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Thread: High Key Forster's Tern

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    BPN Member Isaac Grant's Avatar
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    Default High Key Forster's Tern

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    I'll post another tern since everyone seems to be shooting them. Actually I have been shooting 3 different species of them lately. This Forster's Tern was photographed last weekend at Edwin B Forsythe Refuge in New Jersey. The birds were busy feeding at an outflow valve and were coming quite close and paid me no mind. I have many shots of them more straight on and also more parallel to the back of the camera. And against clean backgrounds as well but I like this one the most. I really like the way the bird looks against the distant salt marsh and how it is intently seeking prey.

    Canon 1DX and Canon 100-400 ii. 349mm, F5.6, ISO 1250, SS 1/4000. Taken in bright overcast conditions. Processed with DPP 4.6 and PS.

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    BPN Member William Dickson's Avatar
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    Lovely pose you got against the nice BG. The bird really 'pops'. I think your exposure is spot on for the whites, the feather detail looks real good for a white bird. Did you apply any DE on the bird. Very nice Isaac, the separation between bird and BG makes this one stand out.

    Will

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    BPN Member Isaac Grant's Avatar
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    Thanks William. Yes, I applied at detail extractor/tonal contrast mask at 25% opacity to the bird only. Also did 2 other minor adjustments to the whites. I went into selective color and lowered the blacks in the whites a few points, and put the bird only on its own layer and dodged only the whites on one or two passes at 10% opacity to just whiten them up a tiny bit. Then I burned the black of the mask at the same opacity to make it stand out a tiny bit more as well. Subtle changes that I think help very much under hard conditions. Surely the fact that the bird was close helps with it standing out against the background. I also applied NR to the background so that helps as well.

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    Super Moderator Daniel Cadieux's Avatar
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    I love the pose - I can just picture it hovering before the dive. Pretty neat BG. I'd be tempted to darken the brightest whites below, while keeping the top as bright as is. Glad you like the dodge and burn tools - two of my favorites in post.

    I just had a great session with a couple of Caspian Terns a few days ago, including what just may be the most beautiful and spotless one I've ever seen!

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    BPN Member Isaac Grant's Avatar
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    Thanks Dan. Dodge and burn work very well. Use them all the time thanks to you. You know I was thinking about you tonight. I finally got some shots of a Caspian Tern just this evening. Have not gone through them at all but must be a few keepers in there as the bird made a close flyby and also sat on the beach for a long time. I have been wanting that bird ever since you posted those couple great frames of one last year. They are very hard to come by in NYC. We get them every year but they are mostly quick flybys. I found one on the beach this evening that allowed fariry close approach and had your previous shots at the top of my mind. Also I very much like your suggestion. Never thought of doing that.

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    BPN Member dankearl's Avatar
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    Work well. The green line should distract but doesn't....
    Dan Kearl

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    Avian Moderator Stu Bowie's Avatar
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    Hi Isaac, the soft light has helped so well with the whites, as the detail on the near wings shows up nicely. Lovely hovering pose scanning for his next meal, and the orange feet pop nicely. Your vertical comp was the right choice.

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    BPN Member gail bisson's Avatar
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    I have come back to this image several times.
    At first, I wasn't sure if I liked it or not.
    The techs are spot on as usual.Tack sharp, good comp, whites look great.
    I am not a fan of high key images as a rule but I am growing to like this.
    The curve in the green line gives the image a really nice depth.
    You may have converted me into liking high key images!!

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    BPN Member Isaac Grant's Avatar
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    Gail you know I am not a huge fan of high key shots either. I would take beautiful evening light any day over a high key shot. But I think there is a beauty in them that I have not tapped well enough yet. Trying to move out of my comfort zone and these type of shots are for sure not in my comfort zone. I picked this shot for exactly the reason you mentioned. I really liked the curve of the green and how the line of salt marsh breaks up the high key background. I found it far more interesting than the shots that were against the sky only.

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    BPN Member Bill Dix's Avatar
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    I personally do like some high-key shots, and love the flight poses that these Terns can display, so this works for me on many levels. That green swoosh is a bonus. Sometimes I find a 1 px black border helps frame the image. That outflow at Brig is a wonderful spot to catch these terns' antics, IF you can get the light, tide and breeze in sync. It doesn't often happen for me, but it looks like it did here for you.

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