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Thread: Jellyfish - a translucent critter

  1. #1
    Brownbear's Avatar
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    Jellyfish - a translucent critter

    While I was out photographing birds and harbour seals I spotted this jellyfish in the ocean, so naturally I tried photographing it.

    I'm not certain to what to think of this photo other than it's colourful.

    Manual SS 320 A 4 Iso320 Exp Bias .67

    Jellyfish - a translucent critter


    Comments appreciated. Thank you.

    PS Unfortunately the jellyfish was devoured by the harbour seals.

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    James G's Avatar
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    Re: Jellyfish - a translucent critter

    Hi Christina, Blue on Blue was never going to be easy, but I'd say you did a pretty good job, given just how translucent they can be. You said that the harbour seals eventually ate it. I'm wondering if they had already been nibbling.

    I suspect it was a difficult shot, and with nature shots, you have to just take them when you can and hope for the best. Thinking about it, I have seen lots of seals over the years around the UK and Ireland but have never managed a satisfactory shot. Best ever was a snout and eyes just before a dive.

    I don't know much about jellyfish, here in the UK, the sea is usually too dark and turbulent to see them, unless you are swimming with them. I mostly see them washed up on the beach in no state to be photographed. But I was in Katakolon in Greece a few years back and thousands (literally), were floating around in the harbour. I managed to get the attached shot! I'm now wondering because of the blue colour, if yours might be the same species (which I never did identify).

    Keep on shooting, James
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Re: Jellyfish - a translucent critter

    Christina it is good you are keeping your eyes open for all photo opportunities. If you take a photograph through water, unusual atmospheric conditions or tinted screens it is often beneficial to do your main colour corrections by adjusting the levels on the individual RGB channels. This would be a good photograph for you to experiment on. Below is an adjustment I did on the photograph but as I did not see the jellyfish in real life it is just a guess but gives you an indication of the changes you have the option of making.

    Jellyfish - a translucent critter

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    Re: Jellyfish - a translucent critter

    Hi James,

    Thank you for sharing your photo. It is helpful for me to see what a good shot of a jellyfish looks like. The colour of my photo is somewhat psychedelic and auto WB produced the mildest colour version. Our jellyfish do look similar but it is the first I've seen of its kind so I haven't been able to identify it yet.

    Yes, the ocean here is dark and not translucent. I could only see the top of the jelly fish and it may be that the seals had been at it already.

    Thank you for sharing your photo. It was slow moving so I have a several shots taken at different settings that I can play with to see if I can manage anything, but I can already see that it is not going to look anything like your photo.

    L. Paul
    Yes, I'm always out and about trying to find wildlife. However the jellyfish was a total fluke.

    Thank you for taking the time to show me an edit. I will play with the RGB channels in LR and see what I can come up with.

    James,

    I managed several shots of the harbour seals this time around. I climbed over the side of the pier (not in the water) and I managed to catch their attention. I didn't manage a full body shot but a few head shots that I like and have more potential than my jellyfish. I also have a couple of the seals together. Right now I don't know what to do with them in processing. The photos in the early morning are darker and a little later in the morning I have lots of highlights, not blown but distracting. When I hit auto WB in Lightroom it drops the exposure by quite a bit, too much I think but I'm still not sure.

    Here are a few shots for now. When I figure out the post processing I will share a few more in a new thread.

    Jellyfish - a translucent critter

    Jellyfish - a translucent critter


    Jellyfish - a translucent critter

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    James G's Avatar
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    Re: Jellyfish - a translucent critter

    Wow! Christina, I have never been able to get seals that close! No 3 is really good especially with the way you have caught the ripples. James

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    Re: Jellyfish - a translucent critter

    I suspect that the jelly fish is a bit of an achievement. I've never tried but given that they are translucent, it can't be easy to separate them from the water. I just love the first of your seals (they're all good). Great shot.

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    Brownbear's Avatar
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    Re: Jellyfish - a translucent critter

    Thank you James, It is really nice to receive a wow from you. I have lots of shots with just the wee heads of the seals in them.

    It is helpful to know you like #3 best. I will look for the ones with the ripples and keep the exposure as shot.

