Recovering the whites – part I

The photograph below is a White Ibis in a sleeping position.

White Ibis sleeping - Fort Desoto

White Ibis in sleeping position – Fort Desoto, Florida.

ISO 400 | f/7.1 | 1/2000 | Manual Mode w/ evaluative metering 0 EV | AI servo focus

This photograph was created with the Canon 600mm f/4 L IS II USM lens, the Canon EOS 5D mark III, mounted on a Jobu Design Gimbal head, over the Manfrotto 190CX carbon fiber tripod. Have a look at the equipment I typically carry with me.

When capturing an image, you ideally want your whites not to be above 235. Though 255 is the limit beyond which the information is lost (or your histogram is clipped to the right), it takes a lot of work to recover details between 235 and 255. Think about that when you are in the field and adjusting your exposure. The histogram is the best upgrade (by far) that digital brought over film. In the photograph above, I ran a Detail Extractor filter at 70% from Color Efex Pro 4 plug-in of Nik Softwares. Follow our link to enjoy a 15% discount! 🙂
This filter is very convenient to recover either highlights or shaded areas.

This is also another reason why you want to shoot in RAW versus JPEG. When importing the RAW picture into Photoshop, one can play a bit with the Recovery slider to recover burnt highlights.

See below an animated GIF with the original creation, versus the Color Efex Pro 4 enhanced one.

White Ibis recovered

Before and after Detail Extractor

Note that I also cleaned up the area around the eye with the patch and clone tools from Photoshop.

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Steven

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