High ISO Hummers

This year has been a very good year for hummingbirds both at work and at the D’Alise residence.  At work I maintain four window feeders.  They are the most bother since deer empty them every night.

At home I have four hanging feeders (two 16 oz, and two 8 oz.), and four window feeders (8 oz each).  So far this summer we have gone through about 25 pounds of sugar.  The proper way to feed hummingbirds is to mix one part sugar to four part water.  DO NOT BUY, NOR USE, THAT RED CRAP.

Typically late August (now) they swarm the feeders each morning and evening.  They are migrating, so likely each day a new batch of hummingbirds is assaulting my feeders.  Sadly, there are fewer each day.  But, the good news is I have many photographs that will make fine additions to both the blog and SmugMug. 

Late evening is the best time to watch them . . . unfortunately, the light is not good.

Late evening is the best time to watch them . . . unfortunately, the light is not good.

The one above is not one of them.  Often in the evening we sit out and watch the aerial hummingbird wars.  On one occasion, we stayed out until almost dark, and I snapped away at the one place that was still bathed in a bit of light.  A lawn ornament that served as a perch for one, and possibly more, hummers. 

I really had no hope of getting anything usable as the light was very poor, and I was shooting at  ISO 2000.  For those who don’t know what that means, it’s a setting used when the light is poor.  The resulting photos are OK, but they are very grainy.  Zooming in for close-ups does not gain you anything because details are lost.  The above shot is exactly as it came out of the camera, with no adjustments at all.

There are things one can do to improve how the photo looks, but again, forget about fine details.  So, here is the treated version of another photograph.

Lightroom 4 - crop, remove grain, lighten a bit, saturate, and a few other things.

Lightroom 4 – crop, remove grain, lighten a bit, saturate, and a few other things.

I should reiterate . . . I could see the bird with my naked eye, but just barely.  It is a testament to the capability of the lens and camera that I could get the above shot.  And it’s a testament to the processing power of Lightroom that let me get what you see above.

But wait . . .

Pushing the envelope.

Pushing the envelope.

If one is willing to forgo realism, details, and all that good stuff, one can get interesting and visually pleasing results.  The above is the same photograph with a few of the adjustment sliders pushed well beyond my normal settings.

And, one can do more . . .

A black and white treatment of the same photograph.

A black and white treatment of the same photograph.

Let me give you a few more examples of the three treatments.

Mild adjustments

Mild adjustments

Aggressive adjustments

Aggressive adjustments

Black and white treatment

Black and white treatment

But, one can do even more . . . . let’s start with the original shot again.

As shot, no adjustments

As shot, no adjustments

Typical processing, crop and minor adjustments.

Typical processing, crop and minor adjustments.

Pushing the envelope

Pushing the envelope

The B&W route

The B&W route

Playing in Photoshop - bass-relief, and a few other things

Playing in Photoshop – bass-relief, and a few other things

More Photoshop playing around

More Photoshop playing around

I can’t even tell you all I did.  I play around until something looks pleasing to me, and that varies with each photo.

This particular group of photos I was ready to chuck, but then I thought I would play with them a bit.  Sure, not everyone will like them, but I do.  I’ll end with a few more, but there are more in the SmugMug gallery.

Pushing the envelope

Pushing the envelope

Black & White treatment

Black & White treatment

One I would have normally trashed.

One I would have normally trashed.

Ditto.

Ditto.

I had used the flash on this one.  It added interesting highlights.

I had used the flash on this one. It added interesting highlights.

I’ll end with the last two in B&W.  I liked how they turned out.

B&W for the win

B&W for the win

B&W for the win . . . again.

B&W for the win . . . again.

Thanks for perusing my stuff. 

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Note: to those who may click on “like”, or rate the post; if you do not personally hear from me, know that I am sincerely appreciative, and I thank you for noticing what I do.  

. . .  my FP ward  . . . chieken shit.

About disperser

Odd guy with odd views living an odd life during odd times.
This entry was posted in Black & White, Black and White, Effects and Filters, Feathers, Photography Stuff and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to High ISO Hummers

  1. Carissa says:

    Nice! When you “push the envelope” what do you do?

    Like

    • disperser says:

      Lightroom 4.0 settings (different from Lightroom 3.0)
      And these only work for these photos . . .
      Temp 7200
      tint -6
      exposure +0.5
      contrast -5
      highlights -15
      shadows +35
      whites +17
      blacks -12
      clarity +35
      vibrance +36
      saturation +48

      Tone Vurve:
      lights +25
      darks +18
      shadows +36

      Sharpening:
      amount +65
      radius 1.1
      detail & mask +25

      Noise reduction:
      luminance 45
      details50
      contrast 35
      Color 45
      details 50

      Profile correction – yes

      Highlight priority:
      amount -67
      midpoint 50
      roundness -14
      feather 45

      Camera Calibration (2012 – Current)
      Camera Landscape

      Like

  2. Emily Heath says:

    The photos you say you’d normally have trashed are ones I’d be ecstatic to get. Like all your envelope pushing experiments.

    Like

    • disperser says:

      In part I would trash them because I like to get very fine details in my subjects, and I am not partial to lots of grain.

      The photo itself, when viewed at the resolutions above and without zooming in, are not bad. But they are not my typical photos. Most of the SmugMug galleries have photos which look good both when viewed as a whole, and when zoomed in to see the fine details.

      These kind of photos also take more time to process, and these days I don’t have the time to mess around with each photo I take. There are literally thousands of photos from the past 6-7 years which await me to “play with them”. Many I end up trashing, and
      many I leave for when I’ll have time to dedicate to the task of bringing them to the public eye.

      Like

  3. seekraz says:

    So…do you recommend that red sugar-water for feeding humming-birds?

    Like

  4. Luisella says:

    I think they are beautiful and I’m glad you didn’t get rid of them but shared them with us! I love the “pushing the envelope” photos.

    Like

  5. AnnMarie says:

    Your original photos are always “professional quality” and a great pleasure to behold but when you “play” or “push the envelope” then we get to see the results of your creative juices flowing . . . in other words, masterpieces!

    Like

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