Posts tagged “Animals

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Leopard Frog (Two Photographs)

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Frogs near water usually jump in when they hear or see people coming. On land and away from water they will, in my experience, hide or act as if they are invisible. In this case the frog allowed me to come fairly close and slowly raise my camera. I had its full attention and it stayed where it was after I left. I suspect it was getting used to humans.


Chipmunk (Two Photographs)

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The best time to photograph chipmunks is in the fall when they are  collecting food for the winter. Their need for food overcomes their fear of humans. They very quickly relax when they see you are not a threat (stand still, make very little noise). The rest of the year they run the grand prix around you and it’s almost impossible to get a shot.


Green Frog (Two Photographs)

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This frog looks very proud of itself, certainly cheerful. It is amazing how easily we ascribe human feelings to an animal. For a nature photographer that’s a good thing. However we do it engaging our audience is the objective and hopefully that engagement leads to their taking some pleasure from the photograph. As for the two versions I think the black and white best focuses on the expression, while the colour gives more context.


Colour-Cast Squirrel (Three Photographs)

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You are unlucky when you not only get a green color-cast (light reflecting off and filtered through greenery) but also get a magenta cast from a nearby flower. That’s exactly what happened here, and as you can see from the original and my attempt to fix the colors, this turned out to be insurmountable. And so breaking all the rules I settled on a black and white version. The original and best color shot are below.


A Raccoon (Three Photographs)

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Tired at the end of a long day in the reserve I turned a corner to find myself being stared at by the largest raccoon I have ever seen. Someone had put sunflower seeds on a stump and the raccoon was happily munching away. It was only scared off when someone came up behind it. I managed several interesting shots and may do a few in black and white later on. In any event this made my day!


Three Painted Turtles (Two Photographs)

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It happens sometimes when shooting in color that the photo comes out almost black and white. Of course processing can bring back the color to some extent. I shot these on a cloudy day, and the original raw file (flat profile changed to adobe standard color) looked almost black. I got the color back using Photoshop levels and bit of saturation. Still the contrast was good for the black and white I wanted.


Beaver (Three Photographs)

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The thing about beavers is their timing early or late in the day when the light is not always good enough. Secondly, they tend to be mostly under water and their iconic tails are barely visible. Thirdly, detail in their fur can be hard to get given how wet it is. Fourthly, when they stop to eat or work they close their eyes for extended periods. For a long time I could not figure out what the floating pineapples I saw were until I saw this beaver eating and the results.


Squirrels (Three Photographs)

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I thought a few squirrel photos would be interesting. These little animals try hard, very hard to get enough food for themselves and their nest and they are pretty photogenic doing it. These are red squirrels and while our eyes see the red the camera can get confused and colour casts are common in the forest. That is what the hue, saturation and luminance tools in post processing can help with.


A Turtle (Two Photographs)

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This turtle seems to be showing a significant amount of resolve with his one-legged push-up! If you are wondering why I have gone back into my collection of photos to 2016, the reason is lousy weather. These photos have not appeared on the blog before. April has shown some improvement, but with an over abundance of rain.


Squirrels (Two Photographs)

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There is not much more to say about squirrels than I said in my post earlier this week. Only to note that squirrels are easier to shoot in the fall when they are keen on finding food and filling their stomachs for the winter, than in the spring when they need to get used to people again or for the first time. I prefer the B&W, sort of focuses more on the squirrel than a colour version would have. However, the colour photo simply cried out to be done in colour.


Turtle (Two Photographs)

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I have always thought turtles look best in black and white and I accept that that is a judgement. They are such unworldly looking animals, especially when they are large. They contrast nicely with the background, hence my view of why black and white is my preference. Colour included for reference.


Squirrels in the Forest (Three Photographs)

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Squirrels are amazing at hiding their food and finding it months later, for their agility, and their ability to beg for food. I have a few more I will post shortly but these three portraits reflect the kinds of grey squirrels we often see in the park. They have this “praying stance” when eating and begging for food. Certainly people oblige them, though I am not sure it’s a wise thing to do.


A Red Squirrel (Two Photographs)

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When fall is underway the squirrels and chipmunks become more friendly in search of food. They are also more likely to tolerate being stared at and photographed. I like the lighting in these photos, the only thing I changed was the color of the wood which was too green for my liking. The backlighting did not hurt.


Turtles and Some Exploration in Post-Processing (Three Photographs)

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The first photograph was enhanced in Skylums’ Luminar. The second is a result of my normal processing in Lightroom and Photoshop and the third is the photo out-of-camera. There are subtle differences and they can be seen most clearly in the water below the log.  For the first two photos I used a noise reduction program and tonality enhancer. The last shot only appears for comparison purposes and either of the first two shots work for me.  Luminar’s A.I filter was used in the first (not sure what it does exactly but I think it’s a mix of highlights, clarity and saturation)and Luminar’s Top and Bottom Exposure filter (my all-time favourite) enabled me to modify the background. Both of these effects could be achieved in Lightroom, but I think with a bit more fiddling. There are other filters I like in Luminar. How far you want to go in processing is a matter of taste and there is a world of software to explore not all of it costly.


Red Squirrel And Pine Cone Plus More on Macro (Three Photographs)

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This squirrel having a great time with a pine cone was shot at 3200 ISO, I was gentle on the noise reduction not to soften the photos further, but at that ISO you gamble on both noise and softness.

Macro: Combating the Diminishing Light

There are three ways to fix the fact that up close we often have less light than we need to photograph subjects.We can up our ISO, and as discussed above this can lead to noise and a soft result. We could reflect light onto the subject with a reflector of some sort, but unless you have an assistant or a stand this could be cumbersome. Or we can use artificial light (Flash). Most cameras limit the shutter speed at which flash will synch with the shutter to about 1/250th of a second. However, a very low-level of light from a flashgun will freeze motion. Here is how this can be done. Assuming a flash on your camera and that the flash and camera work in manual mode, set the flash to 1/8th power or less, your shutter speed to the maximum synch speed it will allow for flash, probably 1/250th of a second. Now your only variable is aperture. Assuming we want a large depth of field use F 14, if it’s too much or too little light adjust the flash power up or down (or adjust the F stop but beware of diffraction over F16). These are my settings with a Nikon SB-900. I have not used ring flashes, but I have used dedicated macro flash gear and I find that gear expensive and cumbersome. You will find a considerable material on do-it-yourself reflectors on-line. There is only one small gotcha in the scenario suggested above and that is the nature of the light created (next post).


A Squirrel and Some Words on Ethics (Two Photographs)

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I took this photo (same photo in B&W and color) on a brief walk and did not really recognize what I had taken until I got home. As usual I took several photos and looking at them I realized the young squirrel never moved, never blinked and probably held its breath all the time I was shooting. I remember taking the shots very quickly and moving on not wanting to disturb the squirrel but looking at the photos I realized this young squirrel was clearly frightened. Hard as you try you still have impacts on the wildlife, maybe not as much as those who feed ducks white bread, but still it bears thinking about how to minimize our interactions so as not to create other problems.