Backyard Birds 2022 — Crops Part 3: Mississippi Kite

As mentioned in Part 1, I’ve been taking a lot of photos of birds.

The 100% Crop series is just at it sounds. Each photo shows a bird cropped from a larger photo. Most of the crops will be 100%, but not all.

I was going to include this in the previous post but decided it merited its own post. What is a Mississippi Kite, you ask?

As shot, at 300mm zoom (450mm eqv.)

For photos at 100% crop (the above photo isn’t), if your browser window is set to full screen, and if your screen is large enough, when you click on the photo, it will fill the screen. If your cursor shows as a circle with a ‘plus’ sign, it means your screen resolution is smaller than the photo, in which case, you can click on the photo to further zoom in to 100% resolution.

Again, you won’t see the above at 100% size unless you go to SmugMug and zoom in.

Anyway, I was sitting watching birds when I noticed a speck in the sky. Normally, I can tell what it is by the way it flies (various birds) or soars (raptors or vultures). This one looked odd.

Of course, in SmugMug, you can view the first photo at full resolution and you can see the bird a tad larger . . .

roughly a 100% crop of the above

. . . . I wasn’t happy with either the processing or size of the 100% crop, so I ran the photo through Topaz GigaPixel and doubled the resolution . . .

Approximate 100% crop of the 2X-enlargement of the photo using Topaz GigaPixels

While I could recognize the bird from the original photo, I can now better see it’s eating on the wing. If I had to guess, a field mouse.

Unlucky mouse, that is, because I live outside of the breeding range of the bird, but apparently close enough for it to wander over (about 60 miles or so, I’d guess). Of course, with environmental conditions changing, those maps will all probably adjust.

Regardless, I snapped a bunch of photos as it soared. Some are closer than others and some are better than others, and some I did not share at all. Unless stated otherwise, the following are crops of the 2X-enlargement versions.

Here, you can see it still has something in its talons.

Wait . . . before I continue, let me again show the difference between as-shot, 100% of as-shot, and 100% of 2X-enlargement.

as shot (click to show approximately 1/3 the actual size)
Slightly less than 100% crop of the original
100% crop of the 2X enlargement version (click for the larger view)

I can’t tell if it’s still eating on the wing or cleaning its talon.

All these photos and a few more are in their own SmugMug gallery HERE.

Readers will get tired of this, but here’s another trio of original, 100% crop, and 100% crop of the 2X version (click any of them and you’ll get the full-size version of each; if the cursor shows a (+) symbol, you can click again to zoom in).

As shot
100% crop of the above
Topaz GigaPixel 2X version (100% crop)
Topaz GigaPixel 2X version (100% crop) of a different photo.
Topaz GigaPixel 2X version (100% crop) of another photo.

OK, one last time. I’m not claiming these are fantastic photos but given the size of the original (I estimate the bird was at least a half-mile away) and the fact I can enlarge it as much as I did (I didn’t try more) is pretty good. Sure, no fine details, but fine enough.

As shot
100% crop of the original (with Lightroom processing)
Topaz GigaPixel 2X version (100% crop)

The rest are all crops of the 2X versions of original photos. Some are larger than others because it was soaring in circles, so sometimes it’s closer.

Overall, I think the whole AI Suite offered by Topaz is well worth what I paid for it. I bought the individual programs as they each came out, and now pay $100/year to keep all of them current, and while some might find it expensive, it’s these kinds of instances that — for me — make it worth the cost.

I worked out how to do a slideshow of just these photos. SmugMug allows me to create ‘collections’ galleries (virtual copies of the photos), and, because they work like galleries, I can do a slideshow of them . . .

Slideshow of the Mississippi Kite Gallery (23 photos)

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


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