70-200mm IS lens, Animals, Birds, Canon 50D, Nature, Photo Editing, Photography, Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday: Red and Yellow Barbet

Red and Yellow Barbet, Lake Manyara National Park, Tanzania:

ISO 1600 70mm f/11 1/400

Picfair version here.

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Animals, Birds, Canon Powershot ELPH 320 HS, Nature, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

Found In Nature

Signs of Spring, you can find them here if you are looking hard enough.  I’m on the lookout, so I have noticed the increased number of birds that I can see outside my kitchen window in the morning.  This little sparrow really likes the cover of a pile of sticks we are collecting from a recent storm:

ISO 1600 19mm 0ev f/5.6 1/100

ISO 1600 19mm 0ev f/5.6 1/100

I’ll show you the original in a moment but I decided to convert this image to black and white for Cee’s Black and White Photo Challenge: Found in Nature  I used my point and shoot to get this image. This little bird was pretty still, so I was pretty confident the camera would get a decent shot.

I opened the original in Camera Raw and increased the exposure and the clarity.  Then I converted it to black and white.  From there I opened it in Photoshop, cropped and sharpened it a bit.

Here is the original:

ISO 1600 19mm 0ev f/5.6 1/100

ISO 1600 19mm 0ev f/5.6 1/100

One of the reasons I cropped the photo was to make the bird look like it was in a more natural setting.  I also wanted to make him a little more obvious, since he gets lost a bit in the black and white.  What do you think?  Does black and white work here?

Cheers!

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50mm Lens, Animals, Birds, Canon 50D, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography, Picfair

Photo-Editing Challenge: Feathers

Feathers is the theme offered by Sonel’s Photo-Editing Challenge.  This week I am working on a series of images inspired by Photogravure.  I’ve written about how to create this effect here, using a winter scene and a journal page, and here using a photo of a tree.

This time around I used a shot I captured outside my office after a recent snow.  Here is the original photo:

ISO 640 50mm 0ev f/9 1/250

ISO 640 50mm 0ev f/9 1/250

If you are thinking that you have seen this photo before on this blog, you are right.  I wrote about another edited version of it here.  This time around, here is my final photo:

ISO 640 50mm 0ev f/9 1/250

ISO 640 50mm 0ev f/9 1/250

If you have read my other posts you know the basics of how I approached the editing of this photo.  So, like the others it has a blur filter layer, a gradient map layer, and a texture layer.  What I added to this particular one was a final levels layer.  On that layer I brightened the photo and then added a mask to the layer.  Then I inverted the mask, so that the lighten version was not showing.  Then I took a brush, that was soft and had a jitter to it, and I brushed across the mask.  The effect this had was to add bits of light in a organic manner.  So, this ended up being a four layer file in Photoshop.

What do you think of the final version? Feel free to leave a comment below. A version of this photo is available for sale on Picfair.

Cheers!

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Animals, Birds, Canon 50D, Nature, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

Weekly Travel Theme: Birds

Birds. There is a travel theme challenge that I am not going to miss.  One place I love to go and take photographs is World Bird Sanctuary.  Last spring I did a series of ten HDR images that features birds from the sanctuary.  Here is a Tawny Owl:

ISO 400 300mm 0ev f/5.6 1/250

ISO 400 300mm 0ev f/5.6 1/250

When I was creating this image, I was interested in accentuating two things.  The first was that this bird had a bath not long before I took this picture and I loved the fact that not all his feather were dry.  Also, I have photographed this bird many times and usually it looks as if he does not have his eyes all the way open.  In order to accomplish these two things, I zoomed in as close as a could to the owls face, and left my depth of field so shallow that not even all the feather are in focus.

I created this image using Photomatix which is software that can help you create HDR images.  So, in order to create the HDR image I combined three exposures of this same photo which I had captured using the exposure bracketing feature of my camera.  HDR can create a lot of really artistic looking effects but for the purpose of this photo, I was just looking to capture as much detail as possible.

I also created a 5×7 card out of this photo:

This is a 5x7 folded card of a Tawny Owl.

I have written about several other of the birds I created in the series.  They are a Bald Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, Eastern Screech Owl, Long-crested Eagle, Eurasian-Eagle Owl, and a Barn Owl.

