Back Modifications (5)
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Peli in Mist

By suejoh
I have processed this photo from the original using Camera Raw (setting black, white, shadows and highlights) then also used levels and curves. When I do this I lose the mistiness of the original picture (orig converted to jpeg and attached as mod 1).

How should I process the photo to keep the misty look? Is this a good idea as I won't have the contrast in the picture then?


Tags: Misty Pelicans Wildlife and nature Lake Kerkini

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banehawi Plus
18 2.8k 4333 Canada
9 Feb 2019 8:40PM
This is a gorgeous shot.

I love the original, - that soft misty look is also beautiful, and one option of course is to leave it as it was shot.

Ive tried another approach, which is to improve the level of black on the left pelican, and then slightly on the middle one, none on the right side, and left the background untouched. This is done using layers and masks to make sure adjustments appear only where theyre wanted.

Its very slightly rotated, added a little height, and warmed a small amount. No other changes.

How does oy look to you?


9 Feb 2019 8:54PM
The original is lovely... why were you unhappy with it, that you needed to process it?
Mist reduces contrast, that's an inescapable fact. As you've discovered, If you increase contrast then you lose the mist. You can't really have both at the same time, as the effects contradict each other.
Whether or not it's a good idea to lose the contrast... that's an aesthetic judgement, and you are the only person who can decide that, depending on what you wanted from the image in the first place.
All I can suggest is that you look at both versions, the original and the processed version, and decide which of the two you find the more satisfying. If you can't decide, then keep them both.
I'll upload a mod as a slightly different third way of looking at it. You haven't said what software you're using, but I assume it's Photoshop. I took your "contrasty" processed file and added a graduated fog filter in Nik Color Efex Pro 4. The graduation allows a little more contrast to remain in the lower part of the image. Is this any closer to what you are looking for?
I wish I could help more.

capto Plus
10 7.1k 33 United Kingdom
9 Feb 2019 11:04PM
I duplicated the layer in PS and adjusted the bottom layer to suit the birds, mainly dehaze and tweaks to taste. Then using a layer mask revealed the new birds through the misty layer. The end results is just the birds are altered.
I think the original is a lovely image as it is.
suejoh Plus
18 257 United Kingdom
10 Feb 2019 11:04AM
Thank you all for the mods and advice. I think they all look better than my processed one. The mistiness is important. Also I have quite a few others that are misty so I will use the above variations to see what works as some of them are very misty with just forms in the mist. I suppose, as well, that printed versions might have different requirements. I will have to have a go at that too.
10 Feb 2019 11:57AM
Thanks for the feedback, Sue, it's good to know we've given you some ideas. I'm no expert on printing, but in my experience images when printed tend to lose both contrast and sharpness, especially with matt or semi-matt papers. Gloss tends to give better results. But as I said, I'm no expert.

dudler Plus
19 2.0k 1966 England
10 Feb 2019 12:28PM
I think the crucial thing about the mistiness is that it prevents any areas being deep black - it restricts the tonal range.

Therefore, any processing that takes the 'blacks' closer to true black (such as setting the black point in Camera Raw) will lose the effect.

Generally, you want to get the widest range of tones in an image, so you set black and white points. But you also need to recognise when that will alter something fundamental about the image, as it does here.

I'm a great fan of John Blakemore, who specialised in tone poems that were composed entirely in shades of white, or shades of black. That takes both creative self-confidence, and thorough mastery of the art - and my feeling is that we all ought to aspire to htat level of undertanding nad control.
paulbroad Plus
15 131 1294 United Kingdom
11 Feb 2019 9:10AM
I like what you have done in the first place. I can imagine what the scene actually looked like, misty and slightly flat - but natural. No need to adjust much. Pretty well every image out of CAMERA CAN BENIFIT FROM SOME TWEAKS, AND DIFFERENT INTERPRETATIONS ARE MUCH more possible these days with the digital format.

So, try all sorts, but keep the original feeling when needed, as here.


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