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Author Topic: Take a look at this image, can someone with great PP skill make it work?  (Read 6827 times)

Northstar

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I'm looking for a little help and/or an opinion from someone with more experience/knowledge about post processing.

I found these two beautiful bald eagles sitting together for a portrait, unfortunately, they were about 250 yards away and sitting in shade. 

Used a 5d3, 70-200 2.8ii, 2xiii.  At 380mm.  ISO 800 - 1/500 - f/7.1

I played around in Aperture trying to make this image work, and I'm just struggling.  I'm wondering what somebody with  more experience/knowledge could do with this image?  Or are the distance and light issues too great?

This is an untouched straight out of the camera image...I've only cropped.

Here's a link to the raw version
http://www.flickr.com/photos/31549996@N08/7932287884/#sizes/o/in/photostream/
« Last Edit: September 04, 2012, 04:41:06 PM by Northstar »
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Re: Take a look at this image, can someone with great PP skill make it work?
« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2012, 03:26:58 PM »
Why is it posted as a png.  Thats not a useful format for editing.  provide a link in Raw.

Northstar

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Re: Take a look at this image, can someone with great PP skill make it work?
« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2012, 04:47:02 PM »
Why is it posted as a png.  Thats not a useful format for editing.  provide a link in Raw.

you're right, I've fixed this.  now there's a link to a flickr acct. in the original post.

thanks.
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jamiewednesday

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Re: Take a look at this image, can someone with great PP skill make it work?
« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2012, 05:48:27 PM »
Quick jpeg, I'm sure others will do better with more time!


Eagles copy by jamiewednesday1, on Flickr

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Re: Take a look at this image, can someone with great PP skill make it work?
« Reply #4 on: September 04, 2012, 05:54:42 PM »
Here is what I would do (This is meant to teach you to fish, not to catch the fish for you):

Open in Adobe Camera Raw. Kick up the blacks, contrast, etc. to get the overall image as best as you can. Don't worry about the shadows or highlights right now.

Open as a smart object. In Photoshop, make a new smart object via copy (must be a new smart object so the two objects are not linked.)

Open the second smart object in Adobe Camera Raw and start working on the highlights, to bring some detail back into them (adjust exposure first) (Always work downward from the list of adjustments in Camera Raw, starting with exposure and moving down the line. If one adjustment messes up the exposure, go back and adjust the exposure slightly).

Send the second layer back to Photoshop. Now you have two layers, one should be optimized for the midtones, and one for the highlights. Do you need one optimized for the shadows? If so, make another smart object copy and repeat the above in Camera Raw for the shadows.

After you have your two-three layers, add a layer mask to one of the layers. Using the brush tool paint away the parts of the layer to reveal the layer underneath that you want to use. (For example, if your layer optimized for highlights is below the layer optimized for midtones, you will paint away the highlight areas on your midtone layer to reveal the highlight layer underneath) If you paint away too much, switch the brush to white and paint it back in.

After you are done with the second layer, then do the same with the third (create a layer mask and start painting away the areas you want to reveal on the layers below).

This is a really abbreviated version, but experiment and you'll get the idea. Smart layers are absolutely great in this regard, because you can compress the range of tones to fit the subject.

When you get done, link the three layers and then copy all three. You'll now have six layers (or however many you've created times two). Make the original layers invisible and then merge the copied layers using "merge visible" that way, you have one layer you can work with and three invisible layers that preserve all  your work, in case you have to go back and adjust something later.

Now, this isn't going to help with cropping (which this photo is going to need quite a bit of). Your can either crop it beforehand in Camera Raw or crop it later in Photoshop. I'm not sure how much cropping you'll be able to do and still have a decent print, I would just start chopping away gradually, until I reach a balance that looks good.

Smart object technique courtesy of Scott Kelby. Highly recommended.

Of course in Photoshop there are a dozen different ways to do the same thing. I just find this the easiest.
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canon816

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Re: Take a look at this image, can someone with great PP skill make it work?
« Reply #5 on: September 04, 2012, 05:56:50 PM »
Quick jpeg, I'm sure others will do better with more time!


