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Thread: PP Advice Needed on Backlit BIFs

  1. #1

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    PP Advice Needed on Backlit BIFs

    OK, hopefully some of you guys who are better at PP than I am have some advice on these. The pesky birds insisted on passing by in a backlit situation. Little experience with this as it is overcast skies here 90 percent of the time.

    These were shot with a Nikon D4 which has excellent dynamic range. The RAW files have a good bit of detail in the shaded areas. I use Capture NX2 for RAW processing and PS Elements for any necessary masking and resizing for final output. I was able to bring out a lot of detail on the chest/under wings to the point that they had that HDR grunge look. So I toned down the shadows until they looked more natural to me. But now I've looked at them too long and have no idea if they need more work or what

    They looked OK on my calibrated monitor that I use for PP. But on my laptop and work computer they seem awefully dark. Any C/C will be appreciated.

    Both shot with Nikon D4, 200-400VR, sunny f16 settings in manual to protect highlights, handheld on Bushhawk. (Note: sunny f16 in Alaska is comparable to sunny f22 in lower latitudes)

    I tried to recover this one because it is such a great full wingspan pose. It is probably about 50% crop.

    PP Advice Needed on Backlit BIFs

    This one was a full frame shot at 350mm with a slight crop for composition. So there is plenty of detail in the RAW file.

    PP Advice Needed on Backlit BIFs

  2. #2

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    Pania

    Re: PP Advice Needed on Backlit BIFs

    I love number 1 because I love backlighting - in this case it separates the bird from the background giving that beautiful depth. I am somewhat distracted by the blue thing to the right of the bird though - would this be a relatively easy clone-out? (ugh now I'm speaking American). There is some discernible detail in the underside of the bird's wings which is nice. Perhaps I am not such a good judge because some lack of so-called sharpness does not faze me. As you say, some additional illumination from below might have helped.
    Still love the pic.
    I wonder if number 3 would have benefited by more space around the bird because of the obvious effort it is making, that could be part of the story? Nice pic tho
    Paniaa

  3. #3

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    Re: PP Advice Needed on Backlit BIFs

    I didn't understood why you did not like your proper pp
    In C NX2 there is color control point you must apply on the different parts of the subject with small radius increasing the brightness and saturation(sometimes)On Adjust>Light>D-lighting,after that with levels&curves you can control the image-look.I supra processed to understand the limits.
    Regards.

    PP Advice Needed on Backlit BIFs
    To take out that "blue-blur" it opens PSE,Enhance,Adjust color,Hue/Saturation>Cyan-saturation -70/-80 and Blue-saturation -100 and lightness -10

    PP Advice Needed on Backlit BIFs
    Last edited by Radu Dinu Cordeanu; 13th June 2013 at 07:45 PM.

  4. #4

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    Re: PP Advice Needed on Backlit BIFs

    Radu and Pania have made good points. I am no pp guru but will just mention one distraction - blue in areas where there should be none. White parts of the neck should be fixed. Slight blue in the background should be ok. I agree that that "pole" in #1 should go.

    Regarding detail in the dark parts - I get this at times in similar situations. What I do is lift the shadows just to the point where detail starts getting visible and leave it at that.

    A dark front is expected with backlits, lift the shadows too much and pics will look faked.

    Superb shots btw.

  5. #5

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    Re: PP Advice Needed on Backlit BIFs

    The problem with your first image is that the bird and background are both equally dark and the white balance is rather strange, with a lot of excess blue.

    However, I have done what I can in the way of simple quick editing. But this is a low resolution image to start with.

    PP Advice Needed on Backlit BIFs

    What I did was: Use Curves to correct the WB. Then another Curves Adjustment Layer and set the Blend Mode to Screen. Dragged the diagonal curves line down to make a straight line across the bottom. Raised the middle of the line to create a 'hump' shape.

    A bit of tweaking with additional points to create a smooth shape. Both ends are on the bottom.

    Then used a mask (reveal all) to hide the excessive effects from the tail. Also edited the mask to leave the brighter background areas a fraction darker.

    I'm not sure what colour/brightness should be for this bird so I might have slightly over done the edit. Or perhaps a little more red could be used; I've tended to err on the side of caution.

    Whatever is tried, I'm afraid it is going to be something of a damage limitation exercise so will never be perfect.

    The second image should be a little easier to edit.

  6. #6

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    Re: PP Advice Needed on Backlit BIFs

    Thanks, guys. When I get on my machine I'll try your suggestions. I don't typically work with the curves tool but I suppose it's time I learned. When I get it in front of me I'll read back through the description and see if I can follow. I don't typically have to make localized WB adjustments (due to previously mentioned flat lighting most of the time) but I guess by definition parts of this image are in direct sun and parts in shade so WB varies in different parts of the image. It only stands to reason. It is definately evident on the (supposed to be) white feather on the birds' necks).

    I was so focused on the lighting in the birds that I hadn't even noticed the (now) obvious distractions in the BG of the first shot. Those I can handle

    It would be nice if pointing the camera is all there was to it...

  7. #7

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    Re: PP Advice Needed on Backlit BIFs

    Dan, I think your white balance is close. You need a little magenta to balance it out. Not shure where the blues are coming from. A quick fix, is to max out the saturation of the blue channel and the cyan channel, to see where they are in the image. If they are not needed anywhere, you can simply deasturate those two colors and get rid of the unwanted blues.


    A couple of nice images. I like them both.


    When working with the curves tool. If you make a reverse S curve.........pull the top right down a little and the bottom left up a little, you will darken the bright highlights and brighten the shadow detail. This type of curve will work well with both of these shots.

  8. #8

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    Re: PP Advice Needed on Backlit BIFs

    Thanks for the tips, folks. I only had time to work on one of them. I used the trick to desaturate the blues and it definately looks much better. Appreciate that. I also gave it a bit more room as suggested, applied the inverted S curve selectively to the underside, and cloned out some bright stuff in the BG.

    PP Advice Needed on Backlit BIFs

    Before edits.

    PP Advice Needed on Backlit BIFs

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