Spring at Oxford Island - Wheatear Workflow

Migrant Arrivals

Lots of visiting birds arrive this time of year, and it's good to see the numbers steadily increasing.

Wheatear, Blackcap, Willow warbler, Sedge Warbler, Blackcap, Common Tern to name a few, gave great views the past week.  I spent some time with my relatively new lens, the Sigma 150-600mm Contemporary snapping the birds as they arrived out on the point of Oxford Island.  Oh, and some of the natives feature too 😉

We've had some decent weather and light too, giving the chance for ideal over-the-shoulder sunlight.


Female Wheatear

Not often seen on my local spot, the wheatear is always a pleasure to photograph, with fine wing bar details and striking supercilium through the eye.  The female is predictably drabber than the male, but no less beautiful.

Raw to JPEG Workflow:

Using the central focal point as almost always, the below image was created using the Canon EOS 7DMk2, Sigma 150-600m Contemporary lens, handheld with OS set to 1 on the lens.  Cloud cover came in at this point affecting exposure.

Zoomed back to 435mm, f7.1 (to get beak and tail in focus as much as possible), 1/320s, ISO 200:
 
Original RAW image as seen in Canon DPP - under exposed slightly, shadows within the threshold, focus squarely on the eye

Once in Lightroom - the basic workflow I use was suffice to process this image up to a decent quality to use despite the underexposure.  Using the shadows up/highlights down method, and a slight crop for compositional niceness, it was good to go to the brushing.  Brushing consists of painting the entire bird with +64 sharpness and +8 clarity


Cropped, highlights down, shadows up, sharpness and clarity added

















Because of the clean background and low ISO, no noise reduction was applied to this image.  As you can see the final image isn't far away from the RAW:

Final Image





Posing Wren

Wrens are most visible this time of year as they sing to mark territory and find mates high up on branches out of cover.  This makes a great photographic opportunity.

RAW to JPEG Workflow: 

Using the central focal point as almost always, the below image was created using the Canon EOS 7DMk2, Sigma 150-600m Contemporary lens, handheld with OS set to 1 on the lens.  Diffused sunlight over my right shoulder.

Zoomed in to full 600mm, f6.3 (wide open for this focal length), 1/160s, ISO 200:

focus hit just below the eye, but at f6.3 and given the size of the subject this ensured the eye was razor sharp

 Once in Lightroom, only clarity was added to the overall image, and a crop to take the out of focus tree out on the right and to bring the bird to a more pleasing off central position.
Brushing (see image below) was 100% shadow lift and +70 sharpness. 


Lightroom brush settings shadows 100, sharpness 70


Optimised Image:




Dont forget to keep an eye on the Facebook page for updates on workshops, and other goodies!

More educational blogs to come over the coming weeks, including BIF (birds in flight) and the odd macro might creep in now the sun is shining.

D

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