The Post Processing of a Running American Coot Image « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

The Post Processing of a Running American Coot Image

Stuff

I am feeling pretty much like a bird with an injured wing. I have decided to go back to Phoenix next Tuesday for a week to get my shoulder worked on. On Monday I got a ton of work done on the Nikon D850/D5/D500/D750 Focus Fine-tune Guide and plan on doing the same today. See the details below.

There will be a Canon EF 400mm f/4 IS DO II lens listed on the Used Gear page very soon; If you would like advance notice, please shoot me an e-mail

The Streak

Today makes two hundred thirty-nine days in a row with a new educational blog post! I began this blog post from scratch at 4am Tuesday morning; it took 90 minutes to prepare including the time spent on the image optimizations. With all of my upcoming free time (or not…), the plan right now is to try to break the current record streak of 480 … Good health and good internet connections and my continuing insanity willing.

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Please note that BIRDS AS ART is registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Money Saving Reminder

If you need a hot photo item that is out of stock at B&H, would enjoy free overnight shipping, and would like a $50 discount on your first purchase, click here to order and enter the coupon code BIRDSASART at checkout. If you are looking to strike a deal on Canon or Nikon gear (including the big telephotos) or on a multiple item order, contact Steve Elkins via e-mail or on his cell at (479) 381-2592 (Eastern time) and be sure to mention your BIRDSASART coupon code and use it for your online order. Patrick Sparkman saved $350 on a recent purchase!

The Used Gear Page

Action on the Used Gear Page recently has been fantastic. You can see all current listings here.



Booking.Com

Several folks on the Gatorland IPT used the Booking.Com link below and got great rates and saved a handsome $25.00 in the process. If you too would like to give Booking.Com a shot, click here and to earn a $25 reward on your first booking. Thanks to the many who have already tried and used this great service.


Gear Questions and Advice

Too many folks attending BAA IPTs and dozens of folks whom I see in the field, and on BPN, are–out of ignorance–using the wrong gear especially when it comes to tripods and more especially, tripod heads… Please know that I am always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail. Those questions might deal with systems, camera bodies, accessories, and/or lens choices and decisions.

AM-COOT-ACR-BEFORE

This image was created on March 2, 2018 at the Gilbert Water Ranch in Phoenix, AZ with the hand held Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR lens (at 400mm) and the Nikon D850 DSLR. ISO 400. Matrix metering at about -1 stop: 1/4000 sec at f/7.1. AUTO2 WB at 5:58 lat on a clear afternoon.

Center Group (grp) AF area mode/Shutter button AF was active at the moment of exposure. The upper and left AF points in the array were on the bird’s neck and breast as originally framed.

Focus peaking AF Fine-tune: +10!

American Coot incoming. Baited with goose and duck blend.
The ACR defaults.

Click on the image to see a larger version so that you can read the fine print.

The ACR Defaults

With the defaults setting in ACR the image looked way too dark. But the RGB values for the brightest part of the white bill were R=231, G=227, B=221. Thus, the image was not as underexposed as it looked. In short, we have another of what appears to be a “Lying Histogram.”

The Exposure

Why was I shooting relatively dark?

80-400 VR/D850 for Flight

The hand held Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR lens (at 400mm) and the Nikon D850 DSLR is a deadly combination for flight photography. The group AF area mode is quite amazing …

AM-COOT-ACR-AFTER

This image was created on March 2, 2018 at the Gilbert Water Ranch in Phoenix, AZ with the hand held Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR lens (at 400mm) and the Nikon D850 DSLR. ISO 400. Matrix metering at about -1 stop: 1/4000 sec at f/7.1. AUTO2 WB at 5:58 lat on a clear afternoon.

Center Group (grp) AF area mode/Shutter button AF was active at the moment of exposure. The upper and left AF points in the array were on the bird’s neck and breast as originally framed.

Focus peaking AF Fine-tune: +10!

American Coot incoming. Baited with goose and duck blend.
The ACR corrections.

Click on the image to see a larger version so that you can read the fine print.

The ACR Corrections

The goal here was to open up the dark tones a lot while striving to avoid the grungy, crunch, noisy look and raising the RGB values into the high 240s.

