Back Modifications (3)
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Rainbow Tucan

By gnovey
Rainbow Tucan located in San Jose Island in the Rep. of Panama.

Tags: Wildlife and nature

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This photo is here for critique. Please only comment constructively and with suggestions on how to improve it.


26 Feb 2010 10:04PM
Wonderful colour and detail in the eye . There is some detail in the plumage but just a little over exposed i feel
Regards Charles

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DRicherby 9 269 725 United Kingdom
26 Feb 2010 10:49PM
This is a good shot, nicely sharp, with good use of depth of field to separate the toucan from its surroundings. It's well composed, with the eye about a third of the way along the diagonal. I'm not sure why Charles thinks it's over-exposed, as it looks spot-on, to me. The blacks are black and the highlights haven't blown out — there are only a few pure white pixels, according to the histogram.

I find the eye rather lacking in detail. The area around it is sharp but the eye itself is a bit flat. To address this, I zoomed right in and selected the eye. I then used a curves adjustment to try to separate the black centre from the edge, and increased the saturation to try get some colour in there. To be honest, it wasn't very successful; working with a RAW file would give more flexibility. You could also try painting in a catchlight to bring a bit more life to the eye but it always looks fake when I try to do that! Smile

Forgive me if my mod is too garish, as I also pushed the saturation up by 10%. I've not seen toucans except occasionally in zoos so, in my mind, they're rather cartoonish and slightly brighter colours seemed more appropriate. I also replaced that bright patch in the bottom left with something darker, cloned from elsewhere.
Phil1958 9 272 4 Wales
26 Feb 2010 10:52PM
Like it but agree with Charles about being slightly over exposed. Always best to under expose your shots by about a 1/3rd of a stop - I always use AV as well but that's a personal choice. As well as the description in the mod, I also added a catchlight. There was some slight over exposure around the head and back but only very slight.

banehawi Plus
14 1.8k 3890 Canada
27 Feb 2010 4:02AM
A gorgeous shot, which IMO is not at all overexposed, which is easily checked by looking at the levels or curves dialogues in Photoshop. It is however, a little soft, and is under saturated.

I have loaded a mod with the following suggestions:

Sharpen, - my setting for usm were: Amount = 90%, Radius = 0.8, Threshold = 3.

Increase saturation + 13. I have also added canvas size to place the eye close to a third, lifted the eye detail using the shadow tool, and using a 1 pixel soft brush, added a catch light to the eye which brings it alive. I have darkened the background quite a bit to accentuate the bird, and added a little contrast.

Hope this is helpful,


rhody 15 2.4k 2 United Kingdom
27 Feb 2010 5:19AM
The mod from banehawi just leaps off the page at me and is a first class example of how to take a good image and turn it into a stunner.

All the mods show the hidden potential in this shot.

One quick thought though.

I agree that the additional sharpening, saturation, placing a catch light in the eye, darkening the background, adding contrast and increasing the canvas size all benefit the image and make it even better but there are two white chips / blemishes near the tip of the beak.

I would be tempted to remove these as well but would that make the image too perfect?

I'm wondering if leaving in the beak blemishes add to the reality of the image (which has been improved by software) or whether if they were removed the image could be classed by some as too picture perfect?

I'm clearly in two minds over it or is it a case of make a decision, publish and be damned?

The beaks chips are reality, but as we have already tampered with reality to benefit the image does that really matter?

My reason for posing this question is that although I love this image, my eye is constantly drawn to those wretched white chips in an otherwise super, highly colourful beak.
Brian_Scott 8 42 27 United Kingdom
27 Feb 2010 11:26AM
banehawi's mod is the one that stands out and has made a good image alot better. And your original shot was not overexposed at all
27 Feb 2010 12:04PM
I think this was an excellent shot to begin with but Banehawi's modification makes it stunning.
DRicherby 9 269 725 United Kingdom
27 Feb 2010 2:48PM
Montechoro, you raise an interesting point. I'd spotted the marks you mention — not sure if they're chips or bits of food or something else — and had considered cloning them out of my mod.

Ultimately, it's a matter for the individual photographer to decide and his or her purpose in taking the photograph may influence the decision. If the purpose is to show what rainbow toucans look like, there's no real reason not to clone out the marks: after all, not all rainbow toucans have those marks on their beaks and there's no great significance on photographing this particular toucan, rather than another of its species. On the other hand, if the purpose was to photograph this specific toucan, maybe you would want to leave the marks in. Or maybe you'd say that it's just a bit of food and even this specific toucan doesn't always have those marks — so clone them out rather than coming back and rephotographing him after he's cleaned his beak.

At one extreme, there are people who feel that a photograph must be a very literal presentation of what is in front of the lens and that editing is, essentially, lying; others would argue that it's more important to convey the general feeling of the scene so it's OK to change little things, as long as the `big picture' isn't unduly affected. My feeling is that some degree of editing is fine. For example, in this photo, gnovey has used a shallow depth of field to blur the background leaves. In reality, those leaves are just as sharp as the toucan so, for me, the very process of photographing the scene has already introduced elements that could be seen as `untruthful'. I don't see anything sacred about the fact that depth of field is acheived with the lens, versus airbrushing which is achieved with computer software. It doesn't seem like a big step, to me. And I think the literalist view gets a bit silly when you get people who are happy to walk up to a stick and move it out of their photograph but who would refuse to clone it out if it actually appeared in the frame.

I think a lot of people who are against editing don't understand that photographers have always edited images. A lot of it used to be called `darkroom technique' rather than `editing'; maybe that sounds somehow more noble... The very process of taking a photograph necessarily involves some amount of selection of what goes into the frame and what doesn't, and of which objects will be blurred by limited depth of field. For documentary photography, literal realism seems more important but, for art photography, I think it's up to the individual photographer to decide.

So why didn't I edit out the blemishes from my mod? In truth, I forgot and only remembered after I'd uploaded it. Smile It didn't seem important enough to upload another mod.
rhody 15 2.4k 2 United Kingdom
28 Feb 2010 2:32AM
@DRicherby - great comments and observations.

You've said what I was thinking but far more eloquently and I fully agree with your thoughts on the beak marks.

Many thanks - very helpful.
gnovey 8
1 Mar 2010 8:31PM
Thank you so much for all the comments and MODS. I will keep on learing from you guys. =)
Lio 8 Panama
6 Mar 2010 6:17PM
Excelente foto, buena separación del fondo con el ave.
Los colores están magníficos. Estas aprendiendo bastane de tu primo.
Felicidades. El último cambio que te hicieron está a otro nivel!!!

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