The Great Journey in Photography

Posts tagged “bald eagle

Seattle Stickies Celebrates Seattle Storm Championship

Storm800

Seattle Stickies for iMessage version 1.2.3 was released today with new sticker celebrating the WNBA team Seattle Storm’s third championship this week. The update also includes translation for German and compatibility for Apple’s latest operating system iOS 12. Seattle Stickies for iMessage is available to all iPhone and iPad users.

You can download a copy of Seattle Stickies at the link below.

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#lessthanacupofcoffee

 

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Get This Image For Free

snowyEgretatBolsa Chica

420mm f6.3 250iso 1/2500sec

Yeah I know you could just right click and save this image but that is stealing and you have to deal with the watermark. I do believe that most people don’t want to steal and I am making it easy for to do the right thing anyway. You can download this image and dozens of others in high resolution, unmarked, to copy and enjoy for personal use by installing the Nature & Wildlife Pictures app for iPhone and iPad.

With more than 60 high quality nature images free and for sale and support for 4 languages, version 3.3.2 of NWP was released today looking better than ever. Included in this version.

  • 12 Eagle pictures, 18 stunning landscape pictures, and 7 canvas art illistrations.
  • 6 Free Wildlife images specially designed to be used as Apple Watch faces.
  • See any of the for sale images in augmented reality mounted in a frame of choice in your own home before buying the image.
  • It’s a free download! That’s right you can get this application for less than the price of a cup of coffee.

You can download your own free copy of Nature & Wildlife Pictures for iPhone and iPad at the link below.

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#lessthanacupofcoffee

 


Cruising With Seattle Stickies

cruise1000

Seattle Stickies stickers for iMessage Version 1.2.2 was released today with support for French and Italian languages and the addition of three new cruise ship themed stickers. Three of the cruise lines sailing from Seattle to Alaska are featured in this update to the sticker pack with Holland America, Norwegian, and Princess ships presented as canvas art stickers. If you are taking a cruise to Alaska or just like cruise ships, owners of the Seattle Stickies sticker pack can now show their support for their favorite ships.

If you are not aware of what a Stickers App is here is a great explanation from iMore.com

Apple has made it possible for you to make your messages a lot more interesting with the help of apps and stickers in iMessages. You can use stickers as stand-alone images, or slap them right on top of someone else’s chat bubble (or sticker, or picture). Apps integrate information so you can, say, book a table at a restaurant or share movie times with others. Your friends can also change dates and times in some instances so everyone can collaborate together.

You can pick up you very own copy of Seattle Stickies at the link below. It truly costs less than a cup of coffee and has no up-sells and no ads.

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#lessthanacupofcoffee


Free Hi-Res Wildlife Images

NWWImage

Just a quick little reminder that the Wildlife & Nature Pictures application that I have for iPad and iPhone contains 46 free full resolution images available for download and personal use. The application is a free download too. Counting it all up that means that there are 46 nature and wildlife images at no cost to you! When last I checked, that is less than a cup of coffee.

For real.

Wildlife & Nature Pictures is available world-wide in the Apple App store and is translated to Spanish with more languages coming soon.

You can download your free copy today at the link below or search for app id #595565558 outside the US.

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#lessthanacupofcoffee


Evolving Augmented Reality Experience

Born from the desire to make better screenshots all the photography applications will get an enhanced AR experience on the next round of updates. The trio of apps will soon be able to save and share a snapshot of the augmented reality experience and return to viewing artwork in AR on the same screen. Users will be able to save the snapshot to Photos, other storage services, and social media. Now users can see what their own artwork looks like mounted on a wall and easily get an opinion from others.

Also included in this update will be a larger range of image sizes with a maximum of 1 meter (about 36″) sized artwork. Planned for an update later this Summer the apps will also have the capability to free stand on table and counter tops.

You can download all of the apps at the links below.

Download_on_the_App_Store_Badge_US-UK_135x40  Canvas Art

Download_on_the_App_Store_Badge_US-UK_135x40  Get it Straight

Download_on_the_App_Store_Badge_US-UK_135x40  Wildlife & Nature Pictures – Free Download


Post Up II

Bald Eagle Workflow

Last week we did the most basic editing by separating the subject from the back ground, balancing the exposures and making contrast, saturation, and shadow/highlight adjustments independent of each other. Today we are going to finish off the photo with some cloning. There are plenty of different ways to do cloning and none of them are wrong, so don’t think you need to do it the same as I do. Any way that accomplishes the result is just fine. Lets go back to that background layer that we just adjusted and duplicate it. We see an ugly black waterline from the river going right through the bird. This is going to be a lot easier to fix with the layer mask in place, we won’t have to worry about our bird at all. Select a soft brush with medium opacity in your clone brush tool and be sure that you are sampling only the current layer and the “aligned” box is checked. Here you have your choice, you could clone with the river bed rock, the foliage, or a combination of both. In this case I did both trying to make the water line slightly meandering so it is not a straight arrow shooting straight through our eagle. The log under the eagle could also be cloned out at this point but I think I will leave it in. The only big distraction it creates is the huge black spot behind the subject in the trunk. I am going to sample the area just below it and at a very low opacity tap the brush repeatedly until it looks ok.