American-Coot-in-flight-_DSC9231--Gilbert-Water-Ranch-Riparian-Preserve,-Phoenix,-AZ

This image was created on March 2, 2018 at the Gilbert Water Ranch in Phoenix, AZ with the hand held Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR lens (at 400mm) and the Nikon D850 DSLR. ISO 400. Matrix metering at about -1 stop: 1/4000 sec at f/7.1. AUTO2 WB at 5:58 lat on a clear afternoon.

Center Group (grp) AF area mode/Shutter button AF was active at the moment of exposure. The upper and left AF points in the array were on the bird’s neck and breast as originally framed.

Focus peaking AF Fine-tune: +10!

American Coot incoming. Baited with goose and duck blend.
The Optimized Image/Version I

The Optimized Image/Version I

After converting the image in ACR (as above) I cropped to 3X2 mostly from the left and below. I toned down the brightest specular highlights using the Spot Healing Brush (J). Then I selected the bird and applied my NIK 50-50 recipe. That was way overkill so I reduced the Opacity to 60%. Then I went Select > Color Range to select the darkest tones on the bird’s face and neck. I put them on their own layer and pulled up the curve. The I added a Regular Layer Mask and painted away the edges at 50% to smooth the transition.

When I posted the image above to the blog I realized that the big splash on the left side of the frame was not white enough; as immediately above, it shows a BLUE/GREEN/CYAN cast so back to Photoshop we went.

American-Coot-in-flight-REDO_DSC9231--Gilbert-Water-Ranch-Riparian-Preserve,-Phoenix,-AZ

This image was created on March 2, 2018 at the Gilbert Water Ranch in Phoenix, AZ with the hand held Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR lens (at 400mm) and the Nikon D850 DSLR. ISO 400. Matrix metering at about -1 stop: 1/4000 sec at f/7.1. AUTO2 WB at 5:58 lat on a clear afternoon.

Center Group (grp) AF area mode/Shutter button AF was active at the moment of exposure. The upper and left AF points in the array were on the bird’s neck and breast as originally framed.

Focus peaking AF Fine-tune: +10!

American Coot incoming. Baited with goose and duck blend.
The Optimized Image/Version II.

The Optimized Image/Version II

Eliminating the BLUE/GREEN/CYAN color cast was actually fairly simple. I put the whole image on its own layer and went Image > Adjustments > Selective Color. First I selected WHITE from the drop-down menu. Then I adjusted the sliders as follows: CYAN to -100, MAGENTA to +10, and BLACK to -90 (effectively removing BLACK from the WHITES. It was extra work but well worth it to me. Notice how much WHITER the big splashes on the left frame-edge look in Version II.

The Nikon D850/D5/D500/D750 Focus Fine-tune Guide

There is lots of mis-information out there on Nikon Automatic AF Fine-tune. Working with Patrick Sparkman, we developed a way of using that feature effectively. Patrick was on a roll and perfected a method for using the Focus Peaking feature available only on the D850 to quickly and accurately micro-adjust all lenses and TC-Es with your D-850. Both Nikon Automatic AF Fine-tune and D850 Focus Peaking AF Fine-tune require a LensAlign Mark II kit so that you can obtain accurate results. I learned recently that the Nikon D500 DSLR and the older D750 both offer Automatic AF Fine-tune.

Folks who use one of my links to purchase a Nikon D850, a Nikon D5 DSLR Camera (Body Only, Dual XQD Slots), a Nikon D500 DSLR , or any Nikon gear totaling more than $2,000 will receive the new guide free.

DBII-cover

The BIRDS AS ART Current Workflow e-Guide (Digital Basics II).

You can order your copy from the BAA Online Store here, by sending a Paypal for $40 here, or by calling Jim or Jennifer weekdays at 863-692-0906 with your credit card in hand.

The BIRDS AS ART Current Workflow e-Guide (Digital Basics II)

Your guessed it, everything mentioned above and tons more is covered in detail in the BIRDS AS ART Current Workflow e-Guide (Digital Basics II), an instructional PDF that is sent via e-mail. Learn more and check out the free excerpt in the blog post here. While the new e-Guide reflects my Macbook Pro/Photo Mechanic/DPP 4/Photoshop workflow, folks using a PC and/or BreezeBrowser will also benefit greatly by studying the material on DB II. Do note that you will find the RGB Curves Adjustment Color Balancing tutorial only in the new e-guide. Note: folks working on a PC and/or those who do not want to miss anything Photoshop may wish to purchase the original Digital Basics along with DB II while saving $15 by clicking here to buy the DB Bundle.

