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Stepping Into the Digital Darkroom – You’re Mocking(bird) Me, Aren’t You?

January 2, 2014
Norther Mockingbird

© – Northern Mockingbird

I stepped away from the digital darkroom for a couple of days over the holiday.  I instead spent a significant amount of time just outside of the digital darkroom trying to get a handle on what has become my electronic portfolio.  And friends, it wasn’t pretty.  And it still isn’t pretty.  But I feel like I have a better handle on it.  Well, sort of.  What I mean is, it is going to take a lot of work.  Sounds the like the makings of a blog entry.

But tonight, rather than diving deeper into that organization package, I instead stepped into the digital darkroom.  I am again working the images from my last trip to Pedernales Falls SP from this past weekend.

I worked four separate images tonight, and I may very well go back and work a couple of more before I go to bed.  Two images that I won’t show you because of space constraints (and frankly attention-span constraints…I’m still trying to fight off a nasty cold) was a female Ladder-backed Woodpecker and a White-winged Dove.  Both good shots, but not really suited well for the format I use on these pages.  You may see up on Flickr in the next couple of days.

So starting with the Northern Mockingbird…  This one took a surprising amount of work.  The two hurdles:  I put it too low in the frame for such a large bird and I underexposed it by about 1/2 f-stop.  The cropping was much more difficult than it should have been and frankly I like the composition on the re-edit I did for the blog than the one that will ultimately go into the print pile.  The exposure was easy enough to deal with in Lightroom, but I still wasn’t happy with it.  Guess I should have gotten it right in the camera like I’m always preaching, eh?

So I brought it into Photoshop and spent some time identifying the highlights and the shadows and brought it closer to what I wanted.  Then I added a bit of vibrance and saturation and I was satisfied with it.  It is a good shot, but not a great shot.  Into the new portfolio it goes.  Image #44.  I’ll explain later.

Northern Cardinal (Female)

© – Northern Cardinal (Female)

I also spent some time with this image of a female Northern Cardinal.  This one was much easier to work.  The exposure was nearly perfect so the bulk of my time in Lightroom was to crop the image down to a 4×5 (and then further crop it to the 8×5 format that I use in the blog…but that was at the end of the process).  From there I pushed it into Photoshop where I messed a tad with the Highlight/Mid-tone/Shadows to give maybe a little more pop to image.  I then added a little vibrance and saturation and I was good to go.  Image #46.

The portfolio now stands at 46 images in the rebuilt state.  Okay, that number is a little bit out in the ether right now.  I will explain with the blog post that I do discussing my rebuild of the portfolio.

I’m not sure what tomorrow is going to bring.  Though do we really ever know what tomorrow is going to bring?  I’m hoping to get another hour or so in the darkroom.  I still have only knocked out 7 of the now 34 workable images from that Pedernales Falls SP trip.  And I wonder why I seem to always get behind…

About the Images:
Both images were shot with the Standard Gear, on the tripod and without flash.  The technical specs on the Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) are ISO 400, 1/500 sec at f/9, though 1/350 sec probably would have been the correct exposure length. The lady Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) was properly exposed at ISO 400, 1/1000 sec at f/8.

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