Back Modifications (3)
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By Sylvia2210
This is Arthur, heís a baby blackbird and has is with Mom and Dad in our garden... he de used to be brave and come for a drink, despite me being very close with my camera

Tags: Blackbird Wildlife and nature Birds wildlife

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dudler Plus
15 867 1490 England
7 May 2018 7:49PM
Welcome back, Sylvia!

There are several other people who know all about wildlife photography who will comment before too long - I defer to their expertise on all counts.

The contrast here seems quite high - can you post the original image, please, as it was before processing? I wonder if you have bumped the contrast up along the way without particularly intending to do so.

Willie's mod softens things a good deal, and that improves things. You have a basic probelm with the dark bird against a lighter background, though - tricky to expose.

There's a slight tilt, and seeing a bit more of the vessel Arthur's sitting on would be good.

Do you have any particular views of the picture's strengths and weaknesses?

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Sylvia2210 1 11
7 May 2018 8:42PM
Hi, I did think this was slightly over processed.. my editing programme automatically adjust the image and I donít know how to stop this from happening! I do still have the original but Iím not sure how to add it to my comment!
mrswoolybill Plus
12 1.5k 2058 United Kingdom
7 May 2018 9:30PM
Hi Sylvia, first of all you can add the original as a modification. Click on the blue Modifications button below the image, then on Upload a modification.

Secondly, what is your editing software? If you want to have the flexibility to enhance the basic 'take' then you need to be able to take control of the process.
Sylvia2210 1 11
7 May 2018 9:51PM
Thank you, I have added the original... probably slightly dark... I use photoshop express and as soon as I upload a photo it automatically enhances it for me... Iím pretty sure I can alter this but for the life of me i canít see how 😢
dudler Plus
15 867 1490 England
7 May 2018 10:53PM
I'm not sure, but you may have to download and install the software to get control, rather than uploading your picture to Adobe... I haven't used this particular variation on the Adobe theme, though. The web write-up suggests that it gives decent control, but it's likely to be much less than Elements offers, at around £80.

The original is very dark - the exposure's off by at least a stop: it's owrth checkign hte histogram when you've shot a first frame.
mrswoolybill Plus
12 1.5k 2058 United Kingdom
8 May 2018 8:55AM

Quote: I use photoshop express and as soon as I upload a photo it automatically enhances it for me... Iím pretty sure I can alter this but for the life of me i canít see how

I don't have any experience of this program, but I did a bit of scratching around.

The program certainly includes Auto fix, and a lot of guff - Choose from more than 45 eye-catching effects!

But it also offers:

Quote:Corrections: Slide controls for clarity, contrast, exposure, highlights, shadows, temperature, tint, and vibrance. Various corrections like Blacks, Whites, Reduce Luminance, and Reduce Color Noise make images look their best.

I tracked down a few tutorials on YouTube, this is the best of the ones that I looked at. It doesn't go into a great deal of detail, but it looks as though you need to avoid opening Basic adjustments, go to the Corrections blend option which has a geometric symbol and appears along the bottom line immediately to the left of the red eye symbol. That then gives various adjustments - contrast, exposure, highlights, shadows and so on - with a slider to control the strength of the application.

I would suggest that you pick a time when you have nothing else urgent to do, and spend a while just trying out all the options.
8 May 2018 11:22AM
paulbroad Plus
11 127 1282 United Kingdom
8 May 2018 3:13PM
There is a lot above on processing and programs. Important, but no amount of processing will correct certain image faults and you will struggle here.

First, ignore comments like 'wonderful'! They are of no help to anyone. Then, get the two basics right. You must master correct exposure and getting the main subject sharp. Unless you do that, no amount of processing will give A1 results.

Here, you have burn out of detail in some areas on your presented version, but not on your original which, if anything, is a bit under exposed. Correct exposure will just retain detail in the highlights whilst shadows can be recovered later. The image is not sharp despite the 1/800 second. May be some shake but I suspect a focusing error and/or using the lens at full aperture. Few lower end lenses perform well at wide open apertures. Shake becomes more apparent as image magnification goes up.