    Thank you, John. The jellyfish was a first for me and I had to guess what settings to use. I think it would have turned out nicer if it were later in the day in bright sunlight. I'm not sure if I will ever see another one here.

    Thank you. I like the first one, too because of his eye and also because I can see his body. I think I darkened the exposure too, much so I will reset that to as shot.

    I will go through my seal photos and work on them, and post later.

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    Re: Jellyfish - a translucent critter

    The first seal photo is magical for me. Consider getting rid of the white dot of glare in the plain water above the seal's head.

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    Re: Jellyfish - a translucent critter

    Big smile... Thank you.

    Do you mean the water droplet at the near the top or do you mean the line of sunlight (water on the top of the seals head)?

    Do you prefer the exposure of the first seal photo (less than shot) or the third shot? I am hopeful that you can help me with this because I'm never sure about balancing the exposure of wildlife in water... ie. the water is darker and richer in image one but the seal is lighter in image 3.

    Thank you. I promise to not ask any other questions of you for a while if you can help me with this.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Buckley View Post
    The first seal photo is magical for me. Consider getting rid of the white dot of glare in the plain water above the seal's head.

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    Re: Jellyfish - a translucent critter

    ... those are brilliant images , even the water is beautiful to look at ! I would be very proud if I had taken those.

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    Re: Jellyfish - a translucent critter

    Paul,

    I just wanted to send you a great BIG thank you... Your example and suggestions to try the RGB tool helped me ton to learn something new about postprocessing. Trying your suggestions turned a light bulb on in my head and I know for sure that this exercise will help me with my future shots with funky water.


    I chose another jelly fish shot and decreased the exposure about 1 stop, then I went to the curves tool and I pulled down the lower part of the curve in the blue channel, and lifted the lower part of the curve in the red channel, and my psychedelic water is very much improved! (noisy and I don't know why as the exposure is fine)

    I also selectively sharpened the jelly fish by 15 (who knows if one is supposed to sharpen jellyfish) and increased clarity by 19, increased the whites by about 36, decreased blacks by about 7, and increased vibrancy by 27.

    I actually kind of like my photo now, even though it is not a show stopper like Jame's jellyfish, it looks kind of surreal and colourful but not over the top colours...

    Dawn... Thank you so much... I expect you are referring to my seals and you also put a smile on my face.

    Mike... I feel compelled to say that it was fate that I should stumble upon a jellyfish to photograph

    Jellyfish - a translucent critter






    Quote Originally Posted by pnodrog View Post
    Christina it is good you are keeping your eyes open for all photo opportunities. If you take a photograph through water, unusual atmospheric conditions or tinted screens it is often beneficial to do your main colour corrections by adjusting the levels on the individual RGB channels. This would be a good photograph for you to experiment on. Below is an adjustment I did on the photograph but as I did not see the jellyfish in real life it is just a guess but gives you an indication of the changes you have the option of making.

    Jellyfish - a translucent critter

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    Re: Jellyfish - a translucent critter

    Christina,
    If you want to experiment a bit with pp try the following ( I use cs6 and you may not be able to replicate every step but.....)

    Start on raw file and set clarity to about 60
    Then increase exposure until whites look a bit blown
    Now reduce highlights to bring back whites
    Repeat these two steps if you think the image can take it.

    Next, move the shadows slider to enhance tonal contrast. Moving to left darkens, to right lightens.
    Then try adjusting the whites. Usually if you have lightened with the shadow slider, you find yourself reducing the whites.
    You may find you want to go back an fiddle with exposure /highlights at this point.

    Once you are satisfied with the look of the raw file, open in Photoshop.

    Then create a levels layer and adjust white and black levels as needed.
    Finally, create a vibrance layer and crank the vibrance all the way to 100% and then change the blending to luminosity. ( you should see a different 'pop' to the darker tones)

    Toggle the vibrance layer on an off and examine the change to the tones. If necessary reduce the opacity of the layer until yo have the effect you want.

    Its not necessary or appropriate even, to always execute all these steps on every image, but I find that I tend to follow a workflow where I consider these most often.

    (I havn't included any sharpening steps since that is another discussion/process )

    Needless to say, it still helps mightily if the original capture 'in camera' is good.

