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Thread: Grey Heron in snowstorm

  1. #1
    BPN Member Ivan Sjogren's Avatar
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    Default Grey Heron in snowstorm

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    My first post to the forums! But I知 actually an old returner. I知 a 22 years old photographer from Sweden and started posting on BPN when I started photographing around the age of 16. Even though my photography then had serious flaws, the tips I got here was very useful in my early development, and I知 very thankful for that. Since then I have always been a serious birdwatcher and spent a lot of time in the field but have not been active on any forums or published my work anywhere as I have prioritized other stuff. Now I知 looking forward to sharing my work and to learn from the expertise here.

    This image seemed fitting with the winter theme. These Grey Herons have become celebrities in the birding world. They are a part of a very special population that chooses to stay in their breeding grounds all year round, one of the northern most locations in the world where Grey Herons choose to do that. This means facing winters that get temperatures down to around -20C. They survive in this urban lake called R蚶tasjn thanks to a small water pump that keeps a very small area of water moving through the winter. They are also fed fish weekly by local people that formed a very special relationship with these birds. I took this image on a day where I chose to head out even though the weather forecast said heavy snowfall. I wanted to portray the conditions in which these birds chose to stay.

    I have cloned a small snowflake by the tip of the beak as I found it disturbing.

    Sorry for the long post!

    Canon 70D, Canon 400mm f/5.6, 1/125s, f/5.6. Processed with Lightroom and Photoshop CC.
    Last edited by Daniel Cadieux; 12-16-2018 at 11:05 AM.

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    Publisher Arthur Morris's Avatar
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    Hi Ivan, Welcome (back)! And thanks a stack for your membership support. Your first post is a spectacular one. I love the low angle. (How do you get so low?) You can handled the WHITEs spectacularly well and the image is sharp. I love the splay head plumes. Ah, and I just noticed, my old, old favorite, the toy lens.

    With love, artie

    ps: you might opt to lose the four large o-o-f flakes that are set against the heron's body.
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    Hi Ivan, welcome back to BPN. In your caption for this image you mentioned that you thought it appropriated for the winter theme this month. If you want to enter it into the monthly contest please ask one of the moderators to put Theme in front of the title of your image. I am not commenting on your image now because I will be judging this months Theme. Thank you for posting.
    Joe Przybyla

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    Macro and Flora Moderator Jonathan Ashton's Avatar
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    Ivan welcome back! I like your image composition, the main problem I have is contrast, the blacks are so dark and the contrast in the eye and bill is very strong. My suggestion would be to take a stride away from "standard" camera settings and "build" the image.

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    Super Moderator Daniel Cadieux's Avatar
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    Welcome back to BPN! Fantastic mood to this image. My type of low angle too. I love the BG and falling snow (except the one closest to the eye). Perfect head angle. Is that snow clinging to the leg directly above the foot?

    P.S. I added the "Theme" prefix to your title
    Last edited by Daniel Cadieux; 12-16-2018 at 11:06 AM.

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    Very beautiful post Ivan, welcome back. Sharp and lovely winter scene. POV makes this frame so special, well done

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    BPN Member Isaac Grant's Avatar
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    Welcome back. Nice winter scene and pose. Bird looks miserable which I think adds a lot to the shot. I agree that the blacks are too dense and would try and lift them a bit to bring out more details. Maybe do a curves adjustment. Also I find the background much too blue and it has a bit of an artificial look to it. I think you can see the real color of the background as evidenced by the white area around the birds foot which I guess was not a perfect selection. I think it is worth going back to the original and addressing those issues as it is a very nice shot with mood and a cold wintery feel.

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    Hi Ivan, my curiosity has led me to ask about what both Dan and Isaac have commented previously: what is the "slice" of white on the base of the leg/foot? I also noticed but would appreciate hearing back from you. It doesn't appear to be snow as it is unlike all the other snow colors... Is it indeed an artifact of your "selection" and was that the true color of your BG? Thanks

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    Killer frame. This screams winter. Love the big heavy snow flakes here.

