After aquiring a new Nikkor 70-300 f4.5/5.6 VR2 lens I needed something to use it on (seem to remember at the time of purchase that I needed it very badly). I bought a few bird feeders and hung them from a small tree/shrub outside the kitchen window and I was amazed to see the variety of small birds that began to use the feeders shortly after setting them up.
All the shots below were taken through the glass of the kitchen window with the lens set at the maximum zoom (300) and maximum aperture (f5.6) in aperture priority mode. I had the ISO set high most of the time in the hope that I could freeze some movement but I only seemed to be able to get static shots or just empty frames as the birds were gone before I the shutter released. I`m determined to get some of the birds in flight.
f5.6 1/640 ISO 800
RAW image processed in Photoshop. B&W adjustment layer added and a sepia tone was selected in the B&W layer settings. I then set the layer blend mode to “overlay” which mixed the colour and the toned layers. This usually darkens the image and increases contrast, so I reduced the opacity of the B&W layer to lessen the effect. I then used a layer mask to get some of the detail back (particularly around the face) and used the “dodge” tool to bring out the highlights in the eyes. Finally, after flattening the image, I reduced noise with a Photoshop plugin called Imagenomic Noiseware and sharpened the whole image using “smart sharpen”
f5.6 1/160 ISO 1600
Processing similar to previous image.
f5.6 1/250 ISO 1600
Same process as above without the toning.
f5.6 1/200 ISO 400
RAW image tweaked in Photoshop.
f5.6 1/125 ISO 400
RAW image tweaked in Photoshop. Used “dodge” tool on face to bring out detail.