Tag Archives: birds

CoGC GU2: Scottish Wildlife — Shoot 9 Outcome

_20A8486As arranged I arrived early afternoon to the Osprey Centre in Boat of Garten. Similar to the dolphin’s you don’t know what to expect and what you will capture, however I was lucky enough that when I arrived the female Osprey was sitting guard in her nest as the male Osprey was off fetching food for the female. Photographing the Osprey was pretty challenging, they are a very protected species by the RSPB which I can understand and therefore limited access from the viewpoint of their nest. The Osprey nest is a good distance from the centre which I can respect and therefore I was limited to the shots I could capture of the Osprey. I also tried to avoid photographing where the camera points down at the nest to appear more natural.

As much as I would have preferred to have captured some stunning closeup shots of the Osprey in action, I did manage to capture the female taking off with her food as the male returned to the nest with the catch which was a special moment. From that the female was spotted off to the distance perched on a dead tree eating the fish, I did manage to
capture a few interesting images from that which could be classified with a camouflage technique. To capture the Osprey in action I used my Sigma 150-600mm Sport lens with my 5D Mark iii set to high speed drive mode and with a faster shutter speed I was required to use a higher ISO number to capture the correct exposure. I did use a narrower Red Squirrel Habitataperture for some images for extended depth of field so my settings varied.

I was severely limited to techniques I could use for photographing the Osprey and their nest and since I already had a silhouette shot of an Osprey nest from Loch Insh I decided to concentrate on a composite image which tells a story. There were telescopes put into position to help spot the Osprey and this helped for direction when looking for the female perched on the dead tree eating her catch. There were several other birds I managed to capture in the surrounding forest area just outside the Osprey centre at the car park and was delighted with some of the pictures I captured. I also managed to capture a landscape image of the forest that really caught my eye with the light breaking through the trees, using the extended depth of field with the narrow aperture, slower shutter speed I managed to capture a stunning landscape which has potential to be used for some of the wildlife I’ve already captured such as the red squirrels etc.

Here is a sample contact sheet of some of the best images from that shoot:ContactSheet-001

The first image was one of my favourites as I managed to capture the female just as she was taking off with the fish which you can see clutched in her claw and was pleased with the composition; the second and third images I used for different perspective both of which have the eyes searching for the female Osprey, the portrait shot I wanted to show more of the landscape leading to where the female Osprey was perched to make the viewer feel closer. For the fourth and fifth picture I was delighted to capture two of the smaller birds on the trees and the lighting captured my eye; the final image showing the landscape shot I captured through a forest with the light breaking through, one of my favourite landscape shots.

Here is a sample contact sheet of some of the bad images:ContactSheet-002

The first image shows the ledge from shooting through the window, the weight of the Sigma 150-600mm lens can sometimes be troublesome holding for a lengthy period of time handheld; the second image I captured the female Osprey flying back to the nest, however it was out of focus and I felt in the third image there was too much over exposure on the leaves from the sun and not as favourable on the angle.

For post processing of my favourite shot I reduced the highlights and shadows, increased clarity and slightly reduced saturation to enhance the atmosphere of the forest, then increased sharpness of the overall image using Camera Raw.

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Using the brush tool I began creating a scattered spotted brush by increasing the scattering and spacing.

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Using the spotted scattered brush tool created, I painted over the image with smaller and larger brush sizes to desired effect with a light coloured brush matching the lightest areas of the photograph. Secondly using Filter > Blur > Radial Blur with zoom setting I created the blur effect with the new layer and finally I reduced the opacity of the rays of light to desired effect for the final image.

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CoGC GU2: Scottish Wildlife — Shoot 8 Outcome

001As I had booked the Dolphin Spirit Cruise in Inverness I knew that there was no guarantee I would get to see the dolphin’s, although I was expecting there to be other wildlife surrounding the area. As expected and was unfortunate we never got to see the dolphin’s on the cruise, however it was interesting hearing about the surrounding area which gives me enough information about the wildlife surrounding such as a place you can visit for photographing red kites as they are fed every day at 2:30pm. Due to there being no dolphin’s in sight and constantly keeping an eye out on the water I was limited with what else I captured. There were some pictures I captured of the birds surrounding land that I managed to capture, but nothing I would have personally favoured. I was fortunate however to capture a bird flying low across the water at speed using the pan technique which I captured razor sharp, however it’s a consideration as to whether or not I feel it’s good enough to be placed among my final 20 images.Screen Shot 2017-05-10 at 16.57.43

The Dolphin Spirit Cruise toured around the Inner Moray Firth and although it can carry up to 70 passengers I was fortunate I had room for myself to capture anything I wanted. The weather turned out fantastic for it with the sun and clear skies. The tour lasted for over an hour which gave me plenty of time to get back to Boat of Garten for the Osprey Centre in the Cairngorms National Park. I was hoping I would find seals however unlucky. From the shoot capturing one pan shot technique it certainly gives me the option to use towards my final 20 images.

