My Dirty Little Secrets


As most of you have found, from following my posts, is that I like to get extreme close-ups of my birds.  Many of you have commented on the sharpness of my images.  I appreciate those compliments.

The fact is, that I really don’t to things in an orthodox manner.  At least, I don’t think so.  I have friends that use Photoshop, Lightroom or other methods to get their ends.  I do use Photoshop to convert my RAW images.  But to obtain my sharp images, I also employ Topaz’s DeNoise, a noise eliminating software, and Focus Magic, a focus blur eliminating software.

In combination with those two amazing programs, I then use Smart Sharpening, and Unsharp Mask, (what a misnomer), in Photoshop.  I cannot tell you in what order I use each one as I just tinker.  I’ll admit that I probably start with the DeNoise, to check out the noise.  After that, I just fly by the seat of my pants.  I might even use Sharpen more than once.  If my friends could watch, they would roll their eyes, and ask, “Bob, what in hell are you doing?” :-)

Case in point.  Here is what I started with, in deciding to edit the Kingfisher photo that I published in my previous post.  This image is what I saw through my viewfinderand I was using a 500mm super-telephoto wth a 1.4 tele-converter attached.  The bird was 150 yards away across the river, and you can imagine how tiny it looked with the naked eye.

Kingfisher – original image

Here is where I decided I wanted to crop.

Kingfisher photo with crop lines. Pardon the un-straight lines.

As you can see, with this I am really cropping a large part of the picture.  But I decided to go for it and here is the finished product.

Kingfisher – final cropped and edited image.

As you can see, it turned out pretty good.  Probably not an image that  people will fall over themselves wanting to buy, but acceptable for my internet use.  Upon close scrutiny you may still detect a tiny bit of noise.  This is crop is really a bit more extreme than I usually have to do.  But I love the challenge.  Now if you want to know how I did it, I don’t remember, except I clicked here and there and back again, and then clicked okay. :-)

It is the final result that is important, not how you get there.  So now, all of you know all of my dirty little secrets. :-)  Click on any image to see an enlargement.

P.S. My Blurb publisher has offered a 20% discount on my book, “Birds, Beasts and Buttes”.  Click this link, Bob”s Book.  Use the code  FANS  at checkout

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34 thoughts on “My Dirty Little Secrets

  1. I wish I had time for some dirty little secrets of my own. Alas, I barely have had time to shoot any pictures or enjoy the plethora of migratory birds from my backyard. We will be having a discussion soon about software, as soon as I let go all my volunteering services for a spell (that will free me up to play!)

    Cheers, Bob. Sorry I’m late to this one. I’m going through my blog-read email folder today, starting with the older ones. You can see it’s been a while!

  2. Interesting, Bob. Seems to me that one of the main factors in cropping this much and still getting acceptable photos is the amazing image quality of the 500 f/4. Great glass is expensive but very much worth it if you’re serious about photography, IMO.

    • Obviously, you are right on the money. That 500mm lens is one purchase that I will never regret making. State of the art, and definitely the biggest factor in my getting such great quality.

    • Oh, yes, there were two Kingfishers. They had been squabbling and fighting for the best perch, I guess. I just couldn’t get a composition that I liked with both in the picture.

  3. I love it when photographers share their processes, because no one can steal another’s creativity and we can all learn from each other.This lifestyle gives me so much joy and oh yes, there is always a little aggravation but it helps me develop my skills when I give and receive these tips. I just have to remember to water my plants before I go out the door on another adventure.Happy shooting Bob, and thanks for sharing the journey..

    • I agree with you, Jane. I love to hear how other photogs do their thing. I can guarantee no one can steal my method. I don’t know how I do it myself. I process like lightning, I never do the same thing twice. :-) I just fiddle around until it looks right to me. Maybe not a professional way of doing it, but it gets me the results I am after. I love hearing from you.

  4. I use Serif to work some of the photos of my art work..and especially the pencil art..Whatever you do, it works..thanks for sharing..I am looking to see if we have Kingfisher Birds here in Colorado..Have a great day..

  5. Thanks for the tutorial, Bob! I have a hard time finding time to go through my photos, let alone use all the software. I did try buying Photoshop a few months ago but could never get it to install propertly on my computer and returned it. I’ll just have to keep trying to get closer to the birds.

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