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Thread: Fixing Glare in Post-Processing

  1. #1
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    Nathan Rouse

    Fixing Glare in Post-Processing

    Hey guys, this is a shot I took of Manhattan the other night. I kind of like the image (although feedback there would be appreciated as well) but theres a good deal of glare from the strong light source thats mirrored in the middle of the image. I think I might have downgraded the quality a bit more than necessary for posting, so I hope its still visible. I was wondering: is there any way to remove that in post-processing using GIMP? Failing that, what kind of equipment would I need to reduce this? Would a lens hood help?

    Thanks!

    Nathan
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  2. #2
    jiro's Avatar
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    Willie or Jiro is fine by me.

    Re: Fixing Glare in Post-Processing

    It's very tricky to do it in post-processing. I think a good alternative would be to take 2 shots - one exposing for the highlights (so that means the shot would be under-exposed) and the other one exposing for the whole scene. Then combine the two using layers and masks and selecting the best exposure from each layer. Just a suggestion.

  3. #3
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Fixing Glare in Post-Processing

    Hi Nathan,

    I agree with Willie, although if it was shot RAW, there may be room for some additional work in PP, unfortunately I'm not a GIMPer, so I can't help with specifics.

    In this case; with light source in image, a lens hood won't help (but I'd still use one anyway).

    If you have a UV filter fitted as 'standard practice', make sure it is clean. You may even want to consider (temporarily) taking it off for a shot like this.

    If I haven't said it before; welcome to the CiC forums from ...

  4. #4

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    Re: Fixing Glare in Post-Processing

    Toning down the over exposed glare, Nathan, is quite easy using an Adjustment Layer (Curves etc) and mask. And carefully feathering in the join.

    But the problem is that it is impossible to recover the blown details.

    Working with Raw, as Dave suggested, may be better. Expose one copy for the highlights and one for the shadows then 'combine' the two with a mask which only shows the lights from the 'highlight layer'. At least that is the way I would edit it.

    However, I still think that there will be quite a bit of lost details.

  5. #5

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    Re: Fixing Glare in Post-Processing

    Nathan:
    I think the solution would have been a polarizing filter. It would cost you in exposure time of course. My understanding is that one of the few issues not completely resolvable in 'post' is glare.
    Cheers,
    Dave D

  6. #6

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    Have a guess :)

    Re: Fixing Glare in Post-Processing

    Hi Nathan,

    The biggest problem isn't the "post processing" it's the range of contrasts in the scene to start with. Photographing lights at night can be a little tricky until you learn to expose for the mid-tones, but it's based on the fact that although this technique caters for high-contrast scenes, it not really geared up for high contrast scenes with light sources that are at vastly different intensities.

    So personally, I'd do one of two things ...

    1. Choose a different scene where all of the lights are at roughly the same level (like the ones in the backgroud are), or

    2. Shoot RAW and expose more for the bright light in the foreground, and then dial in a bucketload of fill light slider in post processing to raise the low-midtones.

    Also, stop down the lens as far as you can - it'll give you a nice starburst from the lights - just adjust your exposure accordingly.

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