Pictures by Walter

A View With Every Picture


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Image Manipulation!

Image manipulation causes quite a “stushie”, “stooshie” as we say in Scotland. (Stushie/stooshie = tizzy, fuss, much ado about…).  Images on FB have been labelled (incorrectly) as being “photoshopped” as if that was a heinous offence.  Adobe Photoshop is the undisputed champion for image manipulation, in fact skilled users can create a photographic image with a photograph being taken.  Without doubt Photoshop is powerful, complex and the bees knees for image manipulation.  I do have Photoshop CC s part of the Adobe package, but I do not use it.  Why you ask? (Okay so you may not ask 🙂 ).  I use Adobe Lightroom with Google Nik collection add-in. Lightroom is the digital equivalent of the old chemical “Dark Room”.  I shoot in RAW format ,despite the fact that the modern DSLR creates a very acceptable JPG image, and use Lightroom to adjust the RAW (digtal negative) to produce the finished JPG export via Tif (used for printing).  I have installed the excellent Nik software plug-in into Lighroom so I am able to do the extra tweaks to the image to bring out the details, colours and contrast from the original image.  The original image of “Bath Time for Junior”, taken with a Nikon D5300 fitted with a Sigma 150-500 (1:5-6.3) zoom lens and taken through the double glazed window in my living-room.  ISO: 640, f/6.3, 1/200 sec at 500 mm.  Camera was set up for RAW and for neutral image colour.  Image below is a straight non processed of the RAW file from Lightroom.
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I started in Development mode in Lightroom I selected: enable profile correction; remove chromatic aberration; constrain crop.  In basic mode (development) I reduced highlights to -74. At this stage I opted to edit in Colour Effex 4 (Nik plug in).  I used three presets and tweaked as required, Extract detail ( minimum), Pro Contrast (Dynamic Contrast – corrects colour cast and contrast), finally Darken lighten centre.  This resulted in the finished image below:

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No cloning, no removing or adding details simple tweaks to bring out what was in the original image.  Yes I do image manipulation, no I do not photoshop I have no need to  – I use Lightroom.


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Bath Time for Junior

Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) can be entertaining, noisy and at time a pest. I am either blessed or cursed as they visit my feeding stations regularly – especially at this particular time of year.  It is the time of the fledglings – and this year’s crop are as noisy as last year’s and the year before.  Great entertainment watching the parent scarper about fetching food and the fledgling being insistent that it is fed.  However it is also the time of parting as it is the time when the fledgling is abandoned to its’ fate.  One second it is being fed, the next – it is no longer.  Time for it to feed itself and become a feisty bird.  Sadly this year I have not had the usual colourful garden birds however, the Starlings have made up for them.  Yesterday I captured on camera a fledgling experiencing a bath in my water feature.  Sometime working on a computer near the window has its’ compensations.

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At the Feeder 11th May 2016

I go away for a night and two days and come home to find I have a dead PC  or rather a system op corruption.  Thankfully I have all my data and installation discs backed up and kept safe.  Mind you it has taken since Sunday 8th to Wednesday 11th to get the system back up to speed.  Thankfully the system was the one in my living-room and I could always get distracted by watching the birds that visit my simple garden.  Truth be told I think that may be the reason why it took so long to get the system back up.  I sat watching a small Coal Tit (Parus ater) as it made a meal of a sunflower seed.  Later in the afternoon I watched to Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) as they had an after meal bathe.

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At the Feeder 6 May 2016

Early morning visitor to the “Chez Walter” facilities was the little Coal Tit (Parus ater).  It took the opportunity of a quite garden to indulge in breakfast of Sunflower seeds and the luxury of a cold water bath.  20160506-_DSC4304-Edit


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At the Feeder 5 May 2016

20160429-_MG_7995-EditBusy day today doing other tasks – still managed to keep one eye on “Chez Walter” feeders.  Very early visit by Coal Tit (Parus ater), to early for me and too quick for me to grab my camera and get a shot of him/her. These little birds are very quick, quick to land on the feeder, quick to get a sunflower seed and quicker to scapper with the seed to a place where they can eat it in safety.

The regulars were in force today, 4 Woodpigeon (Columba palumbus), several squawking  Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) fighting over the small fat pellets and the stately pair of Collared Dove (Streptopelia decaocto).  The feeders or rather the water feature, a pump, was graced by the visit of an old friend, Robin (Erithacus rebecla).

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At the Feeder – 3 May 2016

May – the green month, the month trees show the new green leaves, grass appears to been repainted with a bright green and skies go blue with fluffy white clouds.  The reality is the exact opposite, high wind, rain and cold. No new bird visitors have been seen over the last 3 days. I did have a very fleeting glimpse of a Siskin (Carduelis carduelis) on Saturday however, it was a very brief stop at one of the feeders then flew off, not enough time to get a photo of it.  The stalwarts pay frequent visits and an increase the sparrows or to give correct name House Sparrow (Passer domesticus).  The Dunnock pair are very frequent visitors at present, though I think it will only be one visiting soon as they hatch their eggs.  One favourite visitor is the Collared Dove (Streptopelia decaocto).  I do like this bird.  The visitors appear to be a pair – with one of them having a feather coming out of the wing.    I’ve been using three cameras over the past week Canon 50D, Canon 60D and a compact zoom Canon SX50 HS.  This image of the Collared Dove with the loose feather was taken with the Canon SX50  HS.

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What a Bird Brain… An Insult!

20160501-_MG_6824I’ve used that expression myself without really thinking about the phrase.  It is generally a mildly insulting phrase denotes silly behaviour, actions or thoughts usually attributed to a child or immature person.  Yet birds are not silly, in fact their brains control flight and are really ideal for the bird, perhaps not for a human. Do birds have silly behaviour? I cannot say what thoughts they have. What I do know from my own observations is that they are quite smart, especially the Crow family.  I sit at my computer overlooking my small garden which I call “Chez Walter”  Since 2012 I’ve watched Starling work out how to get into feeders which have access for small birds only.  Today I sat and watched a Collared Dove (Streptopelia decaocto), work out how to land into a suspended table type feeder (shown left).    The Collared Dove is about the size of a small pigeon:

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The bird assessed the situation, there was seed in in the feeder which was suspended from a hook on a stance.  One side was blocked by the stance pole leaving three sides with limited flight path to a tight opening.    A quick flick of the wings a short flight and a hop and the bird was inside the feeder – perhaps not fully, but enough to get the seed.  Mr or Mrs Collared Dove enjoyed the rewards of his/her efforts.  Next time I looked up there were two doves inside the feeder – alas I did not manage to get a shot of them….next time I’ll have the camera ready

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The other day I watched a Magpie (Pica pica) take some dried meal worms drop then into a small birdbath of water fly away.  She came back approx 3 minutes collected some more dried mail worms drop them into another part of  the birdbath then collected her previous load.