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Thread: Advice Please

  1. #1
    jdathebowler's Avatar
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    Advice Please

    I have taken some photos of seagulls yesterday when I visited the seaside.They were taken in and around Whitby Harbour. I now have the images on my computer and just beginning to process them.Some of the images that that I took have the seagullsl sitting on the harbour walls and jetties.My question is do I clone out the birds droppings or is it acceptable to leave them on the final processed image.If I leave them on it looks a more like a genuine photo. You can imagine there are a lot of seagulls and they have been around a long time.What I would like to know from you seasoned photographers is do I clone or just leave the droppings to make the photo appear natural.

    John

  2. #2
    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: Advice Please

    John - that is a compositional call that only you the photographer can make. In your case is sounds like you will have to rebuild the harbour walls to get rid of the droppings; perhaps a bit too much effort?

  3. #3

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    Re: Advice Please

    Generally speaking if something is distracting it's a good candidate for cloning. If you think it may be offensive then that is a judgment call depending on who your intended audience it. It would be easier for people to share opinions if you had posted and example. I'm imagining mountains of the stuff with birds sitting on top

  4. #4
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    Re: Advice Please

    If you can recognize what it is you are either looking too closely at the image or the resolution of your camera is phenomenal.

  5. #5
    jdathebowler's Avatar
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    Re: Advice Please

    Here is a before and after.

    Advice Please

    Advice Please

  6. #6
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    Re: Advice Please

    Hi John,

    Can't see the last two images - seems to be saying that the link to Flickr doesn't work

    Dave

  7. #7
    jdathebowler's Avatar
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    Re: Advice Please

    Sorry about that I had removed the images from Flickr. I didn't realise they would disappear as I could still see them when logged into CinC. You can see that I have started to clone out the droppings.Which brings me back to the reason for asking for your opinions whether to clone or not to clone.The image I suppose is more authentic with the droppings showing. So what is the general consensus about showing or not showing?
    John

    Advice Please
    IMG_2009 by jdathebowler, on Flickr
    Advice Please
    IMG_2009a by jdathebowler, on Flickr

  8. #8
    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: Advice Please

    I prefer the retouched version. The bird droppings are distracting.

  9. #9
    pnodrog's Avatar
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    Re: Advice Please

    The second version is considerably better. In fact you may want to go further and remove the joint in the concrete.

  10. #10
    davidedric's Avatar
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    Re: Advice Please

    Hi John.

    The second image is better, but you could go the other way and clone lots of droppings in. Then, the gull, which I think has an I don't care look about it could be saying "so, I don't give a s**** "

    On a different note, if you don't mind some feedback on the image, I think you have lost quite a bit of detail in the feathers. Joe (jprzsbyla) is a bit of an expert on white birds, and I think he would say spot meter on the bird, under expose enough to get rid of the blown highlights (the blinkies) and then bring up the exposure in pp while protecting the highlights. Apologies if this is all gobbledegook, don't know what you are shooting with or what pp software you may have.

    Dave

  11. #11
    jdathebowler's Avatar
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    Re: Advice Please

    Thanks GrumpyDiver and pnodrog for your replies. I will clone out the joint.
    davidedric I am using a Canon 600D which I bought last April.I am slowly learning how to use it.I have just started to use manual settings.This image was shot at 1/250 11.0 iso 200 and +1/2 exp comp.pp software Gimp 2.8 I have just started to try and learn about under and over exposure.Yesterday was the first time I tried bracketing.I used -1/2 0 and +1/2 I think I should have tried with -1 0 +1 maybe I would not have captured the dreaded blinkie.The other aspect is I will need to find a tutorial on how to bring up the exposure while protecting the highlights.I have a lot to learn on how to take the perfect picture. CinC is doing its best to educate me so there may be hope yet.

    John

  12. #12
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    Re: Advice Please

    Dave makes good points here. The cloning is a lot of work and I doubt I would do that unless I had an optimised image of the bird. This requires metering on the white feathers of the bird. Ideally shooting raw. Compositionally, it is a bird smack in the middle of the frame. It has an evil look in its eye which could create interest, but the composition needs to draw us in, perhaps by having the bird in the right hand third of the frame and ideally taking from a lower angle, with the camera focussed on the eye. Wide aperture to blur out the uninteresting background.

    I am not trying to be critical: just recognising that photography has some tricks up its sleeve. It is a bit of a black art and from personal experience you have found a great forum to learn (not from me: I am very much learning too).

    Keep at it. Adrian

  13. #13
    pnodrog's Avatar
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    Re: Advice Please

    With white scenes such as snow, white sandy beaches, brides etc where the exposure metering is primarily taken from or being overly dominated by the light area you often need to increase the exposure (+ compensation) to make sure the overall scene exposure is correct. e.g. In snow making sure any skin tones are not far to dark.

    However if you have a white Gull sitting on a big black rock and the exposure is being largely determined by the rock the result will tend to be over exposure and to retain detail in the white feathers negative exposure compensation will be required.

    In your scene it will depend on what part of the scene the camera was determining its metering and the mode of metering being used but in general if the main subject matter is very light I would be very hesitant in applying positive exposure compensation. Loss of a bit of detail in shadows is usually far less objectionable than clipping and loss of detail in the highlights.

    If in doubt bracket and preferably save as a RAW file.

  14. #14
    jprzybyla's Avatar
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    Re: Advice Please

    Hello John, nice seagull. I think I prefer the second image with the droppings cloned out. My friend David is correct in his advice regarding exposing white birds. I had a look at your image and if you lower the exposure by 1 to 1.5 stops you will recover much of the detail in the white feathers.

  15. #15
    jdathebowler's Avatar
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    Re: Advice Please

    After reading davidedrics reply I have I hope found away to rectify the exposure problem.This is my first attempt.
    I duplicated the image,added a layer mask with an overlay.Added Gaussian Blur and then adjusted the contrast.Finally flattened the image.I managed to find a Gimp tutorial to help show me how.This is the final image so please give me some feed back.If I have been successful thanks again for all your advice

    Advice Please
    Herring Gull by jdathebowler, on Flickr

  16. #16
    pnodrog's Avatar
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    Re: Advice Please

    If the detail in the highlights is not captured there is no way to recover other than by cloning some back in from another area. Set the cloning mode to either darken or luminosity and the transparency set between about 10-30% depending on brightness of source. With darken you can clone over darker area such as the grey feathers and they should not be affected but with luminosity you need to be a little more careful. I am not sure what the equivalent approach is using GIMP but I suspect it is similar. I nearly always clone to a new layer and often lower layer transparency to adjust final look.

    Here is a quick go to illustrate with a little vignetting added as well.

    Advice Please

    You have the original full size version so you should be able get a better result. Give it a go. Good luck.
    Last edited by pnodrog; 18th July 2013 at 02:20 AM.

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