Little Fella

Little Fella
 
Tech Info: Nikon D300s, ISO 250, f/5.6 for 1/500 sec.

During a casual visit to the balcony of my house, noticed couple of sparrows having a fight with this humming bird. I was just having a cup of coffee and started taking interest in their dogfigths. This little birdie, never let any of the sparrows sit on the tree. It was like its claiming its territory. Based on a previous encounter, I know this particular species prefers the tress around and come spring, you can even get to see couple of their eggs hatch. So the little guy was really aggressive in chasing the sparrows.


It was fun watching them fight. The sparrows were outmatched in every department. The humming bird could fly faster and move in all kinds of directions and it was chasing two sparrows out of this particular tree. Once in a while, the humming bird would rest at this particular spot and thats when it stuck to me to head back inside to grab my camera. Quickly put the longest focal reach I had (70-300mm lens) and opened up the aperture quite wide. In fact the max aperture at its full zoom range is at f/5.6. Came back and to my disappointment, neither the sparrows or the humming bird were visible anywhere. I looked around all the trees I could see and still couldn’t trace them. Since this guy used to rest at this particular branch of the tree, I decided to wait there for some time.

After about 8-10 mins (Yeah, I was literally looking at the watch as I was working), the guy came back and sat at the same branch. One shot and he flew away again due to the sound of the camera’s shutter. I had to put it to ‘S’ (silent) mode and wait again. After another 5 mins, he came back. This time I managed to get 4 shots and the guy sweeps down for a quick lunch break. My waiting game continues. While I waited for this guy to return, had a look at the previous shots and found all of them to be blurred. So I rest myself on the railing and waited for my turn. This time he came and sat there for a good 2 or 3 mins, allowing me to take multiple shots at him. In between I even corrected my exposure settings just to get him in focus.

Due to my limited range to subject, I couldn’t fill the frame with him. So I knew I had to crop a lot to make something out of it. So in the before image, you can barely seen him. The drawback of such a heavy crop would be that things get really smooth as we are zooming in a lot. So I had to stop at a point before the pic gets so bad that I really can’t rescue anything.

Processing:

  1. Imported the raw image in lightroom for basic adjustments and a heavy crop.
  2. Exported to Photoshop.
  3. First curves adjustment layer for darkening the background.
  4. Second curves layer to give some contrast.
  5. Third curves layer for brightening the birds face (The sun was facing to the left of the bird).
  6. Fourth curves layer to darken some really bright spots.
  7. Resized the image for web and added copyright info.
  8. Added metada through bridge.

Before:

After:

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