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Thread: Special Moments with Harbour Seals

  1. #1
    Brownbear's Avatar
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    Special Moments with Harbour Seals

    I finally managed to get close enough to and capture the attention of a harbour seal and her little one.

    Manual F4 SS 800-1250 iso 1800-2000 (auto iso) Exp bias +.67

    Photographed very early in the morning and I think they are low key images...

    #1
    Special Moments with Harbour Seals

    #2

    Special Moments with Harbour Seals

    #3

    Special Moments with Harbour Seals

    #4

    Special Moments with Harbour Seals

    Photographed a little later as the sun was coming through, lots of highlights

    In hindsight I should have focused on the little one, and used a smaller aperture and will do if I have another opportunity to photograph these seals...

    #5

    Special Moments with Harbour Seals

    #6

    Special Moments with Harbour Seals

    I'm happy to have captured these photos and would appreciate some C&C, not on any particular photo but in general especially on my exposure (too light/dark) and the colour of the ocean water.

    I stopped shooting jpegs a couple of weeks ago, so I edited these from raw in LR. I used a levels layer on a couple of them to make the water darker (new to me).

    I am uncertain about my processing ability and I no longer have any jpegs to use as a visual reference I would appreciate knowing how my tones, colours and exposures are. And if I should be trying to do anything about the highlights or not.

    Thank you.

  2. #2
    James G's Avatar
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    Re: Special Moments with Harbour Seals

    Christina, these are excellent! I love 2, 5, & 6. Early morning steely blue cast to the water looks natural to me and I wouldn't fault the focus on no 5.

    To me, tones colours and highlights exposure all look to be right for time of day and subject.

    Being picky:-
    I'd maybe consider lightening shadows on no 4 to soften the dark patch under the snout.

    also,there seems to be processing artefacts? to the bottom left of no 2. It doesn't look like conventional banding to me, was this one of the images you darkened with levels?

    I still just wish I could get this close to seals! James

  3. #3
    Digital's Avatar
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    Re: Special Moments with Harbour Seals

    Christina, nice set of photos. I especially like #5.


    Bruce

  4. #4
    Brownbear's Avatar
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    Re: Special Moments with Harbour Seals

    Thank you James, truly appreciated both the kind words and especially the tips to improve. Picky is a good!

    Lightening the shadows is a great tip, and yes, in #2 I played with the RGB in LR and added a levels layer to try and fix the water which now looks green to me, and I also see what you call artefacts... they look like dust spots

    I also darkened #4 with the same levels layer but I don't see those spots, so that means my renderings in RGB caused the artefacts. A good lesson for me to learn. Thank you.

    Yes, this is the 2nd time I've managed to get close to the seals (many other visits with no luck) and I hope I receive a 3rd... Sending you lots of luck to get close to seals, too!

  5. #5

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    Re: Special Moments with Harbour Seals

    Did you crop those...I love the ripples in the water.

  6. #6
    Brownbear's Avatar
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    Re: Special Moments with Harbour Seals

    Chauncey, yes, they are cropped a little just so they were not so centered and I don't like cropping ripples either. #2 is not cropped.

  7. #7
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    Re: Special Moments with Harbour Seals

    Very nice indeed Christina. You've captured some great expressions on the seals and the water looks wonderful. Processing looks fine to me too.

    Dave

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    Re: Special Moments with Harbour Seals

    Hi Christina. I like 1,4, and 6. I can't say why but I think they need a bit more processing. I would just encourage you to play with them a bit more and see if anything comes of it. I could be wrong.

    karm

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    Re: Special Moments with Harbour Seals

    Hi Christina,

    I also like the shots and think that the smooth water and ripples goes a long way to assist with their impact.

    What does concern me is that whilst you say No 2 has not been cropped its appearance suggests that it may have been affected by your PP work more so than the others. There is certainly something not right with the water BUT looking at the image resolution it's only 55Kb

  10. #10

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    Re: Special Moments with Harbour Seals

    As a follower of your progress, and a newbie, you are setting the bar higher and higher for me
    Great photos,
    Nancy

  11. #11
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    Re: Special Moments with Harbour Seals

    Nicely done.

  12. #12

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    Re: Special Moments with Harbour Seals

    Another nice set but no. 6 is captivating. I would think that one or two of these would make very effective mono images.

  13. #13

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    Re: Special Moments with Harbour Seals

    Nice set of photos. I like #2 and #5. The color of the water looks nice and I don't think the focus is off on #5. Love the little one!

  14. #14
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    Re: Special Moments with Harbour Seals

    Hi Grahame,

    Thank you, and especially thank you for pointing out the KB. I can't get into LR this morning (funny message about it not being available) so I can't check my crops but the photo is centered so don't think I cropped it.

    I looked in Picassa and most of these photos are about 5-7 MB after downsizing to 1200 Pixels but there are a couple that are only around 500kb.... So I think I must have done something wrong... Is it possible that I only saved the levels layer and not the photo?

    I started by editing the photos in LR, Whites, Blacks, Clarity and Curves RGB, and crops.. then I exported full size to my pictures file (Windows), no sharpening on export.

    Next I opened the photos in Adobe Elements, re-sized to 1200 pixels (300 point resolution) and applied an un-sharp mask of about .3 radius at 100%.

    For the photos where I thought the water should be darker I applied a levels adjustment layer on the entire photo (before the unsharp mask), move the black point until the water looked better, opacity of 70% or so blended in luminosity mode (something I just learned with my jellyfish), and saved as a PSD at a resolution of 300.

    Next I went to Picasa and copied the file, which turns the photo into a jpeg so I can upload it to Photobucket (doesn't accept PSDs) to post here.

    Does anything in particular stand out that would decrease the resolution of the photo?

