13 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

  1. That cinnamon duck looks so cinnamon-y that I want to lick it!

    Nice pictures Stephen! I never noticed the purple on the mallards before. I have a couple next door in the pond & they mutter to themselves as they fly along, which I’ve always found amusing.

    1. I’m pretty sure there’s some mechanical iridescence involved in the coloration of both the heads and inner wing primaries of the mallards, which means those colors are much more saturated than you’re seeing on your computer monitor. It can be frustrating for a photographer…the camera is actually capable of recording the color, but you can’t truly reproduce it anywhere.

      Stephen, I especially like the pose of the wings on that bottom one, with the quite graceful curve of the ends of the wingtips, the head and neck striving forward, and the jarringly angular caution-orange feet tucked out of the way of the airstream. I don’t know if you’re marketing your photos anywhere, but I bet this one would be popular amongst pilots and other aviation buffs.


      1. I usually bump up the saturation on iridescent plumage, and did it a bit here, but the light was good so it didn’t need much. It also brought out the green in the bokeh. A RAW image contains far more information than you see on the default computer display.

        1. RAW actually contains more information than you can even in theory display on any monitor or printer ever made. RAW can accurately record arbitrary monochromatic colors, and it don’t get more saturated than that. No display or printer can even get close to shouting distance.

          You did good with the plumage. By definition, it falls far short of the original, but you still captured the essence and character and impression. What more is there to ask of art?

          If you would prefer to not amp up the saturation on the background, you can do a bit of masking to limit the changes to just the areas you want. All the Adobe tools have pretty easy tools for doing that sort of thing, usually little more than just picking the desired adjustment and brushing it into the areas where you want to apply — with a quick change to an eraser if you get too exuberant. They also offer sliders that only apply to specific hues; you could increase the saturation (etc.) of just the purples, regardless of where they appear in the image.



          1. Once you know some of the tricks, it’s actually pretty easy.

            First is that a really, really, really, really, really big and soft brush is often the best tool to use for creating masks; you just bring hints of the layers in and out of prominence.

            Second is that the image often contains its own mask. Sometimes it’s obvious enough that the magic wand tool can find it. Other times, it’s in one of the individual color channels; duplicate the channel, use some levels adjustments to get a clean edge, and then you can quickly clean up the rest. Still other times, the color range selection tool gets the job done. For hard edges such as in architecture, the pen tool is what you want, possibly with the addition of a gaussian blur for transition in out-of-focus areas.

            The third trick…is to not be in a rush….



          2. That last trick is the one that probably bites me the most. It’s why I hate cooking too.

          3. I never go to extreme Photoshop measures to tune up my photographs. I don’t have anything against it, but the challenge and the enjoyment for me is being there, seeing the thing happen, and getting the shot. Detailed computer work is tedious. Maybe that’s because I spent much of my working professional life in computer vision (a branch of AI). We would have killed for the computer and storage resources and software tools available today.

          4. I know what you mean. Photography is the perfect excuse to go somewhere beautiful and pay close attention to it. Whether you get any photos worth looking at afterwards is irrelevant.

            Still, some tricks are quicker and easier than others. For example, there’re the hue / saturation / brightness sliders that only apply to specific colors that I mentioned. They work the same as the sliders you’re already using, but only change the colors you want to change.


  2. Slightly off topic: Does anyone want to see a picture of an olympic marmot and a banana slug? Because I have one of each I took today, and would love for them to be considered for posting on WEIT. Is there a proper channel to go through that won’t anger or annoy the Ceiling Cat?

    1. I email Jerry photos from time to time and leave it up to him. I don’t think he likes suggestions about what to post.

      1. Oh, I know the Roolz. I just wasn’t sure if there was a proper protocol for photo submissions. Thanks!

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