Got a Cracker?

© Christie R. Bielss

Got a Cracker?

Uploaded: May 31, 2009


Not sure this works with the tail being cut off by the cage bar and the blurriness of the branch in the f/g.

Exif: F Number: 4.8, Exposure Bias Value: 0.00, ExposureTime: 1/60 seconds, Flash: fired, auto mode, return light detected, ISO: 160, White balance: Auto white balance, FocalLength: 48.00 mm, Model: NIKON D80


Michael Kelly level-deluxe May 31, 2009

Christie you achieved very nice deatail on this pariot and I like the overall composition. I don't think the tail and the branch are major detractions from the shot. The very harsh flash lighting is a bit of a bother, but you managed it with no major blowout or reflections so I do think it works OK. I try to shoot with available light as much as possible so I don't have a good suggestion on how to avoid the flash looking quite so hard on a specific shot like this. Perhaps we will all get some advice from those more knowlegable in this area. #1135201

Jeanine M. Bailey May 31, 2009

The colors of this bird are just beautiful!! The tail and branch are not bothering me either. The hard flash though is one of the first things that popped out to me. I wish I knew how to take care of that but I'm finding with each day that I know less and less about PS!!!! I'm gonna be watching because I have run into this problem as well!!! #7583313

Christie R. Bielss June 01, 2009

This bird was in a glass enclosure and the overall lighting in the room was pretty much non-existent, so I had to use my flash. I thought it was looking harsh to me, but I'm not that good with figuring out what level the lighting should be - so I waited to mess with it. I've adjusted the levels on this, as well as lowered the brightness/contrast. Did this help? #7584181

Christie R. Bielss June 01, 2009

Ok, here's #3. I noticed the flash on his beak and he still looked blown out to me. #7584292

Vicki Snow June 01, 2009

Dang it...I hate having to use my flash on just never seems to pan out. This is one beautiful bird! I'm not sure how to fix it..that's why I don't even shoot the enclosed birds at the zoo anymore..sorry I have no solution

Debbie E. Payne June 01, 2009

A while back, I had some success with using the Poster Edges filter in PS to get a few good bird shots. The black in the bird will soften the brightness you have here. Or you could select the bird and move him to another background as the fall-off of light is also contributing to the extreme contrast you are trying to deal with. #7585438

Dale Hardin June 01, 2009

Brilliant colors Christie. Very nice details also. Hard to do under those circumstances but you did a good job.

If you're concerned about the tail clipping and the blurry branch why not capitalize on it? Use a 5x7 vertical crop with the left side edge about the middle of the red feather in his wing. This will give you a nice comp with the eye at the rule of thirds.

As far as the glare of the flash I have a fix for you. Make a duplicate copy of the image. Then hold down the alt key while you click on the new layer icon. This will bring up a dialog box that allows you to set the blend mode. Set the blend to "soft light"

Now click on your background color swatches and set the top one to 50% gray. High light the new blank layer and fill it with the grey by selecting alt+backspace.

Now select your burn tool and set it to "highlights" at 25% opacity with a large soft brush and brush away the glare. If you go too far you can always decrease the opacity of the grey layer.


Anthony L. Mancuso June 01, 2009

You did a great job with a detail on the bird..would love to see Dales suggestions in place although I have no idea what the finished product will look like..
as far as exposing better with flash in low light for next time, try using aperture mode wide open without flash, look at the shutter speed the camera chooses then set that speed on manual with the wide open aperture, make sure your flash is set to TTL and take the long as the subject is not moving a lot the flash should freeze it, and the slower shutter speed will expose the ambient light in the background. #7586155

Sharon Lohrmann June 01, 2009

i hardly shoot with a flash because I never quite get the lighting I want with it. when I do use it though it is typically off the camera. i'll try to bounce it off something (or have my husband do it on my cue) or hold it off to the side. a couple of times I wrapped and taped wax paper over my flash to create a more diffused light.

christie I think your last post looked pretty good. i'm sure dale's suggestion will produce good results. #7586249

Ellen H. Robertson level-classic June 01, 2009

You do have beautiful colors, waiting to see Dales suggestion. I have this problem sometimes whem I don't use a flash, so I am not much help. #7586471

