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|
Beautiful White-Tailed Deer In Our Yard On Cape Cod
Every once in a while we see some deer or other wildlife in our yard here on Cape Cod. It is such a treat! This deer was with 4 others and hung out for a while. I guess we got pretty spoiled when we lived in Colorado with the Elk and Bighorn Sheep grazing in … Continue reading Beautiful White-Tailed Deer In Our Yard On Cape Cod
Indian Rock At Skiff Hill At Fort Hill On Cape Cod.
The light was so beautiful on the carvings at Indian Rock at Fort Hill the other day. It almost looks like dusk, but it was in the middle of the afternoon. Indian Rock was a “community grinding rock, one of four such rocks found in the Nauset area. The Indians used the abrasive qualities of … Continue reading Indian Rock At Skiff Hill At Fort Hill On Cape Cod.
Nauset Light Beach On Cape Cod Is Always Beautiful!
Nauset Light Beach, part of the National Seashore, is always gorgeous and ever-changing. We stopped the other day to take a look and you can see the little sandbars that have formed at low tide. You can also see a huge crack in the dune in the forefront of the photograph. I wonder what Mother … Continue reading Nauset Light Beach On Cape Cod Is Always Beautiful!