Some birds while waiting for Lust.

For them not interested in reading, you can see the bird photos in THIS<<link SmugMug Gallery. 

When you click the links, it will open in a new window, and you have two options:
1) Manually scroll through the photos by clicking the “<” and “>” symbols to the left or right of the photos.
2) There’s a PLAY/PAUSE button near the top-left of the screen with the transition set at about 5 seconds. Note: Above the play/pause button there’s the option to go full screen. Most of these look really good viewed full screen. You can then still use the”<” and “>” symbols to the left or right of the photos (this will pause the slideshow).

If you want the full experience, keep reading.

That surely don’t look nuthin’ like a bird . . .

Good catch, grasshopper. Them be one of the first flower pots we be done did this year. We’re going to limit the number of pots we’ll populate this year . . . maybe.

Anyway, Lust is running late. For them not sure what I’m talking about, I’ll remind readers The Twins (Perry and Gary) and yours truly (me) were supposed to start the Seven Deadly Sins Writing Challenge last week. But, stuff be happened and we’re now shooting for this Friday as the deadline for handing in the stories, with the probable publication this weekend. 

For them still clueless, we aim to each write a short story for the individual Seven Deadly Sins<<link — seven stories each, twenty-one stories to complete the challenge — with the first story covering the sin of ‘Lust’. We got us a logo and everything . . .

. . . yessiree . . . everything but the stories.

You know, if you’re a new reader to the blog and looking for fiction, links to the Alphabet Challenge stories can be found in this POST<<link. Heck, I’ll do you one better . . . I can point you to the posts linking all of the fiction you can find on this blog:

Disperser Writes Fiction — The First Four Years

Disperser Writes Fiction — The Next Year

Disperser Writes Fiction — The Year After That

OK, OK . . . no one is going to check those out, but for them waiting for Lust to hit, here’s something to help you pass the time . . . birds. Perched birds and flying birds.

OK, technically, that’s neither perched or flying . . . it’s . . . poled. Here’s a small gallery of the bird being a bird.

I mentioned flying . . . I’ve been practicing, but all that practice goes out the window when you forget to crank the speed to over 1/1000th of a second (or higher) because them birds be fast. 

Going away . . .
. . . coming back

Those are not the sharpest photos I’ve shot recently of birds flying. Many have been very good, but these weren’t. In fact, on this day — May 13th — all of the photos of flying birds were not sharp.

Warning: the Block Editor is still a pain to work with and can cause stress levels to spikes. Use with caution. Avoid if possible. I mean, I’m forcing myself to use it because they still haven’t fixed the problem with the classic editor when using the Firefox browser. I doubt they are even looking at it, no matter how much I silently curse them. 

Anyway, not sharp photos of birds flying . . . if only there was a program I could use. You know, a program that takes the above photos and makes them a bit more presentable . . .

Well! what do you know!
I must have such a program . . .

I do, of course. It’s Sharpen AI from Topaz Labs.

I’m not a shill for them, but I have to give credit where credit is due. The program sometimes works amazingly well (more examples below).

Now, remember I mentioned DxO’s PureRAW? I’m still running the trial copy because I’m not sure it’s worth the money they are asking for it. I mean, it works amazingly well to clean up High-ISO photos and photos of questionable quality.

The thing is, if you have a decent photo — low ISO, good lighting, good focus — PureRAW is much less than impressive. Basically, it screws up the photo. I won’t show an example here because “screws up” is a bit subjective. Let’s just say that the program did edits I would not have, and spat out modified versions of the originals that I did not like. 

I’m talking about photos that are perfectly good as I shot them, and needing subtle tweaks if any at all. I’m talking about these next three photos.

Caught the bird in mid-blink.

The last two look the same but are two separate photos.

Anyway, it seems PureRaw is well worth its cost when trying to salvage marginal High-ISO photos. But, on those photos — which I considered good as they are — it took a heavier hand than I liked. The thing is, there are no adjustments to make. The program spits out what it thinks is the best version of the photo . . . and I don’t agree with it. Ergo, Pure RAW was not used for any of these shots.

I mean, I had high hopes that it would take a great photo and make it fantastic . . . alas, it was not meant to be.

But, let me get back to what is fantastic . . . this next gallery has the before and after versions of the above bird taking flight. The before is the slightly blurred version of each photo and the after is the output after processing the photos in Sharpen AI.

Again, I don’t get anything for singing the praises of Sharpen AI; I’m just showing you how I use it and what I get out of it.

Lest someone thinks Sharpen AI is flawless, let me say it suffers from the same problem as PureRAW.

Meaning, it does great when it has something to fix, but it’s crap if there’s nothing to fix. So, for these next three photos, Sharpen AI made the photos worse (hence I didn’t use it) . . .

. . . but give it a problem to fix, and watch it go to town. The following gallery has the before and after Sharpen AI photos of the cardinal taking flight.

In case it’s not evident, almost all of these photos are cropped to pretty close to 1:1 zoom. Normally, you’d want to go to SmugMug and choose ‘full-size’ to see these closeups. For this post, I figure I would crop to the full zoom (you can still go to SmugMug because they are probably better presented there than here since WordPress tends to mess with the quality of the photos you upload).

Here is one instance where Sharpen AI didn’t do a super-great job . . .  

As shot . . .
You can see Sharpen AI screwed up the eye. Well, if it was perfect, I’d have nothing to complain about.

It’s not just blurry moving subject that it can help you with . . . here’s a stationary bird that got photographed a bit soft . . .

And here’s the same photo after processing in Sharpen AI . . .

Again, most of these AI programs work well when they have something to ‘fix’ . . . the problem is that if there’s nothing to fix, they go ahead and fix it anyway.

Hence why, for the photos in this next gallery, I didn’t use any AI programs and just show the photos very close to how they were shot.

OK, we’re getting to the end, so I’ll close with a small gallery . . . the before and after of two photos processed with Sharpen AI. The processing isn’t bad but shows that sometimes even very good programs can’t fix everything.

Well, we’re at the end of the post. I hope it was interesting and worth your time . . . if not, too bad because you done already wasted the time and you ain’t getting it back. Not my fault, though.

Here is a gallery of all the photos.

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.


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