Pictures by Walter

A View With Every Picture


Leave a comment

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.
20160606-_DSC4562

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:

20160606-_DSC4562-Edit

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.


2 Comments

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.

20160606-_DSC4562-Edit


Leave a comment

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.

20160511-_DSC4398-Edit

20160511-_DSC4402-Edit20160511-_DSC4403-Edit


Leave a comment

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


Leave a comment

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).

20160505-_DSC4286-Edit


Leave a comment

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.

20160503-IMG_2593-Edit


Leave a comment

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:

20160501-_MG_6807-Edit

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

20160501-_MG_6819-Edit

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.


Leave a comment

At the Feeder.. 29-4-2016

“Chez Walter” feeding station is now attracting the smaller garden birds along with Magpie (Pica pica),   Starling (Sturnus vulgaris), Woodpigeon (Columba palumbus).  The ravages of winter have been repaired, though some work remains.  Broken feeders replaced, water features repaired and new gnomes adopted.  The larger birds soon came back as did the Starlings. However the smaller garden/woodland birds had not been seen since September last year.  Today 29th April “Chez Walter” had 7 specie of birds to the feeders.  First (as usual|) was the;

20160418-_DSC8517-EditWoodpigeon (Columba palumbus) in the rain

20160429-_MG_7971-Edit

20160429-_MG_7979-Edit20160416-_DSC8469-Edit

Two special birds returned: one small garden bird the smallest Tit in UK :

20160429-_MG_7995-Edit

One of my firm favourites the Coal Tit (Parus ater).  The little bird flits in and out very quickly, pausing for s second or two to check out the area for danger.  Makes a quick flt to the feeder – usually for the Sunflower Seeds, gets one and flits out again.  Rarely does it pause to eat the seed in my smallish trees – it heads fro higher and safer spots.  A welcome return wsa also extended to a larger woodland bird the Collared Dove (Streptopelia decaocto). 20160429-_MG_8030-Edit

Whilst the little Coal Tit is mostly Grey and black with white patches, the Collared Dove is almost all grey with a pinkish-buff Collar-band round the neck.  Perhaps a bit bland for most tastes however in sunshine the birds feathers take on a lustre and the ruby eyes  light up and sparkle.

 

 


Leave a comment

Return of the Dunnock

Woodpigeon (Columba palumbus) in the rain

Woodpigeon (Columba palumbus) in the rain

Nine days ago his lordship “Blackbird (turdus mecula) cast his eyes over the refurbished “Chez Walter” feeding stations and declared them open for business.  Whilst two Magpies (Pica pica) and a couple of Woodpigeon (Columba palumbus) have dined at “Chez Walter” no small birds had made an appearance or booking.   This changed today with the visit of not one but two  little Dunnoocks (Prunella modularis), a small drab brown bird with a lot of hop and swagger.   The Dunnock may have a drab colour scheme to some to me it is perfectly attired for its environment.  A ground feeder it likes to hide in vegetation.  A perky little bird and may be confused with wren or sparrow at first glance.

20160429-_MG_7971-Edit


Leave a comment

Inspection Day….

Today my partner (Susan) and I finished off the restoration of our garden after the ravishes set on it by the storms of Winter 2015/16.  The almost constant storms brought down 8 Garden Panel fences, destroyed a fair few feeders and damaged two water features.  Remedial work had to wait for dry days which we got this week.  During the hiatus the famed “Chez Walter” bird feeding station was abandoned by its once colourful clientèle.  Over the past 4 days we have been visited by a Magpie (Pica pica), Robin (Erithacus rebecla) and Woodpigeon (Columba palumbus).  Yesterday some Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) paid a raid visit to grab meal worms.  However they were seen off by the Magpie.  Today, whilst we were doing the clean up (washing the slabs) we were made aware in no uncertain terms of the displeasure of a male Balckbird.  I think he was upset that his bathing area was not yet in operation, nor had we left out his usual fare. He paid a revisit about 5 pm and carried out a full inspection of the refurbished garden.  I think we passed his rather thorough check up, we will soon find out tomorrow if he uses the water feature as his shower/bath.

Starling (Sturnus vulgaris).  Canon 50D, Sigma 150-500 zoom

20160420-_MG_7951-Edit