Sunday, December 1, 2013

How and Why I Did It - Post-processing a Great Blue Heron picture

Today's blog is another blog on how and why I did it. First, I always shoot in raw and raw files need post-processing. Second, photography is a art and the final picture is how I visualize it in my mind's eye. Also, I hope these tips are useful for you and I hope you let me know your thoughts.

In my last blog about the Mandarin Duck, there also was a picture of a Great Blue Heron. As I looked further at that picture, it did not please me. So I did some further post-processing on it to hopefully make the picture better. At least so to me.

Location scenario: this picture was taken across Leverett Pond, part of the Emerald Necklace in Boston, at an island where this Great Blue Heron landed. Equipment was a Nikon D 7100, I Nikon 500 mm f/4 with a 1.4 converter, on a Gitzo tripod with a Mongoose Gimbal Head. Settings were 1/200 seconds at f/5/.6, ISO 400.

Here is the original photograph prior to post-processing.


Here is the first iteration of post-processing prior to taking the picture into Topaz Clarity and returning the photo to which I posted in the previous blog.


Original Cropped

Initial Settings
 After doing my initial settings, opening Topaz Clarity and adjusting the picture I return the picture to Lightroom and did a few further adjustments by utilizing the highlights, shadows and blacks sliders plus adding a slight vignetting to the picture. This is the picture that I posted yesterday.

 Now 24 hours later, I re-looked at the photo and felt that something was missing. I I just read a blog by my friend Denise Ippolito http://deniseippolito.com/blog/2013/11/28/the-shadow-nos/ on how to adjust the blue in the shadows. here is her how to do it

“I took my image into Photoshop and duplicated the layer (Ctrl or Cmd J) I went to IMAGE> ADJUSTMENTS> HUE & SATURATION, when the dialogue box opened I selected the Blue channel from the drop down then I went to 100% saturation in the blue- this will give me a good idea if there is a lot of blue in the shadows. If there is a lot of blue in the shadows simply slide the saturation slider all the way to 20%- this will take away the blue in the shadow but it will also take blues away from other areas within your image. To fix that just add an inverse layer mask by hitting the 'alt' or ' option· key at the same time you click on the layer mask icon. Next, simply paint the shadow area with a soft brush set to white at between 80-100% opacity.”After I followed her technique and brought the image back into Lightroom from Photoshop, I still felt that the picture was missing something and decided to utilize the radio filter in Lightroom to fix the background.


My Settings in the Radial Filter
The Final Result