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Over in the How I took it section of the DPS forums murtasma has posted a HDR image of a lizard’s eye and has given a description of how it was taken. I hope you enjoy reading about the process.
Taking the Shot
I used the kit lens that comes with the Rebel XTi. I attached a generic close up lens of cheap quality so I could obtain a closer macro image of my leopard gecko’s eyes. I placed my lizard in a homemade lightbox luckly she didn’t run around much and stood still most of the time. However she did not like to stay in the center of the box so the lighting was not even in many of the pictures I took.
I then used photomatrix to create a HDR image from one exposure. I did this becuase the colors were washed out and I wanted to enhance the detail inside the gecko’s eyes.
Once I tone mapped the image in photomatrix and saved as a 16Bit Tiff file I loaded the image into photoshop for editing.
First I adjusted the white point in the image by useing a levels mask. I bumped the white point up a lot then masked off the gecko. I then created another layer mask for the contrast and mask off the white background and the eye since I did not want to affect the eye. I wanted as much detail to remain as possibe since this was going to be the focus for this image.
I then created three hue / saturation masks covering just the eye with a feather of 5 pixels. I adjusted the hue only on each layer mask for the eye. I used a green hue in the middle of the eye then a yellow hue next to that and a red for the outside of the eye. I used a lot of masking and brush opacity to blend the Hue adjustments together.
Once I got the eye looking close to how I wanted it I created another layer mask affecting the entire eye and bumped the saturation up across all three hue adjustments to give the eye a little more pop I added a contrast adjustment affecting just the eye and bumped this up a little but not a lot.
Once that was completed I created a levels mask just just the gecko and brought the whitepoint up pretty high since the picture came out kind of dark. I then masked off parts I wanted to give a little more brightness too like around the eye and areas of the head that were in focus.
Once all this was done I used the burn tool on the spots to make them darker since the HDR process left some artificats around the dark areas since it was processed from just one HDR. I notice this a lot in images I create from 1 Raw file.
Once the burning of the spots was completed I created a curves adjustment affecting the entire image and called it a day.
The entire image probably took about 45 minutes including making the HDR image.
What I would like to improve would be getting a slightly off center profile image of the lizards head closer to the eye and have the entire subject in focus. There are areas of the lizard which were not in focus which bothered me. The snout was fine however there is a bump behind the eye that was out of focus. This area turnedo out dark and blury.
Overall I am happy with the image but, with a better source picture I could have done a much better job.
If you’ve got an image that you’re proud of and that we could learn a thing or two from we’d love you to share it over at the Flickr Account.