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Strong lights

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  #1  
Old 02-14-2008, 11:17 AM
myfairies's Avatar
myfairies myfairies is offline
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Strong lights

I'm trying to fix a shot I took in a forest. There are lots of spots of lights which were so beautiful in reality but look now like a supernova....

I thought I could fix them with the burn tool and I tried both the burn tool itself or the 50% gray layer method.

With the first method they look... burned (!) and the lighter spots don't get affect at all and with the second they look like covered with ash.

What shall I do? I mainly do fantasy portraits, setting the person in a forest but of all the photos I take in forests usually I can use only 5 percent or even less. I always disregard those with strong lights but some show so nice places and it's really a pity not to use them.

Can someone give me some suggestions? I used levels too but I even worsened it.

I attach one example.

thank you
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File Type: jpg IMG_0810bis.jpg (99.3 KB, 123 views)
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  #2  
Old 02-14-2008, 11:33 AM
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Re: Strong lights

Unfortunately after using the eyedropper tool to look at your blown out areas, a vast majority of them are pure white (255, 255, 255). This means that there is not detail in them to recover. The problem is, when you try to darken the highlights that are completely white, all Photoshop can do is turn them darker shades of white (gray), thus the "burnt" or "ash" look.

Perhaps some of the grassy areas that have retained a little bit of information could be recovered with a lot of very selective burning and curves work, but I'm afraid for the most part this picture may be too far blown out to get any really good results. The highlights are just too white.

I would recommend investing in a ND filter for your camera to avoid these blown out highlights in the future. It'll save you a bunch of time in post. Hope that's some help.
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Old 02-14-2008, 11:34 AM
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James Penner James Penner is offline
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Re: Strong lights

Did you shoot in RAW? If so, you could try to piece together a pseudo HDR image. That might help to better balance the highlights and shadows.
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Old 02-14-2008, 12:57 PM
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myfairies myfairies is offline
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Re: Strong lights

No, I have a Canon powerShot A710is. I paid for it last year 300 euros (some 430 US$) which I know is not much for a camera but is a lot for me!

Photos are in jpeg. at least now I know it's not my fault in photoshop if I cannot fix them... is there anything I could do while shooting to prevent this problem (apart from the obvious suggestion to visit forests in the early morning or just before the twilight???)

As for the picture already taken I might clone parts from good parts or from other pictures.....
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Old 02-14-2008, 01:07 PM
pixelzombie pixelzombie is offline
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Re: Strong lights

you could shoot on a tripod and bracket your exposures or underexpose shots with such bright highlights...
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Old 02-14-2008, 04:40 PM
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Re: Strong lights

Yep, braketing your exposures will be key! Try shooting in Aperture Priority or Manual mode (pretty sure that model allows it) so you can ensure a constant depth of field.
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Old 02-14-2008, 08:38 PM
CaptainHook CaptainHook is offline
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Re: Strong lights

myfairies ~ In addition to bracketing exposures, i would suggest also forcing the flash to
fire to try reduce the dynamic range. You can adjust flash power to a certain degree
on your camera from the looks.
Play with your wb too, you may want to give a custom wb to get your desired shot.

I think this would prob work okay with the example you posted, but it will
require some experimenting on your part to balance ambient vs flash and
wont work where you subject is out of range of your flash.

Using on-camera flash outside is one of the few times using on-camera flash
can work 'okay'. Inside most of the time is pretty horrible.

Good luck.
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Old 02-14-2008, 10:10 PM
Xaran Xaran is offline
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Re: Strong lights

One thing you could try and which I have had some success with in the past.

Duplicate the layer and in the layer styles adjust the blend if slider for the underlying layer by moving the black triangle to the right to select only the bright areas. Move the layer using the move tool until all the brightest areas are merged in. Change the blending mode to hard light or pin light.

You could also try using another image or a painted layer (render clouds using 2 colours from the image for instance) instead of a duplicate.

Hope this makes sense.

Christine
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Old 02-14-2008, 10:49 PM
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Re: Strong lights

1st picture your original.. second picture, to get rid of the small bright spots only used the Decrack action (found here) ..third picture, brought out shadows, light use of Decrack action, and light cloning on the blown out highlights, (now that I look at the last one posted here, it could use some curves)
~~ Original ~~Decracked~ shadows,etc
Attached Images
File Type: jpg IMG_0810bis.jpg (99.3 KB, 25 views)
File Type: jpg decrack0810bis.jpg (98.8 KB, 30 views)
File Type: jpg Lightclone0810bi.jpg (99.8 KB, 63 views)
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  #10  
Old 02-14-2008, 11:39 PM
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Re: Strong lights

1. Dupe the Background Layer and change the blend mode to Multiply.
2. Dupe the "Multiply" Layer until you get the detail you want.
3. Merge the "Multiply" Layers and add a Layer Mask set to Hide All.
4. Set the Foreground to White.
5. Get a Soft brush and set the Opacity to 25%.
6. Paint the blown out areas on the Layer Mask, going over these areas
several times until the detail comes out.
I just spent around 5 minutes with this to bring out the detail in the most seriously effected areas of the picture. You will probably want to go over more of the picture to get all the effected areas.

Unfortunately, some of the blown out areas contain no data (255, 255, 255 with the eyedropper tool) so no detail can be brought out.

Hope this helps.
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File Type: jpg IMG_0810bis_GAB.jpg (97.5 KB, 54 views)
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