Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Touch Up Tuesday: I had to try.

Okay, so I found Touch Up Tuesdays and had to give it a shot.  I thought, "What picture do I really want to touch up right now?"  My mind immediately went to the Elk.  On our trip to Colorado we ran into a herd of elk.  I took tons of pictures and they were good.  The problem was that the buck of the herd was hiding back over a rise and behind some trees, making it impossible for me to get a decent shot.  That evening, as we were heading home, we saw the herd again.  This time they were in the middle of an open meadow!  Hurray!  The only problem was that it was well after dusk and the only reason we were able to see them was that there was a huge line of cars pulled off to the side of the road trying to see what they could see.  The elk were making marvelous noises and the experience was amazing but I couldn't figure out how to get a good picture.  Flash was out of the question and artificial light of any kind was strictly prohibited (park rules).  So, I cranked my new 7D all the way up to 6400 and did my best.  I have never even attempted to photograph at such a high ISO before but I thought that with no other options, it was worth a try.  I raised the camera to my eye and realized that it was too dark for the auto focus to work.  It was too dark for my eye to work in manual focus as well.  It was really dark and the main evidence that the elk were even there was the noise they made calling out to each other.  It's a pretty eerie sound if you've never heard it.  Not at all what I would expect from such a large animal.  If you've ever seen Lord Of the Rings, the elk sound almost exactly like the Ring Wraiths (okay, I have no idea how to spell that word.  More proof that I just saw the movie and never actually read the book).   Okay, tangent aside, it was DARK!  I did my best at trying to compose the picture by getting what I thought was a rack of horns in the image and  stumbled through focusing.  The image you are about to see is my SOOC image, if you look closely, you can see a vague outline of animals.  Pathetic, I know.  Probably not worth even trying to do anything with, but if you know me, you know I had to TRY.  Anyway, here is my vain attempt at touching up this completely underexposed image.  Enjoy.

My best attempt at making an image, a surreal, dreamlike image from the elk that I "saw".

I used the noise reduction filter in Lightroom 3 and tried to bring up the exposure as much as possible w/out completely losing the grass.  In Photoshop I used Levels, Selective Color, Hue Saturation and various filters on various layers and came up with this.  Not my best work ever, but at least proof that I was close to some elk!

Have a great rest of your day.


  1. nice job! i probably wouldnt have even attempted this one, but looks almost purposely done.

  2. That's impressive. Nice work. It looks like a painting now.

  3. I want this picture!!!! You could make a killing on it in the western states like CO, WY, and MT. People would snatch it right up. Seriously. It's amazing.