    Thank you.







    Quote Originally Posted by Stagecoach View Post
    Hi Christina,

    I also like the shots and think that the smooth water and ripples goes a long way to assist with their impact.

    What does concern me is that whilst you say No 2 has not been cropped its appearance suggests that it may have been affected by your PP work more so than the others. There is certainly something not right with the water BUT looking at the image resolution it's only 55Kb

  15. #15
    Brownbear's Avatar
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    Re: Special Moments with Harbour Seals

    Thank you to everyone for commenting and your encouraging words.

    John, I will keep mono or BW in mind for future when my PP skills are better.

    Karm they probably could use more PP, it is a skill that I am working on and I'm not yet at the point where I can figure out what I should do to enhance the photo and knowing how to do it. But I will revisit these and try again.

    Nancy, thank you. The last photos I saw of yours were exceptional, and I hope to see more from you. By the way I still manage to take many photos that are pretty bad, but I try not to post them so often, unless I have a niggling question.

  16. #16
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    Re: Special Moments with Harbour Seals

    Great work Christina...love the ripples...looks like smoooooth cream..erm..only blue..and um..water...
    Well done

  17. #17

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    Re: Special Moments with Harbour Seals

    I have never used Picassa, but possibly when you copied the file you lost the resolution. Did Picassa do some sort of save for web?

    When working in PS or PSE you can merge all of your layers into one at the top of the layers stack. This is good so you can save that layer as a JPG and still keep the PSD file. You could also SAVE AS a JPG and merge all the layers and keep your PSD file too.

    Here are the shortcuts for merging all layers and for making a separate merged layer:

    1. To merge all layers, press Shift+Ctrl+E (Win) / Shift+Command+E (Mac). This will flatten the image onto a single layer.

    2. To merge all layers onto a separate layer and keep the originals (this works in all recent versions of Photoshop or PSE), first create a new blank layer above all the other layers in the Layers palette, then press Shift+Ctrl+Alt+E (Win) / Shift+Command+Option+E (Mac).

  18. #18
    Brownbear's Avatar
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    Re: Special Moments with Harbour Seals

    Hi Ali,

    Picasa is a very basic program that I use to view my photos and email them to friends. (well, I used to use it to edit photos, but no more)

    I just tried changing a few psd photos into jpegs using Picasa and I just learned that it significantly decreases my resolution... ie; 20 mb to 1 mb and 7.7 mb to 156 kb...

    From now on I will use Adobe Elements 9 for this task.

    I understand that I save a PSD as is so I can revisit the photo at a later date and work on it, with no undos.

    Does one flatten layers so they can be saved as a jpeg?

    Grahame,Thank you so much for pointing out the low resolution of my file. I don't think I would've ever noticed this because whenever I downsize my photos I only look at the pixels ie; 1200 for CC and not the KB, MB etc..


    Ali, Thank you for helping me with this. I have been using Picasa to change PSD files since the beginning of my editing days, so this is very helpful to know.



    Quote Originally Posted by ajsmith View Post
    I have never used Picassa, but possibly when you copied the file you lost the resolution. Did Picassa do some sort of save for web?

    When working in PS or PSE you can merge all of your layers into one at the top of the layers stack. This is good so you can save that layer as a JPG and still keep the PSD file. You could also SAVE AS a JPG and merge all the layers and keep your PSD file too.

    Here are the shortcuts for merging all layers and for making a separate merged layer:

    1. To merge all layers, press Shift+Ctrl+E (Win) / Shift+Command+E (Mac). This will flatten the image onto a single layer.

    2. To merge all layers onto a separate layer and keep the originals (this works in all recent versions of Photoshop or PSE), first create a new blank layer above all the other layers in the Layers palette, then press Shift+Ctrl+Alt+E (Win) / Shift+Command+Option+E (Mac).
    Last edited by Brownbear; 18th September 2013 at 02:11 AM. Reason: Add Thank You

  19. #19

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    Re: Special Moments with Harbour Seals

    You don't have to flatten the layers to save as jpg, they just have to be visible (eye icon on). Sometimes I use the Shift+Ctrl+Alt+E to make a merged layer above the others and save just that layer as a jpg.

    I usually keep two files, one PSD with all the layers and then I SAVE AS Jpg, which saves the visible layers as one layer. When you get the quality box, I save at the highest setting of 12 unless I am using the pic for something else. CIC recommends 8 or 9 when using TinyPic.

    If I need to make changes I can just save another JPG from the PSD file and delete or overwrite the old one.

  20. #20
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    Re: Special Moments with Harbour Seals

    Hi Christina,

    Looks like you have the answers to the 'resolution' query already. My concern was that your superb image appeared to be downgraded (in my opinion viewing on my monitor) in IQ due to either your downsizing method or your PP work. I suspected your original was good and from what you said only did what would be considered basic work on it.

    We all have different workflows but for info here's mine;

    a) In ACR (you use LR) I undertake, when needed, levelling, WB, exposure highlights & shadows and clarity.
    b) In Elements all items to produce a 'Master' file finishing with capture sharpening and save this as GJ1_2867 Master PSD (some save as Tiff). This is the master that I can then use to produce any crops and downsized images in the future.
    c) Having saved the file produced in b) if I then want a jpeg for posting here, or anywhere, I simply go, resize and put in a width of 1200 pixels, bicubic, then OK. I then undertake downsizing similar to your figures.
    d) Go to, File, 'Save As'. This then gives the option to save as a jpeg and give it a new file name and location and I will change it to GJ1_2867 1200W CiC. Pressing 'Save' gives you the option for quality and I use between 8 and 10 to get a size nearest below 300Kb.

    If you use the Elements 'Save for web' option it strips the Exif data.

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