A timely escape (+1 re-edit)

Here it is with the shoreline adjusted per Diane’s suggestion -

With a crop and some Frequency Separation to remove the far shoreline -

Like Diane, I too tried to keep up with the fleeing cormorants. Hers has wings up, mine wings down. I had a lot of blurry shots and a lot of just butts and tailfeathers, but this one is in the frame, is sharp where it should be and is exposed pretty well. Will wonders never cease. I wish I had dialed in a higher shutter speed, but it is what it is.

Specific Feedback Requested

Open to ideas in terms of processing and field advice for next time.

Technical Details

Is this a composite: No
Handheld in the boat w/animal detection & continuous auto focus


Lr for exposure adjustment, white & black points, clarity, texture & a crop to 2:3 - but this is basically the whole frame side to side. Used select subject to add more clarity and texture on just the bird. Topaz Sharpen to bring up the most in the bird. Photoshop to add some canvas in front of the bird. Lr for a little vignette.


Very nice, with a good splash, and excellent sharpness for the ss. The forward wing position is a very dynamic pose, and excellent feather detail.

Having 800mm paid off well. The cardinal rule of bird photography seems to be that you always need a longer focal length, a faster ss and higher ISO. (And good reactions.)

I’m wondering about cooling down the shoreline and lowering its contrast a bit.

Thanks @Diane_Miller - the extra length did come in handy sometimes, that’s for sure. I believe I was panning a bit to keep up with it so maybe that’s why it’s pretty crisp. Put a second image up with the shoreline adjusted per your suggestion. Thoughts?

For me, the OOF detail on the rocks on the shoreline is distracting attention from the lovely bird. I tried reducing contrast and toning down the warmth but it wasn’t enough. Then I blurred that area more and it looked overdone. Finally cropped some and lightened the UL. It’s not great but you can see the idea.

Gotcha. I’ll play with it. Hmmm…

Maybe blatantly cheat :grin: and try content aware to extend the water. The top part of it is lovely.

I tried CAF, but it wasn’t working, so I used Frequency Separation instead. See the OP for the newest version!

Kristen and Diane! The bird had no chance of escaping the pair of you.

I like your third post Kristen. The colour palette is very appealing and the bird has given you a good pose with a great splash and droplets. I might be tempted to lower the contrast in the BG a little more?

That’s perfect! I’m still waiting to get a new computer so I can run the newest software – can you give a hint of what you did?

Frequency Separation is a technique or feature in Photoshop and is also a TK8 panel action. Basically it separates into two layers the texture and the color of your pixels. By clicking on one or the other you can paint the attributes of that layer onto the layer below. For this image I first ran the action then selected the color layer to paint the color of the water onto the shoreline. You use the stamp tool for this and select like you would with any other clone stamping job. Second I painted some of the water texture over where I’d already painted color. It isn’t perfect and I could certainly do more work to break up some of the more obvious pattern repeats, but I didn’t. Maybe I should.

This is a good technique for removing lens flare and I’ve done that successfully. Typically you want to keep the texture of the object behind the lens flare, but paint out the color of the lens flare. You don’t necessarily want to replace the pixels behind the flare. In the video Dave paints out a shadow on a leaf to even out the tonalities, but leaves the texture of the leaf as it was. Only the color changed. It works pretty well when cloning/healing/CAF just don’t quite get it done.

Here’s the video I watched to learn about how to use F.S. -

Interesting process. I like the last posted image. It has the most contrast and the crop focuses on the subject. It is a little less distracting than the originally posted image. Good color and detail. Plumage looks fine. I’ll have to look into the frequency separation issue. Always something new to learn!

Thanks @David_Schoen - I’ve used F.S. when other cloning methods don’t work.