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Looking for improvement This is the e-group critique board. If you post a picture here it will be assumed that you are looking for comprehensive technical feedback - both good and bad, but always respectful. Only post pictures here if you can deal with potentially negative constructive criticism. Anyone is qualified to comment and post feedback, and everyone is encouraged to do so. NB: "Looking for Improvement" is the place to post any pictures you would like advice on improving, no matter how bad you might think they are.

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Old 31st October 2009
PeterD PeterD is offline
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Trying to perfect highly reflective subjects

The biggest challenge of all in this category (In my experience) is to capture dark and light together and avoid blown out highlights and/or loss of detail in the darks.
The subject I have chosen is an Egret.


I would welcome any comments on this and if anyone wants to post their related images on this thread then please feel free.

PS For those wishing to see this image full size go to http://www.imageinuk.com/Recent-Phot...965_oavwR-A-LB
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Last edited by PeterD; 31st October 2009 at 12:08 AM. Reason: Added PS
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Old 31st October 2009
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Re: Trying to perfect highly reflective subjects

Hi Peter,

Firstly I like the shot and envious - how do you get so close?

Anyway the only two small points, from a laymans point of view, are

a) The small area halfway down on the left edge (possibly another bird or the bank) I find a little distracting.
b) Could you have captured the rest of the reflection as it seems a little in complete.

Looking at the original on your site I think you have managed to capture quite a lot of detail in the feathers so, again from a laymans point of view, I would say you have made a good job of the exposure.

Thanks for sharing

Graydon
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Old 31st October 2009
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Re: Trying to perfect highly reflective subjects

Hi Peter

Regarding composition I would have to agree with Graydon, although I'm sure the distraction on the LHS is easily dealt with.

From a technical point of view which is why I think you posted this image it does look as if you have managed to get the exposure spot on, to my eyes anyway

I really do like the 'mono' look this image offers, it helps to keep the image 'simple' which is all part of the appeal for me.

Nice....
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Old 31st October 2009
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Re: Trying to perfect highly reflective subjects

Know exactly where you're coming from on this Peter. I experienced the very same issue when photographing Marsh Tits. They have black/white areas very close, and I have dozens of pics where the bird looks correctly exposed until that is, you look at the white areas around the head - which are blown out.

I found the trick for me at least was to slightly underexpose using center-weighted metering. I managed a few better shots with these settings.
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Old 31st October 2009
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Re: Trying to perfect highly reflective subjects

Quote:
Originally Posted by theMusicMan View Post
I found the trick for me at least was to slightly underexpose using center-weighted metering. I managed a few better shots with these settings.
Given this kind of subject, that would be my approach as well. (In fact I use centre weight Aperture priority almost all the time - a legacy from the old film days I guess)

The problem with being rigorous avoiding blown highlights is that the bird doesn't look quite "white" any more. This is probably unavoidable I suspect :-)

BTW. Great picture.

Pete
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Old 31st October 2009
PeterD PeterD is offline
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Re: Trying to perfect highly reflective subjects

Thank you all for your comments and observations.
Let me tell you what I think of this image - I did not want to do this before because I did not want to influence any feedback.

Exposure: I used Centre weighted as suggested by two of you. I have tried spot and ESP previously. They fail to tackle exposure properly on such a subject. ESP will bias the exposure with the risk of blown out highlights and spot will get the whites right at the expense of the darks which will effectively be compressed in range and noisy. Centre weighted and -1/3exp seems to work on an overcast day decreasing another 1/3 in full sun. This should ensure that there is a wide enough range of tones when it comes to editing (I only take RAW shots). This was the case with this image which pleased me.

Editing: I adjusted the Exposure and Blacks to maximise the range of tones. Only then did I start to use the other editing controls with the curves used to fine tune and maximise detail.

Problems with this image.
I tried too hard to include all of the reflection and the Egret. Looked great until I put it in the editor and found that the image was out of balance (and still is!) with too much space behing the Egret and not enough in front (lhs).
I tried to correct this but kept the proportions locked which meant I would lose space at the top and bottom as I cropped the rhs. In the end I have arrived at an image which clearly needs more space at the top and, just as importantly, removes some of the reflection as one of you has observed.


Original, uncropped version of RAW File


Original cropped only to provide more ideal composition.

So, from a positioning error at the time of shooting, I ended up with composition problems that I remain disatisfied with.
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