Willet Preening

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Seeing a Willet Preening is a very common sight at Ft. De Soto. This obliging Willet presented a really nice head angle just in time for me to get a picture. It was standing on a sand bar in several inches of water while I kneeled in a pool about 80 feet away. There were several other Willets right around this one, but I was able to capture this with enough separation that it was easy to crop the other birds out of the frame. The weather was overcast, with a light fog that made the background water turn almost white. By increasing the contrast while masking out the Willet, the smudged water went entirely white. Other post processing included darkening the eye a bit, bringing out some more detail in the Willet’s lighter feathers and then applying some sharpening just to the Willet.

After looking at this a while, it seemed to be a good candidate for a high key black and white image. I converted the picture above to black and white and applied a small amount of Topaz Simplify. This washed out all the color and raised the overall black and white tones, giving it a bit more of a painted impression. The final step in this second image was to warm up the tone just a bit, as the straight black and white just looked too cold.

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I like the way this turned out, maybe even more than the original image. The black and white was posted to my Facebook page at: Snow Pond Photography on Facebook. So, thanks for looking and I hope you enjoy this Willet Preening.

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8 Responses to Willet Preening

  1. Morris Emigh

    This and your last post are so good I have a hard time finding words. They look like real life pictures taken from an illustrated book by Audubon. That is, it is as if the Audubon paintings had come to life.

    Really nice!

  2. John Kelly

    You are getting good enough at this to have a one man show somewhere….maybe Boston. And invite all your rich friends to buy framed copies. My son-in-law in Seattle has a sister-in-law who is also a photographer. She specializes in western landscapes. We went to one of her shows once. We drank some wine and had some hors d’oeuvres and mingled. It was fun to pretend to be wealthy art connoisseurs. I understand she makes money at this. I think you’re just as good. I wonder if you could include your “word” pictures somehow. I think they make the photo even better. The before and after was a very cool addition too. Thanks for including us.

  3. Walt Ritter

    You do capture great moments of these birds in their habitats. It’s as if they are saying back to you, “Hey, John, watch this one. Think we can ‘wow’ them on Broadway?”

  4. Ted Ogonowski

    John,

    Your last two posts were incredible. This one is especially well done.

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