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|
The Pink Water Willow Wildflowers Are Blooming By Cape Cod Waters!
The Water Willows are in full bloom near the waters and swamps on Cape Cod. You can see them on the boardwalk on The Red Maple Swamps Trail at Fort Hill or going over the bridge on the Silver Spring Trail at the Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary. They are so pretty and so unique. (Click … Continue reading The Pink Water Willow Wildflowers Are Blooming By Cape Cod Waters!
Red-Spotted Purple Butterfly In Provincetown On Cape Cod!
I had a little extra time on my way to Provincetown, so I stopped at the Beech Forest Trail to see what I could find. Oh my! Thank goodness I brought my camera! There were birds, butterflies and dragonflies galore! And I didn’t even have to walk more than 10 yards. Wow! (Click on blog … Continue reading Red-Spotted Purple Butterfly In Provincetown On Cape Cod!
Beautiful Early Morning Reflection At Rock Harbor On Cape Cod.
I loved this reflection of the boats at Rock Harbor early the other morning. It was about 6:00 am and low tide so the boats couldn’t go out yet. There was no one else around… perfect! So pretty, don’t you think?