Animals

A Turtle Approaches (Two Photographs)

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I was taking a photograph of the duck against the flotsam, thinking it was interesting. The duck was distracted by my presence and the turtle was getting closer. I figured I should leave not wanting to be part of any subsequent problems. When I processed the photograph in black and white I gave it a sort of old time contrasty look.


Frog Heaven (Two Photographs)

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It is harder than it looks to get two subjects far apart in focus, in this case I used F22 as an aperture, something I seldom do as it has some consequences for image quality. I try to avoid situations like this because 90% of the photos end up not working because of focus issues. But sometimes you can’t resist trying.


Frog Eyes (Two Photographs)

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Frogs in general are less likely to be found in the clear. Usually they are in the shadows, or water. But what always stands out are their amazing eyes. With all animals, eyes are a must have 99% of the time.


That Darn Cat (Two Photographs)

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I am used to sullen and temperamental cats. This one glared at me from across the street (and stayed that way long enough for a five shot HDR). But when I noticed it was tethered to the staircase I was a little more sympathetic.


Attention

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There are three things to note here:

  1. It’s great when animals give you a look
  2. Not all farms appreciate photographers
  3. In any group of animals, some will be more attentive than others

A Squirrel and Colour Casts (Two Photographs)

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This squirrel is impressive. A colour cast was removed in Lightroom with tint, white balance and saturation. In these circumstance the fur and ground easily take on the light passing through foliage so it is common to have green or red castes in photos close to the ground like this where the subject is under leaves and close to a tree.

 


Traffic Jam (Two Photographs)

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It’s not unusual to see animals in large groups. What struck me here was that a lot was going on in a small place and it made for some great shots. I had a brief conversation with another photographer about this, his reaction was that it only really works if you single out an individual, not sure I agree.


Read the Instructions (Two Photographs)

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When I give presentations on nature photography I am usually asked to mention codes of conduct. While I can quibble that they are aimed more often than not at large animals and birds, I do think there is a lot of common sense in them, for example, not feeding wild animals. Feeding them makes them dependant or expectant and less likely to hunt for themselves, less suspicious of people and makes hunters lives easier. Never mind that people often feed wild animals unhealthy food.


Frog Eyes (Two Photographs)

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If you have read my last two posts about expressions, you will note that frogs are interesting given the right highlights and reflections that help infer a certain temper, be it happy or angry. And, yes, I brightened the eyes.


Expressions (Two Photographs)

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Animals can be quite expressive and many of us are inclined to attribute animal expressions to our own (anthropomorphism). Hence animal shots with human like expressions are often great captures.


A Squirrel (Three Photographs)

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These were taken last fall. I like the play of light and how the stark cold blues contrasted with the silvery grey of the squirrel. It was one of those cases where the white balance was perfect out of camera.


Grumpy (Two Photographs)

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If you are after a grumpy look I suggest photographing turtles, they almost always look grumpy or angry. Certainly their look gives them some character. To a large degree it’s all in the eyes. So the second point we can make is that expressions may be more pronounced in black and white.

 


Painted Turtle (Two Photographs)

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Expectations play a role in photography. If your audience is used to seeing something in colour, a black and white treatment may make them hesitate and think for a moment. And that cannot be bad.


Grey Squirrel (Two Photographs)

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These photographs tell different stories, the mood, intensity and impact changes from one to the other. I would categorize these as two separate photographs rather than one deriving from the other.


Natural Colour – Painted Turtle (Two Photographs)

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Often the colour out of the camera does not resemble what we thought we saw. Colour casts, white balance errors, camera profiles are easily diagnosed problems. In the colour version of this photo the background was far too saturated and bright, not all as I remembered it. Once I figured out how to fix it the photo looked exactly as I had seen it and it made doing the black and white even easier.

 


Black Cat (Two Photographs)

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This cat began stalking me and I could not resist the urge to shoot back at those incredible eyes. Given the contrast, I had to try this in black and white as well. The color version probably makes more sense, but I do like the more moody black and white.


Cat (Two Photographs)

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I was on a walk about when I saw this cat. You will see the edited colour photo from which I made the back and white conversion with Skylum’s Tonality Pro. I used the black and white treatment to accentuate, by changing the white balance, and using contrast and other tools, a look that reflected how I had imagined the scene.


Rabbit (Two Photographs)

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I came across this rabbit on a path in the park. It was probably an abandoned pet. Obviously young and unaware of the danger of other animals it pretty much ignored me. I had to wait until its foraging moved it into the bush to continue along the path without disturbing it.


Young Animals (Two Photographs)

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Young animals are naive and tend to get too close to humans. They don’t see the potential threat. I heard recently about young kids throwing rocks at an owl and I have seen people using BB guns on ducks (we scared those folk off). These photos taken from a distance are of a young beaver and a young muskrat that I stumbled on. They did not seem rattled when they saw me, but I took my shots and quietly walked away.


Grey Squirrel (Two Photographs)

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One possible challenge with animals are colour casts, where one colour dominates usually because it is filtered through leaves. If it’s just a minor part of the photo a hue saturation adjustment and masking can help. For larger problems software like Luminar have tools to solve it. Uncorrected it will also affect your Black and White images of the same photograph. Colour casts are frequent and seriously affect image quality,


Red Squirrel (Two Photographs)h

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You can see the sunflower seed in its paws if you look close. Taken in the middle of the rush to hide food for the winter this squirrel was hanging around hoping for more hand- outs. These are the kind of circumstances where you can get close to animals, but it would be unfair to linger and I spent just a little over a minute with this squirrel.


Squirrel (Two Photographs)

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This began with an error, the squirrel was badly backlit. The Nikon D500 is somewhat flexible when it comes to ISOs and what can be pulled out from the shadows (the technical term is ISO invariance). So I had high hopes this would work out and it has, specifically in the Black and White.


Frog (Two Photographs)

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Much like the turtle I posted on Monday, the use of the sun ray filter from Luminar gives the frog a bit of dignity. I kept the colour version in case anyone thought that this week I lost my grounding in natural photographs of nature etc.


Turtle (Two Photographs) and Some Fun with Processing

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There is no harm in occasionally trying new things in software, of course the only danger is going further than you want and having to start again. In this week’s post I have tried a few new things to see where they will go. One thing that has always intrigued me is adding fake lights to a photo. Luminar has a filter called sun rays and you can see it best in the black and white.