Here is a sample contact sheet of the best images from that shoot:ContactSheet-001

The first image was arguably my best shot from that shoot having captured the low flying bird pin sharp with the landscape showing the blurring of the movement; in the second image I liked for landscape and composition whilst capturing some of the birds on land, it also captures some of the surrounding water where the dolphin’s may be and the final image of what looks to be a lone heron at the edge of the water.

Here is a sample contact sheet for the worst images:ContactSheet-002

These were failed attempts using the slower shutter speed as I tried to capture a pan technique, not only were they out of focus but blurred. The third image illustrates not only it being out of focus but did not favour shooting up into the sky. Comparing the pan technique to my favourite image you get some of the backdrop to show for the fast movement of the flying bird, an empty sky doesn’t turn out the same results.

For the best image I made slight adjustments to enhance the image using Camera Raw, first by enhancing the highlights, slightly increasing clarity and then increasing sharpness. Finally for better composition I used the crop tool to get rid of unneeded space and using the shore line to straighten the image.

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After opening the image in Photoshop CC I then used the dodge and burn tools to enhance the lightest and darkest areas of the photograph to give it more punch.

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I then duplicated the background layer and used Image > Adjustments > Desaturate to make the top layer black and white and then reduced the opacity of the desaturated layer to 15% for the final touch.

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CoGC GU2: Scottish Wildlife — Shoot 7 Outcome

004As planned after doing the reindeer shoot I arrived at the Loch Insh boathouse for the wildlife guided boat tour around Loch Insh. From the research I had done about the boat tour I had imagined that there would have been more to it, however it was slightly disappointing. It did mention about the possibility of spotting Osprey on Loch Insh and from the shoot I managed to get one several pictures of the Osprey nest which I was fairly pleased with. A lot of the birds that were mentioned on the guided tour around the Loch were said to be on the surrounding areas. The boat itself was further out from land and therefore even with using the 150-600mm Sigma Sport lens there wasn’t enough zoom to capture much and for me it wasn’t good enough to place towards anything I would wish.

_20A8280The wildlife boat tour was booked for 4pm and lasted for 1 hour. The area the boat stopped for the Osprey nest was perfect enough to capture several images, although I never spotted the Osprey themselves I felt this was ideal for capturing something environmental slightly different from the normal landscape shot that captures their habitat. The tree itself was dark due to coming from behind which influenced me to capture a silhouette technique as this was something I never had. I took several shots of the tree and nest both landscape and portrait for variation of choice. The hopes were to capture any birds flying past using a pan technique but found it was difficult as the shoot was indoors on the boat shooting through smaller win
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The wildlife tour by boat on Loch Insh cost £7 per adult which I feel for what it was worth, capturing that one image stood out and feel it’s good enough to include for my final 20 images. I did use a faster shutter speed of 1/800 of a second for capturing the exposure darker to help create silhouette, a wide aperture of f/6.3 and ISO setting of 100. There wasn’t too much information about the tour on the flyer in the boathouse from where I originally found out about the boat tour or on the website, but was worth checking out. I suppose it is just your luck whether you find the Osprey or not. There was also a nature walk, however uncertain with how long it is I decided to avoid much of it, for the woodland landscape it wasn’t my favoured choice as I wanted to capture something to relate to the red squirrel habitat. It did mention however that there were red squirrels but I wanted something more eye catching that would help stand out.

Although limited here areis a sample contact sheet of my best images from that shoot:

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The first image is a picture I captured of a closeup of the Osprey nest, with the overcast sky I decided to enhance the image to enhance for silhouette; in the second image it was another favoured shot I captured of the Osprey nest only with portrait; another shot I captured of a bird flying past the boat, wasn’t the best of images but limited with this shoot, not something I would favour for final 20 and the final image I captured on part of the nature walk for habitat landscape with as I captured the sun glaring off the water and much of the land where the birds nest.

Here is a sample contact sheet of the bad images and some mistakes made from the shoot:ContactSheet-002

The first image image the birds dipping into the water water not only very quick but too distant and therefore turned out to be a poor image; in the second image the first picture I captured was over exposed and didn’t help shooting through a window at an angle; another attempt you can see the underexposure and the lack of contrast again due to shooting through a window on the boat and the final image attempting the pan shot technique with birds flying past on land, the birds were completely blurred out, plus they were too distant.

The first step to enhancing my favourite image I began by lowering the shadows and greatly increasing highlights to enhance for silhouette and reduced the temperature to add a slight blue tinge to give it more atmosphere; secondly I increased the sharpness of the image using Camera Raw.

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Using the Image > Adjustments > Curves I began by moving the white slider at the bottom in a little to where the detail ends and added a slight S curve to add more punch to the lightest and darkest areas.

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The final slight adjustment I made to the photograph was further enhancing the sharpness by using the Unsharp Mask tool under the Filter > Sharpen menu.

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