Dull Peacock needs help

Discussion in 'Nikon Cafe Photo Clinic' started by MarkM, Apr 12, 2007.

  1. MarkM

    MarkM

    300
    Dec 20, 2005
    Tampa Florida
    Hello all,

    Thank you for this opportunity. This photo was a grab shot while on a private tour at Big Cat Rescue, in Tampa Florida. This facility takes in and cares for retired show cats as well as neglected and abused cats from poachers, illegal breaders, drug dealers, etc. Since this is not a public park, and you are close enough to pet the animals, all tours are escorted with strict rules, I took this one on the run, knowing it would need help in pp.

    My photoshop skills are lacking to say the least and I am lost as to how to brighten this image. The only thing I can think of is to process it twice (+ exposure for the bird and - exposure for the water) then combine the 2 versions.

    Maybe I am wrong here, but I feel there is a great picture hiding in this mess.

    457010339_e65a30b524_o.

    shot with D200, raw in aperture mode. WB was on auto, it was a sunny day but this bird was under a large shade tree. Raw and exif available.

    Thank you for your time
    Peace
    Mark
     
  2. Hi Mark, thanks for posting this image in the Photo Clinic. Before we try to fix the image let's talk a little bit about how you could have taken the image better in the first place. Shaded areas are great places to take pictures and the result is usually well saturated images with great color. Of course with this image the lake in the background was your enemy with the sun glistening off of the surface. Still the potential is there for taking a great image.

    I see that you are shooting with the D200 which has an on board flash. This image is crying out for some fill flash. Had you popped your flash up, set your camera on Program, iTTL, and let the CLS do its thing you would have probably had a good picture. Personally I like to shoot in manual, meter off of the lake and set the meter at -1, flash on TTL and then take the picture. Either way the flash would have filled in the shadow area and made the beautiful feathers on the Peacock shine. It also would have preserved the detail in the lake.

    Well, that didn't happen so now what can be done to rescue this shot. First off you have blown the water completely out. Of course I have not seen your NEF so I can't say that for sure but in this processed image it is blown. That says lost data. If you are using NC or NX, it has a great adjustment called D-Lighting. This will bring up the shadow area and hold the bright area where it is, thus not blowing it further. I would start there. You might also try some adjustments with your histogram.

    I did not have the NEF so the adjustments I made were done in PS/CS. I went to Shadow/Highlight and moved the highlight slider to 28 and brought the shadow slider back to 48. From there I went to Brightness/Contrast and adjusted the contrast slider to +8 and Brightness to +2. I then went to Hue/Saturation and moved the master saturation slider to the right until the feathers looked their best. I believe I stopped at +34. I then did a convert to the sRGB color space and saved the image.

    Here is the tweaked version:

    original.

    Perhaps if Wade sees this image he can download your NEF and do a better job of fixing this. It is always easier to work with the RAW image.

    This is a very beautiful image and shows off the Peacock feather very well. It is unfortunate that the lake is blown with the highlights.
     
  3. MarkM

    MarkM

    300
    Dec 20, 2005
    Tampa Florida
    Gordon,

    Thank you for the quick response. I agree 100% with your comments on what could have been done prior to taking this photo, but unfortunately, I did not see this with enough time to prepare. The group was already escorted out of that area when the bird's call caused me to turn around and see it. Had to snap quickly from about 30 feet away as it is against the rules to lag behind the group. They are strict about staying together and I could not react fast enough to avoid breaking the rules:frown: .

    You did a great job brightening up the image and I agree that it would be much easier using the raw file. As long as somebody can tell me how to upload it, I can provide the 16mb raw file.

    I am attempting to combine a -2ev water and a +1ev bird but can't seem to do it neatly - the colors look good though. At least being new to this means I don't have to unlearn any bad habits, just continue to learn. :smile:

    Greatly appreciate and absorb all the help I can, thank you
    Peace
    Mark
     
  4. Commodorefirst

    Commodorefirst Admin/Moderator Administrator

    May 1, 2005
    Missouri
    Hello Mark,

    If you would like to upload the nef, please check your PM.

    In regards to the image, While it has nice colors, even with the work from Gordon, the flaws in the photograph affects my enjoyment of the image a great deal.

    One thing I did really really like about the image was the nice lines and shapes in the image. Because of this (by the way , notice how the log laying down looks just like an alligator!) I decided to emphasize the shapes and lines by doing a Bw conversion and doing a near High Key look to the background. It probably isn't going to be liked my most individuals, but I like it, so i thought I would show you the example.

    [​IMG]

    Please understand that one one lone negative thought about this image doesn't mean that this is the end of the world, or you are a rotten photographer. Your images such as this:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/r2d200/451037540/

    are very nice and would be appropriate in many many galleries.

    This next shot is stunning and I am posting a link so all may see the wonderful images you do take, (once again just my opinion) and I hope they understand that we were trying to solve a problem with the image above.

    this shot is just grand:

    http://www.flickr.com/photo_zoom.gne?id=450074470&context=set-72157600054700483&size=o

    Of course I am sure there may be one or two out there for some reason who don't enjoy these images too, but I wanted to let you know that while I don't care for the that one image you posted, you are a fine photographer.

    cheers, and thanks for listening to my thoughts.

    Wade
     
  5. MarkM

    MarkM

    300
    Dec 20, 2005
    Tampa Florida
    Wade,

    Thank you for your time and kind words. You did a great job here and I like this version as much as the color version. I didn't notice the alligator shape and now that you mentioned it, it appears so obvious that I don't know how I missed it (even my wife was surprised that I missed it). So far the only negative remarks about my images have come from a co-worker teasing me that I over saturated all the colors to the point of not looking natural so I am taking it as a compliment.

    I have uploaded the raw file (MarkM-pcock.nef) since we all agree it would be best in order to work on the water detail.

    Here is an attempt at merging a -2ev water and a +1 bird. As I previously posted, I brightened the bird and regained some of the lost water details but my merge was not good enough and needs more time spent smoothing the masking line.

    458327857_3244593064_o.

    Photoshop is a wonderful tool for getting the diamond out of the 'diamond in the rough' raw file. Playing / experimenting with this image is helping me learn and understand photoshop better since I am using levels, layers, masks, etc., instead of just a couple mouse clicks. Gee, maybe adobe can use this as a classroom assignment - lol.:smile:

    Again, thanks for your time and insight
    Peace
    Mark
     
  6. Commodorefirst

    Commodorefirst Admin/Moderator Administrator

    May 1, 2005
    Missouri
    hello again Mark,

    with your nef I tried a lot of different things, and short of doing a full replacement in the background I am still not really happy with the water behind.

    For this shot I tried a tighter crop and I also did some PS work in the water to remove the plants in the right side of the water, and I tried to give the effect of a bright golden sun behind the bird.

    In removing the grass and cropping out the tree on the left of the image i think the image does have a stronger composition this way. All of he focus is on the log, bowl, and colors in the bird.

    In looking at your raw converted image, I think you did a good job on the water in attempting to recover the highlights, I couldn't do any better in NX. As I told you in PM, there are some who could imporve on the shot even more

    As stated, the alligator in the shot does make an interesting "log"

    Wade

    [​IMG]
     
  7. MarkM

    MarkM

    300
    Dec 20, 2005
    Tampa Florida
    Hello again,

    Sorry for the delay in posting back.

    Thanks again to both of you for your time and help, it is greatly appreciated. The family atmosphere and willingness to help others truely sets the cafe above the rest.

    Cheers to all here at the cafe
    Peace
    Mark
     
  8. Thanks Mark and good luck with your photography.
     
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