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Thread: Taking the bait!

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    Default Taking the bait!

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    One of the most sought after species visiting the location in central Spain was the Black-winged Kite (Elanus caeruleus), sometimes also referred to as the Black shouldered Kite. It is a smallish bird of prey typically found in open grasslands as in this part of Spain, with the range being quite limited in Europe to the Mediterranean countries.

    It is a good looking bird with its white, grey and black colouring and those striking orange irises. This one had been tempted in with a mouse which was quickly dispatched and eaten. The warm, early morning light belies the fact that it was actually around -8C - you can see the frost on the perch.

    I took this shot with the Sony A9II and FE200-600 at 481mm. Shutter speed 1/2500 at f/6.3, ISO 1000.

    In Lightroom, starting from Adobe Standard profile, I ran Enhance and beefed up the colour of the background a little with the colour picker. In PS it was a simple matter of resizing and sharpening for output.

    As always, your comments and suggestions are appreciated.

    Gerald






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    Looks pretty much perfect. I wouldn't change a thing!
    What's that underneath the bill? Almost looks like a second miniature bill :)
    Looks like a sweet spot for hide photography. You've nailed this one. Congrats. TFS.

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    Wildlife Moderator Steve Kaluski's Avatar
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    Hi Gerald, I much prefer this to the previous posting, but for me, both look darkish in appearance and there is this 'sootiness' in the subject which adds a heaviness to the image, just look at the shadows in the perch, did you add Contrast, Clarity etc? I'm not sure that frost normally carries a greyish appearance, however....

    Personally I might have gone to ISO2000 which would have given you more SS to nail the subject, not that you haven't here, just gives more certainty???? Surprised you ran any Enhance at ISO1000, you shouldn't need it, however it's your call. Again, you were there, but the *BKG colour just looks a bit drab and perhaps a little more artistic licence it could go richer in appearance helping to push the subject out. Likewise there is more you can do with the subject and also tease out the finer detail there.

    *Using the Pick Col & Colour balance offers more choices with a layer mask.

    These have huge potential Gerald, but there is something.... did you drop the Exp ie darken the whole frame???

    TFS
    Steve
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    Thanks Sid,

    Underneath the bill is a shadow of the bill itself, I think.


    Thanks Steve,

    I think I dropped the Exp on the background a little. I'm not sure exactly what you mean by "sootiness" but will try another frame and see how that goes.

    Many thanks for your input.

    Gerald

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    I think I dropped the Exp on the background a little. I'm not sure exactly what you mean by "sootiness"
    Look at it without dropping the Exp.

    This comparison my explain my thoughts and suggested/possible direction as an alternative spin? BTW the bill shadow I did remove, but it should stay.
    Post Production: Itís ALL about what you do with the tools and not, which brand of tool you use.

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    Wildlife Moderator Steve Kaluski's Avatar
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    Gerald, if you take both and open in Ps under Arrange, you can compare very easily.
    Post Production: Itís ALL about what you do with the tools and not, which brand of tool you use.

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    Wow. I didn't think this image could get any better. But loving Steve's RP.

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    BPN Member Jack Backs's Avatar
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    Beautiful image. Just stunning. I am going presume the word "tempted" means baited and the perch staged...which I have no problem with, but it's a little ambiguous.

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    Gerald, Stunning capture and I liked Steve's repost. I like that he removed the shadow of the beak and am fine with that (even though he is not) :-)

    Steve, when you wrote " just look at the shadows in the perch" were you referring to the darker tones? I do not see any shadows at all on the perch as it seems to be lit perfectly.

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    ps: The Sony 200-600 is an incredible inexpensive lens. It is great with the a9 but is greatly improved with an a-1.

    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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    Steve, when you wrote " just look at the shadows in the perch" were you referring to the darker tones? I do not see any shadows at all on the perch as it seems to be lit perfectly.
    OK Artie, I just felt that because to my eye the image was carrying 'perhaps' more blackness overall, the perch looked heavy in the shadows/darks. The shadow areas are not blocked, however if the whole image, including the branch had more of a 'lighter' feel/touch, hopefully indicated in my RP, then more detail would be exposed and yes we are 'Nickel & Dimming' to a degree at this size.

    I know we have this 'old chestnut debate' and you like your Blacks, fine, but all I'm saying/suggesting is that you can have blacks in an image, but it's do it with a light hand, and retaining as much detail as possible is key and avoid making it via Global adjustments.

    IMHO Detail is in your Mid Tones, clog these and you loose detail, the image then becomes over sharpened to retain the lost detail, its that 'washing machine' cycle.
    Post Production: Itís ALL about what you do with the tools and not, which brand of tool you use.

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    Hi Gerald a real killer shot ... love the open wings , the warm light . Wish the mouse was more of a natural brown fur color ... looks more like a domestic mouse from the labs .

    Would agree with Steve about the overall tone and color , think his RP has nailed it on that front ... !!!!!

    TFS Andreas

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    A sweet frame made sweeter in the repost! Love the direct eye contact and pose in both instances. Bravo.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Backs View Post
    Beautiful image. Just stunning. I am going presume the word "tempted" means baited and the perch staged...which I have no problem with, but it's a little ambiguous.
    Hello Jack, sorry if I wasn't entirely clear! Yes, he was baited in with a live bait - onto a setup perch. We were shooting from a hide from behind a glass front.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Andreas Liedmann View Post
    Hi Gerald a real killer shot ... love the open wings , the warm light . Wish the mouse was more of a natural brown fur color ... looks more like a domestic mouse from the labs .

    Would agree with Steve about the overall tone and color , think his RP has nailed it on that front ... !!!!!

    TFS Andreas
    Thanks Andreas! It really is a very photogenic bird - but aren't they all!

    You prompted me to research the "mouse" and I now think in fact it is a small Black Rat (Rattus rattus). It seems that their numbers are growing in Spain and they are becoming something of a problem! More Black-winged Kites required!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Kaluski View Post
    Look at it without dropping the Exp.

    This comparison my explain my thoughts and suggested/possible direction as an alternative spin? BTW the bill shadow I did remove, but it should stay.

    Steve, many thanks for taking the time to repost. It is always very helpful to have your different perspective and suggestions!

    Much appreciated! Gerald

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    this is an amazing shot (from someone who has photographed kites quite a bit). doens't need any changes, when a you have the best sirloin you don't need slat and pepper to make it taste good. love the open wing, BG, perch , light with no shadows and the perch!

    TFS
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