Juvenile Grebe

One of my favorite subjects to shoot are abstracts in nature. I was watching the reflections on the water and this little grebe swam into the scene. It seemed perfect except the sun was still low and the distance was further than I wanted for my 75-300 kit lens. The image was dark, but when I lifted the shadows and nudged the exposure in LR, I really liked the bird against the funky background. There was, however, a lot of noise and had to make some adjustments.

Specific Feedback Requested

I had to play with noise reduction vs. sharpening adjustments and could never get it quite right in my mind. I know sometimes we have to let let it go because of equipment or environmental factors but thought I would put it out to others for suggestions first.

Technical Details

Is this a composite: No
I shot this at 300mm, f7.1, 1/160s, 1600 ISO ( Canon 80D )

Sweet, Jill. I too love the abstract quality of the water’s reflection and ripples. The little grebe has wonderful detail, at least for me. As for noise reduction, I am no expert so perhaps others will have more helpful advise. Very nice done.

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Hi, Jill. This is a fine first post with which to return to NPN. Welcome back. There is much to like about this image; the water, as already mentioned (including the wake left by the grebe), the posture of the bird, the reflection, and terrific detail. I think, perhaps the bird is over-sharpened a bit, which would also help with NR. That’s my take!

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Hi Jill. A very nice composition and I do like the background. In the larger image, I can see degradation in the image quality in the Grebe, probably from the processing. It sounds as if you did all your processing in LR-is that correct? Also, if you could post a follow up image just converting your original to an sRGB Jpeg and posting it, it would be helpful to see what you started with on this one. I have the feeling the Grebe started out pretty sharp and got messed up a bit trying to do conflicting processing things.

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Thank you! I am no expert either…especially with processing.

Thanks. I’m happy to be back. I had some life distractions. I think you are right and have done some over processing here. My aging eyes don’t help.

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Thanks so much! I over think during processing for sure. I’ll post that original when I can grab some time tomorrow.

This is a wonderful image!! The BG water is fantastic and the Grebe and its wake so nice! Well worth attempting some better processing. My strategy is to do only basic tonal adjustments in LR, with Exposure, Shadows and Highlights, then bring the histogram to the ends in most cases with Whites and Blacks. Extreme Shadow slider movements will bring out noise in dark areas. Increase Exposure first as much as you can. No NR or sharpening except the default. Then go to PS, duplicate the BG layer and first use Topaz DeNoise AI (latest version) – look closely at 100% to evaluate the options. Then duplicate that layer and do Topaz Sharpen AI. Again look at 100% and check the various options.

Then do any desired cloning on the clean file – on a new layer. Then in many cases the Detail Extractor module in Nik/DxO Color Efex Pro can help with more complex tonal work. Then do color work with adjustment layers, masked if needed.

If these things are not familiar to you, let them serve as a basis for learning some basic valuable skills. Then you can move on to things like the TK Masks.

Hi Jill, I like the abstract feel to this image with the nice reflections. Good advice given above on post processing.

A really pleasing image with beautiful water and reflected colors in the water. Well worth reprocessing as others have mentioned.