Great Egret

We saw quite a few Great Egrets on our swamp tour this past weekend. This one posed for us on a cypress branch with the trunk as a background.

Canon 90D, Sigma 150-600 C
ISO 800, f6.3, 1/2000s, hand held from boat

Any comments appreciated.

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That is a beauty Allen. Really nice composition with just enough of the branch showing. Pretty neat how there is a nice S curve in the neck. I am sure you looked to see if more details were available for viewing by toning done the whites. The little bit of trunk showing adds some depth to the photo.

Hi David, thanks for the comment! I did look closely at the whites and put the brightest areas close to 230, 230, 230 as I usually try to do. I am always afraid of graying out what is truly white in the search of more obvious detail. I am no expert in the process though so if you have any other insights that would be great.

Lovely pose and sharpness! I’m new here and not familiar with your processing so wondering what your adjustments were for the whites?

Hi Diane, thanks!
I process RAW files in Canon DPP. In this case, the image seemed under exposed overall so I just increased overall brightness by .33 putting the brightest whites in the range of 230, 230, 230. Of course the processing will vary based on the image and I may pull down the highlights alone (usually just using the highlights slider) if the whites seem over exposed some.

Hi Allen, I am like you and try to keep the whites “bright” and not look too grey or muddy. If there is some separation in the RGB values i might desatuarate the blues a bit, but otherwise it is just adjustment to whites values. This is a very white bird and probably fine feathers so might not be a lot you can do about feather detail.

Your bird is gorgeous and the tonalities give it a sculpted look, so no criticism here, just wondering, as David did, if there may be even a bit more to pull out. Whites (meaning very brights), along with very darks, can take some finesse, and in my experience DPP just doesn’t have the leeway that ACR does. I think you could get more detail in the bird without getting into grays. I adjust exposure until the histogram is not pushed against the wall then pull back Highlights until I see some detail in the brights. I’ll also often adjust Shadows to pull out more detail, and each move of one of those sliders may make it necessary to make a slight adjustment to the other two, but a good balance is usually easy. I’m often very surprised at what I can pull out of the brights, assuming nothing was blown in the capture. It’s also possible in many cases to go further and stretch the brightest brights by moving the Whites slider right a little – all judged by the histogram.

Thanks Diane, do you have rbg numbers you use as guidelines when working on whites?

I really like your composition and the tree made a great background for the heron, Allen. I agree with others that a touch more detail in the whites might be nice. Unfortunately, I don’t really have a set method of handling them to pass on. I tend to use some of what Diane is talking about and an old Topaz Detail plugin for PS to get the finished look I want.

I’m with David Leroy and Dennis with respect to handling the whites of the plumage. This looks really nice from a compositional standpoint. There’s just enough texture in the perch and background to make this very compelling image.

Hi Allen
Classic framing of a Great Egret, vary nicely photograph. Has you every tried using hight light tone priority on your camera? Great shot.

Hi Peter, no I’ve never tried highlight tone priority. I read once in the manual it can increase noise so I’ve never used it. I do however use highlight alert notification and try to keep exposures below the blinkie level.

I just look at the histogram as I adjust whites (or darks). And then judge from the image itself things like how much detail I can get without things going gray. The value of the whitest whites isn’t as important to me as the detail I can pull out, but of course I don’t want whites to blow out or hold back the contrast.