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Take off

By Bajob3
Am looking to enter bird/wildlife/Nature sections of exhibitions. I enjoy photographing wildlife for myself but am trying to get my images to the next level and process them to their best.

Tags: Great white egret Wildlife and nature



dudler Plus
19 2.0k 2018 England
5 Jan 2021 7:53PM
This is, emphatically, not my area. I do know, though, that cloning and spot healing to alter backgrounds is usually forbidden. Technically, this looks thoroughly sorted to me.

This is a lovely pictorial shot. Does the reflection add to it? On balance, I think it does. It's a shame the near wing partly covers the neck - separation would add a further level of elegance and beauty.

But the wildlife experts will be along soon.
Bajob3 2
5 Jan 2021 8:15PM
Thank you, I was fortunate that it was almost directly out of camera other than a little cropping and sharpening.
dark_lord Plus
19 3.0k 836 England
5 Jan 2021 8:42PM
If you could have got the complete, or nearly complete, reflection in the puddle that would be a winner.
Difficult I know but that's what you'd need to make the image stand out and make the grade. If it was easy (a live wild subject) we'd all be doing it. Planning and patience and some previsualisation play their part but so does an element of chance. The longer you spend with a subject the more chances you'll get.

Processing is a tricky area, and while Levels, Contrast and Colour Balance adjustments should be fine, do check the small print. The same applies to removing dust bunnies.
How much processing have you done on this image?
In my mod I made a small Levels adjustment, bringing the white point slider in, and a small Curves adjustment to give it some zing as the whites in the original were muddy.

So with processing limited to what you're likely to have done in the darkoom you're limited to finding angles, juxtapositions, light and behaviour to make your shot.
If there's an artistic section the rules may be a little different, but again check.
dark_lord Plus
19 3.0k 836 England
5 Jan 2021 8:43PM
I see you've answered my question awhile I was typing Smile
mikejmb 15 4 United Kingdom
5 Jan 2021 9:24PM
When all is said and done a great shot. Well done.

banehawi Plus
18 2.9k 4354 Canada
5 Jan 2021 10:52PM
Its a lovely shot.

Ive uploaded a modification with comments.

Well done

mrswoolybill Plus
16 4.1k 2606 United Kingdom
6 Jan 2021 9:10AM
This really is very beautiful, and well taken. The light through the translucent wings is quite magical. Taken a second later you might have the full reflection as the swan flew over the wider expanse of puddle, but the distance between bird and reflection would have been greater, less immediately involving.

If you are looking at competition entries then look carefully at the rules; if for exhibition, you may well have greater leeway with what you can do. I have uploaded a modification with a few suggestions.

First of all, it's difficult to see from the reflection whether the shot is straight, as the water reflects the underside of the bird, which we do not see; but looking at the water, this seems to me to need an anti-clockwise rotation - I would expect the ripples to appear horizontally.

Secondly, consider a horizontal flip, it gives a more intuitively 'comfortable' direction of flight, from left to right.

Thirdly, assuming that the original shot is 3x2, consider a crop that allows more space for the bird to fly into, less behind its back. Space behind the back of any subject is usually wasted space.

I have worked on that basis for my mod - rotating, cropping and adding extra canvas space. That involved cloning in some dark water texture at reduced opacity; but if you can produce a similar composition from the original file without adding space and cloning that should be within competition rules, I would hope.

I warmed colour by just 3%, added 1/3 stop exposure, lightened shadows and darkened highlights, boosted whites and added 10% on the clarity slider - all in the Camera Raw filter in PS. I like the result for the wing feathers.

See what you think.

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