Basket Lake: It Ain’t Just Moose! And An Underexposed RAW File Conversion Workflow Tip « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Basket Lake: It Ain't Just Moose! And An Underexposed RAW File Conversion Workflow Tip

What’s Up?

We have been getting up at about 4am and out on the lake for sunrise at about 5am. The weather has been extremely variable: on Saturday it was 88 degrees and sunny and still. The black flies were killing our ankles. On Sunday morning we fished through rain and high winds and being underdressed, we froze. We’ve had some nice sunrises and lots of good Bald Eagle flight photography. Northern Pike has a reputation as having too many bones but when cleaned correctly, its firm flesh is far tastier than that of the more popular Walleye. I have been chowing down on pike fillets every day — fried gently in butter with salt and pepper.

We spent a good two hours on Monday afternoon photographing the nicest Pink Lady Slipper that we could find.

An Abundance of Riches

Multiple IPT veteran David Hollander will be joining us in the UK. In addition, a gentleman from Denmark may also be signing up as well.


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This image was created on June 10, 2019, from a small fishing boat on Basket Lake near Dryden in northern Ontario, CA. I used the hand held Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR lens and my souped-up Nikon D850. Auto ISO: 400: 1/6400 sec. at f/5.6 in Manual Mode was an inadvertent 2/3 stop underexposure — I accidentally rolled the shutter speed wheel two clicks … AUTO1 WB at 7:36am on a clear morning.

Nikon Focus Peaking fine-tune value: +4. See the Nikon AF Fine-tune e-Guide here.

Center Group (grp) Continuous (C in Nikon/AI Servo with Canon) AF was active at the moment of exposure. As origially framed, the array was centered well above and well behind the head yet the eye is dead razor sharp.

Bald Eagle wings up flight

Click on the image to enjoy a large version.

Underexposed RAW File Conversion Workflow Tip

With properly exposed images, I always work first on the WHITEs. With underexposed images, like today’s featured image, I always begin with the Exposure slider. Capture One Pro 12 did a great job with this underexposed D850 image — the conversion was so clean that the image did not need any noise reduction other than the D850 defaults. Once I brightened the image I used my standard trick of comparing the As Shot White Balance with the Click White Balance and winding up somewhere in between. As Shot was 6052 and Click White Balance was 4064. I opted for K 5268; this made the sky a delightful BLUE.

Why So Pleasing?

When we looked at this image on my laptop, both Anita North and I went “Oooh!”

For me it shines because of the great wing position — both wings are fully raised and the near-underwing perfectly lit. That due to the fact that the bird was dead-on sun angle when the image was created. This one is a small crop from the rear and from below.

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The Capture One Pro-12 Simplified Video
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The Capture One Pro-12 Simplified Video

$15.00 via electronic download

As with all of my images for the past three months or so, both of today’s images were optimized beautifully and quickly in Capture One Pro 12. When I first heard about doing RAW conversions in C-1 Pro 12, I purchased the somewhat pricey program and tried to figure it out on my own. I was totally lost. So I did some reading online and was still very confused. Then I consulted Arash Hazeghi’s comprehenisve The Nikon Photographers’ Guide to Phase One Capture One Pro e-Guide and while Arash does a great job of covering the fine points, I still had some difficulty getting started. I thought Who needs Sessions and who wants to have to Import images? So I consulted Patrick Sparkman, the BAA technical advisor. Patrick had been using C-1 Pro 12 for a while. We spent a good deal of time on FaceTime simplifying things. That video is a direct result of those conversations.

You can purchase your copy in the BAA Online Store here.

If you are new to Capture One Pro-12, please click here to order. Understand that C-1 Pro 12 is expensive for good reason … Are your photos worth it?

Here are some of the things you will learn in this 33+ minute video as we convert nine different RAW files (eight Nikon and one SONY) from soup to nuts, from Photo Mechanic through the RAW conversion in Capture One to Photoshop:

  • 1-How to quickly and easily find your images while working in a simple file folder format.
  • 2-How to customize your Exposure and Details tabs to streamline your workflow.
  • 3-How to set the White and Black points using Levels.
  • 4-How to adjust set the values for the relevant sliders including Exposure, White Balance, High Dynamic Range (the Highlight and Shadow sliders), and Clarity and Structure.
  • 5-How to work at 100 or 200% and fine tune your settings for Noise Reduction and Sharpness.
  • 6-How to work with the Color Editor

If you are trying to get a handle on how to use this great RAW conversion engine for your Nikon and SONY images, this video is just what you have been looking for. It is meant to serve as an adjunct to Arash’s comprehensive The Nikon Photographers’ Guide to Phase One Capture One Pro e-Guide. For Canon shooters, Arash and I both recommend using DPP 4.

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2 comments to Basket Lake: It Ain’t Just Moose! And An Underexposed RAW File Conversion Workflow Tip

  • avatar Gary Shackelford

    If you were in Group autofocus mode and the center of the Group array was positioned as you describe, it makes perfect sense that the eye was razor-sharp. From what I have read about Nikon’s AF system in its modern cameras, including the D850, in Group mode the autofocus system effectively treats the entire group of AF points (13 points in the D850’s 153-point system) as one large autofocus point, and it is the camera, not the photographer, that selects the priority AF point. This point is typically the one that is over whatever is closest to the camera, and in the case with your eagle it was probably the point over the eagle’s beak or eye. You don’t see all 13 AF points in your viewfinder. The 4 visible points in the viewfinder merely serve as a guide for the boundaries of the 13-point array.

    The AF behavior in Group mode (and all other AF modes) will also be affected by the custom setting Focus Tracking with Lock-On (a3 in the D850), which controls how long to hold autofocus should all of your Group array points fall off the subject.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      I understand what you are saying but the “closest point” had to be the base of the near-wing which conveniently happens to be right on the same plane as the eagle’s eye. That said, I have seen Group yield sharp images in situations where the array was surely nowhere near where it should have been …

      with love, artie

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