After a pretty good night’s sleep on the Auto Train we pulled into Sanford, FL this morning an hour early. I was way-lucky when my SUV was one of the first off the train. After stops at Publix and Junior’s Fish Market in Lake Wales I arrived at my home in Indian Lake Estates, FL at about noon, just in time for a nap. I am still feeling a bit under the weather but nothing too serious.
This is the optimized image. This drake Long-tailed Duck image was created on the recently concluded Barnegat Jetty IPT with the tripod-mounted Canon EF 800mm f/5.6L IS USM Autofocus lens, the Canon 1.4x EF Extender III (teleconverter), and the Canon EOS-1D X digital SLR . ISO 800. Evaluative metering +1/3 stop: 1/1000 sec. at f/9 in Manual mode.
Central sensor (by necessity)/AI Servo Expand/Rear Focus AF active at the moment of exposure. The AF sensor was on the water below the side of the bird’s breast where the black meets the white; don’t ask me why the eye is sharp…. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.
This is the optimized image.
How Did I Get From A to B?
Dealing with choppy water and fierce winds with gusts up to 50mph made it difficult to avoid getting knocked on your butt on the jetty. Trying to get the AF sensor squarely on the bird with the bird anywhere in the frame was a great challenge. Photographing swimming sea ducks is often difficult on windless days…..
I was happy with the pose and the sharpness of the original image (see below) but the bird was way too high in the frame. In addition, I screwed up the exposure a bit when the sun broke through the gloom just as I pressed the shutter button. I saved the WHITEs in Canon Digital Photo Professional as described in detail in the DPP Conversion Guide that I wrote with Arash Hazeghi. I had to move the Highlights Slider all the way to the left and in addition, I had to lower the exposure. As a result, the white feathers on the wings came out grey rather than white. Lots to do. We will talk more about the image optimization and clean-up process in the follow-up post. On to the question of the day.
This is Image A, the original image.
It is easy to see in the original image immediately above, Image A, that the duck is way too high in the frame. I needed to add a bit of canvas and water above and subtract a bit of canvas below the bird while keeping the whole reflection…..
What to do?
This is Image B, the image after I improved the composition but before I completed the image optimization process. I will share an animated GIF showing all the differences when I reveal the technique that I used.
In the image immediately above, Image B, it is obvious that I added a bit of canvas and water above the bird and subtracted some canvas below the bird while avoiding cropping the reflection.
How did I get from A to B? I used a technique that I have mentioned briefly either here or on BPN in recent months. Take a moment to put your thinking cap on, try to figure out how I improved the composition, and leave a comment below. I will withhold my comments until the technique that I used is revealed, probably on Monday or Tuesday. Have fun and good luck. Clue: I did not use Content Aware Fill.
Arctic Pro Muck Boots
On my first trip to the Southern Oceans in 2007, I ordered a pair of Arctic Pro Muck Boots on the advice of many. I returned them and went with too-large and too-heavy neoprene waders. For my two 2012 trips I ordered a pair of Arctic Pro Muck Boots. I got them large enough to wear with one pair of heavy socks and one pair of regular socks. Wow! My feet were always dry and always warm. They were tall enough for all the wet landings, even those in heavy surf. This year I wore them at Bosque. My always cold feet were never cold. Last week I wore them on the Barnegat Jetty. Never cold at all. They enabled me to stand in the saltwater pools next to the jetty on the crazy wind-driven high tides that we encountered. And on the jetty, they provided firm footing at all times. (Warning: unless you have ice creepers, never walk on black, dark green, slimy jetty rocks….)
Weekend Creative Nature Photography Seminar, Tampa, FL: February 23 & 24, 2013: $149 Limit: 50/Openings: 21
Join Denise Ippolito and me on the weekend of February 23-24 on the outskirts of Tampa, FL for a great weekend of fun and learning. Learn to improve your photography skills, your skill at designing images in the field, your creative vision, and your image optimization skills. Sunday critiquing session. Click here for additional details and the complete schedule.
Best to register soon as the seminar is filling up nicely.
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