beek

Yeah, that’s the ticket. Now lets look at the bird. Not much to do here, the beak has a white highlight on the tip, it is not a blown out highlight just a white area that is overexposed. All we need to do is put some color in it and that is easy to do. I could clone from the area around it but since the area is round and irregular shaped it is much easier to simply sample a nearby color and paint over it on new blank layer. At this point you could try different blending modes and the “color” mode is often a good choice but since the underlying layer is white just lowering the opacity until everything blends in works just fine. By the way, there is a lot of blood and dirt in this eagles head area, usually eagles clean up after eating but this guy must have forgotten. I could have cleaned that up but for me it is just part of nature so I left it in. On the strip of the tail that was too bright I did a little cloning lowered the opacity and changed the blend mode to multiply (I think!) to darken it up a bit. After that  Shift<Option<Command<E to make a complete layer, flatten the image if you need the performance. I now just need to clone out that branch in the lower left corner, healing brush will get it too, and send the image over to Lightroom for some final adjustment. I like to use Lightroom for sharpening, noise reduction, saturation, and selective exposure or gradient masking. There is no need to do it in Lightroom but for me it seems easier, probably because it is one step closer to a final output.

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I am sure you will agree that the final image is a vast improvement and I hope one or two of these methods finds its way into your workflow. Until next time Thank You for stopping by and Happy Shooting.

You can catch me on Twitter: @RonBoyd


Thinning Crowds

Bald Eagle coming around the bend.

The past few months I have had the time and pleasure to talk with a number of photographers, some professional, some not, some for wildlife, some not and it seems to me that things have changed a bit. It could just be the crowd I run around with these days is a little older maybe a little more sophisticated but I feel there has been a change overall. Different from the past is the fact that a number of folks I encountered were now using Nikon products. Almost irrelevant beyond a data point, for many years I felt as an outsider in the gear department. As far as nature and wildlife were concerned almost everyone was in full Cannon gear. Cannon had been a little cheaper with a few more choices but some how Nikon made up some ground. That could still be repercussions from the tsunami in Japan a few years ago.

More important to me is that it seems as though the photography frenzy has begun to calm down. A year ago a lot of people were aspiring to be professionals, there seemed to be no middle of the road, one was either a struggling professional or desperately seeking ways to make money to become one. As it turns out a lot of these folks were doing nothing more than marketing to each other and that fuels an air of frustration and despair. I have run into a number of people who have no desire to sell their work or even show their images. On one excursion the leader told me that only about half of the participants volunteer to show their work and that indicates to me those people are making photographs for some reason other than selling them to the public. I was not able to make it to Bosque Del Apache last Fall so I thought I could enjoy the sights from the internet perusing the thousands of pictures posted. There was a very small number compared to previous years. Though I didn’t make it a major ambition, I really could not find much participation and what I did find was professional. It is possible that the sharp increase in the price of entry for many photography genres, in particular bird, helped slow things down. Maybe photography is not as cool as it once was. Maybe it is just me. In any case I like what I see.


Mightiest of the Mighty

Bald Eagle Along the Mountains in Alaska

420mm f6.3 400iso 1/1,600sec

Many of you will already know that I used the Nikon D800 camera body extensively a couple of months ago. I think it is a remarkable piece of gear but I also wonder just how good it is for bird photography. As a bit of background, when I first started shooting birds one of my goals was to be the person using medium format cameras with long lenses. Physics and money made that an impossibility until the D800 came along. Needless to say I was one of the anxious ones wanting to see just what the mighty body can do and I would rather be a fanboy of the camera rather than a critic but there are times when the D800 falls short for bird photography. Twice now I have held back from running out and buying one.

Huge file size and good low light sensitivity are the two big draws for the Nikon camera, along with the professional build it is more than enough for almost everyone and probably the very best camera made in the $3,000 price range. Intellectually, it is a sheer pleasure having all those pixels to play with, you can make prints large enough for the Grand Hall or crop for days and still have a usable, publishable image. In real life huge images are a pain in the ass. Everything needs an upgrade across the board, memory, computer ram, data transfer technology, storage, drive read and write, buffer sizes, and software all have to be at cutting edge standards to have an enjoyable workflow when processing these large images. If you want to shoot 36 megapixels you have to be sure that every single supporting technology, everything you use after the shutter button clicks is up to snuff. In many cases that is going to cost more than the camera its self. In the process of upgrading my supporting hardware I lost something that was very near and dear to my heart Nik Color Effects Pro 3 Tonal Contrast. You see I converted over to the Photoshop cc plan and in that version none of the older Nik products can be used. I tried the latest version and it sucks to be blunt and even at the super low price is not worth the money to me. The D800 has great dynamic range, the best I have seen to date and the low light sensitivity is very good but not the best I have seen. One unusual trait I have noticed with the camera is the way the bokeh renders out in certain images. I think it has to do with how the images interact with anti-noise software and anti-aliasing. It is hard to put my finger on it but backgrounds that would render out a nice creamy bokeh are just a little bit different. Plastic like is the best description I can think of.

