Sunday, 10 October 2010

Greater Spotted Woodpecker

Since this is supposed to be one-third photo blog, I figured it was time I posted a photo.  My camera hasn't seen a lot of use lately, other than for photos of shows I've played for.  Most of those really need some work doing before they're fit for publication though, and time for that has been in short supply.

Yesterday though I spotted this woodpecker in the garden.  They visit often enough not to be an out-and-out rarity, but not so often that we get used to seeing them.  I've been meaning to do some tests with the 45 - 200mm lens on the Panasonic G1, and this seemed like a good opportunity.

Whilst the 14 - 45mm standard lens for the G1 is an absolute cracker, the long telephoto unfortunately isn't quite in the same class.  It's good, but not outstanding.  In particular, contrast seems reduced at widest apertures and furthest reach  - exactly the conditions here.  Plus of course to get the shutter speed up to minimise the effect of camera shake at those long focal lengths (even with image stabilisation), you need to compromise on ISO setting.  Worst case conditions all round, yet exactly the conditions likely to be encountered when trying to pick out distant detail like this.

Enter Adobe Lightroom 3.  Just a relatively light touch, to restore that lost contrast and counter the ISO 1000 noise, but enough to banish the disappointment in the lens' performance.

And for comparison, here's the out-of-the camera original.  Click on both and compare - the noise reduction in particular manages to lessen the graininess of the ISO1000 speed without smearing the details in the feathers.

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