Thursday, May 3, 2012

Before & After: Reddish Egret Dance

1/1000 | f/6.3 | ISO 200 | 700 mm

Another image from Merritt Island NWR. From the same sequence as this one and this one Read on to see the before and the processing to get to the after ...

I absolutely loved the pose I captured, but wasn't a fan of the striped background. Some simple edits in Lightroom and a couple of minutes in Photoshop made this one of my favorite images from the weekend. 
  • In Camera Raw (Lightroom): The image was just a bit underexposed, so I brought up the exposure about 0.6 stops. Then I added a touch of contrast by adding a slight 'S-shaped' curve (this sounds like a future post!) 
  • For once I was able to get a nice composition, so no need to add canvas to this image. 
  • I used the dodge tool to brighten up the eye just a little. I made sure to choose a brush smaller than the eye, and set my opacity to 10%. I brushed over the eye a couple of times until I reached the desired effect.
  • The final step was to paint over the top third of the image with the light brown from just beneath it. So, on a separate layer, I used the eyedropper tool to pick up the brown color and then switched to the brush tool and painted in the background. I made sure to use a soft edged brush at low opacity (20 %) and brushed over several times until I got the effect that I wanted. Then I zoomed in and added a mask to remove the effect from the wing. 
  • Sharpened for web (tutorial coming soon!)
That's it!

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