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Birdsong

Stellar Jay-- PP Revisited

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3092129869_1e46586724_o.jpg

This is an Aug. shot, but I revisited the PP yesterday following Catfish's regimen. I have a few questions if any of you are willing to share your expertise, it would help in future processing. First of all, it is pretty centered. I wanted to retain a little of the trunk to anchor the branch. Otherwise it looks a little truncated. But I also thought it important to keep the proportions standard. Solution? Also, he has an odd-looking tail. I ended up lassoing it alone and backing off the unsharp mask a fair bit and despeckling to eliminate the grain. Now of course it is not as sharp as the rest. (Well, neither is his little foot.) There is actually some of this appearance in the original jpeg, so it is not entirely pp. Most of all, is there a way to neutralize the bg color some? This has been adjusted with midtone contrast to washy, shadow darkening, and saturation, so it is a little less lime green than it was. I liked the bg at first, but I get tired of it pretty quickly. At least I did with the first downy avatar that I used. My EOS program has rgb adjustment, but no lasso/invert, so it effected the bird too much. Finally, (sorry this is getting pretty long frown ) I know this could be a bit sharper. However, it is a juvenile, and I don't want him to lose his sweet shyness. He'll be bold and brassy soon enough. I noticed this in one of Jonny's gray jays when you all posted from the bog. It was a titch softer, but had an emotional tug because of it, and I loved it. Can this vary for each photo?

Not sure this will work--when previewed it took two attempts and then I just got the link to the photo, not the photo itself.

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Hey Birdsong! Great image. As far as the "centering" I think it's good as is. Typically with his head looking down and to the left I would have left a little more room in the lower left, but as you said, you need some of the tree to keep it grounded. I would maybe bring him up a little but that's pretty nit picky really. It think it works as is.

As far as the background. You could go to the Hue/Saturation tool and go to the green channel and desaturate it a bit.

And as afar as the sharpness goes, I think it's pretty good as is. It might be a bit oversharp as you can see a small halo around the head unless that's the bg, which could be. I think that soft look can be good with a lot of photos, but, I think the most important thing is that the eyes and then "hard" areas such as the beak and feet are sharp. The eye especially needs to be sharp just as yours is.

I hope this helps some. I'm sure some of the experts will chime in also but I think your photo is really good as you have it here.

Thanks for sharing

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Thank you. I found the hue color sliders. When all else fails read the book I guess. You are right, he's a little low. I checked the original and there is no territory left for moving him up. It was shot in landscape. This idea of saturating for web is a bit scary. Hard to know when it is enough. I saturated a poor sharp-shinned yesterday so that his eye was neon orange and practically popping out of his head. Needless to say I went back in and backed off a bit. Does it really end up looking less saturated on line? Maybe I will lay off the saturation until I get the rest of it down! Thanks for the help.

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Birdsong, it's all good. There's no pressure here, and we're all learning all the time.

While I have to saturate more strongly on my computer to make it look "right" online, that doesn't mean you do, too. Over time, you'll be able to look at your finished product in photoshop and compare to how it looks online and make some tweaks, and before you know it you'll have it figured out. The jay appears oversharpened to me, too, and my CRT monitor is softer than the LCD monitors out there, so it probably looks even more sharp on an LCD.

But that's just fine. Trial and error is how we all learned. smilesmile

In this image, all the PP steps look pretty good to me. It's just hard to take a bird in shadow and a bright BG and make them look good. Your fill flash helped even out the exposure for sure, but in that situation you're working very hard from the get-go to overcome some pretty strong negatives in the perch/BG setting itself.

One note: When desaturating green, also desaturate yellows, because yellows are half of what green is (green=blue+yellow). Desaturating yellows in this image will work just fine because the sujbect is quite blue and won't be impacted, so in dropping green and yellow saturation you're targeting the BG and leaving the bird alone. If this was a goldfinch, for example, you'd REALLY be between a rock and a hard place because in killing some yellow saturation in the BG you'd also be removing some life from the bird.

Another note: Birds with a lot of innate saturation can be made to show more feather detail by slightly desaturating them. I know this in counterintuitive, but it's true. Most people will saturate the subject a bit in PP, but bright colors sometimes need a little of the opposite to pull out feather detail. Take a pic of a male cardinal once and fool around with red saturation and you'll see that this is true.

Keep going, birdsong, you are among friends here! smilesmile

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Birdsong, I don't do anything different for web. I haven't noticed anything that much different for me. I did have a problem when I started that my camera and images were not set for sRGB color space. They were set for Adobe RGB which makes the colors not pop as much on the web.

As Steve said, you did a great job with a difficult situation. Please share more, I can't wait to see them. Don't worry so much about making them perfect, just have fun and the rest will come. I have learned a lot here and continue to learn all the time.

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I'm glad you finally got this bird posted. I liked this one, the first time I saw it. Now, I even like it better.

Like Mike, I don't do anything different for web. I play with it until I'm happy the way it looks, and then post it. If there is a minute difference, so be it. If I had to make a living from it, and also had to rely on how people visualized them online, I might do things differently. Also, as Mike said, don't worry about perfection or you'll spoil your fun.

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That is a great shot, I love the colors..

Everytime I have tried to take a pic of a bird it takes off hopfully I will have some luck with this new cam.

Again great pic birdsong

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You'll get that photo with the new camera Icechicka. Truth be told, this is a stellar jay--if you don't pay attention to them they will practically dance on your head until you do. But you won't find them in Apple Valley, this was shot on Mount Reinier. You can try your first bird shots out the window--open of course. My elbows make a great tri-pod on the kitchen counter. And downy woodpeckers will just smile when they see you coming. "Say cheese kids so the lady will take her picture and go away."

Thanks everyone for the help! I think I have a better handle on what my own PP routine should be. Now I just need time to get out there!

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