First look — a long weekend on the refuges

by Dec 16, 2019

I spent the weekend out at a couple of wildlife refuges on an intensive shooting expedition. From noon friday to noon Sunday I spent almost 16 hours in the refuges shooting out the car window, generating just under 2000 images (burst mode is your friend out there). I’ve done the first cull, leaving me just under 200 images to evaluate more closely and I’m starting to edit and do my second cull as I refine this down into a usable set, it’s starting to look like this might have been a historically productive shoot for me.

I’m currently struggling with a single sequence of shots of a hawk feeding on a kill where AFTER a second cull I still have 17 images I want to keep, which is normally way too many for a single sequence like that. I’m trying to figure out what to do and whether to just accept my feeling they’re all unique and relevant.

Still very early in the editing process for this, but I have the first few images through a first edit, and so I wanted to do a quick “show me six” of some of the early images I’ve taken a first whack at and am happy with. They all need some tweaking (and they all have very basic metadata, but captions/titles and keywording happens later). I’m finding some of the techniques I learned from Art Wolfe this fall get me to a happy place with images way faster than I used to with less struggle, and I’m trying a new sharpening technique I saw on a video from Steve Perry that I am liking so far. Add in that I used this trip to rethink how I have been using the autofocus on the camera, and there was a lot going on that could have gone very wrong and didn’t…

If my second cull is typical, I may end up with about 125 kept images out of this trip, which if so, is amazing. I rarely get that level of production, but sometimes it all seems to fall into place. It’ll take me a while to get through all of the images and finalize their edits and which are the real keepers, and then in 3-4 months I’ll revisit the first cull looking for things I might have missed this first time through.

This is my first significant shoot with the new MacBook Pro 16″, which I took on the road with me. Saturday night, I asked it to import and process almost 1700 images, which it did without breaking a sweat. As part of the image I have it build standard previews, and then I later kick off manual processes that build smart previews, 1:1 previews and convert everything to DNG. The DNG conversion took about 2.5 hours, which on my old computer would have been “see if it’s done in the morning” work, and everything else went through surprisingly quickly, and at one point, all of that was going on AND I was reviewing images with no noticeable UI lag. I think I’m really going to love this computer. On my previous machines, that would have been “fire it up and go to dinner and maybe the machine will be usable when you get back” time.