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Fly Through Fast Food - Order at Window

By DaveRyder  
Third and last upload from the hour I spent in the garden last Sunday.

Blurred out the background to try and enhance the main subject.
Original with same level of processing up to blurring in V1.

I've tried to keep the background as natural as I could while bringing more emphasis on subject.
Any other tips on editing approach would be appreciated.
My abilities with software have improved but still a weak area.

Tags: Bird Garden birds Wildlife and nature


dudler Plus
16 931 1517 England
3 Sep 2019 10:49AM
I recognise the struggle to photograph birds and a feeder: I have the same lens and am distressed at the need to raise the ISO.

As an absolute beginner with this type of shot myself, I'll just say that it occurs to me that putting the camera nearer, on a tripod, would give more differential focus, so that there's no need to adjust in editing (not that the need is desperate, in any case). Olympus would love to sel lthe pair of us 300mm f/2.8 lenses, and the best that yo ucan say is that it'd be cheaper than a 600mm for Sony, Nikon or Canon... That would allow lower ISO as wel las making focus even harder to get right...

Those who know how to do this stuff will be along shortly, I trust...

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banehawi Plus
15 2.1k 4032 Canada
3 Sep 2019 3:43PM
Hi Dave.

Thanks for the V1 which I used to work on.

I use Photoshop CS5, but I think Elements has most of the tools. And keep in mind this is based on what I see on my screen which may be different to your screen.

First off, lots of background noise. Its on the bird too, but much more noticeable in the background, which is where if focused my first efforts.

I used the Defile2 tool in Nik to reduce noise in the background only; this did a fair job, but not great. Then I used Filter>Reduce noise at 100 % in Photoshop; this may not be available in Elements... I applied this to the background which not only reduces noise, but heavily blurs it also, whcih is a good effect. To remove the blurring from the bird, zoom in tight and paint in black on the layer mask with the softest possible brush. Click the \ key to show the coloured mask so you can see if you miss any bits, or paint where you done want to. Click \ again to hide the mask when youre done.

next, - the eye is too light, I would make the blackest part = black. just click the black dropper in curves or levels on the upper left black area of the eye, zoom in well!

The overall colour is overly yellow, - I reduced yellow both by using the saturation tool and by selecting yellows, and the colour balance tool to slight slide the yellow/blue slider towards blue.

The image is not straight, so straightened it using the feeder as a guide.

Slight local sharpening of the eye, added a frame and done.

Let me know if this has been helpful. Any questions just ask.

DaveRyder Plus
5 3.4k 1 United Kingdom
3 Sep 2019 5:17PM
Thank you for your comments.

Willie - for the details and mod thank you for the time in editing and explaining. A much improved image and I will try and replicate.
I used Luminar on this image and element simply to add a border.

John, a tripod and perhaps different lens might be a good approach to address DoF, especially with wifi control from my phone.
chase Plus
14 1.2k 259 England
3 Sep 2019 7:51PM
Some good advice above and a nice mod from Willie which has corrected the colour and brought down those highlights.
Yes, the apparent noise is a problem but can be rectified using the instructions above.
Taking images of a bird on a feeder is not really the way to go tbh.
I set up a small branch close to the feeder, the birds use it as a 'waiting perch'. I just shoved a nice branch into the ground in a position that was easily gettable to for the camera. That way you tend to get a cleaner image and you can almost choose your bg. You could decorate the branch with some Ivy or similar, I did and hid some crushed peanuts or indeed peanut butter smeared on the branch out of sight of the lens. They will use it but you may have to be patient.
Definitely a tripod and try to keep the ISO down to avoid a noisy image.
DaveRyder Plus
5 3.4k 1 United Kingdom
3 Sep 2019 9:04PM
Thank you for your insightful comments and guidance on future setups.

dark_lord Plus
15 2.3k 587 England
3 Sep 2019 10:09PM
Willie has covered the processing side which is your main request.
The light level must have been low, despite the presence of sunlight, but then I've shot birds at ISO 3200 numerous times.

Wide aperture long lenses are expensive yes, buit a simple way to get more diffused backgrounds is to adkust the relative distance between your subject and the background.
If, say your backgrounf is 50 cm behind the bird, moving it to 100 cm will have a marked impact. Of course, if you can't move the background (the neighbours may not take kindly to having their hedge moved across their garden!) yopu can move their perch. Or site it with that in mind when building your 'set' as @Janet describes.

