Charm of European Goldfinches on Teasel

Started Nov 28, 2022 | Discussions thread
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N Deacon
N Deacon Contributing Member • Posts: 997
Charm of European Goldfinches on Teasel

Posting a recent image, just processed to my satisfaction. The main thing I wrestled with was the crop (it was originally shot in standard "landscape" format).

To summarise the PP:

  • Nothing was cloned out, but other teasel stems were eliminated from the frame by the choice of crop.
  • No background blur was applied. The smooth bokeh was a consequence of a lot of separation between the tall teasel stems standing above the dry grass, close shooting distance with a long lens wide open and by shooting from a low angle (on my knees) to increase subject-background separation and get the stems as much "in plane" with the sensor as possible.
  • The red luminance was lifted a little around the face to slightly emphasise the red face "mask." Exposure/PP requires care with this species as there is a tendency for the reds and yellows to "blow" with the slightest excess in exposure or saturation tweaking.

The thing I am most pleased about here is that I very slowly and carefully moved around this group of birds (there were more than 30 birds in all feeding as a flock on multiple teasel heads) in an effort to get better angles and subject separation and it is rare to be able to get more than one bird acceptably sharp in this type of setting. I took a lot of shots and chose this one as it captures both birds looking up, but looking (at me) with opposite eyes, which gives the image a nice symmetry. Yes, there is a third bird in the shot, but ...

The birds were still intently feeding when I slowly backed away and left them in peace.

I don't think there is any need to explain why a group of goldfinches as called a "charm" but a photograph does not capture the rather quiet, high-pitched sound of tinkling bells (their contact calls) that always accompanies them.

European Goldfinches on Teasel

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