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Old Jan 17, 2005, 2:37 PM   #11
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Thanks everyone, very warm comments coming from all of you ! Really appreciate it.

Eric s, I believe you're right. The one I saw, I believe decided to stay here for a while. Been seen for at least a week. Think it made its territory here.

Now friends, guess what ? I went there today again, 20 min hike walk .. Bloody cold it was -5F (-25 C) with the windshield factor considered. And I found again the same bird at almost the same spot. I had the tripod with me. The bird is so nice to me, it let me take my time to setup everything. I took shots at 500mm, 400mm and even down to 350mm : filling my frame in portrait orientation. I used a cable release to get the max ammount of sharpness possible, even used MLU on some of the lower shutter speed ones, LOL !

I took 74 shots, and I'm briefly looking over my RAW software and I have some magnificient ones to work out. The light was much better and I got some neat clear shots of the superb Owl. I'm very excitted seeing this.

So here I am going in PS to work some of the nice ones I took.

Cheers everyone !
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Old Jan 17, 2005, 7:05 PM   #12
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Congrats on your captures. I can feel the anticipation and see you trying to get in close and climb that tree...fingers freezing, heart racing, camera trembling...and yet the pictures are so crisp and amazing. Good for you! Thanks for sharing with all of us!

:-)
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Old Jan 17, 2005, 8:06 PM   #13
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Wow...great shots! When I was young, we had a barn owl that would fly over our neighborhood every evening (all we could see was the white underside of it). One day my brother found it outside in the snow...it had clipped a powerline with it's right wing & froze to death. Such a beautiful creature too!
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Old Jan 17, 2005, 8:35 PM   #14
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WisconsinGirl wrote:
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Congrats on your captures. I can feel the anticipation and see you trying to get in close and climb that tree...fingers freezing, heart racing, camera trembling...and yet the pictures are so crisp and amazing. Good for you! Thanks for sharing with all of us!

:-)

Thanks very much WisconsinGirl I was anxious while climbing I could scare the bird away, was happy it didn't produce this. In the middle of the tree I was perched to a spot where I could rest somehow. There was some large branch where I could rest the elbow and another branch which served me of a pivot area.

Cheers !
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Old Jan 17, 2005, 8:36 PM   #15
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Kalypso wrote:
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Wow...great shots! When I was young, we had a barn owl that would fly over our neighborhood every evening (all we could see was the white underside of it). One day my brother found it outside in the snow...it had clipped a powerline with it's right wing & froze to death. Such a beautiful creature too!

Sad story indeed Kalypso. Always a shame to think human activity actually are the cause of death of such great animals.

Thanks and cheers
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Old Jan 17, 2005, 8:38 PM   #16
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geoffs wrote:
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Wow, such nice photos, Eric! ...and your first encounter with this guy... You must have been so excited that you could hardly stand it!

The last one of the chickadee is cute in the extreme, don't you think?

Also, I am very interested in what kind of "special technique" you use to do noise removal...

Thanks very much Geoff, now I have time to reply to each one Finished working those photos of the other thread.



Here's a copy and paste of what I replied to another one asking the same question over FM forum.

I use C1 Rebel for my raw editing. What I do there is make any adjustment there, EC, CC and WB. For ISO800 shots, I don't have any latitude in terms of EC when going positive. +0.25 EC is the max you can do before noise starts to show. So I dont cross that border. Another way of trying to get the most details is to use what's called 'Film extra shadows' which kills the contrast. So what I do there is bump the contrast by 5%, also use 5% saturation. And finally the WB was adjusted to cloudy. I understand this bird is mostly grey, but wanted to work them out showing them under a certain level of light tone and temperature.

