This is probably my favourite wildlife photo I’ve ever taken, and on one of my favourite road trips! I had pulled over at a rest stop along the highway to take a break after driving through some sketchy winter conditions through a high mountain pass when this beautiful raven sitting on a signpost in front of my Jeep caught my eye. I knew if I stood on-top of one of the rocks a few feet away I could maybe get up high enough to take a decent photo of it. I quietly got out of my vehicle, grabbed my camera out of the back seat, shutting the door ever so gently and walking slowly to my vantage point not to frighten it.
I didn’t start taking photos right away, I just watched it do its thing looking off into the snowy, mountainous landscape before snapping a few shots (as I usually do when taking photos). I want to enjoy living in the moment before seeing life behind my lens. Doing this will typically make me miss a shot, but in my opinion life is about living, not living to get “the shot”. (I’ve been there before) So if the shot happens, I am obviously going to be stoked and if not it’s really no big deal. It’s the experiences that I am having that matter the most.
With this photo (and most of my photos) minimal editing was required. I was going to share what edits I had made in Lightroom, but my computer decided that it wanted to die on me early last year and I lost a bunch of photos and Lightroom catalogs that I didn’t get to backing up yet (lesson learned, back up photos immediately). I am just glad that most were already uploaded to my blog before that happened. However, remembering what I did isn’t too hard, I like to edit my photos the way I see them and without any filters or presets (this gives images a classic look that will never be dated by trending filters) and my routine is pretty much always the same.
First I start with changing the profile to camera landscape, remove chromatic aberration and enable profile corrections, and crop. Then I will reduce noise, fix the white balance, adjust exposure, add contrast and clarity, push up the vibrance a little bit, and apply some dehaze. Then for a bit of fine tuning by adjusting the highlights, whites, shadows and blacks. The only significant modifications I did on this photo were cropping (as I keep a great distance from wildlife, and still needed to crop my image significantly to get it how I wanted) and removing a couple flakes of snow on the body of the raven.
Below is the original photo straight out of the camera.
Use the slider on the image below to check out the before (straight out of the camera, but cropped) and after (final edit) comparison.
|GEAR USED FOR THIS SHOT||CAMERA SETTINGS|
|– Canon 5D Mark III||– 1/500 second|
|– Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM Lens||– f/4.0|
|– SanDisk 16GB CF Card||– ISO 400|
|– Lightroom||– 200 mm focal length|
I am happy that it was a gloomy, snowy day as I don’t think that this shot wouldn’t be what it is if it were a bluebird day instead. I really think the white background makes the photo.
If you want to see more Before + After shots, let me know which photo(s) you are interested in seeing what they looked like before!
* Please leave no trace when enjoying the outdoors!
* When photographing wildlife, please keep your distance. (Parks Canada recommends 30 meters from large animals and 100 meters from bears.) Never bait, call, crowd, chase, or capture an animal to get a photo.