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Thread: Help On Post Processing

  1. #1

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    Help On Post Processing

    I need some help and advice for the following photos. First let me tell you these photos are all shot in a wilderness forest, not a park, or a zoo. This means I have to be careful in the bush because I'm or we're alone and we are not the only predators in the bush (see my postings in Dave's 300mm Nikon discussion). There are no end of photo opportunities, but the canopy and the wild state mean you can't pose the photos, and don't always get the best setting. My camera is a Nikon D 3000. I usually shoot manually using a high ISO,1600, and fast shutter speed. My wildlife favourite lens is the 70-300. I use the 18-55 mostly for flora and scenes. The first 2 photos are of an American Redstart 1/1250,F8 manual 300mm. I like the bird siging, but I think the other one is better. I adjusted colour,etc with layers, and blurred the sky. The moth, a luna moth, was shot with a 1/500, f4.5 with a 125mm lens adjusted much the same way. The fox was shot with a 1/640 f6 180mm auto focus. The fox is hiding from me in thichk underbrush. I don't seem to be able to bring him up out of the shadow. Can you help me out here with PP advice. Keep it simple.
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    Last edited by Philjam10; 23rd May 2010 at 05:38 PM.

  2. #2

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    Re: Help On Post Processing

    Hi Philjam: I've taken a try at the fox. A little better maybe, but hard to work with a jpg at ISO 1600. If you have the RAW file you will probably get much better results

    Help On Post Processing
    All adjustments on this were done in LR so if you have Photoshop or Elements these adjustments would be done in the ACR part of the program
    Black point = 56
    Contrast +48
    Recovery +21
    Noise Reduction 100 on both colour and Luminance
    Clarity -20 (optional, I just think it takes the edge off the remaining noise and harsh light on the tail)

    That's all for ACR - other's may have more suggestions
    Then I took what I had to the Elements Editor and applied Local Contrast Enhance using Unsharp Mask settings of:
    Amount 20
    Radius 70
    Threshold 0 (I think on this shot maybe I should have set this up a bit)
    The point of the Local Contrast Enhance instead of regular sharpening was just to make it pop a bit. Another way to do the same thing would be to duplicate the layer select "Multiply" as the mode type and then adjust opacity of that layer accordingly. I did not try that but it's something I learned here and it does help on a lot of "foggy" looking images.

    Help On Post Processing

    Hope that helps a bit. It's a very nice shot under difficult conditions. Again, if you have the RAW file you should be able to get better results than I did.

    Wendy

  3. #3

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    Re: Help On Post Processing

    Firstly, for me, shooting in the wild is the only way to get proper wildlife photos. OK, it may be more cost effective to photograph a lion in a good wildlife park than taking a trip to Africa; but generally speaking, for 'native' species go 'native'.

    Now with regard to those images. I would say cut your ISO by half and be prepared to reduce your shutter speed in proportion for static subjects. Something around 1/320 should be sufficient although sometimes 1/500 may work better if that is possible. You only need the really fast speeds for flying birds.

    For subjects against a bright sky, like the Redstarts, you will need to add a little bit of exposure compensation. This will mean an overexposed sky but you can't get everything perfect in this situation. Using spot metering will help you to get close to the correct exposure in this situation.

    Some subjects, like the lunar moth, require a decent depth of field or, preferably, a better angle which will reduce the need to worry about depth. Sometimes, if the light is poor, I remove my lens hood and use the basic camera flash for these situations. Preferably with all manual settings which does take a bit of experimentation.

    Whenever possible, I use a tripod; but admittedly they can be difficult to move around in dense undergrowth. Otherwise I use a stabilised lens.

    The birds aren't perfectly sharp so I think your focus needs a bit of improving, although many lenses are a bit soft at their extremities. If possible, I prefer manual focus but auto can be a lot more reliable for those fast moving subjects which move faster than I can manually focus! Using just the centre focusing point can reduce the possibilities of your camera deciding to focus on the 'wrong' area.

    The fox is one of those impossible situations. It really needs a bit of extra exposure but that would mean it's 'brush' would be overexposed. So I think all you can do here is to concentrate on the foreground and allow the fox to remain subtly hidden. In this case, I think Evaluative metering would be safest. (Is the tail still called a brush in Canada?)

    What Camera setting do you use? I normally prefer Aperture Priority and tweak the ISO to get a suitable shutter speed although Tv can be more reliable for faster moving targets.

  4. #4

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    Re: Help On Post Processing

    Hi Wendy: Excuse the dumb question---What's ACR? Tell me what it is and I'll do what you say if it's possible in Elements 4. Thanks.

  5. #5

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    Re: Help On Post Processing

    Quote Originally Posted by Philjam10 View Post
    Hi Wendy: Excuse the dumb question---What's ACR? Tell me what it is and I'll do what you say if it's possible in Elements 4. Thanks.
    Hi Philjam,

    ACR is short for "Adobe Camera RAW" - the Adobe RAW converter that pops up when you open a supported RAW file.