Eagles copy by jamiewednesday1, on Flickr

That looks pretty good.  What was your editing flow?

dr croubie

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Re: Take a look at this image, can someone with great PP skill make it work?
« Reply #6 on: September 04, 2012, 06:23:13 PM »
Here's my quick version.
I don't like doing too much PP, if i do it's using DPP from the raw file. This was in GIMP with the full-sized jpg from flickr.
Anyway:
crop out the crap, size ended up 1250x1000 (about as low as i'd go for a web-sized photo)
fix the curves, darken the blacks, boost some highlights, recover some mid-darks.
because I'm only using GIMP and didn't have the raw-file, my noise-reduction consits of a 1-pixel gaussian blur, followed by an unsharp mask, radius 1.4, amount 0.4, threshold 5.
Could do a lot better with more time and the raw file, now i'm really late for work.
Try the curves yourself from the raw-file, it's good to practise, as said earlier.
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Re: Take a look at this image, can someone with great PP skill make it work?
« Reply #6 on: September 04, 2012, 06:23:13 PM »

Northstar

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Re: Take a look at this image, can someone with great PP skill make it work?
« Reply #7 on: September 04, 2012, 07:11:54 PM »
Here is what I would do (This is meant to teach you to fish, not to catch the fish for you):

Open in Adobe Camera Raw. Kick up the blacks, contrast, etc. to get the overall image as best as you can. Don't worry about the shadows or highlights right now.

Open as a smart object. In Photoshop, make a new smart object via copy (must be a new smart object so the two objects are not linked.)

Open the second smart object in Adobe Camera Raw and start working on the highlights, to bring some detail back into them (adjust exposure first) (Always work downward from the list of adjustments in Camera Raw, starting with exposure and moving down the line. If one adjustment messes up the exposure, go back and adjust the exposure slightly).

Send the second layer back to Photoshop. Now you have two layers, one should be optimized for the midtones, and one for the highlights. Do you need one optimized for the shadows? If so, make another smart object copy and repeat the above in Camera Raw for the shadows.

After you have your two-three layers, add a layer mask to one of the layers. Using the brush tool paint away the parts of the layer to reveal the layer underneath that you want to use. (For example, if your layer optimized for highlights is below the layer optimized for midtones, you will paint away the highlight areas on your midtone layer to reveal the highlight layer underneath) If you paint away too much, switch the brush to white and paint it back in.

After you are done with the second layer, then do the same with the third (create a layer mask and start painting away the areas you want to reveal on the layers below).

This is a really abbreviated version, but experiment and you'll get the idea. Smart layers are absolutely great in this regard, because you can compress the range of tones to fit the subject.

When you get done, link the three layers and then copy all three. You'll now have six layers (or however many you've created times two). Make the original layers invisible and then merge the copied layers using "merge visible" that way, you have one layer you can work with and three invisible layers that preserve all  your work, in case you have to go back and adjust something later.

Now, this isn't going to help with cropping (which this photo is going to need quite a bit of). Your can either crop it beforehand in Camera Raw or crop it later in Photoshop. I'm not sure how much cropping you'll be able to do and still have a decent print, I would just start chopping away gradually, until I reach a balance that looks good.

Smart object technique courtesy of Scott Kelby. Highly recommended.

Of course in Photoshop there are a dozen different ways to do the same thing. I just find this the easiest.

unfocused...I really appreciate the time you took to explain your process to me.  I'm going to try that when I have some time.  Thanks.
Sport Shooter

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Northstar

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Re: Take a look at this image, can someone with great PP skill make it work?
« Reply #8 on: September 04, 2012, 07:14:44 PM »
Here's my quick version.
I don't like doing too much PP, if i do it's using DPP from the raw file. This was in GIMP with the full-sized jpg from flickr.
Anyway:
crop out the crap, size ended up 1250x1000 (about as low as i'd go for a web-sized photo)
fix the curves, darken the blacks, boost some highlights, recover some mid-darks.
because I'm only using GIMP and didn't have the raw-file, my noise-reduction consits of a 1-pixel gaussian blur, followed by an unsharp mask, radius 1.4, amount 0.4, threshold 5.
Could do a lot better with more time and the raw file, now i'm really late for work.
Try the curves yourself from the raw-file, it's good to practise, as said earlier.

