This Foggy One Took a Lot of Work. And an amazing new color noise fix … « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

This Foggy One Took a Lot of Work. And an amazing new color noise fix ...


On Friday morning I went down to the lake in thick fog and wound up getting stuck in the mud … That was at about 9am. I was towed out by the AAA by 11:30. I actually loved every minute of it. Oh, I forget, because I was more than 50 feet off the road I got charged $150 for my free tow. And I loved that too. Honest. I have been feeling so good lately that I swam a slow mile — 88 lengths, in my quite comfortable pool in the late afternoon.

Right after my swim I headed down to the lake to get right back on the horse :). I did stay well back from the lakeshore. How was my luck? Totally amazing. I can hardly wait to share some totally new dime a dozen images. I wake early tomorrow to meet Clemens van der Werf to try out his new boat on Lake Blue Cypress.

Right now it is looking as if the 5D Mark IV User’s Guide will be in the BAA Online Store available for purchase on Tuesday, December 26, 2017.

Important Note

More than a few folks over the past few days have sent requests for their free copy of the 5D Mark IV Guide along with their B&H receipts. When I searched my account by their order number, there was no record of the transaction. When I asked them about it, it turned out that either they made a phone order and never mentioned BIRDS AS ART (please remember, web orders only), or that they simply had not used a BAA affiliate link. Please remember to make all of your B&H purchases by starting with the generic Photo Gear and More B&H logo link on the top right of each blog page, or to use a product-specific or to e-mail for one and then click on that. Using these links won’t cost you one penny more and are the best way to thank me for the work that I put into the blog and the time I spend answering your queries via e-mail. Using my Amazon links helps too. All of your efforts are appreciated.

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The Streak

Today makes one hundred forty-seven days in a row with a new educational blog post! With all the new used gear — how’s that for an oxymoron? — this blog post took about five hours to prepare. With all of my upcoming free time (or not …), the plan right now is to break the current record streak of 480 … Good health and good internet connections willing.

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Here is the best news: those who have used a BAA B&H affiliate link to purchase a 5D Mark IV (or other items totaling $3200 or more) are invited to send us a copy of their B&H receipt via e-mail and receive a free copy of the guide. If you would like to review the document before it is published, please send your receipt now. This offer is also valid for future purchases.


Booking.Com came through for me twice again recently with both the DeSoto Fall IPT and next July’s UK Puffins, Gannets, and Bempton Pre-trip room reservations. And all the rates were great. If you’d like to give Booking.Com a shot, click here and you will earn a $25 reward. Thanks to the many who have already tried and used this great service.

Gear Questions and Advice

Too many folks attending BAA IPTs and dozens of folks whom I see in the field, and on BPN, are–out of ignorance–using the wrong gear especially when it comes to tripods and more especially, tripod heads… Please know that I am always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail. Those questions might deal with systems, camera bodies, accessories, and/or lens choices and decisions.

This is the DPP 4 Screen Capture for today’s featured image

The DPP 4 Screen Capture for today’s featured image

There are two things to note:

1-Even though I was +2 2/3 stops as framed and even though I added 1/3 stop of light during the RAW conversion in DPP 4 the image was still a bit underexposed: note that there is room to the right after the histogram data ends.

2-I framed the image as a vertical with the bird in the center in case the bird took flight; I did not want to cut the raised wings if the Osprey took flight.

Two Questions

#1: Would you have even tried to make an image in the dense fog?

#2: If your RAW file looked like the one in the screen capture above would you waste any time trying to optimize it? Why or why not?

This image was created down by the lake near my home at Indian Lake Estates, FL on the very foggy morning of December 19, 2017. I used the Induro GIT304L Grand Series 3 Stealth Carbon Fiber Tripod/Mongoose M3.6-mounted Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 2X III, and my favorite Osprey photography camera body, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. ISO 1600. Evaluative metering +2 2/3 stops: 1/800 sec. at f/9 in Manual mode was a slight underexposure. AWB at 8:55 am.

LensAlign/FocusTune micro-adjustment: -10.

Center AF point/AI Servo AF/Shutter Button/Expand AF was active at the moment of exposure as originally framed; the selected AF point was on the raptor’s neck.

