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Thread: Loon summering at Charleston Lake, Ontario

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    Default Loon summering at Charleston Lake, Ontario

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    Greetings all, this is my first post to the group and I'm looking forward to your feedback.

    We don't have many Loons where I live in Northern Virginia, so I was looking forward to photographing some when we took a week in Charleston Lake. They were fairly elusive and stuck to the open water up until the last day when a trio drifted outside our dock. I quietly puttered towards them in the pontoon boat and got down as low as I could while I snapped away. The shot was made challenging as the Loon was swimming to the left, while the boat drifted to the right. Still, they were all very obliging until they had enough of me and calmly swam back to the big water, and I went back for some coffee.

    This shot was taken with my Canon R7 and Sigma 150-600C, manual exposure with evaluative metering at 1/400", f/6.3, ISO 1000, FL 600mm and -2/3 EV exposure compensation. Photo is about a 50% crop, and edited on Darktable, with selective color enhancements, highlight reductions along the breast and some noise reduction within the program.

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    Hi Dave, and welcome to BPN. You can post much larger, 1920 pixels on the long side and less than 600KB. The image is sharp with a good head angle and the image is nicely designed. And the exposure looks pretty good.

    You actually got a bit too low as the shoreline intersects with the loon's head. And the uneven lighting -- there is sun on part of the background, is very distracting.

    Is Charleston Lake in VA?

    with love, artie
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    Hi Dave and another warm welcome.

    Interesting, you are the first person to post using Darktable as the Raw converter, any particular reason ? I suggest if it suits your PP skills then couple it with Photoshop, as you cannot do everything within DT and PS is so good for the more refined adjustments.

    I'm guessing -0.67 is because of the white on the chest, but overall I find it rather dark and a lot of the shadows are heavily clipped (no detail) ie under the log in the background stemming from the original capture. You need to review the Histogram to avoid this, checkout Artie's ETTR (expose to the right), by getting a 'perfect' exposure you will spend less time on PP and your images will be better. Personally I would have upped the ISO to give yourself more SS as both of you were moving. Based on your posting, a little more on the Temperature (going right ie +3) and a little to the left (going a fraction green -4) with a few additional tweaks on the Exposure and reducing the heavy blue, the overall colour and clarity becomes more clearer, albeit running a small amount of NR does also help too, but at ISO 1000 the image should not need it if exposed correctly.

    TFS
    Steve
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    Thanks Artie. I hadn't considered the shoreline placement... thanks for pointing that out. Charleston Lake is in the Thousand Islands area in Southern Ontario. My family has a cottage on an island there and we usually get there around once or twice in the summer. It has excellent fishing, and of course lots of wildlife, macro and landscape photo opportunities.

    Dave G.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Kaluski View Post
    Hi Dave and another warm welcome.

    Interesting, you are the first person to post using Darktable as the Raw converter, any particular reason ? I suggest if it suits your PP skills then couple it with Photoshop, as you cannot do everything within DT and PS is so good for the more refined adjustments.
    Hi Steve, and thank you. I use Darktable as well as other software. Sometimes one works for me better than another. DT has some very useful masking features and some pretty refined tone and color controls that I can push hard without creating artifacts, particularly with highlights and shadows. It also has a unique sharpening module that offers much more control than the traditional unsharp mask. Plus it's free... ;-)

    I'm guessing -0.67 is because of the white on the chest, but overall I find it rather dark and a lot of the shadows are heavily clipped (no detail) ie under the log in the background stemming from the original capture. You need to review the Histogram to avoid this, checkout Artie's ETTR (expose to the right), by getting a 'perfect' exposure you will spend less time on PP and your images will be better. Personally I would have upped the ISO to give yourself more SS as both of you were moving. Based on your posting, a little more on the Temperature (going right ie +3) and a little to the left (going a fraction green -4) with a few additional tweaks on the Exposure and reducing the heavy blue, the overall colour and clarity becomes more clearer, albeit running a small amount of NR does also help too, but at ISO 1000 the image should not need it if exposed correctly.

    TFS
    Steve
    Yes, that's exactly right. In fact, I had clipped the green channel on part of the chest so I was hard-stop against the right and I didn't see any way to expose the shadows any further.. I'm not sure I could translate your advice on temperature and green, but I tried again with more exposure and a warmer temperature, as well as removing the blue color cast. I think its an improvement but I'm still not happy with the greens, which I think are unnatural.

    Thanks for the advice!

    Dave G.Name:  619A8922_04.jpg
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    Hi Dave,

    I'm also finding myself as a 'newbie' as I have been away from the forum for a few years - so look forward to a steep and rewarding learning.

    The exposure looks better on the repost - the bird looks much better. I find the log in the background a little imposing, but the image design works for me.

    Green water looks fine with me!

    Thanks for sharing,

    Gerald

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    Hi Dave, I have dabbled on and off with DT, plus a more complex Raw converter, but just keep coming back to Lr because of the seamless transition between Lr & PS, but you do make some valid points re DT. However, for me, knowing what Lr/ACR hides in the background I can make allowances for what Adobe does.

    Obviously I can only make assumptions based on what is presented, plus the old 'chestnut' - monitor screens and how it's set up and the surrounding light that folk work in. I view things in the 'Bat cave' where it's almost pitch black, only the light from the two monitor screens is seen and both have hoods on.

    My comments are always based on applying the suggestions to the image, so I know it works, rather than looking at the image and suggesting.

    Based on the OP, this is where I was going/thinking, not being there I can't really tell on saturation etc, and trying to correct a file that has your own thinking is hard, compared to the Raw. I just think that the exposure not being ideal, you have inherited a lot of issues, but let's try and turn the negatives where possible into positives. BTW were you shooting at 15fps with Eye detection and Subject tracking all on?

