INDIAN ELEPHANTS: Behind the Scenes Sneak Peek

Written by: Glyn Dewis

Published: June 24, 2014

Category: General

Hi Everyone

As promised, today I thought I’d give you a look at some of what went into the making of one of my new pictures INDIAN ELEPHANT: Drink Little One

Regular readers of this blog will know that I’m currently working on an animals project where I’m photographing animals that are in captivity (Wildlife Parks, Zoos etc) and then using Photoshop to put them back out into their natural habitat out in the wild.

I’m a big believer in the power of giving yourself personal projects and out of all the ones I’ve done to date this one has gripped me more than any. I guess it’s because it brings together several loves in my life i.e. Animals, Photoshop and Photography … the PERFECT combination for me 🙂

I literally am finding myself hungry to create these pictures and I’m constantly looking forward with excitement to what I have planned and for the first time ever (as strange as this might sound) have an emotional attachment to the pictures and the animals in them.



I photographed the Indian Elephants whilst at Whipsnade Wildlife Park, UK…

I spent quite a bit of time by their paddock so that I could photograph them all in a wide range of poses and positions which would give me lots of options for future pictures and as they were to be used in composites I was shooting around f/8.0 – f/11.0 so as every part of them was in focus.

elephantsThe ground they were added onto was made from a number of different pictures…

The yellow / dry field was used for the green grass and then the muddy field was used to give a trodden / muddy surround to the water hole which was just a puddle that I saw when driving near to where I live. Proof again that it’s always good to have your camera with you because I came past the very same puddle the next day and it had completely dried out.

foregroundIn this video you can see how I blended the puddle into the field…

The distant hills, trees and also the sky came from making use of the pictures below…

When photographing the elements that go into making the scene I’ll always photograph them using the same aperture as I did when photographing the animals. Then I’ll focus on an area of the ground that is roughly the same distance that the animals had been from me and then I take the photographs and the reason I do this is so that the depth of field on the background looks much more realistic / natural.


One thing I like to spend time on is adding in all the details. It’s these bits that I want to hold the attention of whoever is looking at the picture and invariably it’s when they notice one thing they then spend longer trying to see what else they can spot. It’s adding in these details that I get such a kick out of but that also reinforces one thing that I always talk about at seminars / workshops i.e. It’s the small things that make the BIG difference in your retouching.

In this picture you’ll see that I added in the water ripples, water coming from both Elephants’ mouths and birds circling and so if you missed it, in this video I show how I actually made and added the ripples in the water where the Baby Elephant had dipped his trunk in to have a drink…

I’ve had quite a few questions since starting this new animals project asking if I’ll be making any of the pictures into full length tutorial and available in my web store…

The answer is a most definite yes because there’s so many new techniques, tips and thought processes that go into I really do think they’ll be a great learning resource. As for time scales with that I can’t be exact just yet purely because of other things that I’m working on; priority being writing my very first book that is being published by Peachpit and will be available worldwide before Christmas.

It won’t be that long though until I do make one available but I’m also writing content from these pictures to add into the book which I’ll post more details about very soon 🙂

Finally I just want to say a HUGE Thank You to each and everyone of you that have Liked and Commented over on my 500px page.

It’s so good to see that you’re liking the results of this project that means so much to me!

500-final*To see the larger / better screen quality version of INDIAN ELEPHANT: DRINK LITTLE ONE simply CLICK HERE

Right that’s all from me for today so as always if you do have any questions / comments then please feel free to email me or make use of the comments section below.

In the mean time though, have a good one and I’ll catch you back here tomorrow for Episode 53 of my Weekly Photoshop, Photography and Lightroom Podcast [Link]


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1 Comment

  1. Aaron Karnovski

    What I love most about this, is the fact that none of the photographs on their own stood out as anything special. I’m sure virtually anyone looking through this collection of images would be totally unimpressed and even some would be asking “why did you photograph that??”.

    What you have done here, Glyn, is nothing short of creative genius and attests to how artistic vision trumps what we observe with the naked eye. The importance of a concept and seeing the final image in your mind, before even raising the camera to your face is one of the most undervalued elements by most photographers. They rely solely on what they witness and shoot in the hopes that something magical is going to appear on their LCD screen.

    That is the biggest thing people should take away from “Drink Little One”. Have a concept or creative idea – even if it’s a rough one. Then set about achieving it. As you clearly demonstrated here, the likelihood of getting this shot in one is pretty low. Instead, look for the key ingredients and combine them individually.

    Not only is this a fantastic photograph but a great example of the creative process in action and a valuable tutorial in so many ways.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Best wishes,



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