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2nd Time Around

2nd Time Around
Photo Information
Copyright: John Plumb (JPlumb) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 618 W: 158 N: 896] (2904)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2006-06
Categories: Birds
Camera: Nikon F80, Nikkor 70-200/2.8VR, Nikon 2X TConverter TC-20E II
Exposure: f/5.6
Photo Version: Final Version, Original Version
Date Submitted: 2008-02-18 17:45
Viewed: 4862
Points: 36
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
This is a male Darter (Anhinga melanogaster ). He is a large, slim water bird with a long snake-like neck, sharp pointed bill and long rounded tail. Females and juveniles are grey-brown above and pale grey to white below. This is a typical pose of the Darter when it is perched drying its wings.

The Australasian species can be found in most of the non arid parts of Australia. They are said to be rarely marine, but can be found in some calm seas near shore. This one was seen on the Sydney Harbour, near Manly. They require water with sparse vegetation allowing them to swim and dive easily. They build their nests in trees standing in water.

They are excellent in flight, and can migrate up to 2000 km when not breeding at which time they tend to contract to breeding areas (in summer). They catch fish with their sharp bill, partly open in water deeper than 60 cm. The fish is pierced from underneath, flicked onto the waterís surface and then swallowed head first. Smaller items can be eaten underwater. In hot weather, adult birds may pour water from their bills into the gullets of the young chicks when they are still in the nest.

The Darter is normally a solitary bird, forming pairs only while breeding. Breeding is erratic, happening only when water levels and food supplies are suitable. The male decorates a nest-site with green leafy twigs and displays to attract a mate, with elaborate wing-wving and twig grasping movements. Both birds will complete the nest, incubate the eggs and raise the young.

Much of this from: http://www.birdsinbackyards.net/finder/display.cfm?id=196

This is a re-post. I first posted this shot back in January-2007. I canít tell you a lot about the original workflow. It was a scan of a slide, and I didnít do work in layers, as I do now, so much of the original information is gone. Also I scanned it at the time in 8 bit.

I never liked the original picture, it was too soft, the colours didnít seem right, and I didnít really like the composition. I considered deleting it, but then decided to play with it a bit (almost as a workshop) and repost.

To get it to this state from the original, I have re-cropped from the original tiff, modified levels, curves, added saturation, added an overlay layer for some dodging and burning (with a 10% opacity black and white brush), Iíve played a bit with the colour balance, Iíve reduced noise on the water, sharpened the bird, and re-framed.

rousettus, horia, Jamesp, jusninasirun, Argus, kjpweb, warnzy, rcrick, mlines, pierrefonds, Adanac has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To Adanac: Hope all is WellJPlumb 1 02-19 20:55
To Scott: Similar to CormorantsJPlumb 1 02-19 02:48
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • Scott Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 225 W: 0 N: 356] (1752)
  • [2008-02-18 22:59]
  • [+]


I think this is the same family as our cormorant, they look very similar. Nice capture. I like the POV, yet might have cropped a bit more off the top.


  • Great 
  • horia Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2158 W: 224 N: 4749] (16656)
  • [2008-02-19 3:26]

Hi John

A lot better! I really like everything about this one now!
The details are very neat and sharp, the colors are vibrant and the composition is much much better!
The contrast in the picture is also great - making the blacks black and the whites white and therefore enhancing the beautiful features of this darter.
The placement of the bird in the frame is also lovely now - with plenty of room in the direction it is looking in but this way it also stands out better because now he is in the FG.
So overall: splendid job!

Bravo and TFS

  • Great 
  • Jamesp Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1369 W: 9 N: 6334] (18906)
  • [2008-02-19 6:34]

Hi John

Great composition - good detail and colour. The eye contact and detail in the feathers are very good.

Hello John,

I am beginning to see you as a very versatile member here in TN. You take excellent pictures, you critiques are very useful and pleasurable to read. You make superb workshop with very well documented details. That is a rare find in ant of the trek sites.

This dater of yours is in unique perch exposing the details of the whole body from the back. I like the way you let the light works on the wings' details. Looks like it is going to take off and you have given an ample space for it just in case the need arises.

Thanks for sharing and well done for the true spirit of TN.


  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2008-02-19 8:14]

Hello John,
Great capture of a Darter with pretty good sharpnesss and in excellent lighting showing the typical drying out pose with good contrast against the water.
Thanks for sharing a fine image of a species that photographed, but not as well as this,

Hello John
What a perfectly honed fishing machine!
You have got perfect sharp details on the whole scene...Not easy to achieve with his wings spreading as they are..Great camera work

  • Great 
  • kjpweb Gold Star Critiquer [C: 326 W: 86 N: 1084] (4788)
  • [2008-02-19 10:58]

Looks good to me! Great shot of this Anhinga! Well done - with beautiful colors! Cheers, Klaus

Hi John,

I haven't seen a Darter, although they look very similar to cormorants. Presumably this is a classic pose - drying his wings off after feeding - much like the cormorant? Nice that you have included something of the birds natural environment. Nice colour and detail and great composition.


This certainly is a big improvement over the original. As they would say on the street...You gots skillz!

Hello John,
very nice capture of darter with very nice POV, composition and focus. nicely framed. Its position is similar those of carmorants. But it different very longer neck and pointed bill. Anhinga darters lived in a single lake (Amik) in Turkiye. Unfortunately this lake was dried agains mosquitos and for farming in 1960s and these birds exist in TR.
Thanks for sharing. well done
:) be back tomorrow.

IMpressionnant, il est magnifique aux ailes ouvertes comme cela, trŤs belle composition.

  • Great 
  • inked Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 132 W: 0 N: 249] (771)
  • [2008-02-19 19:45]

hi John,
nice shot of this darter. i've still yet to get a good shot of one of these guys, although i've found a couple of hangouts to find them. Nice and sharp pic, the detail, especially in those wings, is great. nicely composed too with the darter looking out into the open space that you've left. similar composition to your cormorant post a couple of posts back when looking at your thumbnail gallery page. nicely done

Hi John,
Really nice work on this Darter the details are nice and sharp, love the framing, amazing looking bird, Cheers Rick :)

  • Great 
  • mlines Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 556 W: 26 N: 668] (3116)
  • [2008-02-19 22:16]

Hi John, I like the shag on a rock saying and you have made a perfect image of this Aussie/NZ slang expression, meaning very exposed! The sharpness is very good and POV ideal. TFS. Murray.

PS Thanks for the sharpening WS - very happy.

Hi John,

The male Darter opening his wings is impressive. The subject is well framed. The point of view is showing the details and colors of the bird. The photo is clear and precise. Your note is informative. have a nice day.


  • Great 
  • EOSF1 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1393 W: 119 N: 5267] (23955)
  • [2008-02-23 7:49]

Hello John, good pose of that great bird, the composition is very good and the quality is high, thanks!


  • Great 
  • Adanac Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1273 W: 1 N: 6188] (21378)
  • [2008-02-23 19:42]
  • [+]

Hello John,
Great image of this Darter in its' natural surroundings. Details , colors and composition are all great, thanks John.

  • Great 
  • arfer Gold Star Critiquer [C: 2731 W: 0 N: 0] (0)
  • [2008-02-25 20:20]

Hello John

The diagonal look of the shot is very good.
The wings out like that give a wonderful display of the wing plumage.
Very good composition.


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