Image Optimization for Wildlife Photography: Common Yellowthroat

I do get occasionally get asked about my post-processing workflow.  I am an advocate of “getting it right in the camera”, and most of my photographs are presented in a straightforward manner so I spend a trivial amount of time in the “digital darkroom”.  When shooting at higher ISO’s (800 and above), I find the need to apply a little extra TLC to photos.

post-processing before and after

The left side is my photo with my default RAW conversion settings applied. The right side is my final optimized image with additional selective noise reduction and sharpening performed for maximum image quality.

The above side by side view shows my typical RAW file with default settings applied (very light noise reduction and sharpening).  On the right I have gently applied more noise reduction on only the background, and additional sharpening on the bird’s face only.  This took me less than 5 minutes to prepare my photo for web and basic print usage.

NJ bird photo

One of our most common Warblers in New Jersey, here is a striking male in his typical habitat. Photographed with the Tamron SP 150-600mm Lens and the Canon EOS 7D.

The photo above is finalized JPEG for online presentation.  Cropping would increase the apparent signal-to-noise ratio of the image, and I did not feel a crop was in order for this shot.

This male Common Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas) was photographed at the Troy Meadows Natural Area in New Jersey.  Photography equipment used includes: Tamron SP 150-600mm VC Lens, Canon EOS 7D DSLR, Manfrotto 055x ProB tripod.

Exposure info: 1/160 F/8 ISO 800

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