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Old Oct 22, 2010, 9:21 PM   #1
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Hi guys: I need some advice on how to salvage a photo.
I visited by favorite turtle watering hole to get a few shots. The area was in dark shade, and I was shooting at ISO 800 to try to avoid motion blur.

Then the area had bright sunshine rays break thru in concentrated spots. The sunshine hitting the tops of the turtles turned the shells into highly reflective white spots. I forgot to dial back the iso. Then within the space of less than 20 seconds, I had a snowy egret land near the turtles, catch a small fish and fly away. I got a neat shot of the egret holding a fish in its beak, standing in front of two turtles, one of which was riding piggy back on the other. I don't do a lot of post processing, and I don't even own Photoshop, just a few free PP programs.

But now I have a shot that I really like, but the top of the egret and the top of the turtles are too white, with no detail. I can't really blame the camera for this, and to be fair, that is the way the scene really looked to the human eye where the bright sun rays hit. But it ruined an unusual and interesting photo. I tried to do a little PP, but it didn't seem to make much of a difference. I figured that the talent on this forum could offer some expert advice as to if this shot could be saved. All help and suggestions will be welcome.

Photo follows
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Old Oct 22, 2010, 9:21 PM   #2
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Old Oct 23, 2010, 3:58 AM   #3
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Hi steve

THats a fab look pic..and you know its for shots like this that I always shoot RAW+jpeg. First thing.. do you have the RAW version of the file ? I had a quick go with the jpeg and there's not much you can do to recover the highlights using that in LR/CS but with a RAW fle there's a much better chance of being able to recover more detail. Here's my attempt using the jpeg - slightly underexposed by -0.70 ev, highlight recover 61, fill 30, slight tone curve adjustment to pull in the blown highlight a biit more, - added a wee bit of clarity 50%, sharpness 20%, detail 100. Steve you might want to download a tral copy of LR3.2 and give the RAW file a go

http://www.adobe.com/support/downloa...jsp?ftpID=4789

1. Import the pic (RAW +jpeg) and once you;ve done that it'll take you into the Library View ;
2. Switch to the Develop view and in their you access to all of the ACR/LR tools on teh far right hand side, starting with White balance.
3. Just punhc in the values for exposure, etc and adjust to taste.


Last edited by HarjTT; Oct 23, 2010 at 4:46 AM.
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Old Oct 23, 2010, 5:48 AM   #4
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Hi Steven,

That is a most interesting photo.Unfortunately the highlights that are blown out are impossible to bring back with the file provided. As Harj has already mentioned perhaps with a raw file or the original, there may be some detail
that can be recovered through the use of ACR RAW.

I tried making some recovery adjustments thru ACR and got a bit of detail back. The image below is my attempt at bringing back some detail, mostly thru the use of the healing and cloning tools in Photoshop. It is by no means perfect, but given the original file, there may be some more to be able to deal with and recover.

For some reason, I'm having trouble sending a larger file. Steven, if you want to see my original, this is the link

zig123.smugmug.com/Other/test-images/10612558_ZfEay#1059784113_oMsRo-O-LB
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Old Oct 23, 2010, 8:14 AM   #5
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harj, zig: thanks for your efforts. unfortunately, there is no raw file, just jpeg. I appreciate your help. I was looking at the camera data, and this event all happened within about 18 seconds. Obviously I should have been better prepared; it just goes to show that you never know when a unique opportunity will jump out at you. As an FYI, here is the three shots I made in that series, just to show how quickly some photo ops can come and go. The bird flew away just as I was pressing the shutter. Win some, lose some.






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Old Oct 23, 2010, 11:02 AM   #6
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Killer shot Steven, like the others though, I don't think you can get blown highlights back.

But what the hell are those turtles doing in the background.......
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Old Oct 23, 2010, 4:21 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scouse View Post
Killer shot Steven, like the others though, I don't think you can get blown highlights back.

But what the hell are those turtles doing in the background.......
That's why he wants to recover the file - the egret is just an excuse...

Seriously: Steven, I didn't respond because I didn't think that without the RAW file we could do much but I wasn't sure. I'm sorry that I was correct.

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Old Oct 23, 2010, 4:49 PM   #8
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Hi Steven,

In taking a look at the gallery in Smugmug, I noticed that you have the first image with the Heron positioned away from the turtles. It is possible to work with that image as well as the final image by removing the Heron with the blown highlights and then replacing him with the heron from the first image.

If you want, I can download the two original files from smugmug and see what I can come up with. No guarantees but, I'm pretty sure we can come up with a solution.

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Old Oct 23, 2010, 6:54 PM   #9
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Hi guys: thanks for all your comments.

Zig, you can do anything you want to try, but only if you have the time to play around with it. I wouldn't want to intrude on your plans or your leisure time.

The funny thing is that I took those back in the summer. I just did the normal card dump when I got back that day, and quickly scanned the images looking for the better shots. I didn't even notice the fish in the egret's beak then, and quickly wrote off a large block of the images as no good because of the overexposed spots.

I was going thru the computer just the other night to clean up and delete some of the unwanted shots, and was quickly looking thru all the unused bad shots. (No comments from Ted about the high number of bad shots I take!) I only then saw the fish because I was on the desktop computer with the 23" monitor. (My wife normally monopolizes it and I usually use my laptop.) Anyway, that's why a shot from back in the summer is just now being discussed. Anybody feel free to give it your best shot.
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