Sunday, 21 October 2012


Well the original plan for the weekend was to chuck a dart into the map of Northamptonshire on Saturday morning. I got up chucked the dart, checked the location, Blackthorn housing estate, don't think so! So I tried again, my second attempt being a lot better, Walgrave, ok then it'll be Pitsford and Harrington airfield etc. Pulled back the curtain, bugger, low mist and drizzle. So I made myself a cuppa and decided to wait and see if the weather improved, it didn't. As I waited for the weather to improve and dithered what to do for the day I reworked a Sparrowhawk image I got from the undisclosed Barn Owl site. The problem(s) with the image were a: I was driving down the driveway of one of the landowners when I came across this female bird on top of a pigeon and with 700mm attached (500m and 1.4 teleconverter) I was too close. b: The sun was directly behind the bird and I couldn't get into a better position it was already keeping a wary eye on me c: It was on the ground under a long row of very tall, shadow inducing trees (if you move up to your monitor and look into the birds eye you'll see the reflection. So I had to go for it, the best I could, I'd already wound down the window when I saw the bird as there's one thing guaranteed to spook a bird is the sound of an electric window winding itself down. The image below is a heavily worked image in Photoshop and no the fly on the birds back is real and not cloned in.
What I opted to do was a tight crop, the original (on Birdguides) was sat on a Woodpigeon, low shutter speed and dodgy wrist meant severe camera shake which blurred the birds tail. I put the image into Photoshop and cropped the image, I then selected the "magic wand tool" and clicked away until the whole of the bird was covered. I then selected the "inverse" option which meant any adjustments made wouldn't effect the bird and just the backdrop. I then adjusted exposure levels and "levels" to tone down the brightness. I the re sized the image to 800 pixels opting for "bicubic sharper" option then applied unsharp mask and noise reduction courtesy of Neat Image. Was it worth all the effort, let me know what you think good or bad, and what you would do different.
As the weather didn't improve Saturday, I opted for the pub to watch Chelsea play Spurs and after that went to play in the garden. Cleaned the feeders and tried some images of the Goldcrest in the Yew tree, not a good idea after a skinful of lager. Don't really have to say the images were poor, but I did realise the 300mm/f2.8 lens isn't adequate for the flight shots, even though it gave me the shutter speeds for flight images I couldn't get close enough without having to result in heavy cropping of the images, on the plus side, there is SIX different Goldcrests in there and a Coal Tit too. Though my dogs hate the Goldcrests call it makes them run away. One dog, Bailey, you can see in discomfort when they all start to call. With him cowering away whilst looking where the calls are coming from, interestingly he did the same when my local shop installed one of those devices that omitted a high frequency call to discourage kids from congregating outside the shop, though after complaints from dog owners and the kids themselves it was removed.
Finally another Little Grebe from Friday, below, no Photoshop required....though some sunshine wouldn't go a miss. So Chelsea won, Gordon Sheddon won the Brit Touring Cup and I obeyed doctors order, I used my good hand for the pints..



  1. Well, the Sparrowhawk image is a cracker; so I guess it was worth the effort.

    But processing images is something I hate. I do as little as possible. If it don't look reasonable out of the camera, I bin it.
    But that's just me lol

  2. Nope totally agree Keith, sometimes you can get caught up with over processing, simpler the better is a good rule. Just couldn't resist with this one