Also, you noticed when the Owl is not lit properly, exposing them is difficult. Some parts of feathers - that white ring on the neck - will have blown highlights while the rest maybe underexposed. So the trick is to hope that enough details still be present on those areas (blown highlight). Finally I'll output few TIFF from the raw. One for the background with no sharpness, actually I use Soft Look and bump the soft look to 50. This takes care of pretty much the OOF noise present (for ISO800 shots). Then another TIFF with sharpness set at 50%, then one with a raised EC for the deeper shaddows, in mind thinking not to reveal noise. And finally drop EC for those near or blown highlights.

So in Photoshop, I have 4 TIFF to work with and use Layers and Layer Masking to work each 'best part' of those TIFF. I might use Gaussian Blur for the OOF part of the image (mostly the background) at a slight level of a radius of 3 pixels, just to kill any trace of noise. All these manipulation done with Layer Masking, so by using the brush tool, I reveal only parts of the image I wish to edit. Finally to play with the contrast, I use the Curve feature in PS. Save a TIFF for printing. Then use PS Element for the conversion of a resized TIFF to JPG. Use Layer Masking for USM using 2 layers (darken, lighten) and apply different level of opacity of those 2 layers to get the desirable effect. Finally in PS Element, save in JPG. And in PS CS I run an action to apply a frame to the image, convert the profile from Adobe RGB to sRGB. And voila

This kind of post-processing is my normal ones I use. Been learning this for the last year. I love as much working my photos in the digital darkroom than taking photos in the field.

Hope this explains a little Geoff, cheers !


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Old Jan 17, 2005, 8:41 PM   #17
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smac wrote:
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Eric, What great character those owls have. I only dream of getting shots like that. The only Owls I have seen in my area are at night as they swoop through the light coming from street lamps. That is a really nice series of photographs. How high up into the tree did you have to go?

smac

Hi smac, yes they are magnificient indeed

I'm sure one day you'll be happy to bring back some shots of owls

I went up to around 30 feet up the large pine tree. The early branches were sorta shaky, lots of dead one. As soon as I hit about 10 feet, all branches were healthy and strong. Stayed up there for about 30 min, took over 30 shots up there.

Thanks very much
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Old Jan 17, 2005, 8:42 PM   #18
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Normcar wrote:
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As you know, Eric, I've already seen these but I could see them over and over and over again without complaint. Super job as usual.

Dang Norm, and I wasn't sure if it was you over FM. Looked at your collection of equipment... Boy did you upgrade or what, LOL ! Won the lottery or something, hehe



Cheers !
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Old Jan 17, 2005, 8:45 PM   #19
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eric s wrote:
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From all I've read, you should start to get more Great Gray Owls. Its an eruption year and they are fanning out to the east now. The prediction is that I'll get them in Mass next month (maybe those owls are going thorough your area now?) I hope they are right, I've never seen one before.

This one looks like a first year to me, but that is only a guess from the pictures I've seen of adults.

Nicely done. I've climbed trees to get good Barred Owl shots. Helps with the angle a lot.

A great job, as always. I look forward to future posts when you find more of them.

PeterP
Great Gray Owls Seem to come in two flavors. Either completely paranoid or absolute indifferent. I know people who have seen one up in a tree off the road... and 10 minutes later it flew and landed on the road sign 10 feet from their car. It truly didn't care about them. Other have them fly away if you get 30 feet from them.

Eric

Eric, its a mystery to us birders. Seems these owls simply don't feel threatened by human. And the smaller ones are so scared. Most of them anyway. My worst species is Great Blue Heron, at least at my favorite spot. They simply don't like human presence. Maybe it has something to do with duck/geese hunters in fall. I can't tell.

I hope you never climbed trees with your super L lens, that should be cumbersome to bring up there.

Cheers and take care
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Old Jan 17, 2005, 8:47 PM   #20
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PeterP wrote:
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WOW, nice images. I am surprised the bird let you get that close. Maybe it did not consider you a threatup a different tree :-)

Peter.

Possibly Peter, was unsure of the reaction it would do while I climbed up there. But were already there for 30 mins or so. Got closer with the camera and tripods. The bird didn't seem to bother at all.

Thanks and cheers !
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