None of those thing is a good excuse for not using the mighty 800 as far as I am concerned but there is one and that is the painfully slow frame rate speed of 4fps (can be upgraded to 6). It is almost impossible to quantify the damage this does without doing a side by side comparison for thousands of images but I am sure there are a number of missed shots in my work simply because of the amount of time between the frames. One remedy to this problem is to be extremely methodical and selective of the time you attempt a burst of images and that is all a function of knowing the basics. Just like always, you have to know what you want and when you want it, you need to predict behavior and know the direction of light and in general be on top of your game. It is a pro level device.


Four Down

Immature Bald Eagles

420mm f6.3 640iso 1/1,000sec

This week the Diary of a Birdshooter blog starts its 5th year. If it were a Bald Eagle it would become an adult. Four complete years of writing  every week about my adventures and sharing the things I have learned along the way. I am looking forward to continuing through out 2014 and into the foreseeable future however things are going to change some too. As things continue to grow time becomes more limited and I am rapidly seeing the need to make more money to help pay the bills. At some point in 2014 the site is going to get an overhaul, there may be some advertising or donation buttons but I plan to make everything available for free. It is hard to believe that there has been 4 years worth of material devoted to bird photography but I still have plans for much, much more.

For every one who stopped inane commented the last 4 years I extend a big thank you and hope to see you again in the future. I look forward to bringing you more photos, more videos, news, reviews, and related applications so please come by again next week and see what is new. For today please enjoy this image of 2 immature Bald Eagles fighting for the last of the salmon scraps.


The Alaska Experience (Pt 2)

Eagle-on-the-Salmon

It is not that I could not figure it out myself, I had most of it rattling around in my head anyhow. It is more about the fact that I would not have done it. Only a few hours into the workshop Matt asked me if  I was shooting manual mode. After a puzzled look from me he ran it down. It was a remarkably easy thing to learn and I shot in manual mode the rest of the trip. Because Bald Eagles are such high contrast it is particularly helpful to shoot in manual mode, especially for in flight shots. Over exposing the bright white head of the Eagles is the most common problem when photographing these birds, so if you set a manual exposure to protect those highlights you are good to go. Your Eagle is properly exposed. If the body is under exposed, well that is a dynamic range and intensity of light issue, don’t confuse that with a proper exposure. Cameras in auto modes will rarely produce a properly exposed Bald Eagle on its own. typically, you need to set exposure compensation. With a manual exposure as long as the light does not change the exposure will always be correct regardless of the scene or background. Going from a dark brown tree line to pure white snow-covered mountain peaks is going to make a camera in any automatic mode do drastic changes and the exposure of the subject may or may not be correct. In manual it will always have that original correct exposure. The caveat to all of that is now the rest of the scene may or may not have a correct exposure. In the example of the treelike and snow caps one of them will be way off but remember you subject will still have a proper exposure. That is when you drill down a tad further setting the scene you want to photograph. Be selective, work the scene you have properly exposed and you will make your best shots. Like I said at the beginning it is not that I could not have figured it out on my own it, but rather the fact that I did not appreciate the need to shoot manual and would not have tried it till late or not at all. That is where expert instruction becomes the game changer. That little pivot point marks my greatest accomplishment of the entire trip.

Bald-Eagle-Portrait

Regrets, I have a few. No, I am not going to break out in song and actually there is only one. One day we came upon a rather picturesque scene of a Bald Eagle sitting on a huge boulder  in a stream. I rushed up on the bird and scared it away. You have heard my in the past write about taking the position away from those who are not making the most of or not themselves taking the best position. You can read that here. Everything I wrote still goes but this was a different situation. First, I was indeed too close for the distance I had. Even though there was running water between us and that usually calms the bird I was too close and should have been using a soft step circling approach at that point. Second, I did not have the lens I needed. I was sporting an old 28-85 lens for landscape shots so I could never make the shot I wanted anyhow. If you can’t make the shot, you can’t make the shot and there is no need to be fighting for a place and making things harder for others. I know better than to do that and it was stupid and thoughtless. Don’t be a Bozo kids, think about what you are doing.

Bald Eagle Art

No account of the Alaska experience would be complete without mentioning the co-leader of the group, best of the best, a kind man named Bill. Yes, I do know his last name but I will not mention it today because I did not ask permission to write about him today but I am sure if you are really interested you can figure it out. Bill is a wonderful guide, he is a local to the area and knows the terrain, wildlife, and people like the back of his hand. He is also a very accomplished photographer and artist. You can see some of his work here. I can’t think of a moment when Bill was not lending a hand, answering a question, or just trying to make the whole Alaska Experience a once in a lifetime experience.

I hesitate to use the term “once in a lifetime” when writing about the Alaska Experience, I could do it again, again…

Thanks for stopping by everyone I shared 3 of my favorite images. They are quality publishable images so I apologize for the big ugly watermarks but I hope you enjoy them and I hope you enjoyed the whole series about Alaska. You can see more of my Alaska photos here. If you are thinking about planning your own Alaska Experience, I suggest you give Matt Shetzer a look see.

Oh, by the way, those images I thought were the best I had ever seen. Do I still think the same now that I have my own Eagle photos? Yup!