At Home – VIII; Feeder

by John D August. 23, 2020 103 views

Whenever I sit on our second-floor deck, it doesn’t take long for hummingbirds to get used to it, and start buzzing around the feeder right above me. If you are not familiar with it, the sound of hummingbirds flying is a bit startling, because it is like a gi-nourmous bumble-bee that you would really rather not meet.

Anyway, I decided that if they were going to annoy me, and me them, I might as well get a few pictures out of it. Because I know that the composite image posted here won’t carry EXIF;

Av-mode; fixed ISO;

Seated; 1/640; f5; ISO-200

Flapping; 1/800; f5; ISO-200

I couldn’t use my trusty X100v for this sequence, because the setup was too specialized. I used my Canon 5Dmk-iv and 300mm f4 lens. The tripod was about 3-4m from the feeder. The other piece of very useful equipment was a wireless remote release. I set up the camera on the tripod and manually pre-focused on the perch that I knew the birds would favor (because of where I was positioned). Then I just sat there for about an hour in a comfy-chair with my feet up sipping tea and listening to soft music in the warm summer afternoon.

When I heard the hummingbirds approach the feeder, I’d start firing the camera remotely. At first the sound spooked them, but they got used to it quickly. I shot about 100 frames and a several different birds over that 60-90 minutes of pleasant relaxation. Unfortunately, one of the birds was very scruffy-looking, which ruined some of the shots. That one should have gone to hair-and-makeup first.

I was spot metering with the spot in the red of the feeder, which was perfect because this was always about color and form, not ornithology. I knew that the backlight would blow all highlights, and that the background would be pure white and the birds very dark. This is what I wanted.

I cropped these in LR-classic and adjusted colors there. I made sure that I made the same color adjustments on both images. Basically, I boosted red, orange and yellow luminance and saturation, and took all other colors to 0% luminance and saturation. This effectively creates a silhouette of the birds, while leaving other color detail in place. I find this is a way of doing “partial colorization” that is more natural than some of the harsher “filters”.

Once I had the colors right, and the crop close-to-right, I took both images into PS, and one I just flipped horizontally. I calculated what the width of these two side-by-side would be, created a new file of that size and did a copy/paste of each original into the new file. Oh, and I also added a touch of red graduated filter in DxO/NIK Color Efex, so that the background wouldn’t be pure-white.

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