Image Transformation Questions

BAA Bulletin #425 is On-line

BAA Bulletin #425 is on-line and can be viewed here.

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West Nyack, NY Event: Triple Header

If you live in the NY metropolitan area be sure to see the information on the Triple Header program this Saturday either in BAA Bulletin #425 or here in item 1. We hope to see you there. It’s super-cheap: only $10. And you can pay at the door by check. Or click here to register on-line.

snow-geese-sunrise-fly-in-_w5c0984-bosque-del-apache-nwr-san-antonio-nm

This image above was created from the image below with the Canon 24-105mm f/4L IS EF USM AF Lens (hand held at 35mm) and the Canon EOS 5D Mark III Digital Camera (Body Only) $200 instant savings + 2% Reward [expires 5 JAN] ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1 stop: 1/60 at f/7.1 in Tv mode. Central Sensor Surround/AI Servo/Rear Focus AF on the flock in flight and re-compose. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see the spectacular larger version.

Note that with a distant flock a shutter speed of 1/60 sec. the birds in flight were rendered relatively sharp. I used the technique for low-light shooting that is described in detail in the hugely popular eBook, “A Guide to Pleasing Blurs” by Denise Ippolito and yours truly.

Image Transformation Questions

The image above was the lead image in BAA Bulletin #425. As noted in the caption, it was created in Photoshop from the original capture immediately below.

w5c0984-bosque-del-apache-nwr-san-antonio-nm

This was the original capture from which the optimized image above was created.

The Questions

#1: What did I do in Photoshop? I used at least 5 different major techniques. There are lots of clues. List as many as you can. I will post a response in a new blog post on Sunday.
#2: Do you like the inclusion of the fine tree branches on the left frame-edge? Why or why not?
#3: What would you have done differently? And why?

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12 comments to Image Transformation Questions

  • avatar John Curd

    Personally, I’d have been darn pleased with the original capture and done nothing. Removing the dark clump of, what, weed, in the bottom right corner looks very cleverly done but I now can’t get beyond what I consider to be way over-punched colours.

    The original is great.

  • avatar Sallyanne

    Hi Arthur,
    What a great image, I love it!

    The differences I have spotted:
    1.Removal of birds too close to the edges.
    2.Increase of color saturation/contrast
    3.Straightening of horizon.
    4.Removal of bottom (R) pond weed and replaced with a reversal of nearby water.
    5.Cropping of image on (L).

    What I would have done differently:
    1.Left in the pond weed bottom (R). I believe it helps to balance the image.
    2.Removed the remaining branches of the tree on (L). I feel they are distracting.
    3.Added a tiny bit of canvas to top of image and kept the two birds centre top.

    Thanks again for the great photo and for making me think.

  • avatar Ron

    Hi Art, great image. I think I can figure out three things that you might have done. So for #1:
    1. Cloned out some birds at the top of the image.
    2. Removed some of the vegetation in the water at the bottom right side and in doing so, you seem to have changed the ripple pattern so that there are ripples intersecting from the right and the left.
    3. I think that you toned up some of the reflection in the water, at least that is what it looks like to me.

    #2 Personally, I would have removed the branches on the left – cloned, cropped – whatever. For me, they are a bit of a distraction, but I will agree that it is really a personal choice. It is an element that does not need to be there IMHO.

    #3.Would I have done anything different? Don’t know, as it is hard to say what I would have done with the image if it was mine. Knowing how I process an image, I probably would have toned down the colours in both the sky and the reflections a bit because I tend to like my colours a bit more subdued. I might also have tried to dodge the vegetation a bit to bring out some detail, but that, again, is a personal thing – I like to see some detail in the foreground/midground areas.

  • And yes the reversal makes the ripples go the wrong direction. Ditto to the comment of thanks for making us think

  • avatar Bill

    I think the original shot is good, would not have changed anything. Agree with David,would have left birds in sky. Would have left the Drek,because now the ripples are the wrong way,looks like mirror of just left of Drek was used as fill. Very nice original shot.

  • 1- I like the bottom crop
    2- ” the 3 big birds taken out of the top
    3- ” the left crop
    4- ” replacement of the dark bar on the lower right with the reverse Aptats
    5- ” like the bit of increased contrast Nik Color Efex?

    I missed the horizon leveling

    The fine branches on the left look too heavy on that side for the composition for me so I would remove them.
    I would change the Aptats reversal with some more cloning/aptats to avoid having an exact reversal which looks like a shallow W looking unnatural

  • avatar Julian Mole

    Hi Arthur,

    I can see at least 4 possibly 5 (depending on definitions)

    1) Slight crop from left hand side and bottom of the image, probably when leveling the horizon
    2) Removal of a number of birds from sky (3 from top, 1 far left and others from far right)
    3) Removal of vegetation from bottom right hand corner
    4) Boost to colour saturation (probably with Nik Colour Efex)+ silhouettes made inky black
    5) Slightly stretched the image at the top of the frame

    How’d I do? :-)

    As for the fine branches, on reflection I think they add to the composition as that is where the eye is drawn first, then it can jump to the nearest well defined bird (with out stretched wings) and follow the flight movement to the right, progressing through the flock.

    What would I have done different, …nothing, I probably would have missed the opportunity!

    It is a gorgeous image by the way, thank you for sharing it with us. :-D

  • avatar David policansky

    Thanks, Steve. I forgot to answer Artie’s question about the branches on the left; I like them. They make a nice frame.

  • avatar Richard

    If this shot was posted on BirdPhotographers and your name wasn’t Authur Morris you’d get spanked for including the branches.

    Personaly I like them being there as it gives the whole shot a sense of depth.

  • Dave gave us a good start. Really agree about the drek/chevron.
    Also, straightened the horizon and ever-so-slightly darkened the image and or boosted the contrast – most noticable in the clouds up top and the gold tones in the middle. I like the tree to frame and balance the shot.

  • avatar David Policansky

    Hi, Artie. Wonderful image. I can see three things you did, perhaps you count them as two. 1. Removed some birds from the top of the image. 2. Removed some material–let’s call it drek–from the water near the bottom right using content-aware fill. 3. Boosted the saturation somewhat (or changed the tone curves or similar). Maybe you count the two removals as one. I can’t see anything else but look forward to your or others’ pointing out the other changes. Anyway, I wouldn’t have removed the birds because I like them there. I’m not sure I’d have removed the drek in the water because I might not have thought of it but no question that it improves the image and you’ve done it with great skill. But not quite seamlessly, because now there’s a chevron of ripples where the drek used to be and where all the ripples used to be oriented in the same direction. I might have changed the tone/color in one of various ways, but truthfully I’m not sure it makes much difference TO ME. (Forgive the caps but I do want to emphasize these are my personal tastes and don’t represent criticism.) I would have considered dealing with the drek by cropping it out, but I haven’t tried it and so don’t know what you’d have to lose by doing that.

    Thanks again; I like how you make me at least try to think!