Robin on a Post
2011 - Day 151. May 31, 2011.
Daily Shoot - Make a photograph dominated by the color orange today ( http://dailyshoot.com/assignments/562 ) . (OK, so maybe 'dominated by orange' is stretching things, but the orange breast certainly defines the robin.)
This is one of those shots that just struck a chord with me. Yes, it's just a robin on a post, but in my mind, it's quintessentially summer, evoking childhood memories of long summer days spent outdoors. We wondered the fields and woods making new discoveries every single day. Today I discovered this robin with its prize, not earth-shattering, just a quiet moment for reflection.
On the technical side, this was impossible to expose for. It's one of those instances where the photography books tell you to come back later when the lighting conditions are better. The sun was too high and the light harsh, blowing out the highlights of the bird's beak, and casting dark shadows on its breast. I adjusted the exposure until I was happy with the bokeh background in Lightroom. Then I jumped over to Photoshop:
-duplicated the layer;
-changed the blending mode to 'screen', which really brightened up the bird;
-played with the opacity of that layer until I could see detail of the breast, but still allow for the shadow that was naturally there;
-added a layer mask and inverted it to protect the background;
-using white, 'painted' back the newly lightened detail of the bird.
There are still issues of course. The top of the bird's beak is blown out, but I like the way that bright spot draws the eye to the food in the bird's mouth. For me the added effort was worth it - for some reason this shot speaks to me...