Goldfinch Feast

This male American Goldfinch is dining on the ripened seeds of Giant Coneflower, Rudbeckia maxima. This stately native plant has clumps of silvery-blue foliage, and provides nectar for bees, butterflies, and beneficial insects. If allowed to ripen, the seed heads provide food for small birds, especially Goldfinches.

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Technical Details

Canon 60D, Canon 70-300 IS USM @ 200mm, f/5.6, 1/350 sec., ISO 1000. Processed in ACR and PSE 2020 for exposure and cropping. I used content aware to remove a couple of mortar cracks on the stone wall in the background. Topaz De-noise applied.

Terry: The basic scene here is terrific. The goldfinch on that flower stem is really nice. Great pose and I like the composition.

Unfortunately, the processing has let this image down. There are many remnants of background work that are obvious. The edges have white pieces showing that were actually the first thing my eyes saw. The top flower has a halo around that is likely the remnant of a mask dealing with the background brightness. The bird is pretty decent, but over saturated, and yes, I know these guys are vivid, but the saturation hasn’t allowed any details to show in the plumage. I’d love to just see a jpeg straight from the raw file.

Here it is, Keith. I suspect the remnants you’re seeing, and even the halo around the seed head, were left from the attempted removal of the mortar joints in the stone wall background. I thought I got the edges cleaned up, but I guess not. Anyway, here’s the untouched RAW photo converted to jpeg.

Thanks @terryb This helps to understand the situation and just how much background work was done. Always a choice about whether to work it or not.

At any rate, here is a version with a heavily modified background to remove all the mortar and a surface blur to smooth it out even more. I don’t particularly like the look as it looks post processed.

Anyway here it is without the content aware fill remnants or halo. Also did a little work on the gold finch to address the saturation and detail.

Good work, @Keith_Bauer . I originally simply tried to tone down those mortar joints, but they were still a distraction.

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Good pose with the feeding activity. Nice when you find a bird cooperating like this.

Thanks, @Allen_Brooks . Yeah, that’s why, even with all it’s issues, I had to save this photo. I get a lot of satisfaction out of seeing wildlife utilizing native plants I’ve provided for them.

A real dilemma when you have a background like this. I have a tendency to use the healing tool on the background to smooth things out. I have just started using the soft skin setting on Topaz Adjust AI.
The reworked image by Keith certainly improves the situation.

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