Thanks dr...good info!
Sport Shooter

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Northstar

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Re: Take a look at this image, can someone with great PP skill make it work?
« Reply #9 on: September 04, 2012, 07:15:56 PM »
Jamie...that looks great.  I also would be curious as to your editing workflow?

Sport Shooter

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jamiewednesday

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Re: Take a look at this image, can someone with great PP skill make it work?
« Reply #10 on: September 04, 2012, 07:20:46 PM »
Quick jpeg, I'm sure others will do better with more time!


That looks pretty good.  What was your editing flow?

Um...Fiddle about a bit.

Northstar

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Re: Take a look at this image, can someone with great PP skill make it work?
« Reply #11 on: September 04, 2012, 07:23:58 PM »
I've tried another edit.  Now that I know it's possible to make it work, I'm trying harder.  I'm looking forward to trying some of the layering technique when I have more time.

By the way...these beauties were fishing (and then resting) on the "old man".  (mighty mississippi) just a few miles south of downtown minneapolis.  Baldies have had a huge resurgence over the past 15 years as officials have worked hard to clean up the "old man".   

Please critique or comment.
« Last Edit: September 04, 2012, 07:31:13 PM by Northstar »
Sport Shooter

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jamiewednesday

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Re: Take a look at this image, can someone with great PP skill make it work?
« Reply #12 on: September 04, 2012, 07:38:50 PM »
I've just noticed, the flickr linked picture is different from the one at the top of the page..!

Anyhow, it's just practice I feel. I've had elements about a year or so now and while I don't have a set workflow I tend to use levels adjustment on pics that don't quite have the right pizazz, then some minor adjustments if needed to get colours living and breathing some more but these vary until it looks right. Topaz Adjust and other plugins that can be trialled has quick fixes, I'm not sure I like most of them but they can work. I found I still fiddled with them afterwards so figured what was the point?

I also think much of it comes down to good old composition too, esp when it comes to cropping. Use rule of thirds for example and I was particularly keen to get the colours of the leaves in the shot so that the Eagles are part of a scene, not just a picture of birds!

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Re: Take a look at this image, can someone with great PP skill make it work?
« Reply #12 on: September 04, 2012, 07:38:50 PM »

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Re: Take a look at this image, can someone with great PP skill make it work?
« Reply #13 on: September 04, 2012, 08:13:32 PM »
While I usually dont like faked shallow depth of field (because it almost never looks real), it can still help isolate the eagles a little if the background is so close to them.
If you have Photoshop or at least the "Lens Blur" filter, you can try creating a "distance map" in a seperate layer, telling the filter the distance to the objects by using different shades of grey.
You might also try just blurring the background using ordinary blurring tools, and keep the eagles sharp in another layer.
Some people might hate the look of it, but i think its still worth a try.

zaydoon

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Re: Take a look at this image, can someone with great PP skill make it work?
« Reply #14 on: September 04, 2012, 08:38:24 PM »
Here is what I usually do.  Not as elaborate or accurate as other methods, but gives satisfying results quickly.

1- Fix white balance.

The image has too much of a wash of light.  Needs contrast boost. I Hate to fiddle with slide bars much, soI do it usually by multiply and screen.
 Examine the individual channels. red channel looks best candidate as a mask (has more contrast) to seperate the values.

3- Selected red channel in this case and loaded it as a mask.  Load a new curve (with the red mask selected) and Invert the mask.Set curve layer to multiply( Always check the shadows after multiply to ensure they dont get lost. Adjust opacity or mask contrast if needed, I didnt need it in this case)
5- Now some increase in luminosity is needed but only in bright areas, so I select the dullest channel, in this case blue. Load blue channel, new curve layer, no need to invert,  Set layer to screen. Always check for blown highlights after screen and adjust mask or opacity if needed. In this case it wasnt needed.
6- sharpen and your done.


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Re: Take a look at this image, can someone with great PP skill make it work?
« Reply #14 on: September 04, 2012, 08:38:24 PM »