Saturday, June 6, 2009

the Digital Dilemma

Our club assignment in March 2008 was High Key and I entered this image of Pearl. I deliberated about doing some extra editing because she has one blue eye and one eye that is brown and white and while we are used to it, to someone who is not the bi-colored eye can look damaged. I wanted this image to be about her soft white fur and to have her eyes stand out in a good way, so I did some painless plastic surgery. Another edit I did was to add some black to her nose since the normal pink tone seemed to stand out too much also. I have included the image below without those changes and wondered if anyone thinks I went too far? Should I have done those edits to an image being entered for judging? I don't think the image scored very high that night, I may have gotten a Bronze but I really don't remember. In any case, she is an extremely soft, beautiful, sweet, funny dog --- another stray that Mike found out near Clover and who I really tried to find a good home for but once again she fit into our family so well that I could not give her away. I had to get a pet trainer to help me handle 3 large dogs, and once I found the "Furminator" (a brush that actually lives up to the advertising) I am a little more at peace with the dog fur....just never come and visit us wearing black.
Camera info: Nikon D200, 60 mm 2.8 lens at f3.2 and 1/125th with a -.33 exposure compensation and an SB 800 flash on camera left (I cannot remember the flash settings)
Post processing: Levels adjustment for brightness, Curves for contrast, Hue/Sat and Color balance layers to reduce saturation of pink and yellow tones in the fur, copied the left eye and flipped it and pasted it over the right eye, painted over nose with a soft black brush at reduced opacity, sharpened.


  1. For the purpose of the judging, your improved image was the best one. As you said the two eyes and nose would have had an effect but probably not about High Key. Perhaps the judges were searching for a more unusual effect? Remember it is your picture and you can like it even if others don't. I like it.

    Perhaps you can help me learn. When I shot something that has a lot of white, I always set my compensation to a plus level for two reasons. Firstly, the test laboratories claim my camera under exposes in the light tones by 0.33. Secondly, I thought that digital cameras drove all tones to the middle grey; thus, I use a plus one third or two thirds stops to keep the whites more white. You used a negative compensation in your high key image. Am I wrong or did you have another reason?

  2. I think you made great choices on your edits Cindi! The final image looks great!