Friday, June 7, 2013

Before and After

The hummingbirds are back, and we finally put our feeder out yesterday.  We relocated it to a more convenient place for me to take pictures, and even though it's been raining cats and dogs today, I was able to get in a few shots, so I thought I would share a few before and after images.

As an added benefit of relocating the feeder, I can now stand inside to take my pictures, and the hummingbirds seem to also love the proximity of the feeder to our tomato cages.  As you can see in each of these photos, this little guy was not worried about the rain at all, and was simply enjoying his new found perch.

Because I edit each of my pictures, I thought it might be fun to show you the "before" and "after" shots so that you can see what I do.  Sometimes I do a lot of post processing, mostly on shots that I want to look more like paintings, but a lot of the time I just tweak things so that they look more the way I want them to.

The shot above is a before shot, and even though I like the way it looked straight out of the camera, which it is above, except for cropping, I still wanted to put my touch on it.

So here is the after shot.  I used a texture on it which darkened the background ever so slightly, and I also bumped up the contrast, but just a hair, so that his head feathers would pop a little bit more than in the first image.

I also left some of the texture on the breast feathers, but removed it completely from the head.  I liked that the texture warmed him just just a little and made his breast feathers a bit more golden brown.  I could have done this by changing the warmth too, but I didn't want the effect on the whole bird, just on his body, so using a texture was the way to go.

Above is a before of him grabbing raindrops on his long tongue as they fell, which was pretty cool to watch!  In this one, I mostly just removed one or two errant raindrops which seemed distracting to me.  See the one on the far left of the image and then there is one below his tiny feet.

If the light had been better I could have maybe gotten some cool bokeh with the raindrops, but my depth of field was so small that only a few showed up, which ended up looking like smudges to out they went.

Here, you can see the after shot, which saved in a smaller size for some reasion, but you can see that the drops have been removed.  And once again I increased the contrast just a smidge and de-noised it just a bit to remove the graininess in the background which was caused by my high ISO.  And boosting the contrast slightly makes the hummingbirds stand out a little bit more from the background.  Simple changes, but ones I feel are worth taking the time to make.

You can see that he had his feathers a bit ruffled from the rain, and he spent a lot of time shaking off the water but I couldn't get a good action shot since the light was so low.

In this shot, besides cropping it down, the only editing I did was to convert it to black and white which you can see below.

I love the drama that black and white can lend to an changes the whole feeling and look of a photo.

So there you have it, my before and after hummingbird collection! :)  Of course I always try and shoot the best possible shot each and every time, but I also think that tweaking your images can not only be fun, but it can also take an image and make it look the way you saw it in your head...well at least in my head anyway!

I hope you all enjoy your weekend, and if you are in the path of TS Andrea, like we are, I hope you stay dry and don't experience any flooding!


  1. Wow, wow, wow! Just gobsmackingly beautiful! A-M xx

  2. Hummingbirds are so bold and endearing, I could watch them for ever - if they'd only stay still! It makes your photos all the more precious Kat.

  3. So beautiful Kat! Your little 'study' is a handsome guy!
    I saw my first hummingbird bird in the garden a few days ago. I love it when they come home.
    sending hugs...

  4. You are so, so, so very talented. I love the black and whites, too. It's like you can see more depth and detail somehow- xo Diana

  5. I love the texture on their tiny, but mighty feathers.


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