Cottontail and a Few Words on Shadows (Four Photographs)

Cotton TailTo view more of my photography please click on

This is the traditionally cute cottontail rabbit, a bit less cautious than others I have seen, almost posing for the camera. As often happens in nature photography, with birds, insects, animals, we get shadows across our subject from adjacent branches filtering out the light (photographic speak: acting like Gobos). You have the choice of leaving the shadows in or attempting to remove them/fade them in post-processing. The latter does not always work and it is always a lot of effort. The argument can be made that fading or reducing the shadows is a step too far in editing, or that shadows are natural and better left as is. Personally I think the key element is that you can see your subject and that the shadows do not darken features like the face too much.

Cotton Tail-2

Cotton Tail-3

Cotton Tail-4

12 responses

  1. I agree. I dislike staging shots or removing “flaws” too. I’m not a post processor hater – I crop and adjust for lighting, even create something else from time to time. But the picture is what you saw and doesn’t diminish it at all.


    June 3, 2016 at 6:26 am

  2. Love the cropped photo in color!


    June 3, 2016 at 6:31 am

  3. As an experiment, I used the spot healing brush and the clone stamp in PS to eliminate the worst of the shadows on your rabbit. It only took 2 minutes and looks perfect. I strongly believe in touching up flaws. I inspect every inch. Triangles in corners like the one in the upper left is something I would eliminate too. If a hot spot of other feature distracts I remove it. Photographs are artwork. The entire picture has to look good, edges and all.


    June 3, 2016 at 6:46 am

    • I have and do remove, heal and use content aware tools. I have certainly taken the approach you describe. However, if one were to decide to be more faithful to the scene and follow press rules how would it work. So my point was if you have issues like this and either cannot be bothered or would prefer not to edit, on what criteria or judgement do we keep the photo. I see too many subjects in shadow. So I decided to comment

      Liked by 1 person

      June 3, 2016 at 6:54 am

  4. It’s a nice clear shot of the eye – the rich brown iris expresses alert presence. While the shadow distracts a bit, as you said, it is expected in nature shots.


    June 3, 2016 at 5:34 pm

    • Thnak you. Much appreciated. I regretfully missed this comment as it went to the spam folder.


      June 4, 2016 at 4:39 pm

      • Oh, dear, thank you for telling me. That happened to me last year. WP kept putting my comments into people’s spam folders for some reason. It took quite a while to straighten it out. I hope this is not a repeat of that experience!


        June 4, 2016 at 5:16 pm

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