View Full Version : Processing raw images exercise for March 2012: Ravi's image

Roger Clark
03-06-2012, 11:52 PM
The second image for this month comes from Ravi Hirekatur.

How will you crop the image, and bring out detail in the head and eye? What other tricks can you apply?

The usual BPN rules apply. Post your results here.

Again, I'll try and upload the raw file in the next post, or provide a link.


Roger Clark
03-06-2012, 11:57 PM
The raw file is attached. It is 7.2 megabytes. Would the first couple of people who download it confirm that you got it OK? This is a BPN first for me (attaching such a large file).


Tom Graham
03-07-2012, 04:25 AM
Downloaded fine for me, opens in PS CS2 as a dng file.
Here's my try after cropping to taste, then playing around in CS2 with some Topaz Labs color actions, some noise reduction on BG and sharpening on duck.



Dave Curtis
03-07-2012, 10:49 AM
The raw file is attached. It is 7.2 megabytes. Would the first couple of people who download it confirm that you got it OK? This is a BPN first for me (attaching such a large file).

The file downloaded easily for me ..... now for the hard part. I will have a go at processing but to be honest this image is so good I would take it with just a bit of cropping.


Roger Clark
03-07-2012, 10:58 AM
Hi Tom,

Would you please give us some more details of what you did? This could really help those new to these tools.

Wow those those colors! kind of like Fujichrome Velvia. (I always loved velvia.) I'm not trying to sway other's in their processing, and I'll ask how much saturation is too much?


Tom Graham
03-07-2012, 01:38 PM
Well Roger, I hate it, but, really don't know what I did except ran a couple of PS plug-ins. So now I have to confess my ignorance!!!
Other than crop, I could not figure anything to do with image. Is the duck really B&W, no color? The green and water could be brighter/saturated real life. So decide I'd try and find a saturated but possibly real green and water colors.
First was in PS a Velvia action. It added a little color but not much. So in PS went into Topaz Lab, Topaz Detail 2, filters, several Topaz creative filters. I tried "spring green". It was dramatic!!!! Rather liked it, got a pretty but could be real green and water surround. And let the bird colors be as Topazed. I've never seen the bird, does it have any hint of color or is it just B&W? But the green and blue surround/background I think is possible, could be real. Then some simple sharpening on duck. Here is a little gif (BPN wouldn't allow larger size) that show those two steps.


ps - for me, I'd say, 99.9% of the birds in the world I have no idea about their color. So this one, like the one just before, I was guessing at processing about what the bird should look like. Very difficult, too difficult, so I will pass on any birds or other critters that I have no color clue on. But I still very much appreciate the exercise and learning opportunity from others and will follow the threads. Thank you much.

Dave Curtis
03-07-2012, 02:15 PM
Here's my effort.
In RAW. Adjusted temp to 5,300; Exposure +0.15; Black 7; Brightness +59; Clarity +20; Vibrance +23
In Elements: Crop and adjust image size; High pass sharpening; duplicate layer; gaussian blur at 2.2; layer mask with a gradient layer mask and additional making on the bird; flatten image.

I wanted to increase the contrast in sharpness between the bird and the background.



Roger Clark
03-07-2012, 10:08 PM

A lot of good responses so far. Remember, we have two raw image exercises this month. The other on is at:


Don Lacy
03-08-2012, 07:20 PM
I was hoping you would pick a nice image that was properly exposed and large enough in the frame :S3:
Here is my version in ACR I used the recovery slider to lower the whites on the breast the fill slider to pull detail out of the black feathers around the head and moved the black slider to compensate for the loss of contrast from using the fill slider. I then adjusted both the clarity and vibrance slider and added a touch of saturation with the saturation sliders to finish up in ACR I masked out the water and OOF BG from receiving capture sharpening.
In PS I used 7 different curve layers with mask to add contrast to the BG pull detail out of the blacks brighten the eye and tone down both the white breast and highlights in the water. Also used a selective color adjustment to add punch to the blacks while maintaining detail and a saturation adjustment on the reds to pop the eye a bit. A little CCW rotation and cropped to taste and I was ready to down sample to 1024 pixels for the web. Once down sampled used a selection to add NR to the water and BG only and another selection to sharpen the loon finished with one more selection to sharpen the eye only. Almost forgot cloned out one highlight in the BG and the water drops falling from the loons beak. I really like this image wish it was mine and a good example of what can be done with a properly exposed raw file.

