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Thread: Help needed with Bird PP

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    Default Help needed with Bird PP

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    Guys I shot this Blue Tail Bee Eater this morning at these settings
    Nikon D810
    ISO 1400
    f8
    1/1000
    600mm f4
    My question is while trying not to loose father detail by adding noise reduction I managed to get this look with still quite a bit of detail in the fathers just buy adding a wee bitty of sharping and one pass in ColorEfex Pro......I used Gaussian blur to fix the noisy background.

    On print it looks great but I am wondering if anyone wants to share another workflow that they use or one an I can look at online (Paid or Free) to maybe help me bring out more detail in the bird.
    I am using CS6

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    Super Moderator arash_hazeghi's Avatar
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    Can you upload the RAW file somewhere and provide a link ? If the RAW was sharp it might be possible to extract more details.

    The main issue here is that the bird is underexposed and dark. My guess is you used auto exposure so the meter got fooled by the bright BG underexposing the bird. It's almost a text book example. Also from an aesthetic point of view, that bright busy BG just doesn't make this an attractive image, if you have an image with a better BG it might be a better option to invest your time and effort.

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    Quote Originally Posted by arash_hazeghi View Post
    Can you upload the RAW file somewhere and provide a link ? If the RAW was sharp it might be possible to extract more details.

    The main issue here is that the bird is underexposed and dark. My guess is you used auto exposure so the meter got fooled by the bright BG underexposing the bird. It's almost a text book example. Also from an aesthetic point of view, that bright busy BG just doesn't make this an attractive image, if you have an image with a better BG it might be a better option to invest your time and effort.

    best
    Here it is mate
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/15brqv12vu...K1536.NEF?dl=0

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    Moderator, Digital Workflow Don Lacy's Avatar
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    Neil, I tried twice to download the file without success.
    Don Lacy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Don Lacy View Post
    Neil, I tried twice to download the file without success.
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/15brqv12vu...K1536.NEF?dl=0

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    The original downloaded fine for me. I brought it into Lightroom (same equivalent as Adobe Camera Raw) and did a considerable crop to eliminate distracting background elements. Then I pulled the shadow slider full left and the highlight slider full right.

    Then I did some noise reduction and a few local adjustments in Photoshop, on masked layers. I'm impressed by the resolution you have with that camera!

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    Yes Diana the D810 has fantastic resolution. I printed it on A2 and looks fantastic

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    I just bought two programs from creative life for photoshop for photography that includes about 80 30 plus minute videos that see to have everything I am going to need to make the wee buggers pop
    Later
    Neil


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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    Hi Neil, agree with Arash's initial reply, plus the subject is just way to small in frame. The crop is massive and so IQ will just fall away. Buying truck loads of Software isn't the answer, even if it's free, just get the right RAW convertor for you, plus PS2015 and you will be set, however ultimately having a well exposed image, that requires a minimal amount of cropping is your starting point - 'you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear'.

    Neil, I'm away and so the laptop isn't the best and I could be way off here, but opening the file in LR, then some final tweaks in PS with Channel Curves etc you can get something out, but it does bring out some noise and real sharpness/detail suffers with the cropping. The BKG isn't ideal as it's so contrasty with the Highlights & Darks, as it conflicts with the subject, however.

    Cheers
    Steve

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    Steve I didn't buy any software...........I already have CS6 and Lightroom
    What I bought was learning videos on how to use PS to make adjustments and fix noise.........remember that was my question I was asking in the name of this thread "Help"
    I have now downloaded all the videos and looking at a few of them I think I will now be able to work my way to understanding how to use CS6 and especially how to PP birds.
    Thanks

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    Neil, Adobe has everything you need to support it's entire range of Software, no need to buy anything IMHO, but CS6 is really out of data, to keep up with the advancements of both camera & technology you should be using PSCC, but your call.

    All the best.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Kaluski View Post
    Neil, Adobe has everything you need to support it's entire range of Software, no need to buy anything IMHO, but CS6 is really out of data, to keep up with the advancements of both camera & technology you should be using PSCC, but your call.

