a black dog on the snow

Back in August last year, when we adopted this dog, I never thought about the problems she would create for my photography.

We saw her, all black, and the two brothers, all white, and we simply said, “we want the female so we’ll get the black one please” (I also had the brilliant thought that it would be easier to spot on the snow; true that, but I somehow didn’t think about how difficult it is to spot a black dog at night – and nights are more frequent than snow days, and whenever I walk the dog at night I have to be super careful about letting go of the leash).


It’s a no-brand rescue dog – or a “bastard” dog as I used to call this kind of dog when I was a boy.

Anyway I wanted to let you play with two photos that I took recently with a Nikon D810 and an old 75-150 f/3.5 E-series zoom (a cheap manual focus zoom that was said to be a favourite of Galen Rowell).

This first one is an unusually (for me) heavy edit, meaning that I used probably too many modules and instances; I wanted to salvage it somehow and the final result is still “meh” – a bit too “digital”, too crispy probably – I’m curious to see what other people would do with this.

Final edit:

As a reference, this is what the photo looks like when you first open it:

raw + xmp (darktable 3.8.1):

20220304_NIK6923.nef (45.3 MB)
20220304_NIK6923.nef.xmp (13.3 KB)

This is the second shot, an “action” shot (a bit tricky to do these with a manual focus lens):

Raw + xmp:

20220304_NIK6904.nef (40.2 MB)
20220304_NIK6904.nef.xmp (17.3 KB)

All the files are licensed Creative Commons, By-Attribution, Share-Alike.


:dog: :dog2: :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:


20220304_NIK6904.nef.xmp (8.0 KB)


I like the action play. :dog:

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My version…

Darktable 3.9.0~git24.477bc5c41a-1

20220304_NIK6923.nef.xmp (10.9 KB)

20220304_NIK6904.nef.xmp (14.7 KB)

DT 3.8

Ciao, Alessandro!

This was a tricky one to develop :slight_smile:
Black dog, white snow – and I wanted to get
some definition in both. Here is my attempt:

20220304_NIK6904.nef.xmp (7.6 KB)

Have fun!
Claes a Lund, Svezia


Nice crop!

Actually, that is the dilemma of a wedding photographer:
expose for the bride’s white dress or expose for the groom’s black tuxedo?

Wise old 'tog: make the bride’s dress look nice; the groom’s tux is what it is.

Addendum: clarification of objects!

20220304_NIK6904_01.nef.xmp (27.0 KB)

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20220304_NIK6923.nef.xmp (10.0 KB)


thanks everyone for the work done on these photos. I like what almost all of you have improved on mine, i.e. the colors of the labrador; a bit more saturated like I remember they were. I will dive into the xmp to see how you’ve done it.

I also like the crop by @Claes (but don’t like the extra detail you applied, it gives the image that hyperrealistic look that I’m not a fan of).

@priort the overall tone you gave sets the scene at sundown almost, interesting take but I’ll stick to my original color calibration setting since it’s closer to what I remember the colors were.

And coming back to the issue of how to properly expose scenese like these, I don’t think I could have simply overexposed – it would have destroyed the details in the snow I think?

A general comment after editing a few photos from the last months, a mix between Nikon D810 and Canon EOS RP; honestly, for normal editing of family photos, taken in variety of circumstances but always with no planning and cheap/mediocre lenses (*), I struggle to see the famous advantage that the D810 sensor should have compared to the often derided 26Mp Canon sensor taken from the 6D.

(*) the best lenses I have are the two 50mm I have on both system; and they’re not the fancy f1.2 lenses but an old Nikon f.14 AF (just before the D variant) and the cheap RF 1.8 Canon.

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20220304_NIK6923.nef.xmp (17.0 KB)
[Edit: corrected the overexposure in the snow]

20220304_NIK6904.nef.xmp (13.5 KB)


20220304_NIK6904.nef.xmp (14.9 KB)

I have the exact same problem with my cat, he’s black and white so when light is shining from the window, I can either expose his white fur, or crush everything else since the DR of the scene is so big.


20220304_NIK6904.nef.xmp (12.6 KB)

Beautiful dogs!

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