This image was taken very early in the morning during a workshop with Art Morris in January of 2004. It was barely light outside and there was heavy fog so I knew it would be a tough exposure but it was such a beautiful scene I had to try. Besides, it was dead calm and the Pelicans weren’t moving so I figured I might get something. I was practicing, after all, so I put my Canon 10D with a 100-400mm lens on a tripod, set my ISO to 1600, aperture to f/11 and fired off three shots. I had barely pressed the shutter when one of the Pelicans decided to lift off. It was really underexposed and at ISO 1600, you can imagine the tremendous amount of noise!
Back then, it was impossible to remove that amount of noise but I loved the images so I kept them. Now we have phenomenal noise reduction software and although the image isn’t perfect, I’m able to make an acceptable small print. Moral? If have a poorly exposed image but you love the composition and subject matter, don’t delete it! You WILL be able to recover it some day.