    All the best.
    I must be missing something as from what I see PSCC costs 15 quid a month for life. The 80 plus videos I just bought cost 150 bucks
    ????


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    Hi Neil,


    I looked at your RAW file and I agree with Steve. Unfortunately I don't see it salvageable. There isn't just much detail in the RAW and lots of noise due to sever underexposure. Bird being small in the frame doesn't help either.

    As Steve mentioned too, The first thing you have to note is that no amount of post processing in the world can make up for a shot that was poorly executed in the camera. That includes soft focus, too much underexposure, (especially with a high mega-pixel camera) and too much cropping. It's just a non-starter.

    By getting the exposure right in the camera you could have avoided the noise to start with.




    here is a 100% crop from Neil's RAW.

    Name:  Neil's_Photography_January-08,-2016__NUK1536.jpg
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    I hope you get a better file in the next opportunity

    Best,
    Last edited by arash_hazeghi; 01-09-2016 at 03:39 PM.
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    Good morning arash
    I've managed to sell that crappy camera and have ordered a super duper one that gets all that exposures correctly
    Thanks again for your helpful feedback
    Neil

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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil Williams View Post
    Good morning arash
    I've managed to sell that crappy camera and have ordered a super duper one that gets all that exposures correctly
    Thanks again for your helpful feedback
    Neil
    The reply was honest and correct and the one I would have given you. One of the best Avian photgrapghers around just gave you solid advice that matched the advice of another accomplished photgrapgher why you would disparage it is beyond me. Is it salvageable for small prints and web viewing isn't really the question your goal should not be to salvage mediocre images but to make great images sing and to do that you need a great file to begin with.

    The moderators on this sight give freely of their time and knowledge that others charge thousands of dollars for and I have watch numerous photographers who had an open mind and a willingness to learn greatly improve their skills listening to them can literally take years off the learning curve whether are not you chose to is up to you.
    Btw it's not the cameras job to expose the image it's just a tool that does what you tell it to do.
    Last edited by Don Lacy; 01-10-2016 at 07:08 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Don Lacy View Post
    The reply was honest and correct and the one I would have given you. One of the best Avian photgrapghers around just gave you solid advice that matched the advice of another accomplished photgrapgher why you would disparage it is beyond me. Is it salvageable for small prints and web viewing isn't really the question your goal should not to be to salvage mediocre images but to make great images sing and to do that you need a great file to begin with.

    The moderators on this sight give freely of their time and knowledge that others charge thousands of dollars for and I have watch numerous photographers who had an open mind and a willingness to learn greatly improve their skills listening to them can literally take years off the learning curve whether are not you chose to is up to you.
    Btw it's not the cameras job to expose the image it's just a tool that does what you tell it to do.
    Don
    Arash answer had nothing to do with my request for help with my PP workflow.............it basically said the picture was crap (and I agree 100% its crap and underexposed "Thats why I posted that picture" I was looking for help on how to work on such a crappy picture to try and salvage a image, not on how to take a picture ""thread name"" Help needed with Bird PP
    Since starting this thread I have now purchased some photoshop tutorials and will use them as a resource for my workflow
    Thanks

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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil Williams View Post
    Don
    Arash answer had nothing to do with my request for help with my PP workflow.............it basically said the picture was crap (and I agree 100% its crap and underexposed "Thats why I posted that picture" I was looking for help on how to work on such a crappy picture to try and salvage a image, not on how to take a picture ""thread name"" Help needed with Bird PP
    Since starting this thread I have now purchased some photoshop tutorials and will use them as a resource for my workflow
    Thanks
    He gave you an honest answer as far as he was concern the image has issues that he thought were beyond repair to meet the standards he has for an image which are the standards we all should have. Your reply was uncalled for given the spirit in which the advice was given.
    I have not had a chance to work on your image since I could not get it to download properly the first time I will take a look at it tonight and see what I can do with it.
    Don Lacy
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    Hi Neil, we at BPN are only trying to help. On one hand I can certainly see why you want to salvage the file: beautiful subject, neat wingstretch, OK perch. On the other hand, the reasons already stated make this one a missed opportunity, however harsh it sounds. When I first started bird photography I had many images that I was proud of and printed. Looking back on some of those I scratch my head and wonder why they were printed in the first place. Boy do I wish a site like BPN existed then!

