Behind the Image - A Happy Accident
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Location: South Texas TX US
Posts: 536
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I'm really enjoying the Behind the Image idea, and to encourage others to keep it going I'll make a contribution now and then. I don't mind saying this one was quite accidental, but has opened up an approach that I'm now using intentionally now and again.

Subject Selection:
At the Botanical Garden in San Antonio, Texas there's a quite nice bird blind that's far off the popular paths, and hasn't been widely discovered. Early on a Saturday morning I will often go there just to see who might turn up.

Here's where I come clean about my error. The night before I had been in the backyard making some shots of a nearly full moon. I was struggling with overexposure, and had turned the exposure compensation all the way to -5. Needless to say I forgot. My second error is that on Saturday morning I just started shooting. There was a great variety of birds, and so I was 25-30 shots in before I ever looked at the screen or checked a histogram. The first time I looked I thought something was wrong with the camera; the screen was black. After scrolling a bit I saw the vaguest hint of red from a male cardinal one one image. I still thought there was something seriously wrong, but then remembered the exposure compensation. Thinking about the rubbish shots I now had but would never see I moved on with new settings, and fortunately didn't delete anything.

Post Processing:
Out of curiosity I started opening the underexposed images, fully expecting to recover little and see a lot of noise. To my delight this fellow emerged, noise free, from the darkness. I actually didn't bring it all the way back. Increasing the exposure by 3.5 gave me this image. I increased the whites slightly to bring the brightest bit to the edge of overexposure.

Shooting Details:
The shot was taken on my D850 with the Tamron 150-600mm G2, at 600mm and f/6.3. ISO was 64 and not surprisingly the shutter speed was 1/3200. Tripod and gimbal head.

I learned just how good is the ISO invariance of the new sensors. I don't make a regular practice of this technique, but I have now used it intentionally a few times. I can't afford (or carry) faster glass at 500 or 600mm, and this provides an alternative for wildlife in the shade. Of course the downside is I have no idea what I actually have in camera. But it is kind of fun to open the presents in Photoshop.
· Date: Fri 21-August-2020 · Views: 40 · Filesize: 37.9KB, 182.3KB · Dimensions: 1500 x 1000 ·
Keywords: Behind Image - A Happy Accident
Tripod and Head
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