Back Modifications (7)
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mrswoolybill Plus
15 3.0k 2466 United Kingdom
9 Oct 2017 1:35PM
A nice, characterful image. There's a sense of place. Did you use a tripod? If not, you have remarkably steady hands!

How did you process? The main upload has a bit of a magenta cast to my eye, and it also looks cold. Willie is the white balance guru, I'll be interested to see what he does. I've uploaded a modification based on the original, with a few suggested tweaks.

I cropped to put more space in front of the bird than behind - whatever the subject, human, animal, bird, flower, space behind it is generally wasted space. Whereas space for the bird to look into is important.

I flipped to give a rightward gaze, because it sits more comfortably with the eye. It's what we in the West intuitively expect.

I removed magenta and then warmed the colour slightly.

I darkened highlights, made very gentle use of the burn tool on the throat feathers, then made a Levels adjustment to bring back highlights.

Finally I got rid of a few distracting white dots, where light bounces off out of focus highlights. They will be much more attractive in the original file, once it is downsized for the internet they become harsh.

Just suggestions.
thanks Moira no i did not use a tripod for this shot but my tamron lens does have very good stability control
banehawi Plus
17 2.6k 4274 Canada
9 Oct 2017 3:57PM
Hi Andy.

First a word about shutter speed. The Tamron does indeed have a good stabilisation system, so that shutter speed should be manageable. The lens has 3 VC modes, - which one did you use? Mode 3 I would think? However, even though the VC works well the Gull can still move a tiny amount that could cause blur, so you need to be aware that VC and subjects that can move need close attention to speed.

Next, youve used a metering mode on the camera called Centre Weighted Average which puts some weight on the centre of the frame when making decisions; personally, I would use the Evaluative mode, this places weight on where you have focused. Worth trying it over time to see if its different. Also, as mentioned before, try Aperture Priority rather than Manual.

You image looks very heavily processed. I will guess that you tried to get better detail in the whites, and I think its overdone, tending to look like an HDR image. You need to consider that when you reduce highlights a lot, you also increase saturation, or make the colours more concentrated. This has happened here. In the end its a balance between what is achievabale while retaining as natural a look as possible.

There is clearly a very strong magenta colour cast, which is in the original also, but the processing makes it a lot more prominent.

I have uploaded screen shots of the original image, then one where I made preliminary adjustments; the tweaks are identified.

Finally, a finished mod, I added a little space on the left, and cropped from the right. If you have used a slightly faster shutter speed, its likely your whites would have been better, needing less post processing work?

Hope this helps


dark_lord Plus
17 2.9k 786 England
9 Oct 2017 10:11PM
Moira and Willie have given a lot of useful feedback so I'll try and keep my reply brief and cover the points I find most important to me.

Well done first of all for photographing a gull. Many people dismiss them, and they do get a bad press, but they do have an amber conservation status and thus endangered.
This is not crisp however (but not hugely unsharp either.
Even with Vibration Control you have to be careful with technique. I doubt the gull moved here (they are usually quite still on their perch unlike, say, a blue tit) but there my have been enough movement just to take the edge of the image. There's no plane of sharper focus than the bird so I'd rule out focus error here.

As the bird was likely to have stayed on the perch, for a while at least, you would have had time to recompose the image so the bird was less central, avoiding the need for cropping later, though of course that's an option as the mods show.

The dark background has caused the exposure isse, so looking for some lighter green foliage or grass in the same light as the bird to base your exposure on is somehting to be considered.

With white balance, the grey plumage should be a neutral grey which should help you make the right adjustments. If you have Ligthroom for example, clicking the white balance tool on what should be a neutral colour will do the correction for you.
Robert51 13 7 126 United Kingdom
10 Oct 2017 8:22AM
Like dark_lord above I love photographing gulls. Your find them standing on everything and this helps to add to any image. As Moira said the space that birds are looking off into is important in an image. The problem here that space is wasted and the water which is also an interest is on the other side. This makes cropping an image much harder.
The mod I have switch the head around to allow for the space to be cropped and the interest to be drawn only to one side. This was a very simple duplicated layer flipped and place below on a layer. Followed by a very simply layer mask. Just an idea...

dudler Plus
18 1.7k 1885 England
10 Oct 2017 8:24AM
Nothign to add others have said it all. As you can see, this is an area that Keith knows and understands very well indeed, and his advice is therefore particularly valuable.

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