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Thread: American Woodcock

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    BPN Member Isaac Grant's Avatar
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    Default American Woodcock

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    A different kind of image than I usually post. Typically I like perfect morning or evening light but was very happy with how this came. This American Woodcock was from Clove Lakes Park on Staten Island a few days ago. Photo taken shortly before sun down and well after the sun had gone behind the trees. This really shows where these birds spend most of their time.

    Canon 1DX and Canon 500 f4 ii. Tripod mounted while lying in the snow. F5, SS 1/1000, ISO 3200

    Processed with DPP 4.6 and PS. NR using Neat Image.

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    BPN Member Bill Dix's Avatar
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    Good one, Isaac. Not an easy bird to get a clear image of. I saw one hunkered down in the vegetation and leaf litter several nights ago, but no shot. I'll try again this PM.

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    Super Moderator Daniel Cadieux's Avatar
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    I'll trade you one of these for a close enough goldeneye!! That bill is probing really deep - nice depiction of that behaviour. I like the reflection. The blue is a touch bright IMO, but this is a unique image of this species - lucky you!

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    BPN Member Isaac Grant's Avatar
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    Thanks for the input Dan. I will make that trade for sure. Took about 1,000 pics of 2 of these guys that evening. But I can never get close to a Goldeneye!!!

    With regards to the water, that is a hard one. You may be right that it is too bright. In order to get proper exposure on the bird I had to over expose the rest of the surroundings. Brought it down in post to about where i thought it was but may need to take it down a bit more. Thanks for the input. The water may also have been a tiny bit more of a deeper and richer blue as well but just could not get that right so left it as it was. Any idea of how to make the water a little bit of a deeper blue?

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    Super Moderator Daniel Cadieux's Avatar
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    Yeah, it can be tough to tweak. I simply used the burn tool set to 8% opacity on a soft brush (30% hardness), this darkened and deepened the blues. Not sure if it is better, but it does lessen the effect of pulling my eye up there. Pretty jealous of this as I have zero images of this species, despite accidentally flushing a good dozen or so over the past few years.

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    BPN Member Isaac Grant's Avatar
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    Thanks Dan. I like what you did. Think it looks better. Those situations are hard because getting the bird right leads to messing up the background. If I remember correctly the background was a little more purplish blue than either of these but I think you version is a step in the right direction. I swear that I got 1,000 images of 2 of these birds. Saw a total of 20 in about an hour. I chose to post this one because the bird was farther away. Often they were so close that I could not get the whole bird in focus. Even at f10. As it get later they came closer. I was lying in the snow and they were just below a bank so I could not move back. Conditions got really hard as I had full frame shots at ISO 4000 and 5000 where the whole bird was not in focus. Will keep that method in mind when needing to darken things more. Still would love to know if anyone else knows a different way to darken and deepen colors in a situation like this. Funny a few nights ago while outside my house with my 2 boys a Woodcock landed on my sidewalk right next to us, stayed there for a 30 seconds and then flew off. Only the second time I have seen one at my house.

    As an aside, I am selling or giving away my 7d2 to a family member. Loved that camera but since buying the 1DX I am blown away at how good it is. Focuses faster, holds focus better against certain backgrounds, high ISO blows the pants off of the 7d2 and the image quality is just better. Plus you can do much more with the files. Lift shadows much more, etc. No way I would be able to get this kind of image quality at ISO 3200 with the 7d2. The images at 4000 and 5000 are just as good. Wish I didn't wait so long to make the change.
    Last edited by Isaac Grant; 03-20-2017 at 07:41 PM.

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    Super Moderator Daniel Cadieux's Avatar
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    Thanks Isaac. I'm sure one day I'll get my opportunity with this species! I really do like my 7DII, a lot actually, but if I had the budget I would most certainly upgrade to 1DX.

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    BPN Member Isaac Grant's Avatar
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    The 7d2 is a great camera and youespecially have proven it as such. I picked one up used with less than 90,000 shots on it for a very reasonable price. Combine that with the fact that I could sell my 7d2 and recoup some of the money it really is a bargain. Think it just opens up many doors that just are not there prior. I was playing with this shot some more and went into selective color and added some blacks to the blue and that seemed to have a very similar impact on the water as burning did. Also messed with lowering the blacks in curves and also lowering the blacks and mids in levels. All had very similar but slightly different outcomes. Good learning process for me. Thanks again for the help.

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