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Thread: First BPN Images of Emperor Penguin chicks ...

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    Publisher Arthur Morris's Avatar
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    Default First BPN Images of Emperor Penguin chicks ...

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    Image #1: Emperor Penguin chick resting on snow

    I was recently blessed to spend three days at the Snow Hill Island, Antarctica Emperor Penguin colony (after a long and arduous journey that included a long red-eye flight, crossing the Drake Passage in an icebreaker, flying six miles in a helicopter, and then walking 3.7 miles round trip over the sea ice to and from the colony). For the full story on the journey, see the Home From the Sea Ice. The First Emperor. And Did We Make it to the Exalted Penguin Colony by Icebreaker and Helicopter? blog post here. To learn more about the trip and see a composite of my keepers, see the Bucket List Sea Ice Expedition: Beyond Success ... blog post here.

    This image was created on October 26, 2018 on the recently concluded Emperor Penguins of Snow Hill Island expedition via icebreaker. I used the hand held (while seated) Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR Lens (at 400mm) with my back-upNikon D850 DSLR Camera. ISO 400. Matrix metering plus about 1 2/3 stops: 1/2000 sec. at f/8 in Manual mode. AUTO 1 WB on a cloudy-bright morning. Five AF points up from the center AF point/Single/Shutter button AF as originally framed was active at the moment of exposure. The selected AF point was on the chick’s neck just in front of and well below the eye. I kept my rig on my shoulder via an RS-7 Curve Breathe Strap so that it was instantly accessible when I was working with the tripod-mounted 500 PF. Focus peaking AF Fine-tune: +5. See the Nikon AF Fine-tune e-Guide here.

    Please see the image in the pane below and let us know which you think is the stronger image and why.

    with love, artie








    Last edited by Arthur Morris; 11-05-2018 at 11:11 AM.
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    2Image #2: Emperor Penguin chick standing on pure snow

    This image was also created on October 26, 2018 on the recently concluded Emperor Penguins of Snow Hill Island expedition via icebreaker. Again I used the hand held (while seated) Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR Lens (at 400mm) with my back-upNikon D850 DSLR Camera. ISO 400. Matrix metering plus about 1 2/3 stops: 1/1000 sec. at f/10 in Manual mode. Matrix metering plus about 1 1/3 stops: 1/2000 sec. at f/8 in Manual mode on a cloudy-very-bright morning. K 7690 WB by accident from the previous sunset was corrected easily during the RAW conversion. Five AF points up from the center AF point/Single/Shutter button AF as originally framed was active at the moment of exposure. The selected AF point was on the chick’s neck just in front of and well below the eye. I kept my rig on my shoulder via an RS-7 Curve Breathe Strap so that it was instantly accessible when I was working with the tripod-mounted 500 PF. Focus peaking AF Fine-tune: +5. See the Nikon AF Fine-tune e-Guide here.

    Which of the two images is your favorite? Why?
    Last edited by Arthur Morris; 11-05-2018 at 11:12 AM.
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    send me the RAW file for the first image, I want to work on it some

    Wish I was there when you took these.
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    Macro and Flora Moderator Jonathan Ashton's Avatar
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    Very nice images indeed, I particularly like the second image, I like the first but I think there is a lot of missing detail, especially in the snow when compared to the second image. There is a slight blue cast in the second but I suspect that you have left it there intentionally to give the observer a feel for the cold conditions. Looking forward to more.

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    Hi Artie, you have certainly travelled. When I opened the first image, I thought what brilliant detail. When I opened the second image, even more detail on the Penquins coat. I agree with Jon on having more detail on the snow. Both have good and different poses, and both work. 2nd by a whisker.

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    I like the standing shot because I can see lots of detail on the feet and snow. I do think the darks could use a bit of a bump to make them contrast more (like in the other shot).

    The horizontal shot is super cute, mostly because he looks utterly useless laying there. The detail on the face is money. Love the contrast.

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    Hi Artie- What a great trip. Both are very nice but like others, I prefer the second, standing image. Something about the pose, with chin up, head slightly back says, "Hey...you're not from around here, but I'm not going anywhere..." Love the white on white in both images.

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    Great to hear you had a wonderful trip. The first image is my favorite. The unique pose on the chick is pretty neat. Details are great on both images.

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    Hi Artie, sounds like it was a dream trip with some great images from it as well. I seem to have a strong personal preference for the first image with the chick reclined. For me it has a much stronger connection with the viewer, and the neck stretch shows off the bird's head and face better. Also, living in one of the gateways to Antarctica I've probably seen a lot of standing penguin shots with poses similar to the second image, but the reclined one is unusual for a penguin and more reminiscent of the sort of pose that seals are often captured in. Both top images though, thanks for posting them.


