Cedar Waxwings and a Few Words on Soft Focus (Three Photographs)

waxwingsTo view more of my photography please click on www.rakmilphotography.com

While tack sharp photographs are popular they may not always be the best solution. Some portraits in the past were taken with clear filters covered in Vaseline or a cloth was placed over the lens to give a soft-focus look. Some lenses were designed to enable careful de-focusing and now software has fade filters and other tools that can do the same thing. Negative clarity on portraits is particularly effective in doing essentially the same thing. Waxwings are notoriously tough to get sharp because of the nature of the oils on their wings. In these shots the camera focus was as likely to catch on the foreground leaves as on the bird. No measure of sharpening is going to remove the impression of softness on these birds. Two conclusions, there are times when a perfectly sharpened shot can work, and secondly that sometimes we will not get the focus we would like but that is not always a reason to discard the file.




6 responses

  1. The first image is superb because you caught the spot of sun in the bird’s eye.
    I always think that makes a good bird capture.


    December 22, 2016 at 8:02 am

  2. That’s interesting. I’ve never heard that explanation about the oils in the feathers and its effect on the focus spot. That bird does indeed have the slicked-down look.

    Liked by 1 person

    December 22, 2016 at 12:28 pm

  3. Love the waxwings! They are handsome birds and your photos are excellent.


    December 22, 2016 at 5:27 pm

  4. Thanks for that. I had some involuntary experiments recently with a wet lens (last four pictures of this post) https://hikeminded.wordpress.com/2016/11/22/saxon-switzerland-hike-wanderers-above-a-sea-of-fog/ and I liked it very much 🙂

    I experiment a lot with indifferent layers lately and if there is no outstanding object (like in your case a bird) I rather like to have the focus in the middle instead of at the front. It gives the pictures a deep impression. (https://hikeminded.wordpress.com/2016/12/22/odenwald-hike-misty-childhood-places/)

    Liked by 1 person

    December 23, 2016 at 7:47 am

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