Birds of the Missouri River Valley

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#1
I'll open a thread for pictures with the spirit of the PNW but a long way away. Here is a Great Blue Heron at Lake Manawa near Council Bluffs IA and a Lesser Yellow Legs in Arrowhead Park about 30 miles NE of Omaha. I didn't care for the first Heron picture. I readjusted the RAW photo. Please critique these photos so I can meet the high standards of this forum. Thank You.
 

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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
#2
The photo of the heron looks "soft." Check the ISO reading for that photo. I suspect it was at a higher setting than your camera can process to a satisfactory degree of sharpness.

Experience will teach you the upper ISO limit of your camera. After you learn what that is, taken the usual steps to stay below it by using a slower shutter speed and/or a wider aperture opening.
 

BobH

Administrator
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#3
There could be several reasons it look (just a touch) soft. The focus could indeed be slightly off, maybe on the sticks behind the heron? Could be a tiny bit of motion blur, or it could ISO as Bill suspects.

Can you upload a 100% crop of the head? Crop out like a 1600 x 1200 section and upload just that?

Also, what program are you using? If it's raw, some programs don't add sharpening and you have to do that yourself.
 

Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
#4
One other possibility. If you were shooting with a Canon dSLR, they shoot rather "soft" out of the box. I routinely set mine to the maximum sharpness setting (usually 7) as part of the post-purchase adjustments I make to a new camera.

The photo of the yellowlegs does look sharp, so the sharpness setting may not be the issue of the two photos were taken with the same camera.
 

BobH

Administrator
Staff member
#5
One other possibility. If you were shooting with a Canon dSLR, they shoot rather "soft" out of the box. I routinely set mine to the maximum sharpness setting (usually 7) as part of the post-purchase adjustments I make to a new camera.
Bill, "sharpness" has no effect on a raw file. Sharpness is a post processing, even in camera. The camera bakes it into the jpg, or in the case of raw files, the jpg preview. But the raw file itself has nothing done to it. No sharpening, not white balance, etc. It's truly "raw".

This is why you can open a raw file in two different programs and have it look different. A jpg will look identical or should. A raw file has to be processed by any image program. So if you open it in Lightroom or Photoshop, it will look different than it does in OnOne Photo Raw.

By default, PS/LR does not sharpen the image, they leave that to the photographer. So if you don't sharpen it, it will look a bit soft.
 
#7
Here is one out the window behind my desk at home. No sun today. These stay around the neighborhood most of the year. A couple of years ago I got to hold one as I had to rescue it from a string tangled around his leg. Was hanging upside down and was glad to get away. Still working with the Heron Pictures.
 

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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
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#9
The photo of the cormorant looks identical to one I took from the fishing pier earlier this week. o_O

Good photo of the red-bellied woodpecker. We don't get them out here.
 
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BobH

Administrator
Staff member
#12
Cormorants are tricky since they’re so black. They and bald eagles are both best shot when there’s a light haze. Full sun makes shadows too harsh and blows out the white feathers on an eagles head. Too much cloud cover and everything is flat. But if you can get that “Goldilocks Light” things look really good.
 


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