Richard Matheny  

Goldfinch by Richard Matheny

May 2020 - Goldfinch

May 2020 - Richard Matheny


About the Image(s)

I thought I would use one of my images form my Quarantine time in my backyard. I am doing my best to convince myself that I am on a great photography adventure in some exotic location. In reality I am still spending a lot of time on the patio out back with a good book, coffee and a camera. I have set up my yard with several perching spots amongst the feeders that hopefully a bird will find attractive enough to want to land on long enough for a picture or two. This guy came by one time and only once. It’s an American Goldfinch which we only see during migration. You will notice he is about halfway molted into his summer coat. That made him a little more interesting that usual I thought.

This morning I was using the Nikon D800 with a Nikon 200-500 lens on a Feisol Tripod. Shooting in Manual at 1/800 of a sec and F8. My ISO was 320 and lens out to 440mm. Using Lightroom I processed the image with the basic adjustment with the Highlights, shadows, white sliders. I also used the brush tool with sharpening and clarity a bit on the Finch. The Finch was facing the morning sun but I still used the brush to add just a little brightness the limb and the front of the Finch to help pull the viewers eye to the bird. I also increased the Viberance a bit to get a little pop to the overall image.

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

Larry Treadwell   Larry Treadwell
It would appear that your stalking skills are working quite well and that you are getting accustomed to your exotic surroundings. I hope the service staff is keeping you supplied with cold drinks and snacks. If it necessary to wear mosquito repellent in the evenings? Does the service staff refill the feeders as they are emptied?

It would appear that your choice of gear worked out. I also like the light striking the subject. The selection of both the feeder location and the camera setting allowed for the creation of a suitably blurred background that helps to set off the subject. I like the positioning of the birds in the frame. You also did well to have a catch light in the bird's eye.

My only suggestions may or may not be necessary--your choice, since you are the maker of the image. You have a lot of time at your disposal so why not play around.
I would try using an adjustment brush to bring down the highlights on the branch since they appear almost white. Also since the bird is so bright ( a good thing) maybe selectively bringing down the brighter areas of the background would add even more pop to the birds.

You have a really nice photo of a visitor. Good job.

  Posted: 05/06/2020 11:24:30
Richard Matheny   Richard Matheny
I am always open to constructive criticism so I thought I would play with the image for this month using everyone's thought about the bright areas of the photo. I had muted and darkened the background some as well. I will say that I highlighted that area of the limb and the front of the Goldfinch to give reference to the light source of the image. I must also say that by darkening the background and the limb it really made the Goldfinch stand out. Do I like it better. I am not sure. I don't think it hurt the image so it must boil down to the Artist choice. Thanks Guys. For the input.   Posted: 05/09/2020 17:33:51
Comment Image
Larry Treadwell   Larry Treadwell
Great to see you are up to trying new ideas.

I think the fix for the branch worked out pretty well.
I also agree that making the background darker did make the bird pop out a bit more.
Perhaps now that you have taken the highlights out of the background maybe it could be brightened just a tad. not quite to the point it was but a bit lighter than it is now.

This sort of thing is all about degrees, sometimes just a little bit makes a big difference.

Great job so far. :-)
I do like the way you are experimenting and incrementally improving your images each month. You really are making progress.   Posted: 05/09/2020 17:55:29

Michael Weatherford   Michael Weatherford
Yep, this quarantine is really hard on us old retired folks. At least you are not shooting lizards (like I am). Actually, being a bird watcher, I find the fact that the goldfinch is in transition to breeding plumage to be very interesting. Good focus on the eye, and at eye-level. Nice lighting. Nice bokeh. Generally, I would work those Lightroom sliders a little more - lighten the shadows, set the white point, reduce the contrast a little, increase clarity and use the adjustment brush to darken and de-saturate the background just a little bit, then use the Details mask to sharpen the bird a little. The image is fine as-is, just throwing out some things I would try, between cups of coffee :).   Posted: 05/06/2020 18:29:28

Todd Grivetti   Todd Grivetti
Way to use your time Richard. Your version is a good choice with the crop. It enhances the bird very well. The colors are nicely blended. Darkening the background would bring the colors our more and allow the bird to stand out a bit.

As Larry mentioned, the highlights on the branch really do whitewash the wood. It almost makes the branch look fake, compared to the original. Bringing those down and maybe increasing the contrast a bit would balance that out. Might have to play around with it.

It is definitely spring time with all the birds out an about. Very nice capture.   Posted: 05/09/2020 13:37:32

Mark Winter   Mark Winter

We get these in our backyard, but since I work, I don't get as much time to sit out to capture them :-). I really like the image and was going to suggest bringing down the branch, which as I read comments, other suggested and you have a new image. I like the new one and would consider bringing down the one brighter spot on the branch, almost at the left edge.   Posted: 05/13/2020 16:25:37

Jason Stewart   Jason Stewart
Goldfinch are one of my favorites. Gorgeous bird. I like the image with the highlights adjusted on the branch.   Posted: 05/29/2020 18:54:50