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Skagit River Eagles - critique please

Discussion in 'Birds' started by Retief, Dec 26, 2005.

  1. I have processed a few more images from last Friday when Jim and I went to the Skagit river. One D200 comment to make is that it sure is nice having the extra MP's. I am now able to crop to levels not possible with the D2H, not surprising at all, and I do like it :wink:

    The first image is one I posted that other day, Rory made some suggestions, here is the "before" and "after".

    One of the other problems we run into are dark backgrounds and dark wings. Here is one of those followed by a brightening of the BG only. Does this help? Which is preferred?


    Coming in for a landing:

    Cruising along:
  2. MontyDog


    Jan 30, 2005
    #1064 - You have an error in your SQL syntax;
  3. Hi Bill

    These are tough shots to post process, shot at ISO 1600 and cropped. Your shooting light was less than ideal, the focus is not exact and you have blown highlights. I do not think your sigma lens has as much contrast as it could, so you have to compensate for that as well. Noise control software will increase the contrast so I would be tempted to run it before making any other adjustments.

    These photos lack punch that should be there. My suggestions, beyond photoshop stuff, would be to shoot eagles in uncompressed raw (to help with the highlights), shoot at ISO 800 with no bias and live with 1/250s exposures. With bald eagles you have to carefully control the highlights since the head is always the focus.

    When I say punch, I mean something like this. This is one of two keepers from a day similar to yours, where most of my shots were 1/250, f/5.6 ISO 800 and still slightly underexposed. However, I managed two shots where the sun broke through for a few seconds and dropped the ISO to 400 and increased the shutter speed to 1/400s.

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  4. Paul, that could be, I am also having some server issues today which may or may not be part of the issue. Given that I am getting used to all of the new focus bits on the D200, and knowing that I am having some issues myself, there could be a bunch of factors that could contribute. As well, I was trying to be cautious given how much more I cropped these than before with my sharpening techniques. Combine all of that, plus post-Christmas full-stomach, it wouldn't surprise me at all :wink:

    I'll go take a look at those bits later, but I'm also curious as to how the layer masking bits worked with the selective edits.

  5. Rory, thanks for the info. You are correct, especially on the highlights. Certainly different with the D200 than the D2H. By the time I was starting to get a handle on the highlight issue it was time for me to leave, the birds stopped flying and the clouds came back.

    I see what you mean by "darker" on your background as well, I may give that a try on a couple of mine as well to see what the look is.

    I have heard the same on uncompressed vs. compressed, that is on my list of next things to try as well.

    I think I am also going to go the Aperture Priority mode for a while on the flying birds, take the hit on the shutter speed and just get more stable. Along with figuring out the new AF modes. The Cam-1000 seems fine, I am pretty sure any focus issues are still just me.

    As to the Sigma and contrast, you could be correct. I think I'll have a better handle on that once the AF-On fix is done and I can go back to my normal methods. Jim is shooting the same lens and does not seem to have issues, I may also just need to work on the D200 settings a bit more.

    I worked with the layer masking a bit on a couple of these images, does it look like I messed up the layers? As noted above I think I am going to try to really punch up a couple ala your image just to see how it looks.

  6. I agree with the others on the focus softness and noise in the images, but the exposure, postioning and capture of image DSCO766 is outstanding. If you had that shot at ISO 200 to 400 with sharp focusing, it would be KILLER!

    I am just envious that you have such wonderful locations for eagle flight shots like this. I am going to have to go searching this year for eagle photo sites. :smile:


  7. Bill,
    the first 2 images are fabulous. The rest of them scream of inapropriate post processing. I think in the process of evaluating the new equipment, coupled with the very tricky exposure requirements of these eagles, you have put yourself in a tough situation. Rory's post says it far better than I am.
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