Tom Graham
03-08-2012, 09:13 PM
WOW, that is wonderful Don!!!

Jerry van Dijk
03-10-2012, 10:12 AM
Congrats Ravi, on capturing this wonderful species! I kind of followed Don's approach, so not surprisingly it resembles his version to a large extent. I like how Don was able to get a more punchy look on the body, however. Well done! I think it's because I added more fill light to better bring out the white spots on the head.
Started in ACR with a close crop, slight CCW rotation, slight WB adjustments, +0.3 exposure, fill light, recovery, levels and a reversed S-curve to bring out details from both the dark and white areas. Also added vibrance, clarity and a little contrast to get more punch. I used the adjustment brush to selectively sharpen the body, tail and neck, which looked a bit soft. I also used the adjustment brush to reduce exposure, brightnes and contrast and to increase clarity on the white part of the breast. I then sharpened, while masking out the BG so not to sharpen the noise there.
I opened the image in CS 5, applied NR to BG and FG, selected the bird and applied USM. Cloned out the circular bright spot in the BG. I did some local adjustment to the eye, mainly on contrast, saturation and sharpness. I added vibrance to the overall image to get some more color.

Jack Breakfast
03-26-2012, 09:28 AM
Hello there,
This is a nice shot, that's for sure...my version is quite simple...I did a levels and contrast and saturation tweak in Capture One, crop, u.s.m. in Photoshop CS.

Jack Breakfast
03-27-2012, 01:10 PM
p.s. for my treatment, I realize I did not bring out the greens and greeny blacks on the neck and head...I like the look better this way although I realize the look isn't as accurate...

Richard Stern
03-28-2012, 08:17 AM

This is a great learning exercise. I thought I'd have a go using Lightroom 3 only. I imported the DNG, then used the histogram sliders so that the blacks were up against the LHS, added +4 fill light, to bring out a little detail in the head and neck, reduced the highlights off the RHS, removed the ?sensor dust spot above the bird with the heal tool, used the HSL tool to increase the saturation and luminance of the eye, increased overall Vibrance to +30, then used Sharpening amount +57, radius 1.4, detail 25, masking 14, luminance nr 11, detail 50, then went back and painted over the bright areas in the water with the brightness brush at -92.

All these settings were chosen by eyeballing the image till it looked right to me. I then cropped it to what you see, and exported as a jpeg using max. file size 240k.

I hope this is satisfactory, as I'm just using a 13in. Macbook Pro for this, and it may be hard to critically evaluate on this sized screen. I'll try again later on a bigger screen if necessary.

Thanks for suggesting this learning exercise! Incidentally, I felt the original DNG file was pretty good anyway, and for those who don't know - the bird is the iconic symbol of the Canadian (and N. USA) wilderness in summer, evoking thoughts of boating and barbecuing at cottages by remote forest-edged lakes, and hearing their wild cries at dusk - the Common Loon (known in the UK as the Great Norrthern Diver).


Ravi Hirekatur
03-30-2012, 03:11 PM
Wow! So many ways to improve the image! Sorry for the late entry, as I was away for a month and didn't have the chance to log into BPN. A very nice surprise on return.

I could keep all of the versions, but the ones that stand out are:
Tom's version reminds me of the old velvia film that I used to use. The colors are a little too saturated, but I love the vivid iridescent colors on the head and neck and the details on the water droplets that he has teased out of the original image.
Don's comes the closest to what I remember of the scene - modestly saturated background, still has the vivid, iridescent colors on head and neck and the details on water droplets.
I would have liked a little more saturated background on Dave's version w/ some more details on head and neck.
Agree with Jerry - that his version is similar to Don's version which is a little more punchy. I also like his crop.
Jack and Richard's version are definite improvements over the original in that they bring out nice contrast to separate the bird from the background on an otherwise dull image.
All of the posted versions are much better than my version posted on Eager to learn forum.

I am realizing that I am still still stuck on the slide film photography - that the work is over with capture. I have enough work to keep me busy over the next couple weeks, as I am going to try out each version to see if I can reproduce and learn from them. I can see the challenge for others that no one has seen the scene, so the the difficulty in visualizing the actual colors. But it is a great exercise.

I very much appreciate everyone for their efforts and time. This is a great way of learning post-processing. Thanks Roger for getting it started.