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Old Friday 17th March 2017, 07:43   #1
katastrofa
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Pulling details out of the shadows

I would be grateful if you could criticise my attempt at pulling the details out of an unexposed photo. First image is the out of camera JPEG, the 2nd one is a cropped and developed RAW.

I took the photo with Olympus E-M1 Mk2 + Zuiko 75-300mm and developed it in Olympus Viewer 3.
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Old Friday 17th March 2017, 08:16   #2
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Originally Posted by katastrofa View Post
I would be grateful if you could criticise my attempt at pulling the details out of an unexposed photo. First image is the out of camera JPEG, the 2nd one is a cropped and developed RAW.

I took the photo with Olympus E-M1 Mk2 + Zuiko 75-300mm and developed it in Olympus Viewer 3.
You did well but i would have thought working from the raw file you could get more,not easy with a downloaded jpeg but i ran it through camera raw and possibly got a bit more from it.
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Old Friday 17th March 2017, 08:45   #3
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Agree, not bad, but more aggressive use of the raw lighting/contrast/exposure controls should give you significantly better results. One of the many virtues of raw is the ease of experimentation with the various combinations,
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Old Friday 17th March 2017, 09:22   #4
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Thanks (I see that you rotated it a little to make the horizon level ). I will try boosting the highlights more and post my next attempt.
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Old Saturday 18th March 2017, 00:52   #5
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Here's my 2nd attempt (first photo). Using OV3, I boosted shadow and midtone by 7 ("Highlight&Shadow Control" tool), reduced Contrast by -2 and applied Exposure Compensation of +0.8 EV. I noticed that the crow looks a bit "flat" so I tried using unsharp mask additionally (second photo).

What do you think?
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Old Saturday 18th March 2017, 01:08   #6
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Well done, particularly #2--
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Old Saturday 18th March 2017, 01:15   #7
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Still, neither of them is particularly attractive, is it? There seems to be a tradeoff between the amount of shadow detail recovered and the contrast level of the final image. Is there any way around it? I tried using "Tone Curve" tool but could not get it to produce acceptable results.
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Old Saturday 18th March 2017, 02:21   #8
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I think you've probably done the best you can. I don't know if there are any rules of thumb in such cases. In my practice (but I'm certainly no expert), it's largely been by guess and by golly. The main problem with your crow, as I see it, is the unfortunate angle and the fact that the head--and particularly the eye--are in shadow.

Here's a somewhat comparable example of a lighting problem with a back-lit all-black-subject--Northern Raven--that I struggled with with not very good results. Out-of-the-camera, the raw image showed no detail in the face at all. As you can see from the end-product, I couldn't do much with it; the contrast still isn't tiptop and the eye looks quite unnatural.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/fugl/3...in/photostream

And here's a hawk with blanked-out face and eye that I had better success with though it still doesn't look entirely natural.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/fugl/3...n/photostream/
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Old Saturday 18th March 2017, 03:14   #9
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I think that perhaps the black parts of the image must stay a little darker, it does not look right for a crow to me on the last image. Going a little further than you have in one aspect could be to select the eye only and then increase the contrast locally. That is the kind of doctoring that some might not like but which a lot of photographers do anyway.

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Old Saturday 18th March 2017, 04:00   #10
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Going a little further than you have in one aspect could be to select the eye only and then increase the contrast locally. That is the kind of doctoring that some might not like but which a lot of photographers do anyway.
Agreed, worth a shot. It's certainly the kind of tinkering I habitually do, and I don't see any harm in it. But as the photos I've posted here illustrate, it can be hard to successfully pull off in extreme lighting conditions.
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Old Saturday 18th March 2017, 07:20   #11
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Thanks! So much good advice. I don't know if I can change contrast locally in Olympus Viewer 3, though. I have to think about investing in something more advanced.
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Old Friday 25th August 2017, 15:45   #12
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I’ve been using LR2 for a little over a month now (been using Capture NX2 for a long time) and have been quite happy with it. I even wrote a post myself about LR2 and how I was able to fix some old images with it that NX2 wouldn’t do. I learned a new trick from your video as well, using the “TAT” to drag up and down on the sky — I would have used the brush and – exposure on it to darken.
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