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Thread: Blue-winged Teal

  1. #1
    BPN Member Isaac Grant's Avatar
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    Default Blue-winged Teal

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    Some birds are beautiful because of their bold colors and some because of their subtle and muted colors. To me a male Blue-winged Teal is a stunning bird. This handsome male was photographed at Willowbrook Park in Staten Island. Taken this morning in early morning light while lying in a giant mudflat of frozen goose poop! On a recent trip to Florida I saw hundreds of these guys and some were quite close but I was not able to get a proper angle on them due to be on raised roads or dikes so chose to not even lift my camera towards them. I was bummed about not getting any pics of them while in Florida as they are typically extremely shy when passing through New York City during migration. So I was thrilled when I found this guy yesterday evening while taking a walk with my wife and kids. Went back first thing in the morning to try for some pictures.

    Canon 1DX and Canon 500 f4 ii + 1.4x iii. ISO 800, F6.3, SS 1/2500. Manual with Evaluative Metering

    Processed with DPP 4.5 and PS. Noise reduction to background with Neat Image.

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    Avian Moderator Doug Brown's Avatar
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    The things we do to get a low shooting angle! I like how nicely you picked up the pink on the bird's head. I might brighten the image a bit and maybe back off on the blacks some.
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    BPN Member Isaac Grant's Avatar
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    Thanks for the info Doug. Could you tell me how exactly you would do that? If I go any brighter on the image, the white crescent will be blown out. I tried raising the mid tones a bit and also tried lifting the shadows but to me the bird was getting that artificially lifted look when I did that. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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    Very nice bird, really like the smooth earth tones in the foreground and background.

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    Avian Moderator Doug Brown's Avatar
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    I made a selection of the bird and used it as a mask for a brightness/contrast adjustment layer (+8 brightness, -23 contrast) and a curves adjustment layer (raised the blacks a bit). What do you think of the results?

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    Avian Moderator Doug Brown's Avatar
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    Here's an animated GIF to show you each step in the following order: original - brightness/contrast adjustment - curves adjustment.

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    Last edited by Doug Brown; 03-12-2017 at 02:46 PM.
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    BPN Member Isaac Grant's Avatar
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    Wow Doug. Thanks so much for the extremely detailed response. I think it looks better for sure. It does slightly have that lifted the darks look to me but your version is better. Thank you. With your curves layer where do you adjust the curve? Just lift the middle or what? Also it looks like you made the water a bit peachier as well.

    Ok so I went back and reworked with some of your suggestions. I think I got the spot where the darks are brighter without it looking artificially brightened. Wonder if you think this is better. I like it more.
    Last edited by Isaac Grant; 03-12-2017 at 07:49 PM.

  8. #8
    Avian Moderator Doug Brown's Avatar
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    Looks much better Isaac!
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  10. #9
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    One of the best images I've seen of this species. Congrats! I think I see more peachy/colour in Dougs version as well... My 2 cents / personal preference is to keep the blacks a little darker than his final image, but I'm sure our monitors are all a little bit different.

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