I woke up this morning and looked out my bedroom window and behold! There was a Whitetailed Deer snuggled into a snow bank across the ravine from our house. And not only that, she was framed inside a natural vignette! It was pretty cool looking, so I ran for my camera. After taking the window opener apart, I was able to get my camera in place to compose the shot the way I wanted to.
There were a couple of challenges to over come though. The first was as it was early morning, the light was garbage. I couldn’t setup a tripod because my bed is in the way. So I braced the camera on the window frame itself to try to make a rest. I tried a pillow too but there was too much shake. My 70-300 has the VR technology which helped but with an aperture of only f/5.6 it wasn’t what I would call optimal. So I had to crank my ISO to try to get a sharp image. As a result, the image quality degraded more than I would have liked.
I waited a little while for more light and I was able to drop the ISO to 800 and still get a reasonable shot, but it was still too noisy for my liking. I dropped the files into Aperture and fired up my Dfine 2.0 plugin from Nik. Pure awesomeness results! It magically cleans up the noise without eliminating all the detail from the shot. See the 100% Crop.
As you can see, it is magic for cleaning up noise. Next, I had to fix the color. The early morning light was still too blue. I screwed up by not having my white balance on shade to warm it up to where it needed to be. Thanks be to RAW! I was able to change the white balance in Aperture and warmed it up substantially.
I also did some some tweaking with Color eFex 3.0 to adjust the contrast and enhance the natural vignette by brightening the spot where the deer was lying. A couple other touchups and I had the final image I was happy with!
Another reminder that pictures are happening all around us! 🙂
I love black and white portraits. There is something timelessly classic about the over all look and feel of black and white. It always seems like a throw back though, when you think of all those years people only had black and white TVs – maybe they’d think we were nuts for going back to white and black after we finally had beautiful rich color to display! Or, maybe not. Like I said, it’s so timeless. I tried really hard to do a black and white experiment shoot with the kids the other day. Mostly, I was able to do it, but a few shots of color made it in. I can’t help myself!! 🙂 I was also trying to put my new Silver Efex Pro plugin to work in Aperture. It’s a fantastic little app, just like all of Nik’s plugins.
We were privileged to get to know Tara Morris, a Penticton, BC photographer who shoots exclusively in black and white. Her work is amazing and very inspirational. I highly recommend you check out her stuff.