    Cheers, David

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    Thanks all so far :) I actually process the images for less detail in the snow as that is my style :) The chicks were lying on the ice and snow to get cool as we experienced extremely warm weather on our three visits to the colony. I am trying to send Arash the NEF file for the first image right now ... I am interested in seeing what he does with it with Capture One.

    with love, artie
    Last edited by Arthur Morris; 11-06-2018 at 06:19 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonathan Ashton View Post
    Very nice images indeed, I particularly like the second image, I like the first but I think there is a lot of missing detail, especially in the snow when compared to the second image. There is a slight blue cast in the second but I suspect that you have left it there intentionally to give the observer a feel for the cold conditions. Looking forward to more.
    Thanks John, Dealing with the BLUEs with these image is a big challenge. A small does of NIK Color Efex Pro White Neutralizer helps but it is difficult for me to draw the line between too YELLOW and too BLUE.

    with love, artie

    ps: if you check out the composite image on the blog post here you can see the varying color temperatures and BLUEs at a glance.
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    I prefer the lying down shot. As David says, I have seen many of the standing shot but not nearly as many of the lying shot. It seems more intimate and has a cute factor that I really like. Looks like an amazing experience. Back to the viewing on different screens problem, on the 5k imac the throat of the lying bird seems a bit too white but probably looks fine on your laptop screen. What do you do to process for less detail? Less Detail Extractor? Less sharpening? I should add that young birds have super fine feathers and often look a touch soft even though you can tell that the birds are not soft. Eye of your birds are razor sharp. I have photographed many young piping plovers with sharp eyes but the rest of them and their little fluff ball feathers just look soft as compared to the adult feathers which have very different structure. Hopefully one day I will get the chance to see and photograph these beautiful birds. I have only seen 3 species of penguin. African in South Africa, Little Penguin in Australia and Humboldt Penguin in Peru. Did not own a camera back then so no images. Looking forward to more from your amazing trip.

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    BPN Member Alex Becker's Avatar
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    Both are really cute. I think I also prefer the laying down shot for the reasons mentioned above. But the color tones and and subtle background transition in the standing one are super nice. I'd love to have either. Seeing the feet in the second is a nice bonus too. Looking forward to seeing more from the trip. I'd love to get down there some day. TFS

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    Both are lovely. The laying down chick has the look of a studio shot with a white background, reading your comments you wrote that you process for less detail in the snow. The standing chick has much more detail in the show and the blue tint adds a coolness factor which I think suits the image. I think you must be thrilled with your images and the experience. Thank you for sharing, Artie.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Isaac Grant View Post
    I prefer the lying down shot. As David says, I have seen many of the standing shot but not nearly as many of the lying shot. It seems more intimate and has a cute factor that I really like. Looks like an amazing experience. Back to the viewing on different screens problem, on the 5k imac the throat of the lying bird seems a bit too white but probably looks fine on your laptop screen. What do you do to process for less detail? Less Detail Extractor? Less sharpening? I should add that young birds have super fine feathers and often look a touch soft even though you can tell that the birds are not soft. Eye of your birds are razor sharp. I have photographed many young piping plovers with sharp eyes but the rest of them and their little fluff ball feathers just look soft as compared to the adult feathers which have very different structure. Hopefully one day I will get the chance to see and photograph these beautiful birds. I have only seen 3 species of penguin. African in South Africa, Little Penguin in Australia and Humboldt Penguin in Peru. Did not own a camera back then so no images. Looking forward to more from your amazing trip.

    Thanks for commenting Isaac. I almost never ever use Detail Extractor on a BKGR. To process the snow for less detail I use the Patch Tool and drag a detailed area to a smooth area. And at times I run a 60-pixel Gaussian Blur on the whole image, add an Inverse Layer Mask, and paint away the detail, often beginning with a 33% Opacity Brush and being sure to stay away from the bird. Now I have seen and photographed all of the penguins on our side of Antarctica including the South Georgia species :)

    with love, artie
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph Przybyla View Post
    Both are lovely. The laying down chick has the look of a studio shot with a white background, reading your comments you wrote that you process for less detail in the snow. The standing chick has much more detail in the show and the blue tint adds a coolness factor which I think suits the image. I think you must be thrilled with your images and the experience. Thank you for sharing, Artie.
    Beyond thrilled with my blessings :)

    with love, artie
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex Becker View Post
    Both are really cute. I think I also prefer the laying down shot for the reasons mentioned above. But the color tones and and subtle background transition in the standing one are super nice. I'd love to have either. Seeing the feet in the second is a nice bonus too. Looking forward to seeing more from the trip. I'd love to get down there some day. TFS
    Thanks Alex, I am not sure when or if they Quark might be running that trip again ...

