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Stepping Into the Digital Darkroom #3 – I Dove In

November 26, 2013
White-winged Dove

© jmillerphoto – White-winged Dove

I was right.  My Monday was lousy.  Okay, beyond lousy.  But that is the nature of the beast, I guess.

My Tuesday wasn’t exactly stellar either, but I did have time when I got home to spend some quality time in the digital darkroom.  I worked two images from the trip to Pedernales Falls State Park.  The first was one of the numerous Northern Cardinals I liked from that visit.  And the second was another White-winged Dove from that same visit.

While I saw 14 different species while sitting in the blind, for the “keepers”, that is the ones that I selected for working later, it was only three species:  10 different Northern Cardinal images, 4 different White-winged Dove images, and 2 different Ladder-backed Woodpecker images.  All things considered, 16 images to work out of 450+ images isn’t that bad of a ratio.  I would have preferred a little more variety, but as Mick Jagger said, “You can’t always get what you want.”

I applied the standard tricks of the trade to the images.  Nothing special really, but that is a product of getting it fairly close to right in the camera to begin with and then working around the limitations of the hardware.  I ended up putting the White-winged Dove into a square orientation because I couldn’t find a good way to get rid of the cactus.  Even by squaring it up I still had some of that annoying cactus in the front.  It is an image that will go into the portfolio, but probably won’t be shared much.

The Northern Cardinal was in a more tradition 4×5 orientation.  But I wasn’t exceptionally pleased with it either.  Because I shot a fairly open f/8 on the images to get the background into a creamy bokeh, I had a limited amount of focal depth to work with.  And because the Northern Cardinal was turned at about a 30º angle, I lost sharpness as the eye trailed towards the tail of the bird.  Again, it will go into the portfolio, but probably not used much.

Northern Cardinal (Female)

© – Northern Cardinal (Female)

I also tossed one image from any serious editing and/or inclusion in the portfolio.  The image above of a female Northern Cardinal is all in all not a bad shot.  The background is faded out, just the way I like it.  The lady Cardinal is nice and sharp.  But that gosh darned rock her tail is sitting on was both out of focus (see also shallow depth of field) and just all in all annoying.  My eyes kept on being drawn to the rock.  So out it went from consideration and future work.  Thank God it is digital and not a wasted frame of film.

About the Images:
Both images were shot with the Standard Gear, on the tripod but without flash.  The tech specs on the White-winged Dove (Zenaida asiatica) was ISO 400, 1/640 sec at f/8.  For the Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) it was ISO 400, 1/250 sec at f/7.1

4 Comments leave one →
  1. November 27, 2013 7:24 am

    You got the dove just right – lovely colors and detail!

  2. November 27, 2013 8:22 am

    Fabulous. The cardinals are freezing their feathers off, it’s so cold right now. The dove is so beautiful.

    • November 28, 2013 10:05 am

      Thanks. Ours are freezing their feathers off now, too. It was probably in the mid 70’s when I made that shot and I don’t think we’ve seen much above 50 since.

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