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Mother Swallow Leaving - Luke McGuff

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July 8th, 2007


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09:23 pm - Mother Swallow Leaving


There's a tree swallow nest in a pipe we can see from our kitchen. Over the previous weeks we've seen the adult swallows come and go, and now we can hear the chicks peeping for their food. The parent swallow has just fed the chick and is leaving again.

Fremont, Seattle
July, 2007

(9 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


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From:dd_b
Date:July 9th, 2007 04:32 pm (UTC)
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Very nice position on the bird. I love how birds fly, and I can see it best in stop-action photos like this (well, or in *really* hard-to-make ultra-slow-motion film).

It's kinda lost against its own (and the pipe's) shadow, due to the rather bright background, unfortunately. I suppose repainting the house (or the neighbor's house? Since it's what you see out a window I guess it's probably some *other* house not the one you live in) a darker color isn't really an option.

Also the bird details are kinda suppressed by being crowded down into a small portion of the brightness range. Which means curves adjustments to me. In Photoshop curves try drawing a penciled curve (not the usual curvy curve) straight from bottom left to two big squares in and one down, then horizontal for one square, then diagonally up to the top right corner; improves the bird a lot and hardly changes the background. That may be slightly too aggressive, but it looks like a useful direction for investigation. It brings out the green on the back a lot, too. There aren't *that* many pictures where there's a big chunk of the brightness range simply not used, but when you get one, reallocating the brightness range available among the subjects can be very profitable.

In the darkroom I think you can get roughly this effect with contrast masking, but I've never actually used the technique in a real darkroom (I was a fairly good B&W printer, mediocre color printer, and never had time to learn high-effort techniques like that, I always had printing to catch up on).

In my version there's an artifact around the shadow of the bottom wing-tip which would probably require masking to eliminate, but other than that, no masking required (one of the big benefits of the approach).

I have no idea if you're interested in this kind of digital tech noodling or not. I can post or email (if you send me an email address; mine is very easy to find) my version and even a screenshot of the curves window for doing it, if you're interested and it's not clear from my description; or I can stop poking at your photos if that would be a happier outcome. This is the part I'm probably best at, these days, so I tend to talk about it given half a chance.
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From:holyoutlaw
Date:July 10th, 2007 01:00 am (UTC)
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Alas, I couldn't quite get what you were describing. If you would post or email me at lukemcguff at yahoo dot com the screenshot of your curves window, I'd greatly appreciate it.

Basically, I think I overexposed it at the RAW conversion stage.

It's another wall in our apartment building, which is all modern and cornery and stuff. ;>.
[User Picture]
From:dd_b
Date:July 10th, 2007 01:39 am (UTC)
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Emailed.
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From:dirtylibrarian
Date:July 9th, 2007 07:25 pm (UTC)
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That is just excellent.
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From:holyoutlaw
Date:July 10th, 2007 12:15 am (UTC)
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Thanks! I also took several shots on film and can't wait to develop it (tomorrow during class maybe).
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From:raanve
Date:July 10th, 2007 12:08 am (UTC)
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I love this one!!
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From:holyoutlaw
Date:July 10th, 2007 12:15 am (UTC)
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Thanks!
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From:wild_patience
Date:July 10th, 2007 03:02 am (UTC)
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Very cool. We have barn swallows where I work who ecstatically swoop over freshly-mown lawn. They are quite exciting to watch fly, they're so fast and do such a steep dive, leveling off inches above the ground.
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From:holyoutlaw
Date:July 10th, 2007 03:06 am (UTC)
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Thanks. It is fun to watch swallows fly, their dives and swoops. Yeah!

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