Osprey in fog, the optimized version

The Image Optimization

Once I got the TIF into Photoshop I tried every trick in the book. First I did the obvious Levels adjustment. That helped a bit. Next I tried Dehaze with the ACR filter (Filter > Camera RAW Filter > Dehaze. That helped a bit. Next I tried a Curves color balance adjustment. That did not help. I applied a 30% layer of Auto Contrast. That helped a bit. The big problem was that the color noise was horrific. I ran fast and dirty NeatImage noise reduction on the whole image and that got rid of all the remaining luminance noise and 80% of the color noise. But the color noise that remained was U-G–Y ugly! I went to Selective Color and moved some of the sliders with the BLACKs. That did not help. I went to Hue Saturation and desaturated the GREENs and the REDs. When that did not help I simply saved the image.

But then I had a thought. Maybe the RED color noise was not RED. And maybe the GREEN color noise was not Green. I opened the image in Photoshop again and went back to Hue/Saturation. I tried MAGENTA and moved the slider to the right to 100%. All of the REC color noise lit up so I moved the slider to the left until the RED color noise disappeared. Then I did the same thing with CYAN. Voila! The image was so improved that I applied a layer of my NIK 35/35 recipe. Looking good.I was so inspired the improvement that I did some really nice eye doctor work on both the pupil and the iris.

While I will not be making any big prints of this image it is certainly decent enough for web presentation and slide programs. And, I learned a ton to boot. And on Friday morning I had another foggy Osprey and did a few things differently. Before I got stuck in the mud :). Story and images will follow at some point.

The BIRDS AS ART Current Workflow e-Guide (Digital Basics II) will teach you an efficient Mac or PC/Photo Mechanic/Photoshop workflow that will make it easy for you to make your images better in Photoshop (rather than worse). That true whether you convert your images in DPP 4 or ACR. See the blog post here to learn lots more and to read a free excerpt.

You can order your copy from the BAA Online Store here, by sending a Paypal for $40 here, or by calling Jim or Jennifer weekdays at 863-692-0906 with your credit card in hand.

The BIRDS AS ART Current Workflow e-Guide (Digital Basics II)

Your guessed it, everything mentioned above (and tons more) are covered in detail in the BIRDS AS ART Current Workflow e-Guide (Digital Basics II), an instructional PDF that is sent via e-mail. Learn more and check out the free excerpt in the blog post here. The new e-Guide reflects my Macbook Pro/Photo Mechanic/DPP 4/Photoshop workflow. Do note that you will find the RGB Curves Adjustment Color Balancing tutorial only in the new e-guide. Note: folks working on a PC and/or those who do not want to miss anything Photoshop may wish to purchase the original Digital Basics along with DB II while saving $15 by clicking here to buy the DB Bundle.

The two most recent and many of the older MP4 Photoshop Tutorial videos releases go hand and hand with the information in DB II):

  • The Wingtip Repairs MP4 Video here.
  • The MP4 Crow Cleanup Video here.

Folks who learn well by following along rather than by reading can check out the complete collection of MP 4 Photoshop Tutorial Videos by clicking here.

You can learn how and why I and other discerning Canon shooters convert nearly all of their Canon digital RAW files in DPP 4 using Canon Digital Photo Professional in the DPP 4 RAW conversion Guide here. And you can learn advanced Quick Masking and advanced Layer Masking techniques in APTATS I & II. You can save $15 by purchasing the pair. Folks can learn sophisticated sharpening and (NeatImage) Noise Reduction techniques in the The Professional Post Processing Guide by Arash Hazeghi and yours truly.

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In all blog posts and Bulletins, feel free to e-mail or to leave a comment regarding any typos or errors. Just be right :).

6 comments to This Foggy One Took a Lot of Work. And an amazing new color noise fix …

  • avatar David Policansky

    1. Probably not, unless the bird was doing something very unusual, because there are lots of opportunities to photograph ospreys in easier light.

    2. Probably, because it’s fun and educational and who knows, you might end up with something good.

    (So given my answer to #2, then why the answer to #1? I’m not sure I have a good answer for that. 🙂 )

  • avatar Steve Rentmeesters

    #1: Yes, I would make images. What else is there to do?
    #2: Yes, I would try to optimize it. There might be some opportunities for more artistic images than realistic images.

  • avatar Adam

    Great story and lesson in PP progression of a challenging image.

  • #1: Yes. What can you lose?
    #2: Yes: I have learned enough from you to know there is probably a way.

  • avatar Wayne Dorchak

    Hi Artie,

    In your text below the current workflow guide photo you have a link that is broken: “…See the blog post here…” is the link that doesn’t work.

    Wayne Dorchak

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks Wayne. Good news: it has been fixed. Bad news: it takes you to the same blog post as the link below 🙂

      with love, artie