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Thread: Q: Getting water to look like water.

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    Q: Getting water to look like water.

    I took these images of a Buff Banded Rail in the last hour of light. The sun was low, the sky was a clear and from memory the water was more silver than blue. I used no filter on the lens, and selected Auto White Balance. I’m wondering why the water in my bird shots turns out so blue and not the silvery I would like it to be.

    Below is an image I PP’d a little while ago and a link to the cropped unedited JPG image [600Kb]. The linked imaged has only had an exposure correction and not other adjustments in the RAW editor.

    If anyone could provide some hints and tips to improve the image I would be very appreciative.

    Canon 40D + 400mmL f/5.6
    Exposure Time 1/1250s
    F-Stop F6.3
    Exposure Program = manual control
    ISO Speed Ratings = 250



    Link:
    http://members.iinet.net.au/~damask/Wayne/Photo/forum/canon/IMG_8723_unedited.jpg
    Last edited by enduro; 22-04-2009 at 8:41pm.
    "Nature photography is about choosing a location, crawling through dirt, being bitten by insects and occasionally taking a great image". - Wayne Eddy.

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Are the bird's colours rendering accurately Wayne. Sorry, I haven't seen one of these in real life, so wondering if a WB adjustment would work.

    You could also do selection of everything but the bird and desaturate it all a bit?
    "It is one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it is another thing to make a portrait of who they are" - Paul Caponigro

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    can't remember
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    Bird's colours are pretty right, Rick, maybe the tiniest bit warm and bright. Your selective WB idea sounds like a good one. Overall, though, I'm puzzled by this challenge.

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    I 'played with WB a little.. but of course it's a jpg and as I use CaptureNX, it's really an innappropriate program for manipulating jpgs in a intricate manner.

    But all I did was to set the White Point and Grey Point.

    Not exactly sure what the scene looked like in real life, but if you play with it a little more you may find a WB setting that works as you prefer.
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    Here is a copy of an image I took of the same species on an isolated island about 50km away. The bird in the original post had a duller plumage, potentially because it was out of breeding or has a limited gene pool.



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    Quote Originally Posted by Tannin View Post
    Overall, though, I'm puzzled by this challenge.
    Tell us: how is that so?

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    Well, essentially, Wayne, I want to make a pretty major adjustment to the WB, reducing the blue till it's not blue anymore. But I don't want to change the WB of the bird, because that is about right as-is.

    Secondly, when you do as Arthur has done to get that silvery look to the water, it is a bit overwhelming brightness-wise. Unpleasant, really. But if you compensate for that by dropping the levels, then it winds up grey, not silver. ....... So I dunno where to take it from here.

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    I think to get a more white looking(silvery) water surface you may have to adjust the magenta/green 'TINT'(that's what Nikon calls it, but it used to be called 'HUE') as well as the blue yellow/red warmth.
    There seems to be a little green as well as blue in the water.
    That's why I used the white point dropper in this case, as you wanted silvery water.

    I normally don't play with the white/grey/black point tool in NX (in fact this is only the second time I've tried it).

    After using the white point tool, as Tony said the image was way overblown in brightness and I compensated with a small amount of brightness.Ttoo much darkening lost to much detail in the bird.
    With more experimentation you could get it to look right. Mine was only a two click process.

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    tried again.
    This time I adjusted the use of the white point blending.
    Set white point to what looks like the brightest part of the water surface, and adjusted the opacity of the process to only the chrominance channel, not the luminosity channel so that the overall brightness isn't affected, but the colour balance is.
    Then I set the opacity of that chrominance channel to only 50% so that it's not overly strong in it's processing.

    the difference here is that I made no adjustment to the brightness(ie. darkening)

    How those steps translates into your photo editor I have no idea .. sorry.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    thanks for the Brain Storming.
    In this one, I have:
    Warmed it up with a Temp adjustment to 5700K,
    Curves: boosted shadows (Curves),
    Hue: Blues +40, Purple +60, Magenta -100
    Saturation: Blues -40, Purples -20, Mag -20
    I’m starting to like the water a bit more.


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    It does sound like a tricky one if the bird is fine colour wise but the water seems different - maybe the blue off the water could be more just a sky reflection - seeing the silver could be a perspective thing slightly different angle to what camera saw at the time

    anyway this is my play on the pic (dont mind that pale blue in the orig though ) I think the others and your own edits are better

    played around the the white balance adjustment in a plugin I have in Photo Impact (not sure on what i changed though ) - then some contrast and brightness up a little
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    Last edited by Miaow; 22-04-2009 at 10:05pm.
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    Curves and desaturation layers with selections

    just realised I didn't use the linked file for the edits.....might be why it's grainy.




    or

    Last edited by saratoga; 22-04-2009 at 11:31pm.
    Greg

    Please feel free to rework any of my images on this forum.

    I also welcome any constructive criticism or suggestions.

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    As the water is the only Cyan in the image, I desaturated Cyan down 80% (as in only 20% left) and darkened it (the Cyan) just a little to kill the glare.


    No masking, wb, curves or anything else

    Cheers David
    c&c always welcome, both good and bad, provided it is constructive.
    Feel free to edit my images (hopefully for the better).
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    Ausphotography Regular David's Avatar
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    Good luck with this one, you end up compromising the colours and tones on the bird whatever you do and nature images are pretty unforgiving if you dont get it right BEFORE the shutter closes.

    I dont go any near water in the frame without a CP or ND filter for this reason.

    I think Pommie produced the best compromise in terms of 'looking' natural if you want my opinion

    David.
    Last edited by David; 23-04-2009 at 9:40pm.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bagubun View Post
    Good luck with this one, you end up compromising the colours and tones on the bird whatever you do and nature images are pretty unforgiving if you dont get it right BEFORE the shutter closes.

    I dont go any near water in the frame without a CP or ND filter for this reason.

    I think Pommie produced the best compromise in terms of 'looking' natural if you want my opinion

    David.
    I do have a CPL that will fit the 400mm and ought to try it as the lake fills again.

    It's not something I have used on the longer lenses for a long time.

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