Back Modifications (5)
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kestrel

By STEVELIN
I was trying to get sharp focus on the eyes and beak and a soft focus on the plumage,camera used canon 400d,
settings,
f/5.6
1/250
iso400
hand held
focal length 214.0mm
i think the focus is a little to soft would it be possiable to sharpen in photoshop cs i am not to to handy with ps so any comments and advice would be very welcome
thanks

update i forgot to include that i had used the burn tool in ps just to bring out the colours.
steve

Tags: Close-up and macro Wildlife and nature

Comments


norton 16 2 6 Jersey
29 Jul 2009 9:53AM
How did you manage to get so close,with that lens,to a wild bird like this?
Great capture,if a little soft on the focus,well done..................

Tony.

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29 Jul 2009 9:58AM
Excellent close-up - very impressive. I've put in a couple of mods using the High Pass sharpening method just for interest.
David
STEVELIN 12 162 3 Ireland
29 Jul 2009 10:06AM
hi david the first mod works for me the second as you say a little over worked you say you used the high pass sharpening i am not familiar with this is it done on photo shop i am using photo shop cs
steve
STEVELIN 12 162 3 Ireland
29 Jul 2009 10:09AM
hi tony
it was taken at a falconry display he was sitting on the falconers hand
are well so much for the illusion of being taken in the wild
thanks for your comment
steve
CathR 13 151 564 United Kingdom
29 Jul 2009 10:17AM
The beak has come out well Steve. It's definitely in focus. However the eye is not in focus to the same extent. All the books etc on bird photography say that the eye has to be in focus and sharp. The rules are meant to be broken now and then but I think in this case the rule is correct. It is the eye which gives life and character to the bird, so the prime focus has to be on that area.

I have uploaded a mod for you where I have sharpened the eye using unsharp mask. As the black area itself is pretty much featureless what you have to do is sharpen the area around the eye eg the yellow bit and the feathers around about. With the feathers I applied the sharpening using a layer mask and reduced opacity because the feathers generally in that area are blurred, so it needs to blend in.

The softeness of the eye is not helped by a very strange, diffuse catchlight. I have not seen one like that before. It looks almost like it has been sprayed on with an airbrush. I have replaced it with something more like a conventional catchlight. I am still working on how to do catchlights in Photoshop, so I am not sure to what extent it looks realistic.

I see from your portfolio that you have a lot of great bird pics with sharp eyes, so you can see for yourself what a difference it makes to focus primarily on the eye area.

Best wishes

Catherine
motorsportpictures 11 289 23 United Kingdom
29 Jul 2009 10:21AM
Yep all been said, and good mods also.
Scott
STEVELIN 12 162 3 Ireland
29 Jul 2009 10:23AM
thanks catherine
bricurtis Plus
15 2.3k 50 England
29 Jul 2009 11:05AM
Firstly I don't agree with above - the beak is not quite sharp.
If you want to keep the soft plumage it is best to work on the beak and the eye selectively. You don't need layer masks.
Use the polygon lasso tool and with feathering set at about 15 pixels make a loose selection reasonably close around beak - apply sharpening to suit - I always use High Pass filter but USM would be OK here.
Using polygon lasso again make a loose selection just around the outside of the eye - sharpen and brighten that area.
I have done a quick mod.
I have reduced the pinkish colours in the breast feathers that looked unnatural to me as well.
Hope that helps.
DRicherby 11 269 726 United Kingdom
29 Jul 2009 11:24AM
I think people have covered the sharpness aspects — the beak is pretty sharp and can be effectively sharpened further; the eye's rather soft.

I do wonder about that diffuse catchlight, though, and it makes me wonder if his eye is actally closed. To me, it looks much more like a reflection off wet skin than an eyeball. But I've no idea what colour a kestrel's eyelids are so this is just a guess.

In most cases, it's best to use the saturation control rather than burning to bring out the colours, since burning gives something of a red cast. That said, I rather like the sunset glow that this shot has.
NEWMANP 12 1.6k 574 United Kingdom
29 Jul 2009 1:00PM
hi,
a good tight crop and nice control over the exposure,
its true it has not come out as sharp as it could be and this is always going to be such a compromise when going in so close.
For one i guess you are handholding so at that range its hard to be sharp anyway, then you need to have both the eye and beak sharp and this is most difficult due to the restricted depth of field, the point of focus needs to be most precise and use the depth of field preview. you have the beak and crest sharp.
yes it will sharpen a little but not enough for what you would like.

compositionally it would have been nice to have both eyes in frame and im not sure about the catchlight which looks like it just may have been added id clone that out and make a slightly better defined one.

the best way of achieving the maximum focus here would be to use the high pass method on a layer and blend in overlay, erasing areas which are not to be sharpened but this is difficult to explain on here. i think there will be lots of guidance about this on the web. i could assist by pm if you wish to know more about this method.

hope this helps.
regards,
Phil
WildLight 12 145 3 United Kingdom
29 Jul 2009 1:41PM
A nice photo of this Kestrel.
Great exposure and decent overall contrast.
The background is nice and soft with great dark tones which helps to make the kestrel stand out.
I like the close crop as it puts a lot more emphasis on the bird and makes it more eye-catching.
The colours, on my monitor at least, are too red and I have reduced them in my mod.
There's a great view of its eye but it's a shame the catch-light wasn't sharper and more defined. I've pasted the eye off a shot of a falcon I took over the original eye which I think adds more interest to the shot and gives it more of a 3D look.
The focus is just slightly off the eyes which is the vital area to keep sharp however there's excellent detail in the beak and surrounding feathers, especially on the top of the head.
I think if you had got down lower to its eye-level the shot would have been a lot more eye-catching and effective but that's not always the case and there's plus points to all point-of-views.

A nice photo that has captured this beautiful Kestrel very well.

Cheers,

Joe
STEVELIN 12 162 3 Ireland
29 Jul 2009 4:48PM
Hi everyone
this is great feedback from you all i have been a epz member for just over a year and this is the first shot i have put up for critique the comments that are being made are very helpful to me, i think i will stick with the critique gallery from now on ,a nice shot well taken and a vote is good for the moral but constructive criticism is much better,"we all have to learn". i must admit i have clicked and run myself but most times i could not comment on a shot technically not having the experience and just voted and commented on what i saw in the shot because the shot appealed to me.
the critique gallery to me is the way to go good constructive comments
STEVELIN 12 162 3 Ireland
29 Jul 2009 5:34PM
im getting to undestand the term catch light "eyes" the origanal shot the eyes were black so i meesed around with the dodge tool and gave it a quick blast ,see you can learn a lot from this site no fooling you guys should have put this up on my upload info,sorry
steve

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