Nik to the Rescue by Piper Mackay
It is always a comfort that I know I have the power of Nik software in my back pocket, so to speak. I travel to Africa several times a year leading safaris, but on this trip I stayed behind to do some of my own personal photography. I had just spent 8 great days in the Masai Mara and decided to make a run for Amboseli. I had not yet visited this amazing reserve and had grand visions of photographing large herds of elephants walking across the dusty plains. It was a long and rough 8-hour drive but I was pushing to be there in evening light. Tired, I grabbed too much stuff when getting out of the Land Rover and my 500mm lens with my 7D body attached slipped from my grip and crashed down on the beautiful stone pathway. I calmly reached down and picked it up. Everything was intact with no sound of broken parts; I hoped for the best. When I got to my room and tested the lens on my 5D Mark II, as my 7D body was not working, I discovered I had knocked out the calibration, which meant soft images. Since my goal was to photograph the herds in the dust for a moody artistic look, and generally with mist, dust, or fog you are not going to get a sharp focus on your subject, I decided to shoot with it anyway. Also, part of my original vision was to create a more artistic sepia look using Nik filters to build on my body of work “Wild on Earth”.
Below are three images to show the transition from camera to final creative output.
The first image is as shot right out of the camera, dust spots and all.
In the second image I used Viveza 2 to add contrast, structure and color.
In the third image I completed my vision by using Fog and Glamour Glow in Color Efex 4, and then transitioned it to black and white with toning in Silver Efex Pro 2. This final image is now part of my “Wild on Earth” exhibit opening at the G2 Gallery in Los Angeles on May 15th, 2012.
This image is also included in the webinar I gave for Nik on Completing your Vision with Nik Software.