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Johnstone's Whistling Frog with HighLight Warnings

Johnstone’s Whistling Frog with HighLight Warnings

Above you see a photo of a Johnstone’s Whistling Frog that I created in Port Antonio, Jamaica. This was the first image that I created of these lovely little frogs during my stay in Jamaica. Being excited at photographing a new species I forgot to check my camera settings before clicking the shutter. When I scrolled back through a couple of the frames to confirm my exposures were correct I realized my error and immediately dialed in the correct settings but the frog jumped away. I was left with this image, which on the camera’s LCD screen was showing what appeared to be blown-out highlights (note that in the above image I made adjustments in ACR to mimic what I was seeing on the camera’s LCD screen – the highlight warnings on the camera would have been black instead of red as shown above).

Directly below is the same image as it opened in ACR. You can see that the highlights are not too bad after all. The red highlight warnings seen here red here are the flash generated spectral highlights, which are indeed blown-out with no detail whatsoever.

Johnstone's Whistling Frog in ACR inter-face

Johnstone’s Whistling Frog in ACR inter-face

Now look at the optimized image file below. After making the required slider adjustments in ACR I was able to recover a great deal of detail in what the camera originally indicated was blown-out and lacking detail. I then opened the image in Photoshop and using a series of Quick Masks and Clone Stamp Tool applications addressing the flash generated highlights.

Johnstone's Whistling Frog, Port Antonio, Jamaica

Johnstone’s Whistling Frog, Port Antonio, Jamaica

This is why I do not delete photos, in the field, as seen on the camera’s LCD screen. I always wait until I am editing a trip’s images when back home at the computer.

Please click on the images to see the larger, sharper versions.

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As you know, from the majority of my posts on this blog I am mostly a landscape photographer. I do, however, love to shoot wildlife subjects also. When shooting landscapes we usually have time to think our way through our compositions to achieve the results we are seeking. There are some circumstances in landscape photography that require you to work quickly so that you can capture that fleeting moment of light. As for wildlife photography, I find it totally different. If your subjects are uncooperative, there is usually not enough time to try various compositions. If the action is fast paced and you are panning with the subject your sharpest capture and best pose may be the worst in terms of composition. At least that is how it always turns out for me. I am hopeless at panning.

Nowadays, before I hit the delete key on my sharp, poorly composed wildlife images, I turn to my APTATS tutorial CDs. APTATS stands for “Advanced Photoshop Techniques and Tips Simplified.” These inexpensive tutorials are available through Birds As Art. There are two E-Books available. I highly recommend both. They will speed up your workflow and have you feeling like a photoshop whiz-kid in no time. APTATS 1 is available here and APTATS 2 is available here. These techniques and tips have been developed by Robert O’Toole and with the help of Arthur Morris have been assembled into PDF  Tutorials that are very simple to follow. Numerous screen captures will guide you through the process to the end result. My personal favorites are the “Quick Mask Object Removal” and “Composition Correction without Cropping.” Check out these tutorials to see what other amazing techniques you can learn that will fill your photoshop tool box with image optimizing tricks. The small monetary investment to purchase these two tutorial e-books may just be one of the best investments you may make to improve your photoshop skills. It was for me.

Below I have posted some before and after images to illustrate the effectiveness of these tutorials. Hope you enjoy them.

This first image, I thought would look great with the Great Blue Heron dead center for possible calendar use. Wrong! The head position is all wrong for such a composition. So, without cropping the image I adjusted the composition, so that it would be more pleasing, using the composition correction tutorial.

I never saw the ladder in the image below when shooting this captive Barn Owl in flight. Somehow it showed up on my monitor though :) Using both the composition correction technique and the quick mask object removal I was able to save this image from the recycle bin.

In the Blue Jay image below I actually like both versions, however, the version with composition adjusted without cropping may be more suitable for use as a magazine cover shot someday.

Below is a Beaver that I photographed at Humber Bay on Lake Ontario in Toronto last winter. I was laying on the ice when the beaver emerged from the water. I knew if I moved it would flee, but I also knew that using the quick mask removal technique from APTATS I could remove all the distracting concrete in about a minute. So my solution was to fire away and not worry about those distracting elements.

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