Thursday, May 2, 2013
Sunday, January 13, 2013
Yes, noise. Those annoying little spots and flecks of computer-generated junk in the dark areas behind my subjects. Under snowy conditions, there is sometimes so much noise that it is difficult to remove with the noise reduction application that came with my photo processing software or even the expensive plug-in that I bought. RATS!!!
Fortunately, the photo is not too dark. If it needed to be lightened, that would introduce even more noise. As it is, most shots taken under these conditions are a little flat and need a slight boost in saturation. Guess what that does? Yup, it puts in even MORE noise.
Next, I want to get the main subject (the bird) and some of the detail on the larger branches back. I apply a mask and mask off the bird and the branches I want to keep:
Sunday, October 7, 2012
So, we need to fix this photo using layers instead of the "Straighten Tool."
Now the subject is straight, but there are obvious lines around the edge of the top layer from rotating/straightening the photo. I have hidden the bottom layer so that you can clearly see this in the photo below.
Tuesday, July 31, 2012
If you shoot birds in flight, you’ve probably been frustrated by trying to get the exposure right. Either the bird is blown out, or, more often, the background sky looks perfect, but the bird is just a dark silhouette. Been there, done that, hit the “delete” button. If you expose the bird perfectly (yay!) the sky is probably too light (boo!).
Here’s the finished product:
I will admit that using photoshop too much can be thought of as turning a photo into art. The same can be said about using polarizers and colored filters - techniques used by photographers for decades. The same can be said about techniques old-timers used in the darkroom such as dodging and burning to give mist around moving water or even (gasp) trying to save a photo like the one I started with.
In this case, I didn't add or delete a single element of the photo. I was simply VERY selective about which components I darkened (which is what a "Multiply" layer does). I didn't even change the contrast, color or saturation. If someone said that they simply darkened a photo, most people would just shrug their shoulders and say, "So what?"
Decide for yourself what you want to do. There may be a gray line (or even a black line) between what you consider art and photography, but you can always fix that with Photoshop ;-)
Steve Byland is a wildlife photographer living in suburban New Jersey. His photos can be seen at www.stevebyland.com . You can email him at email@example.com
Sunday, July 22, 2012
Some feeders are designed to prevent “undesirable” birds such as Starlings like this suet feeder that can only be accessed from below
- Safety from predators
- A place to nest and raise their young (assuming that they breed in your area)
Hummingbird feeders need not be fancy. Red feeders with yellow flowers are recognized by most hummingbirds as a good source of food. This feeder is about the size of a roll of quarters and cost less than $5.00
This birdbath is heated for year-round use and can accommodate the whole family
Here is part of the same family bathing in a bath made from a large, broken flower pot and its base
Birdhouses can be made from plans easily found on the internet and can be customized for different species. This box has a wide hole to let more than one baby Tree Swallow look out at a time.
If you are a photographer, like I am, think about lighting while you make your plans. I have a spot in my yard that gets fantastic light in the afternoon. Guess where I put the Bluebird house. Most of my feeders and birdhouses can be rotated to follow the sun provide different backgrounds. I do most of my photography from a blind that keeps me out of the sun and minimizes disturbance to the birds.
Friday, July 20, 2012
I’ve been a professional wildlife photographer for years and travel all across the country to take pictures. It’s a great job, but somebody’s got to do it. I’ve crisscrossed the United States from north to south and east to west. Winter, spring, summer or fall, I’ve been there. Still, my favorite place to take photographs is my own backyard. I know it like the back of my hand. Hundreds, maybe even thousands of birds visit my bird feeders every year. I’ve spent so much time out there that I recognize a good number of them individually. Most of my best-selling shots are of birds that I’ve known for years.
Tip 4: Plan For Good Light
Tip 6: Control Depth Of Field
Tip 7: Compose Your Shot