What do you think of my very clean owl? Isn’t  it lovely how many shades of brown and gold he has in his feathers?  Your comments are welcome below.

Cheers!

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Animals, Birds, Canon 50D, Nature, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

Travel Theme: What color are your feathers?

The theme this week at Where’s My backpack? is multicolored.  I thought right away of this photo I have of an Eastern Screech Owl:

ISO 400 260mm 0ev f/5.6 1/400

ISO 400 260mm 0ev f/5.6 1/400

It has lovely colors but the interesting thing to me is that this bird can also have more of a grey bark color.  Same bird, but it depends on where it lives when it comes to what coloring it has in its feathers.  I have a link here to some information about the bird, and also a photo of the dramatically different way it can look.

As for this photo, I took it at the World Bird Sanctuary in St. Louis. I added in the link in part because if you are in the area on November 3rd they are hosting a Camera Day.  On that day they will take many of their birds and place them in natural settings.  It is a great day to get photos.  I took the photo above on a camera day this past spring.

Speaking of this photo, it is actually three photos merged into one using HDR. So, I took three exposures, one dark, one light and one in the middle, and merged them together using Photomatix. In Photoshop I did a bit of sharpening and cropping.

This owl is part of a series that I did of birds of prey, they are here for viewing and purchase.  I have blogged about a few of the other photos too; the Long-crested Eagle, Eurasian Eagle-Owl, and the Barn Owl.

So what do you think of this little one? and it is a very small owl!  Feel free to leave comments below.

Cheers!

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Animals, Birds, Canon 50D, Nature, Photo Editing, Photography

My Photo Club Season Starts with a Win

I was extremely pleased to have this image win an honorable mention at my photography club meeting this week:

ISO 400 300mm 0ev f/5.6 1/60

ISO 400 300mm 0ev f/5.6 1/60

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you have seen this photo before.  My blog post about how I took this picture and edited it is here.

This Long-crested Eagle is part of a Birds of Prey series that I created and is available for viewing and purchasing on my website.  Stop by if you have a moment.

Cheers!

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Animals, Birds, Canon 50D, Nature, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography, Picfair

Weekly Photo Challenge: Fleeting

This Spring I was working on a series of bird photos.  I wanted to do birds of prey.  My favorite place to photograph birds is World Bird Sanctuary which is just outside St. Louis Missouri.

If you have never seen a Barn Owl in flight, it is almost silent.  It is almost like you can feel a slight disturbance in the air rather than hear it flying.  Talk about fleeting, it you didn’t know the bird was in the air, you might miss it.  I was at the Sanctuary, and they were flying this owl:

ISO 400 70mm 0ev f/5.6 1/500

ISO 400 70mm 0ev f/5.6 1/500

For all these images in this post I was using a 70-300mm IS lens.  For the photo above and below I was using a fast shutter speed because I really wanted to stop the motion of the bird.  For these images I was not using a tripod.  Here is the owl at rest with a treat:

ISO 400 300mm 0ev f/5.6 1/500

ISO 400 300mm 0ev f/5.6 1/500

Here is the final photo I used for my project:

ISO 400 150mm 0ev f/5.6 1/125

ISO 400 150mm 0ev f/5.6 1/125

This is actually an HDR image.  I merged three photos that were exactly the same, except for their exposure, in Photomatix, which is a software that specifically helps the user create HDR images.  As for the photo itself, because the bird was still, I lowered my shutter speed.  It had been at 1/500th for the other two shots in the post but here it is 1/125.  That is still a pretty fast speed and the reason for that is that I know that if any of the feathers are moving at all, it creates a blurred look in HDR.  For this shot I was also using a tripod.  A lens like the 70-300 IS I was using is fairly heavy, so the tripod was to help with any camera shake I might have introduced by just holding the camera.

I was happy with the way my birds of prey turned out.  The final photo is available in my Picfair portfolio.  One of the other birds in the series was a Eurasian Eagle-Owl that I blogged about here.

This post was written in part as response to the Weekly Photo Challenge hosted by WordPress, this week’s theme is fleeting. I appreciate your thoughts and comments so feel free to leave them below.

Cheers!

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