I missed the opportunity to get out and photograph my local birds today, which is a bit of a shame, as it has been a lovely day with mild temperatures and blue skies. So instead, I’ll share a few images of my favourite African bird, the stunning lilac-breasted roller.
This will be the last Sunday post not only of the year, but of the decade. It seems a bit hard to believe. I don’t yet have a grand plan for the blog in 2020; so far, the only plan is to continue to share images and some of the stories that go alone with the photos, and see how things go.
Wishing everyone a fantastic week ahead, and many thanks for your support throughout the year.
For the last few days, it has been very quiet around the yard in terms of bird life. While last weekend the chickadees, nuthatches and flickers seemed to be around non-stop, the past few days, even on my walks, I haven’t heard a twitter.
With birds on my mind, I decided to play around with some of my photo art edits for my post this week. This is a topic that I have worked on previously; if you missed some of the posts from a couple of months ago, here are two links to take a look at:
Travelling through southern Africa, pretty much any time of year, will provide the opportunity to see a great variety of birds. Today I chose to focus on ones with feathers in shades of blue. I hope you enjoy the variety of images today, and wishing you a wonderful weekend!
As mentioned last week, I decided to go with bird images for my last round of editing images with On1 Photo Raw, Topaz Studio and Luminar, seeing how the results compare with the different software choices. I thought bird images would be a great choice because there are lots of fine details in feathers that need to be enhanced, and often things like distracting backgrounds that need to be minimized.
In very broad strokes, I’ve come to realize editing an original image in Topaz Studio that requires colour correction is not something I enjoy doing, and not something I will try to do moving forward (until they provide some updates to that portion of the interface). I don’t find that the colour temperature slider works well enough to deal with complicated colour scenarios, and I can get much better results using On1 Photo Raw, or even Luminar.
The first images I picked are of a purple roller that I spotted on the banks of the Boteti River in Botswana. I decided to edit original images in each program, rather than correcting colour first in On1 Photo Raw and editing the resultant images. For a series of images, it’s obviously not a good strategy, but I really wanted to see the different colour rendering and how well I could adjust the images. The results are mixed.
Next up are some wattled cranes, also seen along the banks of the Boteti River while staying at the fabulous Leroo La Tau camp. While these images were all shot on the same morning, the light was changing very fast and the birds were moving around relative to our vehicle, so some images were shot into the sun and others with the sun at my back. Wattled cranes are listed as a vulnerable species; our guide Calvin had been so excited to see a group of this size while we were out on game drive.
Up next are one of my favourite birds, the beautiful lilac breasted roller. Unlike the purple roller, I have seen this bird on all my trips in Africa, and have gotten a few really good shots over the years.
These roller images are the best ones for comparing the software, since the bird is fairly close and the light unchanging. I am finding the version from On1 looking a little crunchy when compared to the other two, and the Topaz version lacking a little bit of contrast. I think I was able to bring out the colour and tones the best with Luminar on this particular image. I found Topaz was able to bring out a lot of fine detail in the feathers without making the image look crunchy (it’s hard to see on a web sized image, so you’ll have to take my word for it). I think the On1 version could have done well with backing off the tonal contrast a couple of points; though if that version had been posted in isolation, I would be very happy with it.
I started getting some editing fatigue looking at so many similar images, so I decided for the last few, I would just pick a few one-off bird images, and edit one of each in the various programs.
There are pros and cons to each of the programs; Topaz and the colour correction issues I have been having, Luminar with the lack of adjustable luminosity masks, and with On1, I don’t find the noise reduction function is a good as some other options. But saying that, all the options are robust programs that have a lot of great features, it’s just a matter of learning how to use the tools to your best advantage. I don’t feel like I am in any type of editing disadvantage by choosing to use these software options over the more common Lightroom and Photoshop scenario (that I also used for several years).
From these editing immersions and comparisons, I think I am a getting a little closer to knowing where all these options fit into my workflow.
Part of the reason that I chose bird photography this month was to get out and enjoy the nice weather, as well as get familiar with a new lens I have purchased. So at first glance it may not make any sense that today I’m posting images from my last trip. I have gotten out a bit over the past couple of days and taken some bird images, and I have been really impressed with the lens so far. But I’m already half way through Sunday and I haven’t had a chance to start editing, so rather than miss posting altogether or rushing my editing process, I decided to go for some bird images from my catalogue that I haven’t posted before.
I hope you enjoy my selections for this week, and next week I will be sharing some of our local birds.
The WordPress photo challenge topic for the week are things that are distracting, and I need look no further than birds. Just yesterday, while taking my dog for an afternoon walk, a flash of yellow caught my eye in the bush, and I ended up rather mesmerized at the side of the road trying to photograph the birds flitting passed, mostly so I could try and identify them later. Those photos aren’t worth sharing, but I’m no different whilst on holiday either. Birds are definitely one of the things that stop me in my tracks so I can gaze at them in wonder.