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Help me improve this picture. School of eagle rays.

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Hi, I just came from a trip in Oahu and I did manage to take some decent pics, but one that didn't come out good was the school of eagle rays next to the MS Mahi Wreck. They were too far away and I didn't manage to get close enough.

 

I did work on the pic a bit and it got better, but very noisy/pixelated. I was wondering if one of you guys would be able to do a better job.

 

I am attaching small versions of the pic, but you can download the original in RAW from the URL below.

 

http://www.snowbrasil.com/P1260035.ORF

 

Let me know if you would like to make it smaller to speed the download a bit.

 

Thanks so much

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The reason the "fixed" version became very noise/pixelated is the original image has way too much blue in it. There's not much red or green data for Photoshop to pull out. Look at the histograms for each color channel. Blue will be pretty strong (data acrossed the whole histogram or maybe a big lump to the right). Green and red will be under exposed (lump or spike on left edge of histogram only)

 

Why so much blue?

-depth (water filters color quickly in this order: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet)

-too much distance from camera to subject (loose of contrast and detail beyond 6 feet/2m)

-too much distance from strobe to subject (water eats about one f/stop per foot/30cm; beyond 4 feet/122cm strobes quickly loose their ability to restore color/contrast and detail gets muttled by the water)

 

For better future shots,

-use a wide angle lens or wide angle adapter so you can get within 4 feet/122cm or so of your subject

-use a wide angle strobe (or two) to provide light and restore color, contrast, and detail

_or_

-use a magic filter (to cut down the blue light; Alex Mustard's magic filter) when shooting without strobes

(some camera's allow you to set the white balance by shooting a picture of a white slate at depth)

 

get low, get close (get closer), shoot up

 

Take Care,

Chris

 

(edit: added the histograms of the original image with comments)

 

<snip>

I did work on the pic a bit and it got better, but very noisy/pixelated. I was wondering if one of you guys would be able to do a better job.

<snip>

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Edited by uw_nikon

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hmmm ... i couldn't work magic on this ... maybe someone else can B)

 

My "best" result was black and white. In Camera raw the settings were low colour temp, underexpose, med contrast, no saturation. In photoshop I then used curves to make the darks darker and the highlights lighter without changing the midtones - ie, an S curve. The first time I did this the bottom of the picture was also darkened. I repeated the process a second time only using the curves on the top 2/3 of the image - I like the result batter

 

I'd be surprised if you were able to get rid of noise without smooting out what detail there is in this image.

 

Awesome sight those rays BTW

 

HTH

Leander

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I think Leander's approach is the best you're going to do with this. Unfortunately the distance and visibility combination are just not going to bring back detail that's not there in the first place. Sucks when one sees something as awesome as this and just can't get close enough.

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This old article might be worth reading.

 

I came across it browsing one night and it seems to fit your problem.

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The thing with the noise reducers is that they smooth out the picture and it looses shapeness. I can't figure out how to do both, unless I clip the rays out to another layer, and apply noise reducer to the background only.

What do you suggest?

 

Thanks

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I've tried a similar sort of thing with a barracuda I shot before, where he was way too blended with the blue background. Of course he was a fair bit closer, more prominent in the frame and only a single fish so it was a heck of a lot easier... its a good idea though and well worth a shot. You might just want to try it on one or two rays first to test the concept.

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The picture was in a terrible state to start with. I'm not sure whether it's much better after I played with it.

 

In brief, I have:

1) Reconstructed the red channel

2) Adjusted the Curve to improve colour and contrast

3) Reduced the noise in the green and red channels selectively

4) Sharpened a bit

post-4904-1170688176_thumb.jpg

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This old article might be worth reading.

 

I came across it browsing one night and it seems to fit your problem.

Wow, thats quite a nice recipe. I used it with success on an image I have never been able to make acceptable before..

 

Cor

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There is an action on adobe studio. for underwater correction, install this it is very usefull. open the picture, use the action, then adjust the hue to -30ish, auto color, auto contrast auto level, level red channel for fine tuning, RGB level adjust, then use smart sharpen lens blur mode. and this is the result. You should be able to do better with the orig. Hope this helps

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sometimes as bad as you wished you got the shot you just have to.... let it go...just let it go...

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