White-tailed Deer with background problem

White-tailed Deer
Nikon D200, Sigma 50-500 mm f/4.0-6.3


This picture is already three weeks old but I still like to share it with you. It was taken in the Mill Creek Valley on my way home from a visit at the Trumpeter Swans. We have many White-tailed Deer here in Eastern Iowa and it is not a big deal to see one. This one made me hit my car brakes hard. It stood like frozen for a few seconds and gave me so the chance to grab the camera from the passenger seat and shoot a few pictures through the open car window.

The bokeh of the background does not always please me with the Sigma 50-500. At 500 mm an aperture of  f/6.3 is your best choice and In this matter the texture of the field made it even worse. The deer didn't really stand out from the background, despite the image was sharp. I used a basic technique in Photoshop to minimize the problem. Here is how I did it:

1. Make a copy of the background layer.

2. Apply a blur filter to the top layer (I used Gaussian Blur, 10 pixels).

3. Create a layer mask for this layer.

4. Paint with black on the layer mask over the contour of the deer and the foreground. Use a lower opacity for the area of transition in the background.