Spectral highlights have been a problem since the beginning of photography. They occur in water, chrome and just about any wet or shiny object. In a controlled studio environment they can be minimized by advanced (soft, or carefully placed) lighting techniques. In controlled outdoor scenic photography (landscapes, architecture etc.) they can be sometimes addressed with polarized filtration.
However, in the action-filled world of the wildlife photographer they can cause problems. Using auto-exposure can result in underexposed frames as the camera often misinterprets the highlights for overall brightness rather then point light sources. Digital exposures (particularly at higher ISO ratings) can make the reflections appear worse because the highlights seem to burn out faster (and bigger) than (they would) on film.
Add to all of this some "image sharpening" and the highlights begin looking like white spots within black rings. Ultimately there is nothing wrong (or too distracting) with (sun caused) spectral highlights in any outdoor photograph as long as no other white appearing in the frame is of the same (blown out) value. One approach when using Photoshop RGB curves is to keep non-spectral whites below about 240 and let the reflective highlights go to 255. Often you can mask the spectral highlights before sharpening to minimize the black circles.
To improve the above photograph, I would leave the highlights on the birdís beak and reduce the brightness of the distracting and unimportant bright spots on the rocks (particularly that big rock under the bird) using Photoshop tools. After saying all of that, I donít think spectral highlights are much of a problem unless they seriously detract from the subject.
My Outdoor Eyes Photography Blog|
This Wild Turkey Is Loving Our Birdseed On Cape Cod
This big ole Turkey comes around every day now to feast on the seeds †that the other birds drop on the ground while they are feeding. He’s no dummy! He gets free food with very little effort and he sure does love our yard! Ha!
Gorgeous Waves At Coast Guard Beach On Cape Cod
The wind was blowing and the waves were kicking up on Coast Guard Beach, part of the National Seashore. It was finally warm enough that you didn’t need a hat and mittens! Is spring finally here?
Provincetown, Massachusetts To California Is A Long Way!
There is a really cool sign on Highway 6 as you drive out of Provincetown on Cape Cod. It says that Long Beach, California is 3,652 miles away. Wow! That is a long way away from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean! Pretty cool sign, don’t you think?