Michael Nath  

Heron & Egret by Michael Nath

July 2021 - Heron & Egret

About the Image(s)

The technical data is the shutter speed was 1/400 s, F11, ISO = 400 with a 150mm - 600mm lens at 600 mm. Processing was in Photoshop first using NIK Vivenza to enhance exposure and color followed by Topaz AI-Clear to remove artifacts and sharpen the entire image slightly. Adobe unsharp mask was applied followed by applying a layer mask to reveal just the sharpening on the blue heron to push the heron forward visually.

Unfortunately I lost some of the detail in the egret due to a slight overexposure of the highly reflective white feathers.

10 comments posted

Mark Bargen   Mark Bargen
Very nice image, showcasing two different kinds of birds in the same shot. Are you *certain* that the egret detail is unrecoverable? Looks like theres quite a bit there ... perhaps fiddling locally with texture and/or clarity? I think the image justies the effort, if you're so inclined.

I think it was a good strategy to sharpen the heron; it does "pull" the heron forward. If I may make a suggestion, though: in the real-world, if you got the bird sharp, then you'd expect the rocks and grasses a mere foot further away to by fairly sharp, too.

So I'd suggest, maybe, that you try painting in, with a soft brush, very low opacity and flow, a little sharpening applied to the area in back of the heron. Very light sharpening, though, not as much as for the heron.

I think of this as "dodging and burning" with sharpness instead of luminosity. (I also find that "burning" a warmer color temperature and "dodging" a cooler temperature, if done subtly, helps to great dimensionality.)   Posted: 07/04/2021 20:51:32
Michael Nath   Michael Nath
Thanks Mark, I am definitely going to have to give your suggestions a try.   Posted: 07/05/2021 12:10:44

Darcy Quimby   Darcy Quimby
I like how the heron stands out in the picture and the softness of the egret. Great composition   Posted: 07/05/2021 01:05:40
Michael Nath   Michael Nath
Thanks Darcy, I appreciate it.   Posted: 07/05/2021 12:11:17

Paul Smith   Paul Smith
You have certainly highlighted the heron, but perhaps at the expense of the remaining background. I cannot speak to the PP capabilities that Mark mentions, but I agree with his comments. You, Mr Nath, routinely go the extra mile to pull details from your images. I like that. I am learning from both you and Mark. Thank you!   Posted: 07/08/2021 09:52:36
Michael Nath   Michael Nath
Thank you Paul, I appreciate it and I'm glad you are learning. The depth of field of this image is extremely shallow due to 2 factors. The first is that I used a 600mm setting on the zoom lens which compresses the apparent depth of field which is typical of long lenses. The second factor is that the image is heavily cropped (I used maybe 15 percent of the original image). What saved the heron is that I use a Nikon D810 high resolution camera and focused on the heron's beak. If you look at the expanded view of the image, the actual depth of field only extends to the first dark wet rock behind the heron to maybe a few inches in front of the heron's legs. Even at F11, depth of field is almost non-existent at 600 mm unless you are focused at infinity.   Posted: 07/08/2021 11:24:47
Paul Smith   Paul Smith
Again, thanks for your explanation   Posted: 07/08/2021 16:05:28

Jerry Paskowitz   Jerry Paskowitz
Michael, This is a nice image. To my eye, I found that the egret (white bird) is not quite in focus and as such I found it to be a distraction from the terrific image of the heron. I'm not sure how many images you captured, but I might have changed my vantage to focus (sorry for the pun) solely on the heron. Of course, it's all very subjective and personal.   Posted: 07/09/2021 09:25:28
Michael Nath   Michael Nath
The egret is definitely out of focus and I agree is does distract. My focus was on the heron and not on the other birds present. I also enjoy puns, the more elusive the better!   Posted: 07/09/2021 10:40:45

Ed O’Rourke   Ed O’Rourke
The composition works well for me and I like the contrast created by the color difference between the heron and egret. I also like the way you caught both birds looking in the same direction. I think the background colors work well to highlight the birds. Overall the lighting looks good to me except that the egret seems a bit over exposed. I like the photo.   Posted: 07/14/2021 13:51:18


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