2013 Project 365

Project 365/228 – Sometimes Walk Away

1/2500 sec at f/7.1, ISO 3200

1/2500 sec at f/7.1, ISO 3200

Last night’s webinair was a lot of fun, and all it did was motivate me even more to get out there and keep photographing birds. This afternoon, I stalked my front yard for a bit. Although the hummingbird and gold finch were more concerned about what I was up to and sat high up in the trees watching me.

1/2500 sec at f/7.1, ISO 2000

1/2500 sec at f/7.1, ISO 2000

I waited and waited and they stayed high and out of reach. Even Sunshine joined in for the wait.

1/640 at f/7.1, ISO 500

1/640 at f/7.1, ISO 500

In reading another blog post from a professional wildlife and bird photographer, he talked about one starting to understand the behavior of the subject. I knew that if I waited long enough, the goldfinch would drop down onto the Echinacea (purple coneflower) and enjoy the seeds that are becoming perfect for dining.

Having the camera set up in the spot I wanted to capture them from, I knew it was time to walk away. it was time to let the birds return to their dining without them worrying about me standing right near their flowers.

So walk away I did. Nearly immediately the birds dropped down and began eating.

1/800 sec at f/6.3, ISO 1250

1/800 sec at f/6.3, ISO 1250

And then the picture perfect moment happened. It’s as if the goldfinch knew exactly what I was hoping for.

1/800 sec at f/6.3, ISO 1250

1/800 sec at f/6.3, ISO 1250

1/800 sec at f/6.3, ISO 1250

1/800 sec at f/6.3, ISO 1250

These are the photography moments that I live for. A true ‘gallery shot.’

For those photographers out there, here are some of my secrets.

I shoot exclusively in RAW format. The quality of the images are superior from jpeg files, there is no comparison.

I use Lightroom version 5.0 for the majority of my photo editing. My process includes:

  • Significant cropping of bird images
  • Noise reduction
  • Autotone is tried. About half the time, the auto feature does some crazy stuff. So I remove the Autotone selection and then
  • Add Medium Contrast
  • A light vignette is added
  • The new radial filter is sometimes used to bring out the bird
  • Vibrance is added
  • Color adjustments are sometimes added under the HSL option. Both Luminance and Saturation

Truly, practice can make perfect. Keep shooting, and know sometimes it’s a good idea to walk away.

25 replies »

  1. You truly are the bird whisperer, I swear they pose for you. What you’re saying about waiting for the moment is similar with toddlers. You need to just have patience and wait, eventually they stop trying to avoid you and get to doing cute things and you best be ready when that happens.

  2. Well, you’ve upped the bar on me again with the hummer!

    But, I may have a surprise or two for you in my next post. πŸ˜‰

    I appreciate the details of what you typically do with your photos. I may have to switch to RAW for a day or two and see if my computer can handle it. I don’t think that it will, but I could be wrong. I should also try the noise reduction, maybe one of these days I’ll get around to it. I’ve been too busy training a few birds as models this week to have much time to play.

  3. Wonderful shots, Bella. I really like the lighting in the first shot and the final one is simply stunning. Thanks too for sharing your tips on how you process your images, though your best piece of advice is to have patience.

      • Wow that sounds like it will a lot of fun. Unfortunately my schedule won’t permit me to do it this time around. I love Scott Kelby!! He is a walking photography encyclopedia.

        I would love to shadow him one day and learn all I can about photography!!

  4. Speaking of external hard drives I have three 2TB ones running now, plus built in computer drive and just bought another external one this week. Yikes!
    Those birds look super Emily!

  5. Love the background info, Emily! Really like the DOF on all of them, especially the one of the bird perched atop the coneflower.

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