Piers Blackett  

Heraldic Pose by Piers Blackett

May 2022 - Heraldic Pose

May 2022 - Piers Blackett


About the Image(s)

This was one of a pair of Neotropic Cormorants. They stretch out their wings to dry and cool off, and the pose has been historically used for heraldry. They are smaller than the more common Double-Crested cousins and are rarely seen north of Texas. The photo was taken at 1/2000, f/8.0, 347 mm, ISO 800 in evening light.
In post I made tonal adjustments and denoised, and in Photoshop removed dead branches with the lasso tool and content aware fill (mask added). The water ripples, altered by content aware, were lined up with clone stamp. The water background was masked to adjust by decreasing texture, contrast and brightness. The perch was shorted at the low end to improve position for composition and the water entry simulated with a blur.

9 comments posted

Jim Wulpi   Jim Wulpi
Great job with the editing in Post, Piers.
Since I now winter in SW FL, I regularly see these birds, and their more common cousins that you referenced. It's amazing to watch these birds duck underwater, swim after their selected quarry, and emerge with a fish in their beaks. They then have to toss the fish up in the air and allow gravity to (hopefully) position the fish head-down as they catch it to swallow it whole. Occasionally, the fish is too big for them to swallow whole, and they have to give up and start over.   Posted: 05/02/2022 09:13:33
Piers Blackett   Piers Blackett
Thanks for comment and great description of their feeding style. As you probably know, they are sadly in jeopardy when they fly up to Canada, where the officials have decided to cull in order to protect the fishing industry.   Posted: 05/05/2022 11:58:47

Martin Newland   Martin Newland
My eye goes straight to the bright emerald green eye of the cormorant. The eye is clear and sharp and has a great catch light in it.
Well done.
You have handled the blackness of the feathers well and I like that you have removed the clutter of branches in post production.
I would be tempted to clone a little of the original image into your final image, just where the supporting branch enters the water or have the supporting branch running out of the image.
I think this transition needs to be definite rather than the rather ambiguous treatment you have given it.

  Posted: 05/02/2022 20:26:35
Piers Blackett   Piers Blackett
Thanks, I have worked on the dead branch/water point of entry to the water and added more water with content aware plus cloning,
and darkened for the shadow on the water.
  Posted: 05/05/2022 12:03:32
Comment Image

Shirley Pohlman   Shirley Pohlman
I like your edits that you have done with the water and removal of the other branches. The water is calming and makes me want to watch him take off and dive into it. I do feel that maybe a little more water left at the bottom might have given a more natural look rather than a cropped effect. What a beautiful eye!   Posted: 05/03/2022 14:02:44
Piers Blackett   Piers Blackett
Thanks. I'll confess that I used the animal eye-focus on the R5!
I used content aware and cloning to add some water with some exposure lowering for shadow.   Posted: 05/05/2022 12:06:32
Shirley Pohlman   Shirley Pohlman
Yes, I like your edit!
Is the R5 your camera?   Posted: 05/05/2022 12:11:49
Piers Blackett   Piers Blackett
Yes and the lens was the RF 100-400 at 400. I also use it with a 1.4 extender. I have an EF 100-400L and use it with a 2.0 extender and adapter but it's too heavy to carry around.   Posted: 05/05/2022 14:42:14

Karen Botvin   Karen Botvin
Nice capture, Piers! I love to see these shore birds as they hunt then perch. I think I would prefer to see the stumps behind the bird still in the image. By removing all of them except the one he's perched on leaves me feeling a bit unbalanced. Just my opinion.   Posted: 05/24/2022 14:44:20


Please log in to post a comment