Back Modifications (6)
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Heron flying low

By tom_earwaker
Critique always welcome, thanks for looking.
I've done a few minor levels adjustments to bring out the bird a bit,some noise reduction and selective sharpening.

Tags: Water Bird Heron Warwickshire Wildlife and nature Brandon marsh

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Robert51 13 7 127 United Kingdom
20 Mar 2017 8:07AM
What a great capture Tom. Birds in flight are never easy.

You say you have done a little levels adjustments but you still have flat areas at either end. These flat areas are what make images themselves look flat.

paulbroad Plus
14 131 1293 United Kingdom
20 Mar 2017 8:54AM
Very well done content wise. Very difficult as I well know and this is quite sharp enough. As above it is a bit flat again? I wonder why this happens? Are they like this out of your camera or are you processing this way? Just a touch more bite in the contrast.

dudler Plus
18 1.8k 1895 England
20 Mar 2017 11:45AM
Paul says it all.

It's great to have a camera that can handle a good dynamic range, but it will possibly make shots in less contrasty light a bit flat, as Paul's said.

Levels adjustment in processing takes only a moment or two, and sorts it.

I'll add - praise from Paul for a wildlife shot indicates that you've hit benchmark quality, and done so well. Excellent!
banehawi Plus
17 2.7k 4282 Canada
20 Mar 2017 1:24PM
One to be proud of, and as mentioned above, the light was likely poor, and it will benefit from adjustments. Nothing though substitutes for good light, which you likely know.

Ive loaded 3, mod 1 is a finished mod, and the other 2 are screenshots showing your starting image with comments re areas for adjustment, then a screenshot showing what I did to start the process. This might be helpful.

Technique; you should, if you intend doing a lot of this, use an auto focus tracking mode, and pan with the bird; this requires advance planning, and of course the opportunity; wildlife shooters spend hours waiting for the opportunity, but its worthwhile.

Then as Ive mentioned before, used a lower ISO and a slower shutter for best quality. This has, for me, significant ISO noise, mostly due to the ISO, and some to underexposure. If you practice panning and get good at it, you could shoot this at 1/200th or less. But it does require a lot of practice. You camera is good at tracking auto focus, so give it a try. Practice on moving cars, etc,

Hope this is helpful,


20 Mar 2017 9:56PM
Thanks for the comments. I've had another go at it so there is a little bit of true white and true black in there, I agree it was looking a little flat. Having said that, I think if there's too much contrast I find its not as easy to see the detail in the feathers, as you percieve the lighter paches as a block of white and the darks as a block of black (in the extreme) rather than a wider range of greys. I don't know whether its personal preference or something to do with my screen setup, but I generally seem to prefer a little less contrast than others on here.
I'll have to have a try with the focus tracking next time. It was hard just to keep him in the frame, so I think I'd need a lot more practise before I could go to 1/200th!
Robert51 13 7 127 United Kingdom
21 Mar 2017 8:07AM
Tom everyone see pictures in different ways. Shoot and process to suite yourself, if others like them it's a bonus.

Look forward to seeing lots more...

mrswoolybill Plus
15 3.1k 2476 United Kingdom
21 Mar 2017 9:21AM
My favourite bird, I have always associated them with good luck in my life...

I've uploaded a very quick modification. I simply clicked on Auto smart fix, and quite liked the result. But my main interest was to flip horizontally, to view the bird flying from left to right, because that's what the brain intuitively expects. Think how a strip cartoon reads from left to right... Most sports photography is angled to show movement in this direction. So the mod is just for comparison.
dudler Plus
18 1.8k 1895 England
23 Mar 2017 4:09PM
There can be a lot of sublety in tones and contrasts - it's not only a matter of the extremes of white and black, but also hwo the tones in between are distributed. That's why some people are so keen on Curves adjustment rather than simply altering Levels.

It's been noticeable in a number of your posts that you often have pictures that are well short of a full black, and I wonder if that's something about the camera and how it's set up.

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