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Old 4th of June 2012 (Mon)   #1
CommanderStrax
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Default Annoying Branches

I don't photograph birds much as I don't really have a long enough lens. However when something does catch my eye it is usually up a tree with branches in the way. I find they make a very distracting background as well.

How do you experienced bird photographers deal with this? Remove the offending branches in post? Prune the tree and hope the birds land in the right place?

To show what I mean, this is the best shot I got a couple of days ago. Apart from some heavy cropping (my longest lens is a 70-200 f4 IS) it is straight out of the camera, but all those little branches ruin it for me. Most frustrating.
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Old 5th of June 2012 (Tue)   #2
Duane N
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Default Re: Annoying Branches

For me I would pass on the shot unless it was a rare bird but those photo's would just be for documentation. I don't like to do much in Photoshop because I like to keep the images looking as natural as possible. Of course, I do experiment in PS just to see if I can do it.
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Old 5th of June 2012 (Tue)   #3
imonkey89
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Default Re: Annoying Branches

This is easier to do in Photoshop than it might appear. Although, it is obviously desirable to avoid Photoshop altogether with this kind of photography.

I started out by creating a blue layer above the bird (with a touch of noise) and masking out where the bird is. Then the branches that are actually covering the bird were cloned out. It was a 10 minute job, max!

edit: clearly I missed a shadow on the wing...
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Old 5th of June 2012 (Tue)   #4
jhayesvw
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Default Re: Annoying Branches

nice photoshop.
I will take the pic if the branches are minimal.
Usually I just leave the branches in the pic, but I may remove one if its very distracting.
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Old 5th of June 2012 (Tue)   #5
CommanderStrax
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Default Re: Annoying Branches

That makes a huge difference. Clearly I need to do a bit of practice with photoshop
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Old 8th of June 2012 (Fri)   #6
Levina de Ruijter
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Default Re: Annoying Branches

Yes, it's a nice Photoshop job, but it's not what bird photographers do. Like Jeremy says, we will clone out the odd branch in the corner or in the background if it is distracting but to manipulate an image to the extent of the above pic is crazy and not done.
If a bird is in that cluttered a spot, you simply don't take the shot, or you wait until the bird moves to a better, less cluttered spot or you yourself move to a better spot. Bird photography is all about patience and waiting for the right moment.

I forgot to say that if there is no way that I can get a clear shot, I will take the shot anyway, clutter and all. But that's me...
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Old 8th of June 2012 (Fri)   #7
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Default Re: Annoying Branches

Great job, I'm uploading a few thousand branch ridden pics for you to ps right now m8.

Quote:
Originally Posted by imonkey89 View Post
This is easier to do in Photoshop than it might appear. Although, it is obviously desirable to avoid Photoshop altogether with this kind of photography.

I started out by creating a blue layer above the bird (with a touch of noise) and masking out where the bird is. Then the branches that are actually covering the bird were cloned out. It was a 10 minute job, max!

edit: clearly I missed a shadow on the wing...
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Last edited by lifeofbrian2007 : 8th of June 2012 (Fri) at 21:20.
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Old 8th of June 2012 (Fri)   #8
Candor
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Default Re: Annoying Branches

Quote:
Originally Posted by Levina de Ruijter View Post
Yes, it's a nice Photoshop job, but it's not what bird photographers do. Like Jeremy says, we will clone out the odd branch in the corner or in the background if it is distracting but to manipulate an image to the extent of the above pic is crazy and not done.
If a bird is in that cluttered a spot, you simply don't take the shot, or you wait until the bird moves to a better, less cluttered spot or you yourself move to a better spot. Bird photography is all about patience and waiting for the right moment.
I have to agree with Levina.

I don't have Photoshop and with DPP you can do some minor cloning but I keep it to a minimum and use it probably on 1-2% of my photos. It is impressive what some can do with pp but to me it kind of defeats the purpose of bird photography. I only use DPP so my pp is limited and I enjoy trying to get everything right on the front end without relying on pp if I miss the mark. We're not graphic artists or at least I'm not so I like to keep my shots as close to how I saw them in field as possible. Putting in the time and energy is the best way to capture the image you're after and branches, leaves and other obstructions are just part of the challenge and when you get a clean shot it is an accomplishment that I wouldn't feel if I just digitally manipulated it into being.
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Old 9th of June 2012 (Sat)   #9
imonkey89
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Default Re: Annoying Branches

I agree with both of you. I was merely showing him an option.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Levina de Ruijter View Post
Yes, it's a nice Photoshop job, but it's not what bird photographers do. Like Jeremy says, we will clone out the odd branch in the corner or in the background if it is distracting but to manipulate an image to the extent of the above pic is crazy and not done.
If a bird is in that cluttered a spot, you simply don't take the shot, or you wait until the bird moves to a better, less cluttered spot or you yourself move to a better spot. Bird photography is all about patience and waiting for the right moment.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Candor View Post
I have to agree with Levina.

