LC Boros  

Untitled by LC Boros

November 2020 - Untitled

About the Image(s)

Every year we have at least one pair of both Western Scrub Jays and Steller’s Jays nesting on our property. The fledglings will often meet at the birdbaths and the ensuing results then vary. This was shot from my office window which looks out over the north garden when that bath was in full shade.
Yes this is “hand of man” but I wanted to see what I could do with layers to take this image from its original state to something that showed more of the detail of each bird. I worked the image too much and so discarded everything and started again and instead tried to just do a few simple things.
I upped the contrast, saturation and brightness a tiny bit overall as well as dropped the highlights down. Then working with masks I isolated the foreground and jays where I increased the exposure, contrast and brightness a bit more. A second smaller mask used the same nudging for the face and back of the Steller's Jay: the key was to remember these are both young birds and are thus not yet in their adult colors, so keeping the greys true was the goal.
I tested out Topaz but was very unhappy with the output of Mask AI. Thus all work is done in CaptureOne.

Canon EOS 5D MarkIV / Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM
ISO 3200
Shutter 1/1250s
Auto bracketed

Original image sans mask work here:

This round’s discussion is now closed!
6 comments posted

Lisa Auerbach   Lisa Auerbach
This is a fun image and good nature story. I think your work on the birds is a good beginning. I would suggest that you add a separate layer to each bird's head, then raise the levels to lighten the heads. I also suggest you do this to the right bird's raised leg. It is an interesting part of the image and can use a boost so the viewer will see it. I would add a layer to the background then work with the background to lower the glare. I used levels for all of these suggestions. Once you are in levels you can see what you like. Welcome to our group, and I look forward to more images from you.   Posted: 11/11/2020 08:51:08

Sharon Prislipsky   Sharon Prislipsky
I think this is a good capture of an interesting moment in nature. The tack sharp wing and the foot which the bird on the right has raised adds a kind of tension to the story for me. I wonder how this interaction ended - who stayed and who left?
For me the very bright upper background is a distraction and I feel the bird on lthe right, which is the most interesting of the two, has its eye lost in shadow. I would suggest luminosity masking layers to correct this,a nd bet the entire image correctly exposed. Also, I woudl consider a little tighter crop. Try it and see what you think.   Posted: 11/11/2020 11:48:55

Ally Green   Ally Green
Good capture of the interaction of the two birds and like the detail and light in the feathers. I really like the movement and you can feel that the birds are engaging, telling a story. To me the background is too bright and my eye goes directly to it so i would see if i could tone that down to make the birds stand out more. Perhaps to lighten the birds eyes too especially the one on the right, i use the adjustment brush in Lightroom.   Posted: 11/11/2020 15:18:50

Mike Cohen   Mike Cohen
I love the interaction and particularly the behavior of the Stellar Jay. I agree with the comments regarding the background. In your settings you said that you auto bracketed. Do you have a brighter exposure you could use for the birds and blend with a darker for the background? You could try an HDR blend but I'm guessing it would have trouble with this image, but it may be worth a try. I don't use Capture One but it may have an HDR function.

I brought it into Lightroom and found that if I added black to the bird while reducing contrast I was able to bring out a lot more detail. I also added a touch of black to the Stellar's eye and reduced the highlights of the entire image, plus added a slight vignette.   Posted: 11/11/2020 18:39:01
Comment Image

Judith Lesnaw   Judith Lesnaw
WOW! What a showoff. This guy could be a disco dancer. As others have pointed out the background is too bright, and the dancer's head is too dark. Since it already shows hand of man and cannot be entered in nature, you could try substituting the background on top altogether.   Posted: 11/15/2020 13:24:10

Pamela Hoaglund   Pamela Hoaglund
You caught a great action/interaction image of the jays. I agree with what the others have said. I like the editing that Mike did as you can now see the beautiful detail in the Stellar jays. The background is still an issue for me as it is too busy and bright. A difficult shooting situation with all the contrast. I'm sure the background could be dealt with but it would be tedious.   Posted: 11/18/2020 15:32:44