Steve Sampliner  

Ruddy Turnstone by Steve Sampliner

June 2021 - Ruddy Turnstone

June 2021 - Steve Sampliner


About the Image(s)

Pentax K1 with Pentax 150-450 lens. ISO 400, 360mm, f/6.3. 1/2500, handheld. Shot midday April 23, 2021. Unfortunately, I don't have the early morning hours to go take photos, and at the time this was shot, there was a night ban on movement. The positive of this situation is that I have been forced to adapt how I set up and how I take images under extremely bright high UV circumstances. Arguably not ideal, and at times frustrating, when every bird seems to be white, but quite a fun and interesting challenge. It is also these circumstances that have directly influenced my current photographic experiments. Why fight the situation when I can embrace it?
This image is a group of Ruddy Turnstones. I think you can see the original is slightly underexposed to try to keep the whites from blowing out. Since I have been reading up on minimalism and contrast recently, I thought why not give it go and see what I can do (with my true classic LR4 hahaha). Here is my experiment in color contrast and this is how I did it. First, I set the tone curve to medium contrast and worked from there. Exposure +4, contrast +22, highlights +54, shadows +24, whites +34, blacks -22. In Presence; clarity +32, vibrance +32, saturation +22. Tone curve; highlights +46, lights +14, darks -8, shadows +24. HSL; red saturation +24, luminance - 24, orange hue -7, saturation +45, luminance -22, yellow saturation -92, luminance -36, blue saturation -100, luminance -100. Sharpening +65 and noise reduction luminance +35. Clearly, there are many ways to go with this image so any comments are welcome.

6 comments posted

Sophia Schade   Sophia Schade
  Posted: 06/01/2021 13:04:33

Sophia Schade   Sophia Schade
Hi Steve.: I appreciate how you excepted and embarrassed the situation. I appreciate that you are sharing the details of your processing I'm learning a lot from that. If I can offer one suggestion, it would be that you crop it a little tighter and put a little bit of light in their faces. I would like to see some attention to their eyes. Again thank you for sharing your details on the processing.   Posted: 06/01/2021 13:10:01
Steve Sampliner   Steve Sampliner
Hi Sophia.I see what you are saying about the crop and the faces, but the intention was not to fully focus on the birds so much but to focus on the impact that a high-contrast blown out image creates. If I lighten up their faces, I think that it would become evident and possibly ruin the balance. I took advantage of all the blacks around a turnstone's face to try to create a heavy and strong opposing force against the silvery canvas of the background. The end goal here really wasn't about sharpness, detail and clarity. The goal is to experiment and dive deeper into understanding the extremes of manipulating an image. What I have learned so far with these types of experiments is that the farther I push the boundaries the better I begin to understand the subtle nuances I can apply to a "keeper" image.   Posted: 06/01/2021 23:12:49

Jeffrey Pawlan   Jeffrey Pawlan
I had the same difficulty trying to photograph Grebes walking on water (a male competition in the early Spring). The real problem with your and my photo was that we were too far away from the birds. That means they become blurred from both the cropping and also from the heatwaves in the air above the water.   Posted: 06/01/2021 14:08:28
Steve Sampliner   Steve Sampliner
Hi Jeffery. Yup, totally agree with those problems. The heatwaves have killed many a great photo. This photo actually wasn't one of the keepers from that day out. I took a series of photos of this group just with the intention of keeping a few to experiment with (check out my reply to Sophia). I want to add to my toolkit when it comes to post-processing. I want to maybe change my habits a bit. 8-9 months ago, I realized that approaching post-processing was becoming a habitual series of adjustments, and this was creating a similar series of images. In order to break free from that, I dedicate some of my photos to my experiment bin. These are images where I might experiment with exposure, aperture, ISO, speed and almost always with multiple subjects (how deep and broad is the focal range at Xmm). Maybe not the approach for everyone, but I have found it incredibly enlightening so far.   Posted: 06/01/2021 23:27:38

Richard Matheny   Richard Matheny
(Group 67)
Hello Steve. Rich Matheny from Group 67 here. I usually follow this group every month. I wanted to jump back to last months image of the White-winged Tern. Like you when I run into a rare bird the first thing I do is to make sure I have some images of this bird while he/she is here. I will do my best to get good in camera shots. After that if I have the opportunity I will work on getting some higher quality images. This Tern is a European vagrant and very rare for the states. You are one lucky birder my friend. Congratulations!   Posted: 06/12/2021 20:03:38


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