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Thread: Even more ducks

  1. #1
    DouglasRC's Avatar
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    Even more ducks

    I couldn't get in a good position for the light here, but hoping to get some feedback on what could be done to improved the pic and probably more important, what settings I should have used. My PS skills are almost non-existent so I am only trying basic adjustments without special effects. Any and all feedback would be much appreciated.
    Cheers,
    Doug

    Canon 60D, 18-200 mm EF-S 1:3.5-5.6 IS
    1/200 at f9, ISO 400, focal length 145 mm

    Even more ducks

    Here it is with minor adjustments and cropping.
    Even more ducks

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    Re: Even more ducks

    Ducks are fun, I played with your first photo just slightly to see what would happen. I used the grey eyedropper in levels to adjust the WB just slightly as it seemed to have a slight extra blue cast. Then gave it a very slight overall sharpening. I tried useing the unshap mask first and it was just too much, the water seemed to all but disapear.

    Even more ducks

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    Re: Even more ducks

    Quote Originally Posted by jeeperman View Post
    Ducks are fun, I played with your first photo just slightly to see what would happen. I used the grey eyedropper in levels to adjust the WB just slightly as it seemed to have a slight extra blue cast. Then gave it a very slight overall sharpening. I tried useing the unshap mask first and it was just too much, the water seemed to all but disapear.
    Thanks Paul. Subtle changes but with a large impact. I hadn't noticed the blue cast -- that change alone makes a big difference. A nice bit of sharpening too. I'll try to replicate your editing. I appreciate your help very much.
    Cheers,
    Doug

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    Re: Even more ducks

    And, I got you a little more detail in the ducks and a better crop...simple layer mask for burning and dodging.

    Even more ducks

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    Re: Even more ducks

    The thing i see that will have the greatest impact on your images is getting down low to the subjects level.

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    Re: Even more ducks

    A circular polarizing filter (CPL) on your lens would help to reduce the glare in water shots like this with a lot of reflected light. A neutral density filter (ND) would help to allow a smaller depth of field and subject isolation when shooting in bright sunlight by reducing the light level and allowing a larger aperature. We can't always shoot when the sun isn't so harsh, but there are ways to cheat when we do. Depending on the software you use, you may have options that add these types of filter effects in post. I never see the same result as when I actually use filters, YMMV. Adjusting the curves may help as well.

    I see you're shooting at ISO 400. I would think that shooting in bright light would have allowed you to shoot at ISO 100 or 200. Shooting at the camera's base ISO will reduce noise. Also, shooting at 145mm you would want to be closer to 1/300 s for the shutter speed to be able to freeze motion better on moving targets. This will give you a sharper image.

    Hope this helps,

    Steve

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    Re: Even more ducks

    Quote Originally Posted by DouglasRC View Post
    I couldn't get in a good position for the light here,
    Lots of sound advice and support being offered here, Doug. But I do wonder if you've provided the answer yourself in your opening comment.

    As we know, photography is all about light and managing light. If the light is not right when we press the button, then nothing we're going to do in post-processing is going to turn it into a shot in which the light is just right. Even the wonders of Photoshop can't do that.

    So, sometimes we just have to look at a scene that is pleasing to our eye but which we know ain't going to come up the mark if we try and make a picture of it.

    The other alternative, of course, it to get yourself into the good position for the light. For a shot like this your best accessory might be a pair of wellington boots or fishing waders. Colin's the resident expert at photography in fishing waders

  8. #8
    DouglasRC's Avatar
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    Re: Even more ducks

    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisC View Post
    And, I got you a little more detail in the ducks and a better crop...simple layer mask for burning and dodging.
    Thanks Chris. I see what you mean by a better crop -- it is much better balanced (and not so obvious). Burning and dodging I haven't yet experimented with, but will get to it. This is turning into a great Photoshop tutorial!
    Cheers,
    Doug

  9. #9
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    Re: Even more ducks

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve S View Post
    The thing i see that will have the greatest impact on your images is getting down low to the subjects level.
    Steve, that is so obvious I missed it altogether . I was already too high, being on the Stanley Park seawall in Vancouver, the seawall being about 8 ft above the water and no way to get down there. However, I could have got down low enough to make it better. Will try to keep in mind that all shots don't need to be taken standing (and hand-held).
    Thanks,
    Doug

  10. #10
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    Re: Even more ducks

    Quote Originally Posted by sleist View Post
    A circular polarizing filter (CPL) on your lens would help to reduce the glare in water shots like this with a lot of reflected light. A neutral density filter (ND) would help to allow a smaller depth of field and subject isolation when shooting in bright sunlight by reducing the light level and allowing a larger aperature. We can't always shoot when the sun isn't so harsh, but there are ways to cheat when we do. Depending on the software you use, you may have options that add these types of filter effects in post. I never see the same result as when I actually use filters, YMMV. Adjusting the curves may help as well.

    I see you're shooting at ISO 400. I would think that shooting in bright light would have allowed you to shoot at ISO 100 or 200. Shooting at the camera's base ISO will reduce noise. Also, shooting at 145mm you would want to be closer to 1/300 s for the shutter speed to be able to freeze motion better on moving targets. This will give you a sharper image.

    Hope this helps,

    Steve
    Hi Steve. I was facing south-west and shooting downwards, so I had to boost ISO (to turn off camera's warning). Next time I'll have to go manual. I can see that the settings you suggest would have worked much better. This is the stuff I need to know, although of course I'm shooting lots of pics and trying to figure out which settings worked best for the effect and conditions. I'll look into filters as I vacation a fair bit in the tropics and there's usually fairly bright light (at least when I'm awake and about).

    Thanks, very helpful.
    Doug

  11. #11
    DouglasRC's Avatar
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    Re: Even more ducks

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    Lots of sound advice and support being offered here, Doug. But I do wonder if you've provided the answer yourself in your opening comment.

    As we know, photography is all about light and managing light. If the light is not right when we press the button, then nothing we're going to do in post-processing is going to turn it into a shot in which the light is just right. Even the wonders of Photoshop can't do that.

    So, sometimes we just have to look at a scene that is pleasing to our eye but which we know ain't going to come up the mark if we try and make a picture of it.

    The other alternative, of course, it to get yourself into the good position for the light. For a shot like this your best accessory might be a pair of wellington boots or fishing waders. Colin's the resident expert at photography in fishing waders
    Donald, the advice and information I'm getting here in the forums and tutorials is excellent, and that is why I joined this community. I agree that there are times when conditions aren't conducive to the perfect shot (or one that is at least decent), but I am in learning mode having only had this camera since mid-December and never had tried editing photos in Photoshop, and so on. One thing that I have found interesting though, and perhaps counter-intuitive, is that with a camera in hand, I tend to pay more attention to my surroundings than otherwise. At this stage of my learning, I'm looking for some unusual (for me) shots that I can appreciate whether edited or not. What I liked about the ducks was that the water was very clear and the ducks had interesting colours and textures. I have learned a lot from those who were kind enough to take the time and effort to give me such great advice.
    Cheers,
    Doug

  12. #12
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Even more ducks

    Quote Originally Posted by DouglasRC View Post
    One thing that I have found interesting though, and perhaps counter-intuitive, is that with a camera in hand, I tend to pay more attention to my surroundings than otherwise.
    Not at all. What you've discovered is that, now, you're seeing not just looking. You're seeing things as a photographer, not 'merely' looking as an interested passer-by. Your senses are heightened.

    As we go about our daily lives, and I'm commenting on the light, or how a sky looks or the shadow falling across a hillside, my partner frequently falls into laughter and says that, a few years ago, I just wouldn't have seen those things. And she's right.

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