Pauline and Ian Wildlife Images | How to - Part Four - rescue the impossible!
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An opportunity presented itself .......... in this case a loudly singing skylark on a post not 15ft from the open window of the campervan ........ The problem is the bird and post were beside the track to the RSPB Visitor Centre, Balranald, North Uist and facing me at the other end of the track was a car (obviously waiting for me to move up and let him drive down ...... to the only public loos for miles poss?!) and behind were two cars with folks in who wanted to drive away - and also wanted my campervan to MOVE!

So I grabbed at the camera - fired the shutter for a good 7 or 8 shots and thought 'thats in the bag then thank you birdie' and quickly got into gear and set off down the track. The guy in the car waiting in front accepted my mouthed sorry and wave with a return wave and smile .... he went down to the loos, the folks from behind went on their merry way and I looked down at my monitor and went into fits of anguish (and swearing!) The monitor was as 'black as the coal hole' .........

Going on your hols with a brand new camera is never a good idea - esp when you're as daft as me and don't read the manual first ........ I screamed and shouted that it was faulty - the shutter had gone already - squeal - curse! The patient husband said 'Don't be daft - look at your settings'........ Oh No! f22 on manual for an earlier landscape....... I will say it now - loudly - DON'T FORGET TO CHECK YOUR SETTINGS AFTER ALTERING THEM, yes yes, its so obvious I know!

I was extremely tempted to delete the lot but I then decided to try and rescue and was not entirely surprised when I actually managed it - despite not shooting in RAW but Large jpegs (well I have had a lot of practice after continuing to shoot thro this awful dull rainy winter!)

I went thro my normal procedure one step at a time: Edge Preserving Smooth to help with sharpening at the end: Fade Correct which needed a lot of care as the lightening process revealed a lot of blue and pink pixels. I did a little lightening in Gamma as this does not appear to alter the colour at all - only degrees of light or darkness. This left the image rather grey everywhere so I upped the saturation carefully until it looked to my eyes as it actually had been - an evening shot - the sun had gone below the dunes - it was 21.30hrs and quite light in the Western Isles in June. The next step was a small amount in Levels to warm the bird and background and lastly Curves to lighten the whole. I sharpened a little next to see how 'noisy' it would go - the bird sharpened nicely as it had been perfectly focused but the background was squealing with 'noise'!

The next stop then was Neat Image and compromise chosen between sharpness of the bird and smoothing of the background. Once I had got rid of most of the noisy background I brought it back to PSP, ran the select tool round the bird, Inverted it to choose the background and added a further Blur to just the background. Reversing the Selection to just the bird I added a final tweak of Sharpen More and called it done!

Was it worth the effort? Well I think so - if only to keep me reminded to check that I've gone back to what I call my 'bird' settings ............!

Guestbook for How to - Part Four - rescue the impossible!
Lisa ( aka Sweedie/WAB)(non-registered)
What a fantastic rescue of a fantastic shot, also a really clear and well set out tutorial in how you managed to save it, thank you!
Great idea to have a tips and tricks section too always good to hear other peoples methods!
Pauline and Ian Wildlife Images
Thanks David - I probably worked and over worked it as I was curious to see what could be done when not working in RAW and there might have been shorter routes to the end result! It is nothing short of amazing tho what can be done - I find it very interesting and satisfying - almost more than producing the correct image first time in the camera!!!!!
David Humphreys
An excellent result.
Most processing tutorials recommend leaving the sharpening stage until very last , and only applying it
to areas that need it not the whole image. You can do that by using a brush or making a selection
around the subject if using insharp mask.
Having spent a long time making a complicated selection I usually save the image , with the selection active , as a .PSP file. I can then use that same selection again if I should want to try something different in my processing.
Pauline and Ian Wildlife Images
Thanks ellen - it was a lesson (even to me who is used to darkness and gloomy shots!) in not abandoning hope and deleting - the beauty of digital (says she bowing down in worship!)
Wow!!! lovely photo Pauline!
Well worth the rescue :)
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