    YAW. With love, artie
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    Welcome back Artie, I like both images for different reasons. I also am looking forward to Arash's processing to see the difference. I am hoping there is more detail to be had for the penguin lying down. Looking forward to more of your trip.

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    Thanks Ann. See my question on your MAGO post.

    with love, artie
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    Of course Artie. I read what you wrote wrong the first time. I thought you meant that when birds are in the snow you process the birds to have less detail. But clearly that makes not sense. You mean that you do not want to accentuate the details in the snow. Makes the bird stand out more.

    Speaking of Gaussian Blurs do you run into problems with banding when using GB's? The few times I ever tried to use one I found that I had bad banding issues in the background. I did 60-80 pts but was not happy with the results. Perhaps because I did not do it as you say and then lower the opacity of the layer and the strength was just too strong. OK so a different question. What is the advantage of doing 60 pixel and then lowering to 33% of that as opposed to doing just a 1/3 strength 20 pixels GB from the beginning? Thanks in advance for the info.

    Awesome you have seen and photographed all of them. Perhaps a book is in order? Penguins of the world...

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    Attached Images Attached Images
     
    My processing is pretty close to Artie's the image has a ton of detail in the whites but it is hard to show it in a compressed 8 Bit JPEG, you need to look at the RAW on a 30 Bit monitor, if I try to tone down the whites on the face it will show the feathers more but it will not longer look like the real bird
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    Quote Originally Posted by Isaac Grant View Post
    Of course Artie. I read what you wrote wrong the first time. I thought you meant that when birds are in the snow you process the birds to have less detail. But clearly that makes not sense. You mean that you do not want to accentuate the details in the snow. Makes the bird stand out more.

    Speaking of Gaussian Blurs do you run into problems with banding when using GB's? The few times I ever tried to use one I found that I had bad banding issues in the background. I did 60-80 pts but was not happy with the results. Perhaps because I did not do it as you say and then lower the opacity of the layer and the strength was just too strong. OK so a different question. What is the advantage of doing 60 pixel and then lowering to 33% of that as opposed to doing just a 1/3 strength 20 pixels GB from the beginning? Thanks in advance for the info.

    Awesome you have seen and photographed all of them. Perhaps a book is in order? Penguins of the world...
    Sorry for not being more clear. Doing a 60 pixel blur and then painting in th effect in 33% increments allows you to paint in more where you need it. And you raise or lower the opacity as needed. I have never notice any banding problems at all but I only use this technique on BKGRs that are blurred to begin with. The technique is great for smoothing out areas repaired with the Patch Tool or with Content Aware Fill. All as usual plus tons more as detailed in Digital Basics II. Traditional publishing is not a realistic choice today in most cases ...

    with love, artie
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    Hey Artie, glad to hear the trip worked put for you.

    2 lovely shots, which I think we'd all be happy with, but for my personal preference it'd have to be the lying down shot - just a different feel to the regular type of pose, and IMHO all the better for it.

    Very interesting to compare your original next to Arash's RP and I think without being there its very difficult to say which is the more accurate. As it stands on my screen - Arash's frame has a little more detail compared to yours which looks a bit more stark. That said, I did like the OP when I first viewed it - and still do - and it could well be an interesting discussion which I think may well come down a lot to the individual monitors we all view on - and the loss of detail in a compressed jpeg.

    Looking forward to seeing more - another location for the bucket list!

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    Thanks Mike, I agree but am not sure which is best the original or Arash's repost (which looks very BLUE to me). There will be lots more on processing these chicks including using NIK CEO White Neutralizer ... Lots of fine points to figure out.

    with love, artie

    ps: I need a new bucket list spot and species! Any suggestions?
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    Hey Artie it depends on the monitor as I have said many times before. The images processed on a laptop may not look good on calibrated desktop monitors and vice versa. The original looks a bit too bright on my monitor giving it the illusion of lack of details in the whites. Colors will look different too
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    Thanks Arash. That is the world that we live in.

    When I am too old to lift a lens any more I might get a good desktop monitor.

    Are these things any good: Apple27" iMac Pro with Retina 5K Display?

    The computer is inside the disp
    lay.

    with love, artie
    ?
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    Hey Artie if you want the iMac I’d get the standard one the pro is overpriced and it’s not going to make a difference for photo editing. You can also just buy a monitor and hook up your laptop to it. There are better monitors than the ones that come with the iMac
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    These are beautiful Arthur. At first I thought I liked the one standing better but now that I look at them more I think I prefer the one laying down as it is more unique and cute. Details look great and the exposure looks fantastic also as the bird is separated from the white snow well. Well done.
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    Amazing shots... I love the pose. I have seen these in your Blogs as well.

    Thanks for sharing them.
    https://krishnakotti.smugmug.com/

    Arise! Awake! and stop not until the goal is reached.
    -- Swami Vivekananda

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