The Making of "Bird in Ueno Park"

How the winning photo of the "Springtime" contest was made

By sad_punk in Photo Contests on Jun 4, 2019

"Bird in Ueno Park"

For my trip to Japan I took my Pentax K-1, but had to choose some convenient lenses as I couldn't bring everything with me.

I left my big and heavy fast zooms behind in France and travelled with the smc Pentax-FA 28-105mm F3.2-4.5 and the Sigma 70-300mm APO DG F4-5.6. This choice was made based on their weight and the space available in my luggage. And the space thus gained allowed me to bring some fast primes for the darkest hours of the day.

Most of the time I shot with these two lenses, acting like a tourist more than a photographer. The need to visit many points of interest did not allow for me to be everywhere at the best hours regarding the light, nor simply the best days.

But a good photo is sometimes a question of luck.

At Ueno Park luck was with me and the plum trees were already in bloom in March, a few days before the cherry trees. This attracted an active flying fauna. And although it was mid-day, shadows of the trees filtered the vertical light (see the temples pictures on to get an idea of the light at the time).

To capture this show I placed the Sigma on my camera and closed it down to F8 to get the best sharpness, especially since I was at the longest end of the zoom. This made me have to go up in ISO (to 400), but I was immediately happy with the results of the first shots including the bokeh, so I took the time to capture several images. Later, I submitted my favorite picture for the contest if for no other reason than to get an outside opinion as I sometimes do. I had not imagined that my photo would make the final.

The post-production remains limited here, below is the original image converted from RAW with no adjustments:

Original Image

This picture was my favorite for its dynamic range, but I missed having the blue sky in the background. The essential adjustment here is the brightening of the dark background. I did it cautiously to avoid overexposure of the highlights. Then I slightly adjust the vibrancy and saturation to make justice to the moment. The sigma 70-300mm offers a little less vibrant colors than the FA 28-105, so vibrance must be increased a bit in post processing to match.

While I'm happy with the result and very happy to have been chosen by Pentaxforums readers, I must congratulate the other participants with their submissions: Animals at the perfect moment, gardens where the eye strolls naturally from one point of interest to another. I really liked many of the images submitted for this spring theme, especially among the nominated finalists. Congratulations to everybody for your inspiring work!

- sad_punk

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