Bab Al Shams falcon #1 / 25 March, 2011 [click for previous image: Sur sunset]
Bab Al Shams falcon #1 / 25 March, 2011 [click for next image: disconnected]
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Title • Bab Al Shams falcon #1

This is the first of two shots of this falconer and his falcon taken at the Bab Al Shams resort, near to Dubai. We headed up there to shoot the falcons, one of Bobbi's passions, and while they're not a subject I'd normally choose to photograph, it was fun. I didn't get any decent shots of the birds in flight – apparently they can fly close to the speed of sound – but I did get this shot and one other that I'm pleased with.

In terms of my aims for the shot: I underexposed by two stops to create the silhouette and used an aperture of f/16 to create the star-burst effect.

The post-production was also relatively straightforward: I shifted the white balance in Camera Raw to warm up the image, added a couple of curves to increase the contrast, and then decided that I needed a bit more space above the top of his head (and for once Content Aware Fill actually worked).

I also used the head of the bird from a different shot. I'd been shooting this guy for at least an hour before this one and liked the fact that both the falconer and falcon were looking towards the setting sun. When I showed it to Bobbi though her immediate reaction was "it's a shame the bird isn't in profile". And I could see her point: the shot worked for me, because I'd been there, and watched them both for ages, but didn't work anywhere near as well for the viewer. So, ten minutes later, after a bit of fiddling around with the Warp Tool to get the proportions right, the bird had a new head.

focal length
shutter speed
shooting mode
exposure bias
metering mode
image quality
RAW converter
image editor
plugins (etc)
5.44pm on 13/3/11
Canon 5D Mark II
EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM
aperture priority
Camera Raw
Photoshop CS5
minor recomposition
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