Natural Art: The Photography of Brad Hill

The Dalai Rama - Colour and Texture

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In the Field

The Dalai Rama - Colour and Texture. Kluane National Park, Yukon Territory, Canada. April 1, 2017.

I nabbed this shot of a male Dall's Sheep in spring of 2017 while "sussing out" a shooting location that is now part of the autumn 2018 "Kluane-Haines Explorer" photo tour. The subject is laying down on a snow-covered mountain ridge and I created the almost "ethereal" look of the shot by shooting through a foreground snowdrift (and the background is a snow-covered lake a good kilometer behind the ram). In other words - it's all optically produced (and NOT produced by blurring the image during post-processing).

I processed this shot from RAW - including all the selective editing - using Capture One Pro version 11. I've used Capture One Pro as my raw converter for over a decade (really), but historically I only made global adjustments (on multiple variants of the image) there and used Photoshop to combine and blend the resulting output. This means that I used Photoshop to convert global changes made in Capture One Pro into "selective" adjustments. But in late 2017 I decided to start using Capture One Pro's built-in layers (and masking) to do the vast majority of my selective edits there (i.e., in Capture One Pro). In a sense all this means is that I transferred my layer blending (and masking) operations from Photoshop to Capture One Pro (and it isn't a radical move). At this point (about 3 weeks into my "new" workflow) I am finding that Capture One Pro is definitely up to the task.

In the spring of 2017 I processed another shot taken during the same shooting session using my "old" workflow - and that shot now is the lead image in my Hooves & Horns Gallery (see it right here). I am expecting someone to say to me "...but the one processed using your old workflow shows more colour" (and imply this change is related to the changed workflow). It's true that the image shown here is less colour-saturated, but it has NOTHING to do with my workflow change. Rather, it's completely related to creative decisions I made when processing the shot directly above. In short, I was in love with the texture of the image and felt that desaturating the colour in the image would mean that colour would "dominate" the viewers' attention less in this image and, hopefully, the textures would become a larger part of what stood out in the image. In this case I did only minor colour desaturation (using Capture One Pro) on the horns and eyes, and much more colour desaturation on the rest of the image.

Here's a larger (2400 pixel) version of this regal ram:

The Dalai Rama - Colour and Texture: Download 2400 pixel image (JPEG: 0.70 MB)


1. The "dreamy" effect in this image was created fully in-camera (i.e., optically) using a super-telephoto lens (in this case a Sigma 500mm f4 Sport lens on a Nikon D500 camera) - not by digital manipulation.

2. This image was captured in the same location that will be hosting my "Kluane-Haines Explorer" Exploratory Photo Adventure in late autumn of 2018. Each year I offer trips into two different parts of the Great Bear Rainforest as well as one to photograph marine mammals and oceanscapes near the northern tip of Vancouver Island. And, in selected years, I also offer photo tours to locations to capture other highly sought-after subjects, such as Dall Sheep, Bald Eagles, and more. Details about these trips can be found on the Photo Tours page of this website.

3. This image - in all resolutions - is protected by copyright. I'm fine with personal uses of them (including use as desktop backgrounds or screensavers on your own computer), but unauthorized commercial use of the image is prohibited by law. Thanks in advance for respecting my copyright!

4. Like all wildlife images on this website, the subject(s) is/are fully wild and completely unconstrained. Besides the potential impact of my/our presence, nothing has been done to intentionally alter or affect the ongoing behavior of the subject and, of course, there has been no use of any form of bait or other form of wildlife attractants/luring devices (including vocalizations or other sounds).

Behind the Camera

The Dalai Rama - Colour and Texture. Kluane National Park, Yukon Territory, Canada. April 1, 2017.

Digital Capture; Compressed RAW (NEF) 14-bit format; ISO 100.

Nikon D500 paired with Sigma 500mm f4 Sport lens. Supported on Really Right Stuff TVC-24 tripod with an Acratech Long Lens Head. OS on and in "OS1" mode, with OS1 stabilization customized to Moderate View mode; AF customized to Fast Priority AF.

1/2000s @ f5.6; No compensation from "recommended" matrix-metered exposure setting.

At the Computer

The Dalai Rama - Colour and Texture. Kluane National Park, Yukon Territory, Canada. April 1, 2017.

RAW Conversion to 16-bit TIFF, including all global and selective adjustments using Phase One's Capture One Pro 11. Selective local adjustments accomplished using Capture One Pro's layers and masking tools. In this case adjustments were made on 9 separate layers and included local/selective editing of exposure, highlight recovery and shadow retrieval, colour desaturation, and contrast (via a curves adjustment).

Photoshop adjustments were limited to image re-sizing, conversion of Prophoto RGB colour gamut (to sRGB), final sharpening for online display, and insertion of watermark.


The Dalai Rama - Colour and Texture. Kluane National Park, Yukon Territory, Canada. April 1, 2017.

Species Status in Canada*: Not listed as of Special Concern, Threatened, or Endangered.

The Dall Sheep (Ovis dalli) is a species of sheep native to northwestern North America. They inhabit the subarctic mountain ranges of Alaska, the Yukon Territory, the MacKenzie Mountains in the Northwest Territories, and both central and northern British Columbia. The more southern form is known as the Stone Sheep and is slaty brown in colour with some white patches on the rump on the inside of the hind legs. Dall sheep are found in comparatively dry country and tend to be found in a unique combination of open alpine ridges, meadows, and steep slopes with extremely rugged ground (usually referred to as escape terrain) in the immediate vicinity. This escape terrain allows the sheep to escape from predators that can't travel as fast as these sure-footed sheep. The primary predators of Dall sheep include wolves, coyotes, black and grizzly bears and, during the lambing season, both golden eagles and wolverines.

While not technically endangered in Canada this Stone Sheep was photographed in the southwest portion of the Yukon Territory - and in this region poorly regulated and poorly managed hunting has reduced many local populations by over 50% compared to historical levels. In some populations local extirpation is likely if hunting practices are not radically changed or completely suspended.

*as determined by COSEWIC: The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada