Simon Walker's picture

Treecreeper with Nesting Material

Observed: 16th April 2012 By: Simon WalkerSimon Walker’s reputation in BirdsSimon Walker’s reputation in BirdsSimon Walker’s reputation in BirdsSimon Walker’s reputation in BirdsSimon Walker’s reputation in Birds
Treecreeper, Sandy Lodge, 2012-04-16 005a

I used Photoshop to recover this picture - it was under-exposed. Is that cheating?

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apm299's picture


I often use Photoshop to manipulate the light. I don't see it as cheating. It's just a way of getting the most out of the photographic equipment that might otherwise struggle to replicate your chosen subject, particularly if that subject is necessarily quite far away.

Simon Walker's picture

I Agree, Unless...'re entering some sort of photographic competition, I suppose. In that case, one ought to declare it.

apm299's picture

Fortunately, I haven't got to

Fortunately, I haven't got to worry about ever reaching that standard.

Simon Walker's picture

That's What I Though

Only a couple of years ago! I started taking photographs in order to identify them, having got sick of trying to remember what they looked like. I bought a bridge camera (Panasonic Z38) and a teleconverter (and later a closeup lens) for about £500. It wasn't long before I was hooked; I wanted to take really good pictures. So for my birthday I bought myself a Canon 7D (spent ages looking into what to get - I haven't regretted my choice) and a Canon 100-400 zoom lens. A pretty good and flexible combination, I found; but after a while I decided to go mad, and bought a Canon F4 500mm. It's what I use most of the time now, sometimes with a 1.4x extender if the light's good (bad light + extender = poor image quality).
The down side? The lens was quite expensive (£6,000), and it's heavy. You need a tripod most of the time, too. But you CAN hand hold it, as I did with this picture, but not for long, and you need a fast shutter speed.

What I'm trying to say is that "I haven't ever got to worry about reaching that standard" isn't true. If I can do it, anyone can...

But wow! there's a lot to learn, and I'm learning all the time.

Good luck!

Bill Henderson's picture

Telephoto vs digiscoping


I'm at a stage where I want a bigger lens (I already have a 55-300mm zoom)to reach things further away than my bird table. I can't justify spending £6000 on a lens.

Do you get as good results with digiscoping and is it easy to do?



Bill Henderson

Simon Walker's picture


Hi Bill.
First of all, let me say I'm not an expert with digiscoping, so what I have to say may be wrong; but I did look into it as an option.
With a good quality telescope, I believe some people get pretty good results digiscoping. But (there's always a but) for wildlife, or anything else that moves, it can be a bit tricky because it takes a moment or two to take your eye away from the scope and swing or screw your camera into position; and as we all know, animals and birds have an uncanny ability to clear off really quickly when you look at them.
With a camera, of course, you can shoot as soon as you see the creature through the viewfinder.
Digiscoping is probably easier on the photographic front though, because you don't have to think so much about the settings of the camera (at least, most of the time). You're not often going to get the chance of taking pictures of fast-moving birds, after all.
Photographing birds in flight via digiscoping would, I imagine, be next to impossible (though I bet some people manage it; really tricky, though).
Here's a website that looks quite useful:

Don't forget though, that the image will only be as good as the scope you're using.
I hope this helps.

Good luck (again)

Bill Henderson's picture

Re Digiscoping

Thanks Simon.

You've given me good advice. It is much appreciated.


Bill Henderson

Beagle's picture

Cheating - I don't think so!

Being a National Trust volunteer at Chambre Hardman's photographic studio and using modern camera technology myself then surely the results justify the means. This is the artistic effect I wished to achieve. Then they used chemicals in the darkroom and now we use Photoshop. Regards


Simon Walker's picture


I was being a little provocative with my initial comment; but I didn't expect such a response.
My position is this: by all means use Photoshop (or other software - Irfanview is not bad, and it's free) to enhance images. If you're entering a photographic competition though, airbrushing out unwanted bits of the photo ought to be declared, otherwise it's not a level playing field.
Not that I enter competitions - I take photographs for my own amusement. ;-)