Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Big Dragonfly

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We had a hot and soupy day at the house yetserday followed up by another round of severe afternoon thunderstorms.  Thankfully this time we weren't driving in it this time.  There was power out all over Raleigh, a tree down on the I440 beltline, and cars off in the ditches.  I had lots of small and some larger limbs to pick up in my yard on Blaze's doggie walk this AM.  I'm just glad it wasn't worse.

Before the storm, the humidity had the dragonflies out in force in my yard circling my ornamental ponds.  I finally went out to take a few pics not long before the first rain came, so there was cloud cover   I tried to take shots with my Canon S3 IS which at ISO 100 has little noise, but there just wasn't enough light to get the shot I wanted so I switched to the Canon SX40 HS and took some shots at the lowest ISO I could and still get a fast enough shutter speed to not get hand held motion blur.  The ISO ranged from 100 - 1600.  The top shot was taken with a flash and at a -2 flash output setting.  I resorted to the flash to try to get rid of noise.  The bottom shot was no flash.  I had to do a lot of stuff to get the top shot where I was happy enough with it though.  It was originally way too dark.  Maybe I should have done a -1 on the flash.  Next time!  I added some contrast in Color Efex Pro, but it still didn't satisfy me.  I added a light green Vignette in Picasa, but then the outermost wings were covered.  So I used the select tool in PSE7 to capture the wings from the non vignette image and then put them as a layer over the vignetted one.  But then the face bothered me.  I lost details adjusting the contrast because that area had the most light colored part of the shot.  So I selected the face off the original exposure and layered it over the vignetted layer too.  I also removed a minor white spot on the lower right wing.  I dunno.  It's OK and I think an improvement over the ogirinal but I still much prefer other dragon shots I've taken over the past 3 years.  Still, it's the best of what I have from yesterday to share today:-)  When the light isn't right, you sure do have to do a lot of work to fix an image...sigh.  Even in the one below I've had to do a basic contrast adjust in Picasa to bring out the color tones. 

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