90 Minutes in the Waiting Room; What to Do? « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

90 Minutes in the Waiting Room; What to Do?

90 Minutes in the Waiting Room

Jim drove me up and back to the doctor’s office so that Dr. White could take a “quick peek” at my left hand. We arrived at 4:35 pm for my 4:45pm appointment. The waiting room was a sardine can of patients. I was called in at 6:18 pm…. I am glad that I brought my laptop. When the bandages were removed I was surprised to see that the hand looked 300% better than it had when I changed the dressing and cleaned the incision at 11:30am that same day, Tuesday. In just 7 hours the remaining swelling had about disappeared as had the redness. “Wear the cast till Friday but remove it four times a day and exercise the fingers.” Easy to say and do for the index, ring, and pinkie fingers–the thumb is outside of the fiberglass cast–but a painful ordeal with the middle finger as the tendon is still quite involved…. And will be for some time. Plus. I hate the cast. You gotta love it.

I took Jim out for a well deserved dinner at Fishbones on Sand Lake Drive; shrimp and scallop scampi for my right-hand man, oak planked sea bass and broccoli for me. Plus a great salad with freshly-grated Parmesan cheese. After a quick stop at CVS on the way home for some rolled cotton bandage and gauze pads, we were back at ILE just a bit after 9pm.

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The image above is a JPEG that represents the original RAW capture. It was created at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm with the Canon 800mm f/5.L IS lens, 2X III teleconverter, and the EOS-1D Mark IV. ISO 400. Evaluative metering -1 stop: 1/250 sec. at f/11 set manually after histogram and blinkies check. All in all,it is pretty bad.

What to Do?

What to do with the image above? Delete it? Why? It is horrifically cluttered. There are spots of bright sun blasting away in a few spots, most notably right behind the adult’s lower leg (that is right behind the chick’s fluffy butt.) There are several branches in filtered light: full shade and bright sun. And then there is the thin bright branch pointing right at the chick’s head. And the chick’s face is less than razor sharp. Is this image beyond help?

I did, however, like the way that the adult Snowy Egret was juxtaposed with the Great Egret chick. Heck, that’s why I pushed the shutter button in the first place!

What to do? Heck, with no place to go I decided to give the image a go and see if I could come up with something both pleasing and sale-able. From conversion to the optimized image (see same below) took me about 45 minutes. Here are the tools and techniques that I used: Clone Stamp Tool, Spot Healing Brush, Patch Tool, and lots of Quick Masks several with Layer Masks. Eye Doctor work on the pupil. Divide and conquer. A Linear Burn on the chick’s face only. Selective sharpening via a contrast mask on a Quick Mask selection layer. And a Selective Color adjustment adding BLACK to the WHITEs with the areas to be darkened painted back in via an Inverse Layer Mask. Pretty amazing no? But what is more amazing is the fact that the use of every technique and tool mentioned above (plus tons more) is described in detail in our Digital Basics File, a PDF that is sent via e-mail. The best $20 you will ever spend on photography.

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This is the optimized image that I created from the rather horrible original at the top of this blog post. Do let me know what you think of the optimized file. Before you write suggesting that I be locked up for a few years for being a digital criminal, do consider the image caption: “Great Egret chick in nest adult Snowy Egret in BKGR– EXTENSIVE BKGR CLEAN-UP _W3C9953 St.tif” And do consider the fact that the optimized image below depicts an egret chick in a nest with a smaller egret species in the background, same as the original capture. Even though the clean-up was extensive, the natural history of the situation has been maintained, at least for me, Is it a contest winning image? Not by a longshot. But it is rather pleasing and it does have sales potential.

Shopper’s Guide

Below is a list of the gear that I used to create the image above (along with some related items). Thanks a stack to all who have used the Shopper’s Guide links to purchase their gear as a thank you for all the free information that we bring you on the Blog and in the Bulletins. Before you purchase anything be sure to check out the advice in our newly revised Shopper’s Guide.

Canon 800mm f/5.L IS lens. Right now this is my all time favorite super-telephoto lens.
2X III teleconverter. This new TC, which is noticeably sharper than the 2X II TC, is designed to work best with the new Series II super-telephoto lenses.
Canon EOS-1D Mark IV professional digital camera body. My workhorse professional digital camera bodies.

And from the BAA On-line Store:

Gitzo GT3530LS Tripod. This one will last you a lifetime.
Mongoose M3.6 Tripod Head. Right now this is the best tripod head around for use with lenses that weigh less than 9 pounds. For heavier lenses, check out the Wimberley V2 head.

Delkin 32gb e-Film Pro Compact Flash Card. These high capacity cards are fast and dependable.

I pack my 800 and tons of other gear in my ThinkTank Airport SecurityTM V2.0 rolling bag for all of my air travel and recommend the slightly smaller Airport InternationalTM V2.0 for most folks. These high capacity bags are well constructed and protect my gear when I have to gate check it on short-hops and puddle jumpers. Each will protect your gear just as well. By clicking on either link or the logo below, you will receive a free gear bag with each order over $50.

