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Skagit Eagles, Snohomish Swans, critique please

Discussion in 'Birds' started by Retief, Dec 24, 2005.

  1. Met Jim Thiel at the Skagit River this AM just after the crack of dawn. We immediately heard many Bald Eagles chattering in the trees and saw a few fly-by. Took about 30-40 minutes for the light to come up, but the temp was good and we actually got a touch of sun. I would specifically like comments on how to handle images #2 and #4 here. I'll note what I did and really would like other suggestions.

    #1 Juvenile in the Sun:

    #2: Mature Eagle. Changed the mid-tone contrast to light background, did I do too much? Should the background remain darker? Did I muck-up the color of the bird too much? I was attempting to open the shadows on the wings and I think I may have overdone ssame.

    #3; Juvenile cruising the sky

    #4: Reflections on a Cloudy Pond. This is the one I am most interested in. I darkened that BG and selectively lightened the bird. Does the concept make sense? Does this look "over-processed"?

  2. Greetings Bill. I did not get home till late last night. Boy am I pooped now. It was a fun day. It was fun to watch so many eagles soaring over us. One of our better outings, too bad it was so dark. You have some nice images. I really need to get my monitor profiled. The swan looks a little hot to me, but it may be my monitor.

    Lets hope the rain stops and we can get out over the holidays. Best wishes again to you and the family.
  3. Hi Bill. Looks like you guys had fun! A few comments...

    First the good stuff - love the composition for the first three photos and I think you nailed the exposure and focus on these as well.

    I think you should make more use of layers and selective tonal editing. In #1 and #3 I would like to see just a titch more contrast on the head - it looks a little washed out. You might want to nudge the black point up in levels or curves, but just for the head.

    I agree with your assessment of #2. Personally I would go for a darker background, but that is a matter of taste. The eagle looks hot - I think you overdid it - if you are not familiar with layer masking you might give that a try to control your edits.

    In #4 if you darkened the background then you likely over exposed the shot, which is okay if it was intentional, since you are shooting at ISO 1600 and this would help control noise. I do not like this photo because the bird is not isolated from the shore, with the shoreline cutting through the bird. Also, I cannot see a glint in the eye, which would be nice.

    Got any more? I will have to try to get to Brackendale if we ever get a break in this horrible weather.

    Have a Merry Christmas Bill.
  4. Thanks, Jim, doesn't look like you were too pooped out, saw your post, good stuff.

    Yeah, when I got up this AM and saw the rain I just marveled at our good fortune yesterday. Let's hope for another in the next week or so.

    I think I agree with you, on the swan, that was some selective brightening I did after darkening the BG a bit.
  5. Rory, this is great, and I agree with you completely. The light we had was coming from our right, and just a touch behind us, and it, as you know, is a real royal pain not blowing the white on the head in the conditions we so often have, where the birds are moving off the river. In getting used to the D200, as well as remembering how to shoot eagles :redface: , I encountered more "blinkies" than I would have liked, that is where a fair bit of the Head and Tail washout comes from. But that is a great suggestion to work more with layer masking, I'll give that a go.

    On the Swan, this was actually a bit underexposed, I brought the bird up with some selective brightening, but I think you are right that doing it with layer masking would have enable me to be more precise, and I also though I had gone a bit over the top, and gotten it too hot, glad to see that both you and Jim think this as well. As to the shoreline, the shoreline actually is quite a ways back, all the way back to where you see the weeds. What you are seeing is, I think, a very shallow section of the lake with riffled water and a bunch of ducks :wink: . I may try cloning that section to look like the rest of the water, can't hurt to try, eh?

    Thanks for the comments, exactly what I was looking for.

    I still can't believe how nice the weather was last weekend, compare to this week, what a difference. The fact that Jim and I had a couple of decent hours yesterday was amazing. This makes it tough for me to figure out the difference in focus and technique with the added resolution of the D200, but I think I'm getting there, each time out is a bit better.

    Merry Christmas to you folks as well, say Hi to all, and I hope Santa doesn't run out of toys by the time he gets to Vancouver Island. I have it on good authority that he actually travels South to North :wink:

  6. Flew


    Jan 25, 2005
    Nice series Bill. I've got to get me a nice long lens. Maybe next year. :rolleyes: 
  7. (Sigma, Sigma, Sigma, Sigma.........:biggrin: )

    Hey, if I wasn't so "frugal"....

    Thanks, Frank, Merry Christmas....
  8. Bill, it is sure nice to see these cameras being able to shoot at the higher ISO's isn't it? If not, I am not sure I would have been able to take any pictures yesterday.
  9. So true, Jim. I am finding that I have to do far less than I did with the D2H, which is really nice. Now once I get my AF-On button back and my stabilization technique with the Jobu I'll be really back in business.
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