Post-Processing:  Roseate Spoonbill

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Roseate Spoonbill
Platalea ajaja

Not just another pretty face.

More bird shots can be seen in Serious Bird Shots

Camera:  NIKON D800E
Exposure:  1/500 sec at f 10 ISO 400
Exposure Mode:  Shutter Priority
Lens:  Sigma DG 120-400mm 4.5-5.6 APO HSM
Focal Length:  300 mm
Software:  Adobe Photoshop CC 2015 (Macintosh)
Software:  Topaz Remask v5.0.1
Software:  Topaz Texture v1.1.1
Software:  Topaz Simplify v4.1.1 -> BuzzSim IV

The North Beach at Fort De Soto, near St.  Petersburg, Florida, is a very popular place for birders and bird photographers.  There is a large shallow tidal flat where waders can feed, and there are birds there at every time of day.

The image was converted to TIFF using Nikon's Capture NX-D.  After all is said and done, I still feel that for Nikon RAW images, the colour, sharpness and contrast are better using the Nikon converter.

The water was very calm near the shore, helping to create a nice reflection.  A few feet out, it was choppy, dark and distracting.  Post-Processing was aimed at simplifying the image in a way that would nicely show the bird and the reflection.

This was shot in late evening.  The low, but otherwise bright, evening sun resulted in quite saturated colours.

Here are the Photoshop layers, in the order I would have created them:

* Image layer:  No clean up or retouching was done.  A masked copy, containing only the bird, was created using Topaz ReMask.
* Copy of the base image, processed through Topaz Simplify.  This reduced the distracting quality of the background water.
* Copy of the base image (not the Simplify layer), processed through Topaz Texture Effects to further soften the distracting quality of the background water.
* Selective Colour Adjustment Layer:  The neutrals in the background were lightened to a shade of gray which helped to bring out the colours of the bird.
* Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer:  The saturation of the background was reduced by about -15 in a final softening of the background.
* Copy of the base image, masked to show only the bird:  Created as the first step in post-processing.
* Curves Adjustment Layer:  Masked to show only the bird's bill; the bottom of the curve was dragged right to darken the darks.  The curve was shaped so that the brigher colours were not affected.
* Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer:  Masked to show only the brightest red in the plumage.  In the evening sun, the red in the wing was too saturated and distracting.  The saturation for that red was reduced by -7.
* Curves Adjustment Layer:  Set to Screen blend, and, as a final touch, brushed to create the irregular vignette.  The bird remains in full colour but the background is subject to the screen blend.

The image was sharpened by creating a merged copy of all the layers, setting the blend mode of the newly created layer to Luminosity Blend, and then using the Unsharp Mask.

Posted May 03, 2016 at 3:51 pm.