16 comments to 90 Minutes in the Waiting Room; What to Do?

  • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

    Thanks all for sharing your thoughts. I gotta say that some of them are way out there and that some folks are very confused; the first image is the original from which I created the second image….

    Nancy, I previously addressed the upper left corner stuff.

  • Artie –

    Glad things are finally under control. Great job on the photo, as usual. Why am I not surprised?


  • Nicely processed Arthur! I used to delete such cluttered images prior to learning these techniques from your PDF tutorials. Glad the hand is doing better.

  • David Policansky

    “Right hand man”? You were your own “right hand man,” given the state of your left hand! Sorry for the awful pun, delighted that you’re on the mend. Infections need to be taken seriously and it’s good that yours was.

    Interesting thoughts about the photo. I probably keep images you wouldn’t even consider keeping, but I often am amazed at the blurry, indecipherable images other people not only keep but proudly show to others.


  • Thank you Artie for your explanation. I see your point but I would have probably still done it the other way but it probably would not have sold either. You have forgotten more than I will ever know about photography but I sure enjoy messing around with it and Lightroom is a wonderful system. I do most of my editing in LR now. I did do all of it with the Breeze system but when I got a new Mac computer Breeze did not support it. They probably do now. I still use your “The Art of Bird Photography II” quite often and study your Blogs religiously.

  • Regarding the first image, the two twigs that criss-cross right above the chick’s head are distracting. I would remove them. The rest of the larger twigs on both left and righ sides look like frames around the chick. That is the chick’s home and it looks very natural. I would leave them there.

    If I were to go all the way with the second image, I would also remove the twig right behind the chick and that at the upper left hand corner. The whole picture would look the cleanest without them.

    Agreed. The natural history of the image is maintained. Your photoshop skill is remarkable and the OOF adult behind the chick is just awesome.

  • Nancy Bell

    All your digital processing works well for me. I am undecided about some additional cropping, maybe removing that bit of white of the adult in the ULC and some of the OOF stuff at the bottom. I too am spending alot of time in medical facilities, keeping my dad company in a rehab facility after a terrible reaction to a knee replacement. Good luck on the hand.

  • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

    Robert, Thanks. There is only one adult behind the chick. It is out-of-focus…. Not sure that you read what I wrote but as I said, the adult bird was what I liked most about this juxtaposition image…. And eliminating the bird would mess with the natural history of the moment…. One of the points of the image is that rookeries are crowded places.

  • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

    Thanks Bryan. I chose to leave the adult’s leg and the small shaded portion of the adult as it adds to the story and is true to the natural history of the moment. And I do not mind the angled branch as it is completely shaded.

  • Hi Artie. Glad your hand apparently is on the mend now. Regarding the photograph, I appreciate the effort you put into salvaging the image but I don’t like the outcome very much. I use Lightroom with Photoshop. What I would have probably done is blacken the whole area above the chick in Lightroom getting rid of the adults behind the chick which are fuzzy and don’t add much to the photo in my opinion. This would have made the chick really stand out which is the main focal point.

  • Sorry, bad proof reading. I meant to type “left leg”.

  • Artie, glad to hear the healing is going well. My opinion on this one is that I agree with you that the OOF bird juxtaposition works. I find the left side of the photo still distracting. Specifically the adult bird’s lef and the stuff in the ULC. You of anyone have the skills to clone those items out and already did a great job clearing some of the other clutter, so I would try a version with those erased and see how it looks. Be well.

  • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

    Hey Cheapo, Thanks for the hand comments. As far as the two images, different strokes…

  • cheapo

    Great to hear that the treatment is finally working. The antibiotics have kicked in!
    The image has captured one of those perfect moments in time, so either one is a great image to have in your collection. I rarely mess with my images and keep all but the mistakes. The pointing twig was the only major problem in the first one, as the larger twig nicely framed the chick, and mirrored the posture of the bird in the background. Shame the touching up was so difficult with the out of focus bird. I haven’t the patience for that sort of thing. Just another 45 mins adding pixels for you then Artie.

  • David Shertzer

    Simply amazing skills…wishing I had them. And you did all this with one hand!
    Agree, that the natural history was maintained.

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks David! You can learn those skills easily with Digital Basics (and some practice). And yes, all with one hand except for holding down the Control key occasionally with the thumb on the bad hand But that made my wrist hurt a bit; it is very stiff and sore from being in the cast. . And all on the laptop with the mouse pad :). Which I am gonna take off right now for an ice job and a round of finger stretching.

      More on Photoshop skills: get yourself a copy of Digital Basics and first learn to convert your RAW images properly. Then every few days work on adding one or two tools or techniques. In a month or two you will be right there!