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Thread: Great Gray

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    Default Great Gray

    Name:  Great Gray-.jpg
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    1DX2 + 600mm f/4 IS II + 1.4x III, 1/1600, f/5.6, ISO 1000, removed a couple small sticks that were protruding out the owls plumage

    This was my first opportunity with a great gray. Just an amazing bird to spend time with. There are several hanging out in far northern New York right now and I'm hoping they stay put for a couple more weeks so that I may have another chance to go back up and view them again. This was taken this past Sunday as winter storm Orson was pounding NY. The owl was upwind and I had to keep emptying a rapidly growing pile of snow out of the hood of my 600mm.

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    Super Moderator arash_hazeghi's Avatar
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    Very nice, love the snow and the eye contact. it's a tad heavy on the contrast side

    TFS
    New! Birds in flight Photography Basics 2016
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    Thanks Arash. I may have to play with it some more, the snow was so heavy that the RAW is very flat and dull, I've been trying to strike the right balance adjusting the blacks and putting some contrast back into it. Definitely possible I pushed it too far, probably need to walk away from it for a couple days and look with fresh eyes.

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    Hi Ryan,

    I like both the image and the impressive subject. Perhaps the processing has reduced that soft-contrast look that you typically get during snowfall, but it's hard for me to argue with this being a great image. It's a tough call exactly how much to push the contrast, but I wouldn't be unhappy with a result like this - just wish we had these birds (and more regular snow conditions) in my corner of the planet!

    Cheers, David

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    Wildlife Moderator Steve Kaluski's Avatar
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    Hi Ryan, I'm sadly struggling to see more the 'depth of detail' here, more definition. To me the image is quite 'contrasty' in it's overall look & feel - with the 'blacks & whites'. I'm not a great lover of Contrast at the best of times, especially when converted through LR, and controlling this, IMHO is a big factor in the basis of the RAW file. Also having a faster SS will create less of the visible snow falling, which again I feel, is competing with the subject - with less SS you have more visible snow, so you have to think - do i want 'streaks' or 'fluff' and how much? As you had plenty of ISO at your disposal then going f/9 I think would also of been a better choice. If you are visiting the area again then you have many options to try Ryan, as it costs nothing, just some card space.

    TFS
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    Really like the snow nice job.

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    Hi Steve, thanks for your comments. I'm going to have to disagree with you though regarding SS. When viewed at 100% it's easy to see that the snowflakes within the DOF are already frozen in space, there is no amount of additional SS that would do anything to reduce the volume of falling snow in the frame.

    The owl is around 80-85' away in this shot, there is an awful lot of snow between the bird and the lens. I think that might also be the root cause of your comment about definition, if I'm understanding you properly. I don't see the snow as detracting from the subject though. Those were the conditions at the time, and they are conditions these owls deal with frequently. To me the weather is part of the subject.

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    Wildlife Moderator Steve Kaluski's Avatar
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    Hi Ryan, your right.

    If you take it as rain for example, at 1/60 you will elongate the raindrops so it appears as streaks and less obtrusive (so to speak), at 1/125 or higher, the rain is 'frozen' so it's more defined and therefore it's whatever effect you want/wish to achieve/create.

    I don't have an issue with the weather, as it gives the image 'atmosphere', but for me, as you said, it's the definition/clarity that the subject is lacking I feel is not ideal, but that's just my take.

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    BPN Member Isaac Grant's Avatar
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    Attached Images Attached Images
     
    Hey I know that bird!!! I love the look of this. The heavier snow adds to the image I think. I agree that the shot is too contrasty. Also the white spots on the bottom of the face are over exposed and lacking details. I did a quick workup of your shot. Very quick but just to give an idea. What I did was I lowered the contrast -10, upped the saturation to +4, did a highlight and shadow adjustment. Then I quickly selected the bird and ran the NIK detail extractor to bring out a bit more details. Also lightened the face a tiny bit. Then applied noise reduction to the bird and the background. Then did a very minor sharpening of the bird. Also cloned out the twig on the bottom right. I think applying the noise reduction to the background more heavily gives you the separation that you need here and can be used in place of too much contrast. This is not a perfect edit but I think helps a bit. Thoughts? Also, sorry but I did a large and fast clone job of the twig and just removed your name in the process. I think if you go back to the original picture and make changes along these lines you will have a much stronger shot.
    Last edited by Isaac Grant; 02-16-2017 at 04:22 PM.

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    BPN Member Bill Dix's Avatar
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    I'm loving this, no matter how you slice it. I would be thrilled to have this in my files. I do see some benefit in Isaac's interventions, bringing out a tad more detail and reducing the contrast slightly; although some of the snowflakes and a few areas of the bird (cowl and neck) are a tiny bit oversharpened in his repost, IMHO. In any event, congratulations on a fine image.

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    BPN Member Isaac Grant's Avatar
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    Agree about the sharpening. Again, I just did a quick repost to show how to bring out the bird better and lower the contrast. To be clear, I did not shapren any of the background at all and only the bird. All that was done to the background was noise reduction.

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    Overall an awesome image Ryan! Well done. I really like the effect the snow brings, really gives a sense of the environment. TFS

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    BPN Member Lorant Voros's Avatar
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    Fantastic image with the heavy snow fall and the shades of colors. Good comments above to make this image even stronger. Well done.

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    Thanks everyone for the comments. I'm a bit late getting back to this but I was away all last weekend taking my kids to the Natural History Museum in NYC for the first time. Isaac, I especially appreciate your suggestions, you gave me a few things to try with the processing that I had not thought of.

    Here is my current edit, I started over from the RAW and used some of Isaac's suggestions for getting some separation between the bird and BG. I kept the saturation more subdued in this version as well.

    Name:  Great Gray-2.jpg
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    And the original, for direct comparison.

    Name:  Great Gray-.jpg
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Size:  343.0 KB

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