Rich Ditch's Photography Blog

September 12, 2010

Western Flycatcher – head profile

Filed under: backyard, Birds, light, technique — richditch @ 8:32 pm
Western Flycatcher - head profile

Western Flycatcher - head profile

Yes, this is obviously the same “Western” Flycatcher just moments later than in the image in my previous post. I wanted to add this shot that shows the head in profile so that the size and shaspe of the eye-ring can be seen to best advantage. This is an important field mark in sorting out the complex and confusing look-alike Empidonax flycatchers. ?It also shows the extent of the color of the lower mandible almost as well as in the companion image, so this is probably a little better as a stand-alone identification shot.

Any more than a casual look at these two images will show some overall color differences. In processing this shot I tried to retain a bit more of the yellow-green look of the plumage as I observed while the bird fed outside the window for the second day of its short visit. But this is a difficult aspect to get right, given the strange lighting I have to deal with in any shots close to our reflective house and under the leafy canopy.

One of the realities of working completely in digital, from image capture in the camera through raw conversion and post processing in photoshop, is how subjective colors in an image actually are. In the days of shooting film we photographers had a bit more grounding as we were tied to the color palette of the film we shot, and however inaccurate that film bias might have been it at least served as a reference point when we tweaked the image in photoshop. Without that physical slide to keep us honest we need rely on our actual field experience with our subjects, and viewers should always be aware that there is a large degree of implied trust that the photographer has been honest in preparing the image for public view.

Nikon D200, 300/2.8 AF-S plus TC20E (2x), ISO 400, 1/160th second at f/5.6, 76% of full frame.

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1 Comment »

  1. Rich,

    I’ve loved this post and your previous one, big congrats on getting these images of this western flycatcher. I know there were many challenges with light, etc., but you came through. Wonderful that this post shows the eye-ring so clearly.

    Love the quote you put in this post too.

    Comment by Mia — September 13, 2010 @ 8:57 am


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