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    Publisher Arthur Morris's Avatar
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    ps: the BLACKs look perfectly fine to my eye.
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  11. #11
    BPN Member Ivan Sjogren's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Cadieux View Post
    Welcome back to BPN! Fantastic mood to this image. My type of low angle too. I love the BG and falling snow (except the one closest to the eye). Perfect head angle. Is that snow clinging to the leg directly above the foot?

    P.S. I added the "Theme" prefix to your title
    Thank you so much for the feedback Daniel! Regarding the bright white area above the foot mentioned by you Isaac and Ann it is indeed a result of sloopy work in Photoshop. It is however not a true representation of the background but an effect after some selective work on the leg. The BG is more on the spectrum of beeing underexposed than overexposed and brighter in the original. Thank you again for pointing it out and also for adding the post to the theme!

  12. #12
    BPN Member Ivan Sjogren's Avatar
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    Thank you all for the feedback, this is the reason I came back here!

    I very much appreciate the comments raised by many of you about the flaws in editing in the first post. I definitely agree that the bill and the background has been to heavily handled by saturation and contrast as pointed out by Jonathan and Isaac. I have made a new version based on the suggestions. The conditions under which the image was taken was very heavy snowfall so the visibility was limited through the snow. Therefore I have had to go quite heavy on the contrast to bring up a clear image. I think that is the source of the problem. There seems to be some disagreement regarding the blacks, personally I don't find them too dark but I have tried to bring out some more detail here just to make an alternative version. I have cleaned up the bill and added much less contrast and saturation around that area. The BG is kept more to the original, but as I said in my previous reply the white artifact by the foot is not a true representation of the snow. The blue area in the background is made up by a tree and shadowed the ice below which made it darker than the snowy area on the left. One thing I did not mention in the first post is that the bird is standing under a streetlight which made the bird look warmer than the BG, maybe that is a reason for a unnatural feel to the light? I have tried to reduce that feeling in the new version and went for a colder look which is hopefully also more natural.

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    Avian Moderator Stu Bowie's Avatar
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    Hi Ivan, welcome back and what a great image for the theme. Lovely pose and HA ( head angle ) sharp, showing up the feather detail nicely. I do like your repost with the toned down blues in the BG.

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    BPN Member Isaac Grant's Avatar
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    Repost is an improvement for sure. The blacks are better and the toned down blue as well. I still think the background and the bird are too blue. When you do not have direct warm light hitting the sensor, the images are often too blue. This happens often in the shadows and other areas. In this case I think the blue is more of a sensor caused issue by too much cool (no warm reds and yellows in the light) light as opposed to it really looked like this bird was in blue snow. Just as an example here is a quick repost. I reduced the blue channel in HUE/SATURATION by 100%. Then went into the NIK software and went into remove color cast and slid it over to color 325 and reduced opacity to 75%. Still has a bit of the blue feel to it but to my eyes it has a more realistic look now. I would say that the blue background certainly gives a more dramatic look but note how the blue hasis also now gone from much of the plumage as well where it does not belong.

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    Publisher Arthur Morris's Avatar
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    Ivan, What was the ISO? Were you on a tripod. Nice neutral repost Isaac.

    with love, artie
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  16. #16
    BPN Member Ivan Sjogren's Avatar
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    Hello Artie and thanks for your comments! I was not on a tripod, but were laying on ice on the opposite edge of the area of water from the Heron. Noticed that I missed to include the ISO in the original post, it was 800.

    Thank you for the repost Isaac, I see the strengths in your version and will try to go back to the original again.

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    Publisher Arthur Morris's Avatar
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    Thanks Ivan. That is what I guessed both :)

    a
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  18. #18
    BPN Member Jim Crosswell's Avatar
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    Beautiful image Ivan! I like the repost by Isaac. Great low angle, setting, IQ and composition.

  19. #19
    Super Moderator Daniel Cadieux's Avatar
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    Personally I really like the blues in the OP and version in pane #12. I like Isaac's too and understand the neutrality behind it, but something somewhere halfway between the two may incorporate the best of both worlds.

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