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Old Jun 6, 2010, 3:55 PM   #1
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Default Exposure question

This raccoon is a frequent visitor to mom's birdfeeder and as such is an easy subject to shoot when I'm visiting. However the dark rings around it's eyes make for a challenge. I like to get shots of it eating the seeds which usually means the head is is down and shaded. I took this one with the E-1 and Sigma 135-400 at 400mm with center weighted average, contrast -2 and yet the eyes are still mostly invisible. Is there a way to get better results that won't blow out the white fur. Thanks for any and all help. Seems like HDR would be good but that would mean having a camera with lightning fast bracketing and even then i think he (or she) would move before the shots were all taken. I may have the chance to experiment some today but I'll likely be rained out.

John
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Old Jun 6, 2010, 10:01 PM   #2
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I know this would be a hard thing to do with a wild animal, but if you could set a piece of white foam core around the bird feeder that would cause a large reflection in the eyes would probably be an easy thing to try, to set the eyes off against the dark fur, another thing you could try is using a polarizer to purposely put a reflection in the eye instead of remove it. since the exposure value for the dark fur & eye is basically the same, changing exposure will effect both equally and you still will not get any separation.
Reflection from the wet eye is what you really need. Hope this kind of makes sense.
Charles

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Old Jun 7, 2010, 11:17 AM   #3
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If the Raccoon was slightly sideways, you'd get some light on his face, enough to show the eyes a bit. Increasing the exposure would not get you to see the eyes in this case (I downloaded the picture and tried to bring out the eyes but it won't w/o messing up the rest of the image big time) and yes, you could potentially over expose the white fur.
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Old Jun 7, 2010, 11:36 AM   #4
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External flash baby. If you doubt that wildlife shooters use it, just ask NHL. The concept of fill flash works just as well for animals as it does for humans.
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Old Jun 7, 2010, 12:24 PM   #5
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....I was about to post the same as JohnG, fill flash here would have made a difference.

Using flash lighting in harsh outdoor light conditions does help a lot in lightening shadows and dark features of the subject.


I took liberty to run the posted photo through a simple effort in Bibble5 Pro which I use for all PP, either RAW or jpg.

The only adjustment I made was a rather extreme plus setting for fill-light.


....in the case of this photo in addition to fill-light adjust a slight sharpening and curves adj brightened the photo detail even more.
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Old Jun 8, 2010, 2:13 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnG View Post
External flash baby. If you doubt that wildlife shooters use it, just ask NHL. The concept of fill flash works just as well for animals as it does for humans.
Yeah, I really need to get into the habit of using flash for more than just my macro work. I have a set of raccoon shots I did using flash because ti was raining and too dark to get shots any other way but I haven't really looked at them yet. Next time i have the chance I'll experiment and see if it helps.

John
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Old Jun 8, 2010, 2:16 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boBBrennan View Post
....I was about to post the same as JohnG, fill flash here would have made a difference.

Using flash lighting in harsh outdoor light conditions does help a lot in lightening shadows and dark features of the subject.


I took liberty to run the posted photo through a simple effort in Bibble5 Pro which I use for all PP, either RAW or jpg.

The only adjustment I made was a rather extreme plus setting for fill-light.


....in the case of this photo in addition to fill-light adjust a slight sharpening and curves adj brightened the photo detail even more.
I purposely didn't do much PP, just a little curves and USM because I wanted the fur to look good. The eyes show up much better on yours of course but I don't like the washed out fur. It doesn't help that I really prefer high contrast photos which don't really work for what I want to achieve. Life is change they say, guess I better start learning some new ways to shoot, not get stuck in my macro mode of thought.

John
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Old Jun 8, 2010, 3:29 AM   #8
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Default With flash

Here is a very similar shot done on a different day. E-1 with my Tamron 60-300 at 300mm ( I think ) ISO800 1/160 and wide open on the lens. Contrast set to -1 in PP, curves, levels and USM applied as well as using Noiseware to get rid of some of the noise (before the USM and levels). This isn't a case of fill flash since it was the only real source of light, or the main one anyway as it was way too dark to get a shot handheld even at 800. However, I'd say it's better so flash looks to be at least part of, if not the, answer. Thanks for all the input guys!

John
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Old Jun 8, 2010, 9:42 AM   #9
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John,

It was not my intention to PP your photo for correction to acceptance, but to emphasize that 'fill light' in that particular scene could/would have given you answer to your first question.

Keep working that fellow, he surely looks busy enough to give you lots of opportunity.

Have FUN...... boBB
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