  6. #6

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    Re: Help On Post Processing

    Hi and thanks in advance.Your comments on the focus are head on. I reset the camera for centre focus, I'm not sure how it got off centre. But that explains something else. I replied to Dave on the Nikon 70-300mm thread that the 70-300mm was useful for something else-distance. When I turned around after shooting the Redstar, there were 2 black bears off to my side, a mother and cub. I got some shots of them and they were out of focus ;in fact, the focus was in the foreground. Now I know why? Not only bad bush lore on my part for allowing her to get that close, but I missed a hard to get photo op. I didn't know about exposure comp now I do. On the luna moth- yes Isaw the difficulty but wanted to get those antennae in and created depth of field at the other end of the moth. A tripod is out of the question and I'll try the Aperture priority.
    I'll try Wendy's ideas on the fox, but I also have had second thoughts about the shot. It is after all what I was saying about the bush---its incredibly alive and predatory and that's what he is checking on.
    I never heard of the tail called a brush, but that doesn't mean it isn't used.
    Last edited by Philjam10; 23rd May 2010 at 09:34 PM. Reason: Added comments.

  7. #7

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    Re: Help On Post Processing

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    Hi Philjam,

    ACR is short for "Adobe Camera RAW" - the Adobe RAW converter that pops up when you open a supported RAW file.
    I shoot in RAW and have to convert in the Nikon software so that Elements 4 will accept it for processing. Am I missin something else? Thanks.

  8. #8

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    Re: Help On Post Processing

    Quote Originally Posted by Philjam10 View Post
    I shoot in RAW and have to convert in the Nikon software so that Elements 4 will accept it for processing. Am I missin something else? Thanks.
    PSE (Photoshop Elements) v4 is pretty long in the tooth now - have you ever thought of just upgrading to the latest version? Another option may be to convert your files to Adobe's open DNG format first, and then try to open them in PSE4.

  9. #9

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    Re: Help On Post Processing

    Philjam this was a quick go with the fox.

    Duplicate background layer
    Change Layer 1 blending mode to Colour Burn
    Adjust opacity to taste.

    I used selective colour to tone down some of the foliage.

    Problems not withstanding I think it is a very good shot.
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  10. #10

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    Re: Help On Post Processing

    Hi Philjam: I think Geoff gave you some really good advice especially about dropping the ISO. There is really almost too much noise in these photos to be able to work on them in PP. The EXIF data on the Redstar says you shot at f8 1/1250s . You really don't need that kind of shutter speed to shoot a bird that is not moving. It is you that has to be quick not the shutter on the camera. .

    I have a D3000 too and I find that 800 ISO is the very max. I would want to use. 400 not bad, and I use it if I have to, but usually I shoot at ISO 200. This Downy Woodpecker was shot at f5.6 1/40s ISO 200. Now I'm not saying it is the greatest shot in the world, but I hope it demonstrates that you don't need such a fast shutter speed, and therefore you can drop the ISO. I think that will help a lot.

    Help On Post Processing

    You have such good chances for great shots up there in the North Country. Keep practising, keep reading and keep posting here. There is always someone here to help, and trust me I've tested their patience - they haven't kicked me out yet.

    I wish I could help you with the Nikon software. I used it very briefly when I first got the camera, but I don't remember a thing about it. Sorry. Elements 8 does just about everything that I care to try right now and it is relatively inexpensive. You might want to give that a try.

    Take care and be careful out there
    Wendy

  11. #11

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    Re: Help On Post Processing

    I also have tried my hands on Fox shot. Well the unwanted haze can be taken care of with adjusting the levels. Thats what I did here and increased the saturation a bit.

    fox.jpg
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  12. #12

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    Re: Help On Post Processing

    Hi Wendy: I incorporated Geoff's recommendations, and checked the cost Of Elements 8 at Henry's Web site- $129, so I'll buy it next week. My quick view of the web site noted a used 70-300mm for $449, not sure if its a VR though.

    I've had the camera since Feb I think, but I have to learn this stuff quickly, because somebody needs to speak for this forest. As you know it was called a moonscape by John Glenn, and the valley of death by a current finance minister and although much has been done by the mines, the whole area forest, a good example of a St Lawrence-Gt Lakes forest with Boreal mixed in, complete with real bogs called tundra here, and 2400 lakes or rivers, is sadly abused, has been clear cut and poisoned by the smelters, even filled with garbage by the residents.But as a second growth forest its recovering. The main industries are all extractive, mining, logging complete with clear cutting and labour oriented. All highly paid I might add, but it has bred a people dedicated to Big 4x4 trucks,ATV/snowmobiles, a general lack of education, poor health, highly addicted to alcohol or the latest drug as well as fat because they don't exercise. Natural resources are as bad for Canada as diamonds are for Africa.
    The bush is 5 minutes to my south, a city block to the river bush and to the north and west a city block plus. This, the west, is the safest area now because I hike an abandoned RR track which is an east/west line (runs for ever), which is raised above the wetlands and forest in most parts, and the blueberries are in flower, which naturally attract the bears. I have only met 1 walker, and a group of goofy ATV drivers. Amazing all that free beautiful space and no walkers, with me the only guy with a camera. Sorry to be so preachy but if pollution were measured per capita Canadians would be the worst.

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