Editing a Dinosaur in Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

You walk up to the Dinosaur attraction in Disney’s Animal Kingdom with your camera and carefully compose a photo by getting in close to the statue of Aladar. You move around until Aladar is looking into the frame adding interest. It is a bright, sunny day but your eyes see all the details and colors. You press the shutter to record the image. It looks good on the camera’s LCD and you move on to catch up with your party entering the attraction.

Upon opening up the photo on your computer, you are disappointed in how it looks (see below). This is when you put your favorite photo editor to work. Mine is Apple Aperture but most editors can improve on a digital image.

Statue of Aladar outside Dinosaur ride in Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida

Unedited photo of the statue of Aladar outside Dinosaur ride.
Nikon D7100/24-120VR, 1/320s, f/4.5, ISO 100, EV +0.3, 82mm (123mm DX) Focal Length.

For me, I set about opening up the shadows and pulling in the highlights using the sliders of the same name. I then added general edits over the entire image for Definition (Clarity), Vibrance and a touch of Saturation. This gave me a much better photo but Aladar was still a bit dark and washed out.

If your editor allows the use of Brushes to “brush” in adjustments on selected areas, you should become familiar with how to use them. Here I dodged (lightened) the dark areas under the eye and around the muzzle. After, I brushed in saturation to pull out the colors in Aladar’s eye and skin. Lastly, I brushed in a good dose of Definition to pull out the textures of the skin.

The result you can see below.

AStatue of Aladar outside Dinosaur ride in Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida

Edited photo of the statue of Aladar outside Dinosaur ride.
Nikon D7100/24-120VR, 1/320s, f/4.5, ISO 100, EV +0.3, 82mm (123mm DX) Focal Length.

Quite a difference and a much better image than what I started with. It pays to take the time to learn how to improve your photos using an editor.

Scott's "Photographic Innoventions" blog focuses on intermediate to advanced photography concepts and techniques relevant for Point and Shoot and Digital SLR cameras.

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