Thursday, 29 November 2012

HOW TO PROCESS A LITTLE OWL ON A CLOUDY DAY

LITTLE OWL (ATHENE NOCTUA), LITTLE PROCESSING
 A straight forward post title for a change, I'm seeking a bit of help/advice or critique, full honesty please, don't be afraid of offending as no offence will be taken on my part. I came across this Little Owl yesterday, whilst it was still cloudy, charming character, it even took a nap as you can see from the image below, once it did I moved on as it was grey,  the tree made it hard to compose, plus it was having a nap near a main road and I didn't want to draw attention to it and I really struggle to make an image on a dull day to look less lifeless/dull colour wise...if you not what I mean?
The help/advice I need is this 1) How do you make the image look less dull looking in processing the image, what adjustments etc. 2) The image below, Does it look to fake? it's a fine line between under and over processing, which is were I struggle.
The image above all I did was crop, exposure adjustment, and sharpen then resized the image too 800 pixels along the biggest edge. The image below I did the same thing as the first but also mucked around with the colour adjustments (kelvin and hue). I'm not convinced it looks "right" or indeed if it looks worse. Would love some honest feed back please and any tips/hints would be gratefully received too.

LITTLE OWL (ATHENE NOCTUA), HEAVILY PROCESSED

8 comments:

  1. Hi Doug. I'm absolutely no expert, but on my Nikon I'd start with 'white balance'. The default for my camera is 'auto white balance', but I found that I was getting very drab-looking images, even on sunny days, so my camera is now set up for fixed w/b - around 6500 colour temperature, plus a further tweek. Assuming you are shooting in raw mode, I then use the Nikon post-processing software for any further exposure and/or w/b adjustment. Any further adjustments are done in Corel Photopaint - something that I've used for more than 15 years, otherwise I'd be using something more mainstream like Photoshop. In Corel I will do adjustments to colour intensity, sharpness, and do any cropping and blemish removal. I won't increase 'brightness' in Corel as brightening washes out the colours. If necessary, I will then pass the image through 'Neat Image' to reduce noise, and possibly apply a little more sharpening. I hope that this helps. Let me know if you want to discuss anything.

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    1. Hi Richard,
      I do use photoshop cs3 and capture one. Depending on what I need to do to an image depends on what programme.If more editing is required I'll use the photoshop for example. My processing seems to me very similar to yours all except the white balance tweeks it was the colour temperature that had me scratching my head, on Canon on a sunny/lightish day it's quite good, it's a let down on overcast days, your comments have given be something to try out/fiddle about with thank you.

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  2. I think we all struggle with the finished picture on a dull grey day Doug. Processing is something I hate doing. (I've got loads to do, some going back to August) I only shoot JPEG, so the processing is easier, and quicker. I do very little. If it don't look reasonable out of the camera, then to me, I've failed, and it gets binned.
    Of the two, I prefer the first. Looks more natural; but a little oversharpened.

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    1. Great point Keith in reference to getting it right at the camera end first as I too don't like spending to much time on processing images, glad to hear it's not just me with a backlog of un-worked images:) Well spotted too in reference to the first being a tad oversharpened, my error I didn't adjust "threshold" in unsharpmask during the process, school boy error, good eyes mate :)

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  3. When someone revels to you the secret of how to process an owl image taken on a dull day I for one will be very greatful, I have thousands of them!

    Nice images Doug.

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    1. Yeah me too Paul, though you look at some peoples images taken in dull light and you couldn't tell, if they hadn't mentioned it, though I had a play with camera as the light was fading this evening using Richards settings for the white balance with the dog, it looks quite promising.

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  4. With Keith on this one, quite possibly I'm missing a trick but I too shoot mainly JPEGs simply because of ease of processing (it's never been a problem for me when it comes to acceptable stock photos) and although I've experimented with RAW I've yet to find an affordable piece of kit to process ... any ideas?

    It doesn't of course answer your question Doug but a fine picture of a Little Owl as in the first one is just what it is i.e taken on a cloudy day, with my kit, stuck on 5.6, it would have been much less impressive!

    Tim@Timbobaggins Abroad

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    1. Hi Tim,
      Thanks for the comment. I have to admit RAW processing programmes are shockingly expensive, dare I say too expensive. I found that out when my home got broken into and lost my PC, luckily software was covered in the insurance otherwise I wouldn't be able to afford to replace it. I use mainly Capture One but it's eyewatering expensive, I know free software/rip offs are availiable of the net but beaware they often come with spyware/trojans and virus attached so if you go down that route be careful!

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