Sunset in one shot


Ndutu, Tanzania, Africa The sun was shooting towards the horizon, here I desperately searched for a giraffe to put in my silhouette shot, alas I did not find one in time. I have tried stalking giraffe as the sun sets in hopes of getting them in one of these shots, but even then the giraffe would not cooperate, I think they know what I'm trying to do. The funny thing is that the other safari vehicle got a similar shot but with the giraffe! They were listening when I told them I wanted giraffes in a sunset.

Photographic Details: This was shot on the way home, I used a high shutter speed simply because we were driving and I didn't want any motion blur. I took just one shot and processed it in lightroom 4 to bring out the details. This is something that may look like HDR but is nothing like it. To the unprocessed before shot look below:

Before raw processing


Camera Settings:1/800s f/4.0 ISO100 73mm

Processed in lightroom 4 see the before and after at

Sun Tree


Ndutu Area, Tanzania, Africa Driving through the sparingly forested area, the sun was setting in the trees, the arid soil kicking up dust with the every movement, footstep, and breath of wind. As annoying as dust is, it lights up beautifully as the last rays of sunlight caress the branches of the trees.

Photographic Details: As each of these trees drifted by in the view of our safari vehicle I was ever hoping I’d find a giraffe at sunset so I could get a silhouette of both the magnificent animal and the iconic shape of the acacia tree. Alas there was no giraffe, although the other safari vehicle in our group managed that exact shot, needless to say I was extremely jealous when we recounted our experiences that night at dinner. My best option was to find a particularly nice tree and position ourselves so the sun was where we wanted nestled in the tree like a godlen egg in a nest, this was the final shot out of that little tree sunset exploration moment.

I took the photo and looked at the scene again and noticed how dull it looked in camera. The colours were nothing the way I saw them, we had a deep blue sky and beautiful orange light pouring out of a hole in the clouds, but when I looked at the back of the camera the colours were not as bright. Thank goodness I shot in RAW. I was able to shift my colours back to what they needed to be in lightroom, increasing the contrast so I have more dramatic blacks in the tree and more texture in the background.


Want to learn more about my safaris? Always wanted to see Kenya and Tanzania and wanted to get the most out of your camera? Check out my Photographic safaris!

Larches of sunshine Valley before and after RAW processing


larches of sunshine valley, before/after

Sunshine Valley, Rocky Mountains, Alberta, Canada.

I will show you the before and after of my RAW conversion, it’s my hope to demonstrate why a camera requires a photographer and without human direction, the photos they take aren’t accurate, and hardly representative of the experience it captured.

It was a spectacular day in the Sunshine Valley. I was sick as a dog but the beautiful sight of the larches kept my mind off of it. As my mood improved the weather worsened, as if mother nature was trying to offset my enjoyment. The wind began blowing and dark clouds started rolling in as a wall of rain headed towards my direction. The view of the lake was soon framed by the dark clouds and now the plain vista behind the lake was the dramatic view I was looking for.

In real life these clouds had the drama I was looking or, and as my highly evolved human eyes took in the scene I could see the darkness in the sky, and the subtle highlights in the trees. Most people don’t realize how much of a gift our vision is, until they see how the camera sees the world. It’s limited range of view compresses the highlights in the sky so that they are almost white. I look at the camera and think, “that stormy sky is not white, I’ll be able to bring that back later”.

What we don’t realize is the sky is always super bright to the camera, and even though the camera shows a white sky, shooting in high quality RAW my camera has secretly stored the details of that dark sky in there for me to coax out in my RAW processing.




This was all accomplished in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, with the brush and graduated filter tools by selectively decreasing and increasing the exposure. This process is called dodging and burning, and has likely been applied to every professional photograph you’ve ever seen. This technique has been around since the days of film, largely unchanged, it’s just done on computers now. Every photo needs to be calibrated with a human eye, and this is how you show others what it really feels like to be there.