Both Willie and John make improvements in there mods, and the image is more than adequate for your album, but even after the mods, the quality is not there in terms of the wider audience.

Sylvia2210 1 11
8 May 2018 5:33PM
Thank you all for your critique! I know I have a long way to go, however, I do feel I am making progress! I have started watching tutorials... also I have over the last few weeks concentrated more on camera settings which I have found to be more challenging!
dark_lord Plus
15 2.3k 578 England
8 May 2018 9:18PM
Good to see you back Sylvia.

I'm not familiar with Photoshop Express though it appears from Moira's comment to offer some control so do look into those options. Leaving it ti Auto Fix is never going to give good results as these programs cnnot tell what the image is and how it should look or more importantly how you want it to look.
For even better control you'll need to look at dedicated image processing software, and Elements as John suggest is as good a place as any. Though don't discount other options such as Affinity Photo or Paint Shop Pro.

Your original is very helpful in providing advice.
The bright background has caused the camera to give less exposure than is required to get decent detail in the blackbird. Even MultiSegment metering struggles here and it's a situation where you need to interven and set a positive exposure compensation, and I'd start with +1 stop.
Having said that, you've not shot in the best lighting which has compounded the problem 11 am in May means the sun is high and with little or no cloud around as it has been recently means that sun is harsh. OK, wildlife doesn't often appear in 'ideal' conditions so you do have to take what you can get on occasion. Overcast or hazy sun are good.

The bird is very central and would be better balanced placed to one side or the other - i'd go for the right here as the bird is looking to the left.
Having said that, the bird is a good size in your frame. If you're still many birds will approach relatively closely. That's often the most difficult thing to do so the fact you've done that is very good.

Theimage isn't crisp as Paul popints out and yes even at 1/800 you can get camera shake, enough to just take the edge of an image.

So put some mealworms or dried fruit out, sit still in a patio chair and have the camera well supported and, while not guaranteeing a good shot, you'll put the odds in yor favour.
mrswoolybill Plus
12 1.5k 2058 United Kingdom
9 May 2018 10:55AM
One further thought, about lack of sharpness. With careful holding, 1/800 second should be fast enough unless you have wobbly hands. But I wonder how you are holding - are you using the viewfinder or composing on the screen?

I quite frequently see people with DSLRs, often with long lenses attached, holding them out in front to compose on the screen. On Sunday we saw a man with a full-frame Nikon holding it out with one hand! This is a natural instinct for people who have moved up from compact camera, but the reduction in stability when someone does that is enormous.

As you extend focal length the centre of balance moves away from your hands, which is why a faster shutter speed is needed. Your 300mm is equivalent to 450mm on a full-frame camera, nearly half a metre of lens...

So make sure to use the viewfinder, hold the camera up securely against the face, tuck your elbows in. That effectively gives five stabilizing points. Then stand feet slightly apart, and brace yourself against a wall or tree trunk if possible.
Sylvia2210 1 11
9 May 2018 10:59AM
Thank you moira, I had the camera mounted on my tripod, but still had the Ďshakeí hand symbol! Not sure why
dudler Plus
15 867 1490 England
10 May 2018 6:48AM
The symbol may come up because of the shuter speed/focal length combination, to warn you that there's a risk , or it may indicate the VR system is active (which may not be a good thing, on a tripod). However, I'm not a Nikon user, so I shall defer to more expert opinion...
mrswoolybill Plus
12 1.5k 2058 United Kingdom
10 May 2018 8:10AM
It's standard advice is to deactivate VR when using a tripod, because the system, persistently searching for non-existent shake, creates its own vibration.

But doing a bit more googling I found this page , which lists lenses where Nikon advises switching VR off, and lenses where it advises keeping it on, and your lens is in the second list.

My instinct would still be to switch it off though.

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