    Cheers
    Steve
    Post Production: Itís ALL about what you do with the tools and not, which brand of tool you use.

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    @Gerald - thank you. I would have preferred a different background, but this fellow wouldn't oblige, I learned its not so easy to pilot a pontoon boat along rocky shores while lying belly down on the deck.


    @Steve - I've tried out a few programs and settled on DT because of its refined features and scene-referred workflow, but I'll hop over to ON1 if my photo has a lot of noise. I'm learning how to get similar results with either program, but personally I'm uncomfortable with the commercial programs relying on AI. I'm ok with "utilities" like denoise, sharpening and cataloging, but I don't want the program making creative edits for me, which is another reason why I like DT. I start with a flat, neutral image and build the photo to the way I want it.

    But I like the suggestions and edits. I'm still having issues with the greens - and in general I have difficulties getting greens to the way I like them - and I think they clash with the tone of the bird. But that's the scene... How does this group feel about color grading? I know that changing those greens to a more autumn hue would disqualify an image from most competitions, but for personal use?

    I shot this image using electronic shutter at 15 fps. The R7 has some odd quirks in each of the shutter modes, which are often made worse a high frame rates, plus I really don't need to cull so many shots of a slow moving subject.

    Cheers!

    Dave G.

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    Hey Dave, I am curious about the exposure. If you have access to a large file sending service, shoot me the RAW file.

    Here: samandmayasgrandpa@att.net

    with love, a
    BIRDS AS ART Blog: great info and lessons, lots of images with our legendary BAA educational Captions; we will not sell you junk. 30+ years of long lens experience/e-mail with gear questions.

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    Artie - I just sent you a link through my Dropbox account. I'd be interested in what you find.

    Dave G.

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    Default RawDugger Screen Capture

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    The RawDigger screen capture shows that the raw file is very slightly over-exposed. With only 458 OvExp pixels, all in the Green channel (see the tiny bit of pink OVEXP warning on the white of the breast) the OvExp is insignificant considering the 34.4 million pixels you get with the R7.

    Whatever you think that you know about exposure, learning to use RawDigger will open your eyes. As it did mine.

    Learn more or purchase my guide here.

    with love, artie
    Last edited by Arthur Morris; 09-24-2023 at 05:55 PM.
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    Default My Two Cents

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    David, Thanks again for sending the raw file. I had no problem with the technically OvExp whites on the breast. My pano version with lots of cleanup, especially on the butt ugly BKGR.

    WDYT?

    with love, artie
    BIRDS AS ART Blog: great info and lessons, lots of images with our legendary BAA educational Captions; we will not sell you junk. 30+ years of long lens experience/e-mail with gear questions.

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    ps: I bit higher would have been a bit better as mentioned in my first comment.

    with love, a
    BIRDS AS ART Blog: great info and lessons, lots of images with our legendary BAA educational Captions; we will not sell you junk. 30+ years of long lens experience/e-mail with gear questions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Goldberg View Post
    Greetings all, this is my first post to the group and I'm looking forward to your feedback.

    We don't have many Loons where I live in Northern Virginia, so I was looking forward to photographing some when we took a week in Charleston Lake. They were fairly elusive and stuck to the open water up until the last day when a trio drifted outside our dock. I quietly puttered towards them in the pontoon boat and got down as low as I could while I snapped away. The shot was made challenging as the Loon was swimming to the left, while the boat drifted to the right. Still, they were all very obliging until they had enough of me and calmly swam back to the big water, and I went back for some coffee.

    This shot was taken with my Canon R7 and Sigma 150-600C, manual exposure with evaluative metering at 1/400", f/6.3, ISO 1000, FL 600mm and -2/3 EV exposure compensation. Photo is about a 50% crop, and edited on Darktable, with selective color enhancements, highlight reductions along the breast and some noise reduction within the program.
    Just for the record books, there is never Exposure Compensation when. you are in Manual Mode. What did you mean?

    with love, a
    Last edited by Arthur Morris; 09-25-2023 at 06:55 AM.
    BIRDS AS ART Blog: great info and lessons, lots of images with our legendary BAA educational Captions; we will not sell you junk. 30+ years of long lens experience/e-mail with gear questions.

    BIRDS AS ART Online Store: we will not sell you junk. 35 years of long lens experience. Please e-mail with gear questions.

    Check out the new SONY e-Guide and videos that I did with Patrick Sparkman here. Ten percent discount for BPN members,

    E-mail me at samandmayasgrandpa@att.net.










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    I'm liking the more open composition on this and the panoramic format.

    Sometimes we try too hard to fill the frame!

    Gerald

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur Morris View Post
    Just for the record books, there is never Exposure Compensation when. you are in Manual Mode. What did you mean?

    with love, a
    Busted. What I should have said that I was in manual mode with auto ISO, with EC set to -2/3. I'm aware of your position on auto ISO, but I find its hard to keep up if I have to manually change shutter speed and ISO at the same time, at least with the layout of the R7.

    And thanks for taking a crack at my raw file. I think your pano version is far better. Not only does it help with the background issues, the wider view provides a greater sense of depth and how the bird was situated in his environment. I also like the sharpening... it's detailed but not harsh. Was this done with Topaz?


    @Gerald - Indeed. One benefit of the pano is that the Loon isn't so "crunchy" due to overcropping.

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    Hey David, nice first post, and great advice and suggestions. The Common Loon is the species that got me interested in birds as a young boy so it's always a pleasure to see an image of one. I do not have much to add as lots has been said already, but I hope you are enjoying your early foray with BPN, and hope to see some more from you!

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    Thanks Daniel. I appreciate the all the comments and advice, and there’s a lot for me to consider for the future!

    Dave G.

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