Christie R. Bielss June 01, 2009

I wish I had an off-camera flash, but I haven't bought one yet. It would have helped tremendously in a lot of photos I've taken that have gotten knocked around by my in-camera flash. I did try taking this using both AP and SP modes, but the shutter speed was so slow that I couldn't hand-hold it and I didn't have a tripod with me (my daughter's field trip to the zoo - I most certainly didn't have an extra hand....but could've used about 4 more!). I am hoping I got somewhere in the vicinity of what Dale's suggestions are - but have never done this editing before, so this is my first try. I'm branching out! So here it is. #7586622

Dale Hardin June 01, 2009

You got the crop OK but looks a little overboard on the rest. This image appears very dark and over saturated compared to the original posting.

I hope you didn't interpret my suggestion to mean paint over the entire image. This was just meant to cover the areas that had excessive glare and needs to be done delicately.

If you release the mouse button and click again it doubles the effect each time you do that, resulting in additional shading.

Christie R. Bielss June 01, 2009

Hang in there with me Dale! I'm flying blind with this stuff. You're leading the blind AND helpless with me! ;) I lowered the opacity - did this help or is it still too much? #7586793

Dale Hardin June 01, 2009

It's hard to compare when they aren't side by side but it appears to be better. The important thing is that the areas of very apparent glare are diminished. This technique of using a 50% grey layer for burning and dodging is a very useful tool to help control the effect. #7586950

Anthony L. Mancuso June 02, 2009

I think you lose some resolution with the tighter crop the way what settings did you use? #7588260

Christie R. Bielss June 02, 2009

I'm having the same problem comparing as you Dale. I wish I had 2 monitors so I could see what progress I've made - and where I've made too much.

Tony, I tried multiple settings, but this is the only one that came out - and to be honest, I think I just set this one on the auto-portrait setting because I got so dadgum frustrated. The settings are: f4.8; 160 ISO; 1/60th shutter; 18-135mm @ 48mm - this is my f3.5-5.6 lens. #7588381

Christie R. Bielss June 02, 2009

I decided to start over with the original and see where it lands me. I've been more careful with the burn tool this time (I hope) and I went with an 8x10 crop. #7588526

Dale Hardin June 02, 2009

This looks good Christie. It is still a little contrasty for my taste but good none the less. Try using your 'enhance/lighting/shadows and highlights' tool at it's default shadows setting and adjusting the highlights slider to match.

You should be able to compare the images side by side in whatever image viewer you are using. Most all have that feature.

PSE also allows you to see the changes you are making side by side with the original but ...... only in quick fix mode. Bummer! #7589076

Michael Kelly level-deluxe June 02, 2009

Cristie a lot of work you have done on this one. I have been following the thread and learning. Thanks for your hard work and great example.

I do think you final post shows some improvement over the original. These very contrasty shots are at the edge of what you can do in PP. #7589161

Anthony L. Mancuso June 02, 2009

I think you did about as well as you could with little available light, an on camera flash and a lens that is not the fastest in the world..good job with the improvements you did make :-) #7589343

Christie R. Bielss June 02, 2009

Ok, this is my last try with this one - then I have to go soak my Photoshop arm in epsom salt! I know I should just give up, but it's the red-head in me! I took the contrast slider and reduced it -30 sum-odd percent. Does this help with the contrast-y issues or not so much? #7589377

Dale Hardin June 02, 2009

Go rest your arm Christie. Hope you were successful in comparing this shot with the original. The colors in your last post were much more natural and the glare is gone. As far as the contrast is concerned, it is all subjective at this point.

What looks good to you? You are the only one that saw the original subject and under what light? The important thing here is that you've acquired a new skill and an eye for recognizing and eliminating glare. Relax with this image and save your new insight for the next shat that needs your help.

Thanks for sharing all your efforts with the club. You've helped us all. #7589445

Sharon Lohrmann June 02, 2009

sorry I wasn't able to keep up on this one christie - but made it in time to see your last post. you did a great job. a tremendous amount of work, but I think worth it in the end right? #7591330

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