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I have been trying to take pictures of dogwood blooms for a week now. I have the sharpness I want, but the flowers have a weird glow to them. The only post I could find about it is this one. Everyone there said it was probably a smudged lens. I made sure my lens was clean. So is there a way to eliminate the glow and keep the details?

dogWood

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    I cannot see the problem which you ask about. "Fine JPEG" did not show any perceptible artifacts in my practive. I'd prefer if you uploaded unresized crop of flowers (do not upload full picture please). I do not think that you have compression problems, you may compress the crop at 90% or so. – Euri Pinhollow Apr 10 '16 at 9:01
  • The problem discussed in question which you linked is lens flare and it became especially apparent because of overexposure, it does not seem to me that it is related, more so if your front and rear glass is clean. – Euri Pinhollow Apr 10 '16 at 9:03
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    Is this not because the whites are overexposed? – laurencemadill Apr 10 '16 at 10:54
  • I wrote an answer based on what I see in the image embedded above, but then I realized that this is a lower-quality preview than the original (8.2mb), which was saved at JPEG quality 100. Cody, can you clarify if it's the fringing apparent in this preview that you're concerned about, or is it lack of detail on the petals themselves? – mattdm Apr 10 '16 at 12:34
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    Mostly just the details on the petals. I took this from about 15 feet away and don't have the best setup for it. (Nikon d3100 with a 55-200mm lens) But I feel like the light on petals is killing the few details i can get from that distance. I tried lowering the shutter speed but this only cause the branch to become dim and and background lackluster – Cody Pace Apr 11 '16 at 4:14
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glowing outlined

You applied surplus of sharpening. Sharpening means for a computer to find a lightness transition and make the dark part of it darker and the lighter part lighter. If you apply disastrous amount of sharpening (as you clearly did) you are guaranteed to get those artifacts - the ligher part will become clipped white and the darker part will become clipped black.

You will get similar artifacts if you use aggressive tonemapping (which is sharpening with very big radius) but at a larger scale.

Here I reproduced the defect which original image has, it is visible on tilted parallel lines. unsharpened sharpened, 1px radius

Solution:

  1. slide your sharpening back to the point where it does not produce artifacts
  2. if the sharpness does not satisfy you, increase tonal contrast instead
  3. if it is still not sharp enough, increase the radius of sharpening - this will let you sharpen more and make the black glow weaker

P.S. Regarding lack of detail in petals. You may try to strengthen them using "highlight recovery" setting in your RAW converter or with using tonal curves, here is an example. However, it seems to me that details are lacking not because of camera or objective but because the flower is glossy, and the sun reduces the visibility of details.

  • With my raw processor I also had this problem with sharpening set to the default value of 0, in my case it needs to be set back all the way to the lowest negative value, but the safer option is to use DCRaw to process the raw file to make sure there isn't any hidden baggage of unknown processing that could throw further processing off the rails. – Count Iblis Apr 15 '16 at 16:22
  • @count-iblis: this is why I chose RawTherapee. I verified that every processing step does nothing more than intended (I studied sources too) and the reciprocity is kept all way to the export. Everything in RT can be cancelled away (except input channel multipliers). You will end up with raw values + channel scaling if you set everything to neutral and select same profile for both input and output. – Euri Pinhollow Apr 15 '16 at 16:37
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Cleaning the lens is important, but it looks to me like your issue is compression artifacts.
Check your camera settings to see if you can increase the quality of images saved or shoot in RAW.

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    is raw the best mode to shoot in for clarity? – Cody Pace Apr 10 '16 at 4:29
  • @CodyPace RAW should get rid of compression artifacts. You'll need more file storage space, though. – WBT Apr 10 '16 at 4:41
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    Well storage is cheap but good pictures are hard to come by lol. I always set my camera to fine before, but i would like to gef into the professional game so i guess raw it is. Thanks a ton – Cody Pace Apr 10 '16 at 5:01

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