw mount plate, and install a cable release trigger. This I think, would give you lots of stability and support, freedom of movement, and ease of use in the field.


Just a thought.

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Old Jul 6, 2004, 3:47 PM   #8
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Eric, are all these shots hand held?? just AWESOME!!!!

dennis.
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Old Jul 6, 2004, 5:05 PM   #9
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Understand Eric, I'll check the private message and will post your image in this thread. Just arrived from work, and I won't go to the marsh tonite. So I'll do some post-processing

Geoff, there's 2 technique I use, one is gaussian blur locally (layer)or with C1 Rebel (software to extract the RAW), I use "soft look" which is more subtle and makes a great background too (layer again with Add Layer Mask - Hide all) and so on.

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Old Jul 6, 2004, 6:21 PM   #10
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Eric, we need to talk , hehe. This will be also valuable for others. Reason why I'm posting this is to shed some lights about DLSR and the importance of "expose to the right" and DOF issues. While I'm working your image, some stuff strikes me. Would like to share these.

About expose to the right, for those who don't know , please read (important) :

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tu...se-right.shtml

(I'll use example from the RAW i'm working on - your photo)

Now why expose to the right ? For example lets say you use ISO 200 to start with, let's say you need a base shutter speed so any movement of the bird and / or lens movement is 1/640 sec, we'll start from here. From you photo, you're using 1/750 sec, my camera only allows 1/800 or 1/640, so we'll choose 1/640 sec, which I found is enough for 500mm at a fair distance (40-60 feet) for bird sharpness. So you mentioned it was 30 feet more or less.

So the deal here is you chose ISO200 for low noise, but even at F/4 the shot taken was exposed to the left. What I mean by this is ; I had to crank the Exposure Compensation in C1 Pro up by +1.00 EC before the white feather details starts to be blown out. So we are basically one full F/stop behind in exposure. That means either we go F/2.8 (impossible in our case) or go at half your shutter speed (1/375 sec), to expose to the right.

Question I rise, why expose to the right ? : Maximizing S/N Ratio in Digital Photography, Signal to Noise ratio is the same as in audiophony, thehigher the S/N the less distortion will be present at a given signal level. In digital photography, the level of signal is the ammount of light entering the CMOS (or CCD). Now what happen if the level of signal is too low ? The S/R ratio drops, not only that but then you need to raise the exposure compensation to get the bird with proper level of brightness. It doesn't stop here, underexposing initially leads to less details being recorded by the CMOS - this lost details is lost for real.

What to do ? With our cameras (Canon CMOS sensor) we're lucky that the level of noise is workable easily at ISO400, even ISO800 (but then we loose dynamic range going higher ISO - meaning the gap between blown highlight and shaddow details falls rapidly) So yes ISO400 is workable. Not the best setting but under low light circumstance - as it happened when you took that shot. But then what we gain ? A lot my friend, with the same setup @ F/4, you gained twice the ammount of speed (from ISO200), but here since we're one full F/stop below the perfect S/N ratio, we finally arrive to the same shutter speed :

ISO 200, F/4 1/640 sec is half the ammount of light than 1/320 sec, but 1/320 is too slow, so lets bump the ISO to 400 and at 1/640 we gained that one full F/stop.

I'll continue in the next reply about DOF issue and focus point.

Cheers
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