Friday, January 16, 2009

It's Too Cold for Dogs

Jack in Hobbs Woods, originally uploaded by Gamut's Edge.

Winter is in full force here in Wisconsin. Yesterday I took the dogs and my camera out to Hobbs woods to take advantage of the fresh snow. Thanks to the zero degree thermometer reading the dogs and I had the woods all to ourselves. Maria (my girlfriend) said it was too cold to bring the dogs out. The dogs disagreed. I think they would have stayed out all day. Too bad the weather had all the rabbits and squirrels hidden away.

Technical note: I have been experimenting a lot with getting pictures of my black dog Jack in the snow. Here's the technique I've developed over the last two months.

1) Shoot in RAW.

2) Set the the camera to manual and find an exposure that puts the snow on the far, far right of the histogram without over exposing. A few over exposed specs are OK. They can be recovered in the RAW converter. Also, snow is white. A couple little overexposed white areas are OK.

3) Using the photoshop RAW converter set the white balance using the white balance dropper. Click the dropper in a neutral area in the snow. Click around some different spots until you find a good looking white balance.

4) Set the black point slider to zero. You need as many pixels as you can muster to render a black dogs fur.

5) Open the photo into photoshop and make a duplicate layer. Use the shadow highlight adjustment on the new layer to bring out details in the black dog and the bright snow. Mask the layer to taste, or keep the adjustment global.

6) Do some sharpening to the dog's face, and add a little saturation to the dog. This makes it pop out.

7) Your done

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