Sometimes You Need to Speak Up… And More on NeatImage « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Sometimes You Need to Speak Up... And More on NeatImage

What’s Up?

I woke early on Thursday and headed up to Gatorland for a short shooting session. I started and finished this blog post that same evening. Jim is driving me to the airport at 7:15am on Friday and then heading directly home. As Jen is also taking the day off, please note that there will be nobody in the office until this coming Monday.

The Streak

Today’s blog post marks 128 days in a row with a new educational blog post. As always–and folks have been doing a great job recently–please remember to use our B&H links for your major gear purchases. For best results use one of our many product-specific links; after clicking on one of those you can continue shopping with all subsequent purchases invisibly tracked to BAA. Your doing so is always greatly appreciated. Please remember: web orders only.


This image was created last Thursday at Gatorland with the hand held Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens (at 400mm) and the mega mega-pixel Canon EOS 5DS R. ISO 400. Evaluative metering -2/3 stop: 1/2500 sec. at f/7.1 in Manual mode. AWB

Two AF points to the right and two up from the center AF point/AI Servo Expand/Shutter Button AF as framed was active at the moment of exposure (as is always best when hand holding). The selected AF point was on the bottom of the lores just forward of the bird’s eye. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Breeding plumage Great Egret with ruby red eye

Sometimes You Need to Speak Up…

This rather handsome bird was sitting on a boardwalk railing. I had gotten right on sun angle and was in good position. A guy with a camera was walking briskly toward me. “Whoa! Slow down a bit please. The birds are pretty tame but you need to take some care when you approach them especially when someone else is already working a subject.” He took it well and I coached him into position to get a few good images of the same bird.

This morning I had a similar situation but I never saw the guy coming until it was too late. I had been the first one into the joint and was enjoying the solitude. Another Great Egret on another railing. At the last second I saw that a photographer was going to walk between me and the bird while my lens was pointed at the bird. It was a pretty nice bird too. As the boardwalk is only about five feet wide at most, the bird of course left the scene.

As the bird flew I said more than loud enough for him to hear, “Please tell me you did not just do that.” He did not respond.

About 15 minutes later he walked back toward me. I said, “I know that this is not my private shooting location but for future reference, you might have said ‘Excuse me.’ I would have moved slightly closer to the bird very slowly and let you walk by behind me. It is likely that the bird would have stayed. For what it’s worth, that is the proper etiquette in situations like that.” “I’m sorry,” he said. “I did not think that the bird would fly.”

Sometimes you really do need to speak up. Note: I have changed quite a bit over the past decade or so. You can only imagine what I might have said to him in 2004…


Neat Image screen capture

Click on the image to be more amazed by the larger version.

Neat Image screen capture

In the NeatImage screen capture above you can see how amazingly this plug-in controls the noise in the dark background. Remember that the background will be rendered dark (and noisy) because I correctly exposed for the bright white bird. (See the section on Exposure Theory in the original The Art of Bird Photography.) After converting the RAW file for today’s featured image in DPP 4 with Arash Hazeghi’s Luminance and Chrominance values from our DPP 4 RAW Conversion Guide, I brought the image into Photoshop and played around some more with NeatImage.

I am learning this plug-in as I work on Arash’s latest e-book effort, The Post Processing Guide. The main thrust of the book deals with Arash’s high level noise reduction techniques using NeatImage. Arash recommends and uses only the NeatImage plug-in for advanced noise reduction to maintain maximum fine detail in his images. Both artie and Arash recommend only the Proversion as the Homeversion does not work on 16-bit images. In this e-book we will teach you how to run heavy noise reduction on the background and light noise reduction on the subject… Folks who are good with Layer Masking may wish to get a copy of NeatImage and get a head start with this great program.

While Arash is a brilliant scientist and a brilliant photographer, writing clear and easy to understand how-to is not his forte; that is why we team up on these e-books. I will be working hard at re-crafting his section on noise reduction on my long flight tomorrow. We are hoping to be finished with the guide within about two weeks.

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In all blog posts and Bulletins, feel free to e-mail or to leave a comment regarding any typos or errors. Just be right πŸ™‚

19 comments to Sometimes You Need to Speak Up… And More on NeatImage

  • avatar Vicki

    Art- are you familiar with Topaz DeNoise? Are you able to comment on that plug-in versus NeatImage? Thanks, as ever, for your blog and sharing your wisdom!

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      I have not compared NeatImage with DeNoise yet but will do so in the future. a

  • avatar John Patton

    I have found your encounter at Gatorland is fairly common. I try to get there once a week when the birds are nest building, mating and raising their young. Nearly every time there is someone who seems to be in a hurry to get to the other end of the boardwalk. They usually pass up a few good situations just before the tower. Many times it appears that the person is not serious about the quality of the images they are trying to create; they just want to get a picture. The regulars are all considerate of each other. I have run into the same problem at Merritt Island. There the problem is people who park in the middle of the road to look at birds that are very far off in the distance. Viera Wetlands is good except during the birding festival. Then you have to contend with the bus loads of people. In any case I think you handled it very well.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      The biggest problem there is that most folks there have no clue what a good image is or how to create one πŸ™‚ a

  • In regard to sometimes you have to speak up…

    One of the funniest moments for me was watching Moose Peterson in his video on photographing birds on the beach. This runner, who obviously didn’t care Moose was there, ran right through the flock of birds he was photographing. I can’t remember exactly what he said, but he looked at the camera and proceeded to say how inconsiderate people are. Then the lady yelled back, “I’m sorry!” In what I felt was a snide “I’m sorry.” What she never saw was him spending 20 minutes approaching and getting into position to photograph the birds.

    Sorry, I just felt to need to relate that. I know we all get frustrated out there.

    On another note, love the detail on that portrait Artie. I will be in Gatorland in about a month. Can’t wait!

  • avatar Loren Charif

    NeatImage is a winner, for sure. I’ve tried several noise control programs, and NI beats them all.

    Regarding speaking up, a couple of weeks ago I stumbled across a bald eagle and chicks feasting on a dead crow on the ground; I was in a car, shooting away with my 7D2/100-400II, when another car pulled between us and the birds, and a lady got out of the car and started approaching the birds with her iphone held out at arm’s length in front of her. Needless to say, the bird was spooked and started dragging the meal back from the road. The woman just kept going. I finally couldn’t take it anymore and called to her to retreat because she was scaring the wonderful bird she apparently cared so much about (sarcasm here). She got back in the car in a huff and left. Yikes.

    Safe travels and good luck in SD.

    • One of the reasons I love my 600. More distance from the subject and pleasing background blur. I think you probably did the right thing and there is probably no way to say it in a pleasing way. She should have hung around a little bit and learned something from you, but people have fragile egos.

  • avatar Henry

    Hi Artie,

    I was wondering how the results with NeatImage differs from the results you can get from the Luminance slider in Lightroom. Can you advise?

    Also, do I presume correctly that, aside from possible convenience, getting the standalone version or the photoshop plug in makes no difference?



    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi Henry, No clue on the Luminance slider in LR as I have never used it but I am doubtful as I have used the Luminance slider in both ACR and DPP 4 and those do nothing with noise that I have ever noticed.

      And yes, you are good to go with the stand-alone version. a

  • avatar Ralph Fletcher

    You handled that situation well, Artie. Good for me to think of that because it happens a lot.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks Ralph. I have written on field etiquette on the blog and elsewhere; this post was more about speaking up for yourself and avoiding getting shot or punched out πŸ™‚


  • avatar Richard

    Cant wait for the ebook you and Arash are working on. Thanks for your time and I’m a buyer the second its available.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks for your confidence in us Richard. I’ve got to say that I was doubtful at first on the NR and now I am sold. a

  • Artie, do you remember your response to my ill-considered move (though much less disruptive than that guy’s) in 2010 in the Galapagos? Half-way to 2016–not sure there was progress πŸ™‚

    I’ve been using Neat Image for years–it’s great; almost routine for me. Keep up your blogs–they’re terrific.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      I remember a few such moves πŸ™‚ You’d best hurry to sign up for Galapagos 2017; it is filling up nicely. later and love, a

  • avatar Nikhil

    Hi Art

    Greetings. Thank you that is a great point you have mentioned about proper etiquette. There is a lot of time and carful effort spent in approaching a bird and following the proper etiquette is very important.

    I guess the exif you meant to say -2/3

    Evaluative metering +-2/3 stop: 1/2500 sec. at f/7.1 in Manual mode. AWB

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks and good catch on the +- bit. a

    • It kind of reminds me of my golfing days (long past). There are thing you can do and can’t do. It takes the newbs a bit of time to catch on and some will get mad, but others will feel embarrassed and learn from their mistakes.