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|
Feeding Frenzy At Nauset Beach On Cape Cod
The birds were loving the huge feeding frenzy at Nauset Beach, part of the National Seashore. There were birds everywhere, diving into the water, so there must have been fish everywhere in the water. It was really beautiful to watch. I couldn’t decide which photograph I liked better, What do you think?
Race Point In Provincetown On Cape Cod Was Spectacular
We stopped the car at a little parking lot near Herring Cove in Provincetown just to see what was out there, and this was the view we were treated to… just spectacular! I love seeing Race Point in the distance with the fence in the foreground. And those clouds! Wow! Gorgeous,†don’t you think?
Coast Guard Beach, Part Of The National Seashore, On Cape Cod
It was low tide the other day when we went to Coast Guard Beach in Eastham. The fence and sign “No Beach Access” were not up so we could take a walk on the beach. It’s obvious that at high tide the beach is pretty much nonexistent. Maybe that will change by summer. There are … Continue reading Coast Guard Beach, Part Of The National Seashore, On Cape Cod