    I know you did not ask for "help" with in-camera and "in the field" issues, but it helps so much once we understand and look for opportunities that make processing so much easier afterwards. Let me show you a personal example in the next reply directly below. The first image you will see an image I was very proud of and actually printed. It reminds me a bit of your image here with a beautiful subject and wingstrecth but set against an awful background with bad light and it was a headache to post process. Today I would not have even pointed to lens towards that bird let alone depress the shutter button. Yours is actually a better image, so you are off to a better start really.

    The second is the same species, but taken after much better acquired experience...and way better conditions that I have since learned to look out for. That second image was a pleasure to process and only took about 2 minutes to do so. I also know which one of the two I'd print if I had to print one or the other...

    I offer this only as help as many of us can relate and have been there before.
    Last edited by Daniel Cadieux; 01-13-2016 at 07:22 PM. Reason: typos and bad grammar!!

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    Before and after

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Kaluski View Post
    Neil, Adobe has everything you need to support it's entire range of Software, no need to buy anything IMHO, but CS6 is really out of data, to keep up with the advancements of both camera & technology you should be using PSCC, but your call.

    All the best.
    I acquired CS6 two years ago at (to me) great expense and am alarmed to see that you feel it is already out of date (data?). I feel that there would need to be some huge advantages made to PSCC to lead me to abandon CS6. Please tell me you are not serious Steve.

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    Quote Originally Posted by David Cowling View Post
    I acquired CS6 two years ago at (to me) great expense and am alarmed to see that you feel it is already out of date (data?). I feel that there would need to be some huge advantages made to PSCC to lead me to abandon CS6. Please tell me you are not serious Steve.
    Adobe has announced that they will no longer support CS6 with future updates to ACR so if you use ACR to do your Raw conversion and you buy a new camera that is not supported by CS6 you will have to find a different converter or convert the file to DNG, As far as the tools in CS6 they will continue to work fine but sooner or later a future version of your computer operating system will no longer support CS6 and you will have to move to CC or find a different program.
    Don Lacy
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    David it depends on how much, the capacity/volume to which you use it and rely on it for, in PP.

    CS6 was launched in April 2012, available the following month, so in terms of, is it up to date, no IMHO, as there have been quite a few refinements and what I think, are some neat little functions now available, all designed to make PP easier for the end user. I'm not sure how far CS6 ACR supports the current list of new camera bodies and so at some point I assume the older version will not have the capacity to support future camera bodies if you use it as a RAW converter. Obviously if you use something else to convert Raw's, then yes you can use CS6, but it will not have the refinements currently available, but as I said, it all depends on how much you use PS.

    It has gone through many refinements and I doubt many people use the full potential of it's power. But when tethered, in my case to LR, I need/want both parts to be up to date with all the latest releases installed as soon as they are released. Although not all update are massive changes, some are just tweaks.

    Adobe made it clear that they will not release any updates for past editions and so you have a choice. I have grown up with CS2, buying when released each upgrade/version, now Adobe have made it so simple to keep up to date, (albeit you are locked in and have sold your soul to them, at a very affordable price), and so with the development of new camera bodies, lenses and image capture, why would you not want to use the most up to date software available to make imaging easier and ultimately, to create better images?

    At less than £10pm (less than a couple of pints David) for LR & PSCC, I think it's worth it, you decide.

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    Thank you Diane, two things I noticed, first you moved your shadow slider left and highlights right, Is this something you usually do, as I generally tend to go opposite ,Ill play with exposure and highlights, then shadows as needed but always shadows right, highlights left, and secondly in PS I see your first move was to use Define, before your curve adjustments, I tend to finish with Define...? And of course I understand every shot is different, but Im attempting to improve my thought process when I first open an image.Sorry not trying to steal the thread, but following along intently. Thanks.




    Quote Originally Posted by Diane Miller View Post
    The original downloaded fine for me. I brought it into Lightroom (same equivalent as Adobe Camera Raw) and did a considerable crop to eliminate distracting background elements. Then I pulled the shadow slider full left and the highlight slider full right.

