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Eye of the Predator
Eye of the Predator

Photograph Information Photographer's Comments
Challenge: Free Study 2009-05 (Advanced Editing VII)
Collection: 2009
Camera: Canon EOS-350D Rebel XT
Lens: Tamron AF 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 XR Di LD Aspherical IF for Canon
Location: Waxahachie, Texas
Date: May 17, 2009
Aperture: F7.1
ISO: 400
Shutter: 1/1600
Galleries: Animals, Birds
Date Uploaded: May 26, 2009

Closeup of a bald eagle at the Scarborough Fair Renaissance festival. This particular bird will unfortunately never fly again, due to an injured wingtip. He is still awfully impressive.

Original RAW without adjustments:

Created 5 separate exposure adjustments in Canon DPP
Merged in photomatix basic
loaded into PaintShop Pro
duplicated layer
noise reduction on lower layer
Topaz Clarity on upper layer, tweaked.
erase through to background
Reduced yellow on lower layer to brighten feathers
selective NR inside beak
raise sat on yellow
clarify +3
erase through to eye
raise saturation on yellow
erase through to beak
Curves on beak
high radius USM

Pre-challenge notes:
I think this is one of my personal best. I am pleased with how much detail I squeezed out of this shot. This is my first challenge entry since I got the hang of using layer masks, and it certainly helped in editing.
I have learned, however, that I cannot predict broad appeal, so as much as I personally like this, I will be happy if it can manage to pull in a high 5.

Predicted critiques:
-Cropped too tight
-Impression of a slight halo around the front of the beak.

Post-challenge notes:
Still fell short of the killer shot somehow. Tough crowd here.

Place: 227 out of 434
Avg (all users): 5.5669
Avg (commenters): 7.3333
Avg (participants): 5.5667
Avg (non-participants): 5.5676
Views since voting: 643
Views during voting: 209
Votes: 127
Comments: 11
Favorites: 0

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06/17/2009 08:43:02 AM
Great job with the conversion and post processing! I didn't vote in this but I probably would have given it a 6. I think when you get a closeup like this it's better to have a shot where the animal is looking right at the viewer. Now with it facing off to the left, it makes you wonder what it is looking at and then the pull of the photo suddenly ends there because of the close crop.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
06/17/2009 08:14:53 AM
Steve - I didn't vote this one very high. Reasons: Lighting is a bit harsh, the bird is uncomfortably too close and in your face (as a viewer), and being that Eagle head shots are done with frequency here at DPC the bar is placed quite high.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
06/17/2009 08:14:14 AM
Predicted critiques:
-Cropped too tight
-Impression of a slight halo around the front of the beak.

I gave you a 6. The reasons you noted prior were a factor and I thought the sky color looked too artificial. You have great detail...just too close.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
06/13/2009 05:21:49 PM
Echoing 21_F.gif vawendy, it is so bright, close and so clear that is seems somewhat artificial. I know first-hand how disheartening it is when you think you have a winner that falls short of your expectations... been there and done that (repeatedly.)
  Photographer found comment helpful.
06/13/2009 04:56:32 PM
I gave this a 5. It was uncomfortably close--made me want to back up. Also, because of so close, it almost looked plastic. Also, eagle shots have been done many times--they're losing their impact for me. So they need to be spectacular to get a good score.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
06/13/2009 04:29:55 PM
I gave you a 6 on this. You did get excellent detail - nice work to balance out the shot with the use of layers; not oversharpened; pretty good composition. It may be a bit too tight, but for what you were after I think it's OK. Why a 6? Eagle oversaturation, perhaps. DPC has some phenominal eagle shots - hard to compete with what has come before. Another factor may be that the light is pretty bright for this. I normally don't comment on blown bits, because I tend to blow a lot of bits (both photographically and computer-wise) but you do have some on the beak. Also, I almost think this might work better in B&W but keep in mind that's because I generally prefer B&W - most people prefer color.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
06/13/2009 04:29:52 PM
yeah, the details are ok but it takes more than that for a winning pic. Also, it looks like the focus was on the bird's far side (look at the brow of the eye you can't see) and only the DOF kept in the foreground, just not entirely.

Personally, whenever I see a shot like this. I wish the photorapher would wait until the bird was doing something more interesting than looking at something- swooping, squawking, taking off or whatever but at least something. I would have given this a 4 because the points i made are easily changed through patience and good ol' chimping.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
 Comments Made During the Challenge
06/02/2009 11:58:38 PM
this pretty extreme, excellent details. A tad too much saturation I feel especially the yellows. I would have preferred less yellow on the white feathers, 8
  Photographer found comment helpful.
06/02/2009 08:07:06 PM
Beautiful detail and personality!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
06/02/2009 11:33:32 AM
very clear and crisp, excellent detail a touch bright although...would be curious what a gradient would do to this...
  Photographer found comment helpful.
06/01/2009 12:19:43 AM
wow, that's close!
  Photographer found comment helpful.

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