I don't have Photoshop and with DPP you can do some minor cloning but I keep it to a minimum and use it probably on 1-2% of my photos. It is impressive what some can do with pp but to me it kind of defeats the purpose of bird photography. I only use DPP so my pp is limited and I enjoy trying to get everything right on the front end without relying on pp if I miss the mark. We're not graphic artists or at least I'm not so I like to keep my shots as close to how I saw them in field as possible. Putting in the time and energy is the best way to capture the image you're after and branches, leaves and other obstructions are just part of the challenge and when you get a clean shot it is an accomplishment that I wouldn't feel if I just digitally manipulated it into being.
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Old 16th of June 2012 (Sat)   #10
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Default Re: Annoying Branches

I prefer the original photo I see so many photos on this forum that look phony a bird on a large limb with no twigs just don't look right.

They look just like what they are a doctored photo.
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Old 16th of June 2012 (Sat)   #11
Duane N
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Default Re: Annoying Branches

Quote:
Originally Posted by Black Bart View Post
I prefer the original photo I see so many photos on this forum that look phony a bird on a large limb with no twigs just don't look right.

They look just like what they are a doctored photo.
100% natural. No cloning done to this one. I followed this young Red-shouldered Hawk for 3 hours without scaring it away from any perch it sat on that morning. And I passed on more shots than I actually took patiently waiting for the Hawk to land on a favorable perch without twigs.

http://duanenoblick.zenfolio.com/p66...c843#h137ac843

http://duanenoblick.zenfolio.com/p66...d14d#h3ac5d14d

Similar situation with a Red-tailed Hawk as it hunted....patience.

http://duanenoblick.zenfolio.com/p63...3112#h21963112

Belted Kingfisher...although not a natural perch I did pass on shots of it in clutter as it fished a canal.

http://duanenoblick.zenfolio.com/p30...1b13#h195d1b13

Chipping Sparrow.

http://duanenoblick.zenfolio.com/p48...6a98#h17856a98


I could go on but as many others have already said nothing beats having patience and waiting on the shot you're after. Having some luck also helps. Your assumption is wrong. I have seen some photo's where it's obvious the background or environment has been altered in Photoshop just don't assume every bird photo without clutter has been "doctored" up in Photoshop.....it's an insult to the ones that actually have patience and put in the time to get a clutter free enviornment.
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Old 16th of June 2012 (Sat)   #12
Black Bart
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Default Re: Annoying Branches

Quote:
Originally Posted by Duane N View Post
100% natural. No cloning done to this one. I followed this young Red-shouldered Hawk for 3 hours without scaring it away from any perch it sat on that morning. And I passed on more shots than I actually took patiently waiting for the Hawk to land on a favorable perch without twigs.

http://duanenoblick.zenfolio.com/p66...c843#h137ac843

http://duanenoblick.zenfolio.com/p66...d14d#h3ac5d14d

Similar situation with a Red-tailed Hawk as it hunted....patience.

http://duanenoblick.zenfolio.com/p63...3112#h21963112

Belted Kingfisher...although not a natural perch I did pass on shots of it in clutter as it fished a canal.

http://duanenoblick.zenfolio.com/p30...1b13#h195d1b13

Chipping Sparrow.

http://duanenoblick.zenfolio.com/p48...6a98#h17856a98


I could go on but as many others have already said nothing beats having patience and waiting on the shot you're after. Having some luck also helps. Your assumption is wrong. I have seen some photo's where it's obvious the background or environment has been altered in Photoshop just don't assume every bird photo without clutter has been "doctored" up in Photoshop.....it's an insult to the ones that actually have patience and put in the time to get a clutter free enviornment.
Well I guess it comes down to personal preference.
What you call clutter I call environment.
While a bird setting on a branch with nothing else in sight does draw your attention to the bird after all that is all there is to look at it just don't look right to me.

My wife is much worse than me about this she has a fit when she sees these doctored photos.

I guess it is different strokes for different folks, What ever makes you happy is the right one.
The way I see it if you like something different that don't make it wrong just different.
Your Eagle shots are awesome but I have seen photos that some posted that were over sharpened and over saturated and cloned till IMO they looked BAD.
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Old 17th of June 2012 (Sun)   #13
jhayesvw
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Default Re: Annoying Branches

I agree with Duane and I have posted what I do.

I think most people do similarly to what I do. Only remove a very distracting branch or bright spot. Otherwise most people just wait til they can get a shot they want.

I dont look very closely at the background of most photos, but I havent noticed many photos that look cloned or anything.

Some people are after the ultimate detail photo they can get. This sometimes requires an artificial perch and lots of waiting to get CLOSE.
some people prefer completely natural shooting and hope to get pretty close.

Other people have nice BIG lenses and can isolate their subject even though its in a relatively cluttered area.

I just wouldnt say that the photos on this site look doctored or cloned.
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Old 23rd of June 2012 (Sat)   #14
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Default Re: Annoying Branches

Do you ever hear a little chuckle or laughing noise when they go to the branches like this one? I say they are playing with us smart humans, having fun. I hear them laughing all the time!
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Old 23rd of June 2012 (Sat)   #15
Duane N
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Default Re: Annoying Branches

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Originally Posted by BGgraphy View Post
Do you ever hear a little chuckle or laughing noise when they go to the branches like this one? I say they are playing with us smart humans, having fun. I hear them laughing all the time!
I think you're right..I can always hear laughing but never know where it's coming from.
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