    Then I did some noise reduction and a few local adjustments in Photoshop, on masked layers. I'm impressed by the resolution you have with that camera!

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    Name:  Neil's_Photography_January 08, 2016__NUK1536-Edit.jpg
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    Fred, thanks for catching a major glitch -- yes, I wrote that incorrectly. The Shadows slider almost always goes to the right, to bring out more detail in shadows, and the Highlights slider left, to bring out more detail in light areas.

    Dfine works by making a copy of a pixel layer, so in this case it went above the BG, which it was working on. I could have made a composite layer on top of the curves layers and done it there, and that would be a more general way of using it. This was just a quick attempt to see what detail I might correct in a JPEG, so I wasn't being very rigorous.

    Sounds like you're doing things in a good way!

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    Thank you. You and others have been a great help. I find it tough because there is no Step one, two three, every image has its own requirements, so I am working on a plan based on first assessing the picture and then going from there, while trying to never underexpose. I find PS intimidating, especially with birds, but the great shots I see on here keeps me trying to improve. Thanks again..



    Quote Originally Posted by Diane Miller View Post
    Fred, thanks for catching a major glitch -- yes, I wrote that incorrectly. The Shadows slider almost always goes to the right, to bring out more detail in shadows, and the Highlights slider left, to bring out more detail in light areas.

    Dfine works by making a copy of a pixel layer, so in this case it went above the BG, which it was working on. I could have made a composite layer on top of the curves layers and done it there, and that would be a more general way of using it. This was just a quick attempt to see what detail I might correct in a JPEG, so I wasn't being very rigorous.

    Sounds like you're doing things in a good way!

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    Neil, Sorry it took this long to get a chance to work on your image. After Working on it I really could do no better then what Diane and Steve did. It is relatively easy to get the BG looking good with the right tonal values and then since it is OOF cleaning up the noise is easy and has no negative effect on the image. Again relatively easy to get the bird to the right tonal value but doing so increase visible noise to the point that cleaning it up crushes the feather detail and no amount of sharpening can bring it back. When downsized for the web it still looks good like Diane's post since it's a small viewing size but the image really does not hold up to critical viewing. If you want I will send you a detailed step by step description of the processing workflow and a tiff file with all the layers active with the corresponding adjustments and mask.

    Now I am going to offer some field advice you may or may not want but if you do want to improve your images it really starts in the field. The first thing I notice was your aperture was at f/8 which really is not needed in most sistuations and definitely not this one. If you had shot at f/5.6 you could have dropped your ISO to 800 and kept the same shutter speed which would have produced a cleaner file with less noise you could also if needed shoot at f/4 and ISO 400 the better image trade off is to shoot at wider apertures then to increase ISO so unless you absolutely need the Dof do not increase ISO when you can widen the aperture. Exposure has already been mention but to be honest considering how small the subject is in the frame if you would have exposed for the bird you probably would have overexposed the BG pass recovery. Which is one of the reasons you really need to get closer to your subject and have them fill the frame yeah it's great to have all those mega pixels and be able to crop but that produces other issues as seen with this image. Look at Artie's recent blogs with images from the 5DSr when you can get all those pixels on your subject the detail is amazing you paid a lot of money for those mega pixels use them on your subject and don't throw them away in the computer.
    The major issue with this image to me is it is simply to small in the frame which caused exposure issues and limited what you could do in post. If the image did not need such a severe crop the exposure issue could have been fixed with much less of a hit on quality.
    Don Lacy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Don Lacy View Post
    Neil, Sorry it took this long to get a chance to work on your image. After Working on it I really could do no better then what Diane and Steve did. It is relatively easy to get the BG looking good with the right tonal values and then since it is OOF cleaning up the noise is easy and has no negative effect on the image. Again relatively easy to get the bird to the right tonal value but doing so increase visible noise to the point that cleaning it up crushes the feather detail and no amount of sharpening can bring it back. When downsized for the web it still looks good like Diane's post since it's a small viewing size but the image really does not hold up to critical viewing. If you want I will send you a detailed step by step description of the processing workflow and a tiff file with all the layers active with the corresponding adjustments and mask.