The two most recent and many of the older MP4 Photoshop Tutorial videos releases go hand and hand with the information in DB II):

  • The Wingtip Repairs MP4 Video here.
  • The MP4 Crow Cleanup Video here.

Folks who learn well by following along rather than by reading can check out the complete collection of MP 4 Photoshop Tutorial Videos by clicking here.

You can learn how and why I converted nearly all of my Canon digital RAW files in DPP 4 using Canon Digital Photo Professional in the DPP 4 RAW conversion Guide here. And, yes, I still have many Canon images to work on. 🙂 You can learn advanced Quick Masking and advanced Layer Masking techniques in APTATS I & II. You can save $15 by purchasing the pair. Folks can learn sophisticated sharpening and (NeatImage) Noise Reduction techniques in the The Professional Post Processing Guide by Arash Hazeghi and yours truly.

IPT Stuff

All IPTs include an introductory briefing before the IPT begins so you know what to expect, frequent in-the-field instruction and guidance (priceless), image editing and small group Photoshop instruction during and after lunch. Breakfasts are on your own so that we can get in the field early. Lunches are on me. Dinners are on your own as well so that we can get to bed as the days in spring will be long.

Rides with the leader are available on a limited basis for $50/day.

Registering for an IPT

To register for any of the IPTs below call Jim or Jen in the office at 863-692-0906 from Monday morning through Friday lunch with your credit card in hand to leave your $500 non-refundable deposit. Balances may not be paid by credit card so you will be asked to send a check for your balance along with the signed paperwork that you will find here.

Gatorland-Card

Tame birds in breeding plumage and chicks are great fun.

Gatorland IPT #2. Sunrise: 6:48am. Sunset: 7:58pm.

3 1/2 DAYs: THURS 26 APR through and including the morning of SUN 29 APR. $1599. Limit 5 photographers/Openings: 3.

Must purchase Gatorland Photographers Pass. Click here for details. All early entry. Late stays Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Gatorland IPT #2 should have lots of chicks, and lots of birds in breeding plumage. We will get to photograph Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Tricolored Heron, and Wood Stork. The Cattle Egrets in full breeding plumage will be present in good numbers. Learn my Gatorland strategy, to get the right exposure, flight photography techniques, my secret Gatorland spots, how to see the best situations (nobody is better at that than me), and how to make great images in extremely cluttered situations.

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Please help support my (stupendous) efforts here on the blog by remembering to click on the logo link above each time that you shop Amazon. That would be greatly appreciated. There is no problem using your Prime account; just click on the link and log into your Prime account. With love, artie

Gatorland-Card

Tame birds in breeding plumage and heron and egret chicks are great fun.

Gatorland IPT #2. Sunrise: 6:48am. Sunset: 7:58pm.

3 1/2 DAYs: THURS 26 APR through and including the morning of SUN 29 APR. $1599. Limit 5 photographers.

(2 1/2 DAY option) FRI 27 APR through and including the morning of SUN 29 APR. $1199.

Must purchase Gatorland Photographers Pass. Click here for details. All early entry. Late stays Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Gatorland IPT #2 should have lots of chicks, and lots of birds in breeding plumage. We will get to photograph Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Tricolored Heron, and Wood Stork. The Cattle Egrets in full breeding plumage will be present in good numbers. Learn my Gatorland strategy, to get the right exposure, flight photography techniques, my secret Gatorland spots, how to see the best situations (nobody is better at that than me), and how to make great images in extremely cluttered situations.

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Typos

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4 comments to The Post Processing of a Running American Coot Image

  • avatar Mark Jordan

    Hi Arthur, My guess is maybe you were shooting something else when you came across the coot. So to catch the action you just pointed the camera and shot. Taking care of the exposure in software.
    Have a good evening.

  • Hey Arthur, I would say you were trying to preserve the whites on the bill. How often do you move the tint slider versus the temperature when working with camera raw?

  • avatar Jan

    Hey Artie,
    I would guess you didn’t want the whites near the bill to blow out (had to deal with the same problem the last days…).
    Nice action pic! Take care