My Bald Eagle and Adobe Lightroom 3.0

I wish I could say I traveled to an exotic location, hiked over difficult terrain and scaled a steep cliff to obtain this shot. But actually it was taken at the Roger Williams Zoo in Providence, Rhode Island. This was one of two eagles that I doubt could fly because they were in an open area with a low perimeter fence. In fact, being without a tripod, I rested my right elbow on the top of one of the fence posts while taking the picture.

Below are shots before and after processing the RAW file on my computer.  I use primarily Adobe Lightroom 3.0 for cataloging and processing my photos. As you can tell I was very close, as the original image is shown without cropping. I shot with a zoom set at a 550mm effective field of view (275mm on a 2x crop Olympus body is equivalent to 550mm field of view on a 35mm camera). I used the built-in flash which created a little catch light in the eagle's eye, which I like. (The catch light is perhaps only slightly visible on these small-size images.)

The first step in post processing for me is cropping. Then, in Lightroom I added 1/3 stop of exposure to brighten things up a bit, as I felt overall the shot was a bit underexposed. I then pushed the recovery slider to 30 because the feathers on the back of the head were slightly overexposed. The recovery slider helped to bring back some detail in these back-of-the-head feathers.

The fill-light slider was used to brighten up the face which was underexposed due the fact that the eagle was backlit. Had I been closer, the fill-in flash might have accomplished the same thing, and probably a bit better.

Final touches include adding clarity with a slider that I almost always use at 25 to 50. This adds contrast (and an appearance of sharpness) to the midtones. I also used the vibrance slider to add some saturation to undersaturated colors. This helped bring some of the yellow out in the beak and eye. The difference between the saturation slider and the vibrance slider is that moving the saturation slider effects all colors at once. Moving the vibrance slider effects only the less saturated colors. Though there is a difference, it is worth playing with both, but usually I don't touch the saturation slider.

This image took more post-processing than I am used to doing. But I am very happy with the final result.

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