Low Lighting with Pie-billed Grebe

By Dave Brooks

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I was out yesterday morning under low light conditions when I came upon this common Pie-billed Grebe at Ellis Creek. This grebe was in a dark alley in the reeds with subdued backlighting. I had my auto-ISO engaged with a high limit of 3200 and that is what this shot was recorded at, with shutter speed 1/500, f/7.1, at 500mm. I like the good focus and clear detail on the grebe set off by the soft and somewhat dreamlike reflections in the water. I processed this image in Lightroom with the usual minor adjustments to white and black levels and contrast. However, normally I apply light sharpening for the screen, in this case I have reduced the sharpening by a third as well as applying substantial noise reduction to clean up the high ISO.

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This is the same image cropped a bit tighter. I like the brightness, the black and white contrast of the bird framed against the dark background colors and soft reflections.