A Little Break from HDR

I’ve got more HDR images to post but I thought I’d take a little break today and show you what’s possible using Lightroom’s Develop module alone.

I took this shot a few months back during a hot and humid summer afternoon when the light was at it’s worst. Besides the harsh lighting, the background for this shot was a small lake covered with an ugly green algae bloom. I knew this shot didn’t stand a ghost of a chance of looking halfway decent but I took a few exposures anyway.

Glowing Bird

Glowing Bird
Copyright © 2008 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shots taken with a Canon 40D, 70-200mm f/4 L with a 1.4x extender at 280mm, f/5.6, 1/2000th of a second at ISO 200 on SanDisk digital film. Post processed using Lightroom 2’s Develop module. Click on the image above for a larger version.

When I imported these images into Lightroom 2 all I had was a very black bird against an ugly green-gray background. I was about to flag this image as “Rejected” when I thought of some of the experimentation I’d done a few weeks earlier with Lightroom’s “Presence” controls. So I started playing around with these controls and after a few minutes of experimentation, I noticed some beautiful colors beginning to show on the birds head and feathers.

I reduced the Clarity setting to create the glowing effect and increased the Vibrance to bring out the colors in the bird’s feathers. Taking the overall Saturation down helped mute the ugly green-gray background.

I honestly don’t recall seeing these colors when making the exposure so I was very surprised to see just how colorful this small bird was. You can click on the image above to see a larger version. If you’re a NAPP member you can also see this image in my portfolio.