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two porcelain crabs - great color but something lacking?

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#1 troporobo


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Posted 17 August 2016 - 06:25 PM

I found these two porcelain crabs on a night dive a couple of weeks ago.  I love the colors, but the flat lighting leaves me feeling a little blah. They were tucked well into their soft coral hosts so the strobe light is very diffuse.  I have done very little editing of either shot, just tweaked the contrast a bit.  Any suggestions to bring a little more punch into these?


I shot these at a site that is normally still as a pond, but 10 minutes into the dive a stiff current started making macro photography impossible, so I should be happy with any result at all.  I failed to nail the focus on the eye of the first crab (blame the current, yeah, that must have been it!) but am happy with the second. Shot with the Olympus 60mm lens. 







#2 TimG


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Posted 18 August 2016 - 05:49 AM

Hey troporobo


Well done catching them!


Yeah, does look a bit flat which is a pity. Is the colour balance quite right? Looks slightly magenta-y to me. And then, if you use LR I'd suggested checking the black/white ends of the scale - I would have thought both might be able to be extended and this would/should give more punch.

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#3 troporobo


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Posted 18 August 2016 - 03:44 PM

Thanks Tim -


You're right about the colour, its definitely vibrant.  I remember thinking when we came across these soft corals that they were an improbable hue!  But that's how the camera saw it as these are pretty much SOOC converted to JPG by Lightroom, and other shots I took that night look fine.


I'll play around a bit with the sliders and see what happens.  In the second shot, the overhanging and out of focus polyps at the top left are quite distracting due to the white highlights but I can't think of any way to reduce their prominence without making the shot look way too artificial. 


Cheers, Robert

#4 Grantjpthomas



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Posted 27 August 2016 - 03:00 AM

Great shots! The 2nd image I actuallly like the way the out of focus polyps in the foreground helps carry your eyes through to the crab which stands out nicely against the negative space created by the smooth purple. As Tim said it looks as though you could bring the whites up a bit and drop the blacks. Possibly a slight white balance adjustment. And maybe even play around with the HSL tabs in lightroom to create more of a colour contrast between the crab and surroundings.




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#5 troporobo


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Posted 27 August 2016 - 04:04 PM

Thanks for looking and for the useful advice.  This shot is turning out to be tricky to save.  Bringing up the whites puts too much emphasis on the overexposed polyps a the top, and bringing down the blacks turns the magenta regions into a neon horror show.  I tweaked the HSL sliders to  reduce the weird artefacts but in the end decided that less adjustment works best all round.  So here's the best I can do, with a little more pop on the whites, a slight crop and drop in exposure using the brush at the top to de-emphasize those polyps, a little tweaking with the luminance sliders.  Still not great but I think I can live with this.  And I have an excuse to go back and try again in better conditions!



Edit: Now that I see this image here rather than in LR, I think the round trip from RAW to JPG to Flickr to Wetpixel is not helping.  In LR, the whites are sharp (like around the eyes) and look a lot better than they do below.  You'll just have to take my word for it I guess!




Edited by troporobo, 27 August 2016 - 04:15 PM.