Animals

Frog

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This week I thought I would try to do a week in black and white. I usually do photos in both colour and black and white which I find interesting. But I want to hone my skills in black and white. I have always loved black and white photography, but it was not until the digital age that I have had the option to really get into it.


That Chipmunk -3 (Two Photographs)

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Being completely oblivious to the camera and the large thing behind it, the chipmunk just gets on with things, including striking some amusing poses. I was told when I was very young that standing still and silent would make animals more comfortable with my presence and it has proven true over the years. Unfortunately, as nature parks are increasingly hosting bicycles, runners, dogs and noisy parties it will be necessary to go further afield in years to come.


That Chipmunk 2 (Three Photographs)

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Young animals are often trusting and oblivious to danger. Sad but true. On the other hand with owls, muskrats etc. I have had some excellent photographic opportunities due to their naiveté. It’s worth noting that feeding young animals human food or the wrong type of food  is particularly bad.


That Chipmunk (Three Photographs)

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I have a thing about keeping the number of photos in my posts to three. This is the first of a series on this one young chipmunk, with two increasingly interesting sets of photographs to follow.


Squirrels (Two Photographs)

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I think it’s safe to say that squirrels are only one of a few animals that pose. Perhaps beg would be a better word. However many codes of conduct for nature photography are very clear that we should not feed them. So I prefer to think of them as posing as it eases my guilt.


A Frog in the Sun (Two Photographs)

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I continue to be amazed by the difference between how we see light and how the camera sees it. Our eyes can see an amazing range of light from dark to bright, which our camera’s sensors, setting aside high dynamic range processing, are generations away from capturing. Still the camera has its tricks and often much more than expected can be seen in the shadows, or brought out from the shadows in processing. In short it is possible to mimic what we see but it requires technology and technique. This frog half in and half out of the light is an example.


Tree Frog (Two Photographs)

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Cute little frog but unfortunately small and somewhat skittish. I say unfortunately as everything around it in the bush was bigger. It’s great when you can show scale and relative size of something in a photo, but it is not always possible.


Garter Snake (Two Photographs)

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I see the occasional garter snake, usually just. Glance their way and they move away rapidly. They are not dangerous, though I was advised by a student who was studying them that they do bite. We have no poisonous or venomous snakes in our area, only water snakes and these garters; these are our most beautiful.


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.