Marsh Bird at Sunrise

A beautiful foggy morning in the marsh.

Specific Feedback Requested

Any and all critiques, suggestions, and comments will be greatly appreciated.

Technical Details

Is this a composite: No
Fuji GFX50S w/ 100-200 @ 100mm
1/30 @ f/18
100 ISO
Tripod, no filters



Beautiful, Bill. I like the placement of the silhouetted tree in the line of distant trees. I have nothing to offer in the way of improvement, so I will just say well done.

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Wow, beautiful composition Bill. Texture of the grasses is a nice contrast to the silkyness of the rest of the image. Color Efex??

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Magnificent! The warmth of the color and the atmospheric softness are so comforting. The dark silhouette of the single tree balances the brightness of the sun. The photo is well balanced and nicely composed. There is interest all the way through, even though it is subtle. The only suggestion that I can see would be to rotate the photo slightly clockwise so that the horizon line is a little more level, but not so much that the tree would lean to the right. Just a minor thing to my eye, but doesn’t detract from the photo for me. I love this image!

Thanks @Craig_Moreau and @Mario_Cornacchione, @Chris_Baird for the comments.

Mario - Yes, I used Color Efex Pro 4, as I do on most every image. Color Efex has a ton of options but I usually only use three at most. I usually run a very light course of Detail Extractor and also a very light and subtle course of Darken/Lighten Center to help bring attention to whatever the focal point is. The beautiful thing about the Darken/Lighten feature (and other Color Efex options) is that YOU can choose where to place the center point; it’s not just automatically placed in the center of the image. Many times I will also use their Vignette Filter option. Color Efex is a powerful program and it can be EASILY overdone. When I say I use a light course, I mean LIGHT dose and try to make whatever effect I make VERY subtle. I find it can make subtle changes more effectively than doing the same in PS or other programs.

I use several different programs on almost every image. Any time I try to rework an older image I now open it with NIK Pure Raw. I find it does a fantastic job on older images taken with my old D2x body and associated lenses. I don’t use Pure Raw on my newer Medium Format images because I find it can easily oversharpen them right off the bat, not good. Pure Raw puts out a DNG RAW file and I convert that file in Capture One Pro 21. I love Capture One; have used it for many years, since version 3 (now version 12, I believe). I export from Capture One to PS where I apply whatever tiny changes that PS does well, primarily TK’s Panel 7 Luminosity Mask changes, then save that file as a TIF, unflattened. I then flatten the file and save it in separate folder I name Lum. I will then open Luminar 4 and pull up the Flattened file from Lum. Luminar have several features it does very well, and others it doesn’t do well at all (IMHO). I refine the image using those good features and then export to another separate folder and open the file in PS again, where I can then finish it off (Color Efex, sizing, sharpening, etc.) for the different uses I may have for it (prints, web usage, whatever…).

Yeah, it’s long and more drawn out than necessary but it works for me. I like using the best features of many different programs to get the best outcome for me. The one thing I constantly have to remind myself is to make SMALL, TINY, SUBTLE changes to keep the image from being over-developed. Some of the changes are so small I can barely tell a difference on a 32" monitor, but the changes are cumulative and when all placed together they work nicely when you print an image that’s 40-60 inches wide.

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Thank you Bill!I am much more a novice with processing and primarily use LR and a very bit of PS. Sounds like better control with center point than with radial filters, for example, in LR. I am thinking of going through some learning modules for Efex before even using the trial, any specific one you would recommend?

Wow, Bill, that’s some processing workflow. :grinning:

I have simplified my GFX workflow to Capture One for 95% of my processing and Photoshop for the remaining touches, possibly using NIK and several plugins from The Plugin Site.

As for the pic, it’s one of the most peaceful scenes I’ve seen in a long time. Well seen and well done.

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Hi David, I agree my workflow sounds convoluted, but like you, most of the actual work takes place in Capture One; not 95% perhaps, but probably 70-80%. The remainder is mostly Luminosity Masks in PS. Thr Luminar & NIK work probably only account for 2-5% of the work but, to me that little bit makes a big difference (even if nobody can tell the difference because they never saw the “before” picture). The particular tools I use in Luminar & NIK are easier to use or much more refined than the equivalent tools in PS or C1, so that’s why I chose the more convoluted path.

Totally understand, Bill. The right tool for the right job.


Wonderful mood here, Bill , and I like the understated color too. One question or is it a tiny nit; is the sun blown out. How might you avoid this or deal with the pure white center? I appreciate your explanations about Color Efex Pro4. I also use NIK software, but mostly for B&W conversions. I agree that it is easy to go overboard with NIK’s sliders. I need to look for NIK Pure RAW; I haven’t heard about it. Terrific image. I can feel the dew.

Really gorgeous image Bill, the light is wonderful, and you have processed it expertly, even if the work flow does sound convoluted (and I thought Luminosity Masks were complicated) :grin:

The gradient of color/light radiating from the sun is handled perfectly IMO.

I love the row of trees near the sun, it’s rare that you get stuff like this lined up perfectly in the real world, but these certainly are. And @Vanessa_Hill will be glad to see someone including birds in their grand landscapes.

Larry if you look at the histogram, you will see a very tiny spike at the far right end, so technically there is is a tiny bit of “clipping”. But to me what Bill has here looks perfectly natural, I think our eyes expect to see the ball of the sun like this. If you really wanted to eliminate it, you would have to do it as a very localized adjustment, otherwise it would kill the rest of the highlights. I use Luminosity Masks to blend bracketed exposures, and normally only need 2 or 3 brackets. But when including the sun in the sky, I take a 4th exposure at -3 stops compensation, and blend that in with a TK Lights 4 or 5 luminosity mask. This allows a very targeted way to deal with the sun. Bill did it a different way here, but I think what he did works fine.

Thanks, Ed. I will try out the TK lights mask technique.

Really beautiful image Bill! Mainly because as @Ed_McGuirk noted there is a bird included! :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:, I had given it a thumbs up earlier but just now had to add my comments! I really love the orange colors, some of my favorite. And the subtle trees in the background are perfect, the bird on the tree is the icing on the cake!

Bill, This is just outstanding work to me! Great composition with the tree placements and fantastic light and color. Awesome mood!

Thank you @Vanessa_Hill, @Ed_McGuirk, @Larry_Greenbaum, and @Nick_Bristol for your comments and critiques!

Bill, gorgeous. This kind of atmosphere is not very common in Southern California except when it is hazy because of wildfire so I am jealous of this.

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I think this scene is awesome, and even more so because of the careful processing. A subtle scene like this is easy to mess up by going overboard, and you have been careful not to do that. Kudos!

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@Adhika_Lie & @Diane_Miller - thank you both for your comments!

Bill…I’m just now seeing this and WOWZER, this is fantastic. I love how you explained your workflow as well and thanks for that but this image is just stellar in every way. I can’t possibly come up with a suggestion for improvement on this. The black frame makes a HUGE difference. What a stunning image. Print this one large and hang it where everyone can see it. This may be my favorite image from you in a while. Phew!

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Wow, thanks for the kind words, David.

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