Image Doctor: Watchful Leopard
Photographer: Peter Jackson
Camera Type: Canon 600D
Lens: 18 -135 mm
Shutter Speed: Set to auto
Adjustments: Cropped, sharpened and resized from the original RAW file of about 24MB
Photographer's Comments: Photo was taken in the morning whilst on our second safari drive in Sabi Sands in early May 2012. This female leopard had killed an impala, eaten half and hung the remains in a tree. We were about 30 metres away when I took this shot. I've now bought Photoshop Elements 10 and am in the process of learning how do deal with the multitude of RAW+JPEG file photos that I took during our 3 week trip.
Image doctor's advice
Yesterday I helped a neighbour scrub and hose down the front of his apartment in inner Melbourne. A few years worth of dust from a nearby railway line had caused the front wall surfaces to become dull and grey; it was only after an hour's work that we could see the soft fawn colours taking on more life.
Now why is this important I hear you ask? Well it is common for photographs to take on a dull greyish appearance if we fail to manage tone properly when we are doing a RAW conversion.
This photograph has been well seen and well captured, and shooting in RAW mode, even if you are working in automatic exposure mode is a good thing. What is letting this photo down though is that tonally the picture feels flat.
Most RAW conversion software gives you control over the white balance and brightness of a picture but there are other controls on the main panel that will also let you control contrast, shadow and highlight tones of the picture. To make the most of any photograph is important to take control of these options.
In the photograph below I have used two tools in Nik Software’s Color Efex Pro 4, the Contrast Color Range and also the Darken / Lighten Centre to both brighten the contrast in the mid-tones of this image and also to darken the border a small amount. I think you can spot the difference in the leopard!
You should also be able to achieve the same effect using your RAW software.
Image Doctor's edited version