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Bird photos with issues
Posted By: BeerCan, 02-27-2008, 08:30 PM

I took about 100 pictures yesterday and at least half of them have areas that are blown out in the highlights. What can I do to minimize this from happening in the future? Here is one example and this one is better than most. Can this be fixed in PP? Thanks

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02-27-2008, 08:42 PM   #2
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The blown out highlights in this shot are impossible to have not happen. If you did the bird would be too dark to distinguish.

It's the dynamic range that you're looking to increase, which is already very high with the K10D. In PP, you cna reduce the effect, but it turns it greyish yellow sometimes.
02-27-2008, 09:26 PM   #3
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Tough shot when you have backlighted areas and dark foreground.

The best thing you can do is shoot for the subject, i.e. bird, and if the background gets blown it is of less interest than the main point of your shot.

If you needed to tone down the highlights a bit then copy the background layer and set the new layer to multiply, then mask out everything but the highlight areas in the shot and that should bring them down a bit. If more is needed, copy the masked copy layer and make sure it is still on multiply. Pull back the opacity if it is too much.

Also, and I know it isn't always possible, try to fill the frame with your subject. Birds can be difficult, but you could do a vertical crop on this one and cut out most of the bright background on the right anyway, while framing your subject a bit better.

Last edited by clarenceclose; 02-27-2008 at 09:45 PM.
02-27-2008, 10:34 PM   #4
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Blown out highlights in the background are not always a bad thing. If the bird was filling the frame they could help with the seperation of layers, giving the shot a less flat look.

02-28-2008, 12:08 AM   #5
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What you can try is to frame the shots so that the bright areas are mostly mixed with green leafs, that with shallow DOF creates nice blending green colours that I personally quite like. It has some kind of "jungleish" light streaming through the canopy look to me. But thats just my opinion, I know how some people hate blown highlights.
03-07-2008, 09:57 AM   #6
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Sorry to drag this back up to the top but I have another question. I was thinking about this and all the blown highlights I have from this day seem to be related to glare. If I had been using a polarizer would this have helped in this situation? Or am I misunderstanding the polarizer filter? Thanks.
03-07-2008, 11:00 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by BeerCan Quote
Sorry to drag this back up to the top but I have another question. I was thinking about this and all the blown highlights I have from this day seem to be related to glare. If I had been using a polarizer would this have helped in this situation? Or am I misunderstanding the polarizer filter? Thanks.
the best I can offer is maybe

don't forget the polarizer will also cost you a stop or two on the image, and may alter the way the camera sees light reflecting off the feathers.

03-07-2008, 01:45 PM   #8
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Good advice from everyone. Get the best capture of the bird that you can get, let the back ground blow out if need be, than post edit it. Easy fix in Photoshop. (if the shot dealt with a person or object instead of a flighty bird, well then you could use a reflector or flash to fill and chose different setting and alter the outcome).
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