Ya, no kidding. This one should have hit the cutting room floor. I saw this White-tailed deer on the opposite side of a meadow. She was in the shadow and the sun was striking on the vegetation. But I can’t help myself. I just got to take the picture to see what would happen. Once I saw that the dynamic range was too great, I just put my camera back in the pack and headed down the trail. When I got home into the dark room, this was what was on the card. Pretty horrible! So why am I showing you this?
Because I want to drive home a point. If you like taking pictures and you don’t shoot your camera’s RAW format, then you cannot salvage crap photos like this! This one is so tweaked, that my normal workflow does not apply. And quite frankly, it is the worst (I hope it is the worst) photo you will see on SMU.
This will never be an award winning composition but I wanted to see if I could salvage the tonal qualities of the photo. First, cut down the exposure to get the deer at a proper level.
Next, drop the shadows by a tad bit. This one is subtle.
Next, drop the whites down and adjust the white clipping down.
Next, I dropped a graduate filter over the bottom quarter of the photo and dropped the exposure down by a 1.15 stops
Finally, add a little clarity and bada-boom, bada-bing I made a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.
I’m not a big PhotoShop guy. I wish I was, but I’m not. I am pretty handy with Lightroom. My point is this. If this was an important photo that I botched and I shot it in JPG, I never would have been able to recover the data. RAW formats capture all of the data from the sensor. They are large files. JPG are compressed and enhanced based on what your camera thinks the picture should look like. The RAW format will give you more artistic freedom. There are a bazillion helpful tutorials online. Think about it.
But if I got it right in the camera, I would have put it through my normal work flow lickity-split.
Now swear that you never saw this photo!