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

Blue Grosbeak Editing

Yesterday I posted some Blue Grosbeak pictures that I had went back and edited.  Today I will show you one of my old ones, that at the time when I took the photo, it didn’t exactly knock my socks off.  It, like the others just didn’t seem to have that “pop”.  Here is the original “before” image.

Before editing

Now here is the “after” editing image.  First I removed a tiny bit of noise that existed, using my DeNoise software.  Then I used ” shadows/highlights” tool in Photoshop Elements, to lighten the shadows and darken the highlights.  That in itself helps the image to pop.  I then saturated the image at about +6.  I then finished it off by using my Focus Magic plug-in for some sharpening.   Oh, I almost forgot.  Using my “healing” tool, I removed that little stem from the left-bottom of the photo.   Here is the finished result.  Notice it has more “pop”.  When you click on each image, you can see the difference.  The difference between really a good photo, to a much even better great photo.

After editing