Shop Talk

Below is some basic “how to” discussion on seven different photos.  Some of you are way beyond this info and just ignore it if you like.

Let’s talk a little about what was done to this image of a Brown Thrasher after I clicked the shutter.  Like all of my images this one began as a RAW (Nikon Nef) file.  It was downloaded into my computer, and opened in Bibble Labs’  software program.  I rarely do any actual work on my RAW files with Bibble but this software is what I use to recognize and convert my Nikon Nef files.  Then I simply “save a copy as” a jpg into the Picture area of my laptop.  I use a very old version of Microsoft Digital Image Pro to do my most basic work.  I use this program only because it is so simple and I am used to it.  I will resize a jpg for web use in MDIP, crop a shot if necessary, do any cloning that I might need, such as removing digital spots etc., and maybe add a little contrast. This image is a crop. It was originally shot as a horizontal, and it was kept as it was from north to south.  I cropped the east to west part of the picture and turned it into a vertical. This image did have two badly out of focus branches that I cloned out by slowly moving bits of sky over the branches. It is rare that I do that and this is a decision that needs to be made by you, the photographer. That is all I did with MDIP.  I then opened the image in Photoshop. I found there to be a too much noise in the blue sky areas.  This is much like grain used to be in film. I used the Magic Wand tool and clicked on the divided (by branches and the bird) sky areas one at a time and used #4 on the Median Noise removal tool in the filters drop down box, to clear those areas of that noise.

I am someone who is not in love with the editing process.  Despite that fact I used three separate software programs on the Thrasher image. It took me approximately five minutes to complete all of that.  I did no advanced or complex work on the image and it helps that I know each of my programs very well.

Most wildlife photographers have at some time or another sat in front of bird feeders, creating stock images and pretending we are in the jungle or some other great place.  Often we begin our life in wildlife photography this way, and then we eventually finish it that same way.  The images below of a White-crowned Sparrow were made that way in the spring of 2007.  At that time I had one feeder which was a bird bath with it’s  basin flipped upside down as a platform, and covered with seed.  I simply collected some driftwood and a some lichen covered fallen branches (limbs?) from the forest, and every day changed to a new perch.  I only used one perch at a time and propped it up near the feeder.  Birds love to land on something other than the feeder and check out the area before they commit.

I truly love the art of light and rock.  I could spend a week at a time working one small section of a national park, just at the edges of light.  The first image below is “as shot”. The only care I took at the time of creating that image was to make a thoughtful composition, and then to make sure I used an exposure low enough to keep the light colorful and the shadows black.  The second image is a black and white conversion of the first.  Nothing else was done to it.  I actually enjoy the dramatic sky and light in b&w, but I really think the only way it works is if you have never seen the original color version.  If you have, then instead of appreciating the tones and gradations of b&w, you merely miss the color.   Do not show the color version of that shot or any other from that location while you are displaying the b&ws.  This shot is from the Badlands of South Dakota.

The edge of light and sand go together like hot cocoa and marshmallows.  Always a delicious experience.  I actually like it when light levels are even lower than they are in the shot below.  The sun star was quite intentional and created by catching the sun “broken” at the edges of the mountains and using a wide-angle (18mm) lens stopped down to f22.  That f stop forces the light to bend around the corners of the lens aperture.

Sorry in advance for today’s “parting shot”.  In my last post (Communion) I wrote about Mother Nature treating me to cooperative animals that have come within three feet of me.  All animals are not the same and every once in a while you run into a brat.  Me thinks this Red-tailed Hawk was making a statement.

Adios Amigos

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