    Now I am going to offer some field advice you may or may not want but if you do want to improve your images it really starts in the field. The first thing I notice was your aperture was at f/8 which really is not needed in most sistuations and definitely not this one. If you had shot at f/5.6 you could have dropped your ISO to 800 and kept the same shutter speed which would have produced a cleaner file with less noise you could also if needed shoot at f/4 and ISO 400 the better image trade off is to shoot at wider apertures then to increase ISO so unless you absolutely need the Dof do not increase ISO when you can widen the aperture. Exposure has already been mention but to be honest considering how small the subject is in the frame if you would have exposed for the bird you probably would have overexposed the BG pass recovery. Which is one of the reasons you really need to get closer to your subject and have them fill the frame yeah it's great to have all those mega pixels and be able to crop but that produces other issues as seen with this image. Look at Artie's recent blogs with images from the 5DSr when you can get all those pixels on your subject the detail is amazing you paid a lot of money for those mega pixels use them on your subject and don't throw them away in the computer.
    The major issue with this image to me is it is simply to small in the frame which caused exposure issues and limited what you could do in post. If the image did not need such a severe crop the exposure issue could have been fixed with much less of a hit on quality.
    Don
    Thank you for the reply and thank you for taking the time to try and help me. Yes I would love to have some help with a workflow as right now I just click click click on filters adjustments and really have no direction.
    Once again thanks for trying to help me with the PP issues that I have.
    On the second subject of in field advice thanks again for that. I am new to Bird and wildlife photography in general so your tips and advice is very much welcome. On Sunday I am going on a 10 day private Safari to Tanzania, this will be my first of hopefully many safaris as I can see myself moving away from the people kind of photography and concentrating on wildlife.
    Thanks again

    Neil

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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil Williams View Post
    I am new to Bird and wildlife photography in general so your tips and advice is very much welcome. On Sunday I am going on a 10 day private Safari to Tanzania, this will be my first of hopefully many safaris as I can see myself moving away from the people kind of photography and concentrating on wildlife.
    Thanks again

    Neil
    Bird and wildlife photography can get very addictive, but in a good way! Good luck on your safari, and especially have fun - I'm sure you'll come back with tons of great stuff.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Cadieux View Post
    Bird and wildlife photography can get very addictive, but in a good way! Good luck on your safari, and especially have fun - I'm sure you'll come back with tons of great stuff.
    cheers mate

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    You're about to head off (have a great trip!) but when you have time, check out my two Lightroom tutorials on my web site -- they are an overview but Part 2 gives some basic strategy for using the Develop module. The sliders are the same as those in Adobe Camera Raw that is the raw converter that accompanies PS CS 6, with just a different interface.

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    Diane, despite everyone, including the photographer, saying the Raw file is crap, you presented a very nice, usable interpretation. The OP might well benefit from the advice about exposure, but you addressed the original request to "rescue" the image. I imagine that it stood up reasonably well to an 11x17" A2 print, which is probably its limit.

    I'm glad that we got Left and Right straight. I was thinking, "LR doesn't work like I thought it did."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil Williams View Post
    Good morning arash. I've managed to sell that crappy camera and have ordered a super duper one that gets all that exposures correctly. Thanks again for your helpful feedback
    Neil
    It seems that poor Neil could not afford a BPN membership possibly because he had to pay for his safari and in addition, one would think that he really might not have appreciated the help that he got in this post.

    I hope that he has figured out that even a super-duper camera gets the exposure right less than 5% of the time....

    a
    BIRDS AS ART Blog: great info and lessons, lots of images with our legendary BAA educational Captions; we will not sell you junk. 30+ years of long lens experience/e-mail with gear questions.

    BIRDS AS ART Online Store: we will not sell you junk. 35 years of long lens experience. Please e-mail with gear questions.

    Check out the great new SONY e-Guide and videos that I did with Patrick Sparkman here. Ten percent discount for BPN members,

    E-mail me at samandmayasgrandpa@att.net.










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