Capturing the birds away from the feeder is best, but not a bad place to start, as you know where they'll land and you'll be able to practice your technique.
They will use custom perches but sometimes they won't just to be awkward so and sos!
annettep38 Plus
8 219 42 Costa Rica
4 Sep 2019 3:06AM
Willie has covered the processing well, my approach is similar only I use LR to do the first bit.
Let me say a few bits about the first part, taking the image.
Tripod and birds only work if you know exactly where the go. For such a short lens it is not really necessary.
You used JPG, it is usually better to use RAW so you have more bits available to work on you shadows, colour and the noise

Using a slow lens with a f 6.7 is definitely not recommended. But you can get there with 300mm

(There are lots of people here who have worked hard and now have the money at their disposal and can spend what I earn in a year on a lens. Well mine was stolen 4 years ago and that was it.So I know all about unable to afford another one)

So my solution is get an old Tamron 300mm 2.8 manual, i have seen them for as little as 450 dollars! I still had that one, thank god.
Or a 400mm f4, whatever is available for your camera.

A 300mm is easy to handhold and nice and bright. the rest is down to your stalking skills. Leave it wide open and it will work.
I have taken certainly more than 7000 pictures like that, says lightroom, before and after I had the nice AF lens.

You will be a lot happier if you start looking for a cheapo bright 300mm. If that Tamron is for another camera, who cares. I now have a spare pentax and a spare canon ring for the adaptall system

(ok I have to admit it I also still own a manual 600mm. it is not heavy but it is 5.6 and that does not help in the tropics with low light in the forest.)
To practise, just shoot. Shoot more , and more. I get butterflies in flight now with that lens, hummingbirds and more. So yes just go for it.
DaveRyder Plus
5 3.4k 1 United Kingdom
4 Sep 2019 7:02AM
Annette, Keith,

Thank you for your very useful comments and suggestions.

dark_lord Plus
15 2.3k 587 England
4 Sep 2019 11:54AM
Useful suggestions from Annette.

There is a trend for using 'legacy' lenses, and the upside is that there are numerous adaptors around these days. There are some very good fixed focall length lenses at reasonable prices, if you don't have a large budget and/or are just getting started with widlife.

You'd need to check on what adaptors are available exactly. The lenses may well lose some funtionality, for example you may have to stop the lens down manuall. It's not a problem with EVF cameras, but to be honest most of the time you'll be shooting at or near full aperture anyway.
For many years I had nothing longer than 400 mm f/5.6 and that was on film cameras. I managed well. On your Olympus such a focal lenght will have more reach, and be lighter (much) than equivalent stuff for larger frame cameras, a bonus. Plus the fact a smaller maximum aperture isn't such an issue these days with good noise performance at higher ISOs.

Practice is good so you just need to keep at it and be prepared to delete a lot (I still do).

More important though is perfecting fieldcraft, not only when you're out and about but getting things set up in your garden to increase the odds of a good shot in your favour.
DaveRyder Plus
5 3.4k 1 United Kingdom
4 Sep 2019 12:00PM
On my old 43rd E410 I had adapted glass - so looks a good alternative for a wide aperture long lens.
The old OM lenses were very good and Christmas is just around the corner.
dudler Plus
16 931 1517 England
4 Sep 2019 5:21PM
Accurate focus is an issue with manual lenses, of course. More so if you shoot using a remote trigger of any sort.

And 300mm on an Olympus is the same as 600mm on a full frame camera: it's definitely a long lens!
DaveRyder Plus
5 3.4k 1 United Kingdom
4 Sep 2019 5:35PM

Quote:Accurate focus is an issue with manual lenses, of course. More so if you shoot using a remote trigger of any sort.

And 300mm on an Olympus is the same as 600mm on a full frame camera: it's definitely a long lens!

I've just looked at some old 135mm f2.8 OM lenses for around 100.
dudler Plus
16 931 1517 England
4 Sep 2019 8:20PM
It'll be worth looking at a depth of field table to see what aperture you need at 135mm to better the DoF you get at 300mm and f/6.7...

Just a thought.
paulbroad Plus
12 131 1285 United Kingdom
4 Sep 2019 8:27PM
A lot of comment above, most of it of some value. you have the two most basic photographic problems apart from anything else. you are over exposed and the image lacks critical sharpness. You need to crack both those issues regardless of any other advice.

I use Fuji an d the 100/400 with 1.4 converter gives me 840mm. For small birds you need a very long lens, you need , ideally, a tripod, and you need to keep the ISO down to avoid loss of resolution in feathers. I always try and use a tripod, failing that, a monopod or nearby fence post or other ridged object.

At long focal lengths you need support. I use high ISO as a last resort. I have feeders placed near trees and branches and shoot the birds as they wait their turn.

I would not consider old cheap or even old expensive lenses. You should use those designed for your system but should always pre-test others. Old lenses have no rear element coatings and are thus very prone to internal body reflections resulting in contrast loss.

Why spend a lot of money in modern technology, then stick old stuff on it in the prime picture taking roll - the lens?


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