    Have fun, James
    Last edited by James G; 15th September 2013 at 08:56 PM.

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    Re: Jellyfish - a translucent critter

    Thank you James,

    Truly appreciated as I need to learn more about post processing. I am going to try it but it will not be exact, as me Elements 8 will not open my raw files, so I will start in raw in LR and then move to Elements 8, and working with layers is also something that I am just starting to learn but I will give it a go. If it turns out to be a disaster, I will save this lesson for future.

    Fun, yes, indeed.

    Thank you.

  14. #14
    Brownbear's Avatar
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    Re: Jellyfish - a translucent critter

    Hi James,

    I found your post processing exercise very interesting and also simple to do.

    In raw in LR I could only apply that process once. I had to reduce the whites. As Elements 9 does not have a vibrancy layer I used a saturation layer but not at 100%.



    Jellyfish - a translucent critter

    I find it very interesting that the photo is very different in terms of lightness of the water. Why did we reduce highlights? I thought we wished to preserve all highlights?

    Thank you. Please let me know how I did, even if that is to say, poorly as otherwise I will never know.

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    James G's Avatar
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    Re: Jellyfish - a translucent critter

    Hi Christina,
    Working an image is a bit like cooking. As you get more confident, you start experimenting and changing the balance of ingredients to adjust flavour etc.

    Traditionally exposure is adjusted first for the Exposure /Highlight/ White combination, and this tends to blow highlights quickly. Subsequently, reducing highlights often gets forgotten then and exposure gets turned down again.

    I think of them as combining co-operatively to give the image part of its final tone, but the tone changes depend on where you choose to put the balance between the individual elements.

    Starting with Exposure first, and then working down the sliders is the conventional advise, in all the texts, and is a good way to learn. But I think this also tends to lock you into a rigid process, where the potential contribution of all the other controllable elements is subjugated to the Exposure slider.

    Your question about removing highlights is a case in point. Preserving highlights is absolutely correct, but adjusting their impact on the image is not the same as removing them, and I would argue that getting them under control before adjusting exposure is often more relevant to the final tone of the image.

    At the end of the day , assuming capture in-camera is reasonably well executed, you would not expect to make great changes in exposure anyway?

    So, I now tend to change highlights/whites first, to see how detail is being modified in the brighter areas of the image. I usually change exposure last, applying any final adjustments to the other two sliders.
    It's particularly useful when working images with a preponderance of one hue (eg white on white, a rose say, or with highly saturated colour elements like yellow . And as you have seen, as it can be effective with blue on blue. I find it gives better control of detail.

    Similar logic applies to the Shadow/Black combination, particularly when it is not appropriate to increase blacks. I find that increases in white is offset by increasing shadow depth.

    So to answer your questions about how you did? Giving it a try was good. And it looks like you got a different tone, but only you know if it is an improvement or nearer to the way it looked on the day.

    I was suggesting a different way to make changes to an image that you may not be familiar with. If you found it helped and gives you more scope to tackle similar images in the future then I am vastly pleased.

    As regards the vibrance layer advice, it very much depends on being able to use layers and change blending mode ( Photoshop CS trick).
    But to explain, if you push the vibrance all the way up in LR/CS you tend to get unrealistic oversaturated colours. Changing the blending mode of the layer in Photoshop to Luminosity turns the layer into a 'colourless' mask where only the lightness and darkness of the layer is used to modify the tones on the underlying layer.

    I don't know if Elements allows blending modes, but if it does try adding a hue/saturation layer, increase the saturation of a dominant colour to an extreme level and then set the layer blend to luminosity and watch the affect.

    Hope this all made sense, James

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    Brownbear's Avatar
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    Re: Jellyfish - a translucent critter

    Hi James,

    Thank you for a very informative and helpful reply.

    Yes, I have been following the advice in my text instead of thinking about...


    At the end of the day , assuming capture in-camera is reasonably well executed, you would not expect to make great changes in exposure anyway?


    Yes, Elements has blending modes and in my edit I used a saturation layer in the luminosity mode, all new to me and very helpful.

    Yes, very easy to follow and grasp. Thank you so much.

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