Other Animals

Appreciating Cardinals

It has been raining and gray here for days that feel like weeks. It seems to make the red cardinals stand out even more than usual.

It reminds me of something Terri Guillemets wrote:

“Winter is the slow-down
Winter is the search for self
Winter gives the silence you need to listen
Winter goes gray so you can see your own colors…”

On the technical side, when I was picturing red cardinals on gray backgrounds, I realized that although my camera can take a selectively colored photograph like that, I did not know how to change an existing color image to only show reds and grays.

I figured out how to do it with Photoshop. (I have CS 5.) I opened this jpg and called it Layer 1. Then I chose Color Range from the Selection menu, and then Reds from the Selected Colors pull down. I copied that selection to a new layer.

Then I used the Adjustment option from the Image menu to change Layer 1 to Black and White. That’s it. Red cardinals on gray backgrounds.

Works well for house finches, too.

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Julie Feinstein

Julie Feinstein

I am a Collection Manager at the American Museum of Natural History, an author, and a photographer. I live in New York City. I recently published my first popular science book, Field Guide to Urban Wildlife, an illustrated collection of natural history essays about common animals. I update my blog, Urban Wildlife Guide, every Sunday.

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