Don't want to be a hyprocrite, so I will be glad to post the first photo for critique.
These males are amazing. This is a very large bird, about 28 inches long. They only do their mating ritual at dawn. Mostly clear skies, the sun had been up for about 10 minutes.
Camera: Canon PowerShot Pro90 IS
Shooting Date/Time: April 5, 2003 6:41:30 AM
Shooting Mode: Manual
Shutter Speed: 1/1000
Aperture Value: 4.0
ISO Speed: 50
Lens: 10X optical zoom with B-300 and TCON 14
Image Stabilizer: On
White Balance: Auto
A superb subject for a critque. A spectacular looking bird in a very nice setting. Composition wise it's fine but a few simple correction techniques would turn this into a first class photo.
It's a shame about that small dead bush showing through the tail feathers, they would be much more defined without it's presence. At present behind the bird is a little messy, but I appreciate that you can't just say 'stand over there whilst I take your photo'.
I'd be inclined to use a little unsharp mask, which will improve overall clarity by improving sharpness and contrast in one go realy bringing out the plumage detail and quite possibly separating the bird from the background a bit more.
I can appreciate that Grouse only display just after dawn which can give poor lighting levels. This has led to muddy coloured snow and too much blue cast in the shadows. Also I detect what looks to be a little CA on the top of the beak which gives a soft area where it should be sharp. This is easily corrected using the hue/saturation tool in Photoshop and I think Qimage can do this too. It just needs the blues saturation reducing, which will add grey to the shadows and whiten the snow.
I often like to give a photo a Neat Image, which I suspect will benefit this shot since the sampling background of snow is a different colour from the main subject. The Grouse would no doubt stand out even better.
Overall I really like the shot and with a few adjustments it can realise it's potential.
I gave it a two star rating as it stands, but with those corrections I'd boost it to three going on four.
Marvellous subject, Brian!
What an amazing and wonderful bird, Brian.
The picture, on my monitor looks rather dull with a blue cast which happens easily with a snowy landscape. The bird itself could be a bit sharper as well.
I have been playing with the picture in PS and re-posted it with this post, and did the following:
Brightened it up with Levels
Desaturated the bluish cast with Replace colour
Selected the bird with the magic lasso and used USM sharpener
Inverted the selection and used Causian blur 0.7%
Put it in sRGB mode and saved the picture again.
I think in a smaller jpeg format.
Maybe someone will critique the above!
Ideally, the picture should have had a better exposure compensation whilst it was shot but I do not know how one should do that! On my camera I would look on the histogram after taking the picture and re-take it, but that may not be possible on every camera and anyhow, the bird might have flown by then!
I still think that the picture has great potential especially as the subject is so attractive.
Rating: 2 stars
Thank you both for those excellent critiques.
If you would like to see where I am at with it, go here
New and improved version???
I don't know if I am finished with it yet. Have to put it aside then come back to it for a fresh perspective.
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