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Thread: Brevard Zoo - 2011-07-09

  1. #1
    spngr311's Avatar
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    Brevard Zoo - 2011-07-09

    My wife and I joined the local photography club on a field trip to the zoo. Out of 200 images, here is what I managed to get from the day that I liked:

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    Brevard Zoo - 2011-07-09

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    Brevard Zoo - 2011-07-09

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    Brevard Zoo - 2011-07-09

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    Brevard Zoo - 2011-07-09

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    Brevard Zoo - 2011-07-09

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    Brevard Zoo - 2011-07-09

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    Brevard Zoo - 2011-07-09

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    Brevard Zoo - 2011-07-09

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    Brevard Zoo - 2011-07-09

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    Brevard Zoo - 2011-07-09

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    Brevard Zoo - 2011-07-09

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    Brevard Zoo - 2011-07-09

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    Brevard Zoo - 2011-07-09

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    Brevard Zoo - 2011-07-09

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    Brevard Zoo - 2011-07-09

  2. #2
    jiro's Avatar
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    Willie or Jiro is fine by me.

    Re: Brevard Zoo - 2011-07-09

    Nice sets of images, Rob. For me the strongest shot among the set would be #3. The color harmony, sharpness, separation of subject to background just works great. The other shots needs some work on the background issue. Some have good backgrounds but the sharpness was a little bit off. All in all, a lot of vibrant colors and interesting subjects you got. Good work!

  3. #3
    spngr311's Avatar
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    Re: Brevard Zoo - 2011-07-09

    Thanks Jiro for the comments. It's interesting that you like the turtle shot best - that was one of the pictures I almost didn't edit/post. I also thought I was over sharpening it!

    What do you mean by the backgrounds need improvements? Which ones in particular? I always go for a shallower depth of field with animals because I like to pull them away from the background. I tend to think of an animal shot like this as a sort of portrait.

  4. #4
    Ricco's Avatar
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    Re: Brevard Zoo - 2011-07-09

    #2 is a great one for my liking. Great colours.

    I think in some cases you have managed to get some good separation but there are still some were the background draws the focus. For example 9 & 11. However - I still think this is a pretty good set!

  5. #5
    jiro's Avatar
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    Re: Brevard Zoo - 2011-07-09

    Blurring the background is just one of the tools you can use to have good subject to background separation. Another tool is color harmony - how you use color to emphasize and de-emphasize something. Another is brightness level. Sometimes, a little vignetting would make an ordinary shot more interesting. Sharpness is also a great separator. Subject attitude or emotion is also another.

    Here is my subjective comment on each of them. Kindly take it constructively and not as an insult to your awesome work.

    on #1, The background was a bit busy. The crop was very tight, too.

    on #2, the focus was off by a tad. the details on the feathers near the eyes are softer compared to the neck and the back feathers. The green ferns or leaves to the left of the main subject robs some of the attention away from it. However, the composition or subject positioning is really great!

    on #3, your main subject shows a lot of character on him. He is brighter than the background that is why the shot was strong or with great impact. It is sharper on the eyes which is what you need to make the shot work. That extra catchlight on the eye completed the shot for me.

    on #4, the crop was too tight. I would further blur the background to really emphasize his head more. It can be done via PP or via change in aperture setting and a use of a telephoto lens, probably 85mm or more.

    on #5, the focus was spot on, but the composition is a little bit wanting for some dynamic movement. I would probably position his eyes on the 1/3 focus points so I could add some extra space to his front area to connote movement. I would also further darken the reflection on the waters and change the color of the background to work with the color of the feathers.

    on #6, that brighter white out-of-focus twig or branch on the right side of the frame is really getting too much attention even though the eyes of the bird are sharp and in good focus. I know it's hard to work around getting everything right in composition with wildlife shots like this. Still, a little patience and good camera position would make this a stronger image.

    on #7, this is an awesome shot. If this was mine, I would further darken the background and give some extra space on top and right to balance the composition.

    on#8 and #9, this was my second best choices. Again, if this was my shot, I would use some dark vignette to let the eyes concentrate on the bird and less on the bright background.

    on#10, the focus was off by a tad.

    on#11, awesome colors and subject! my only comment why it did not work that strong for me was that the background was a bit busy and still in focus a little bit to compete with the subject. I would also consider adding some extra space to balance the composition.

    on #12, great composition and color harmony, the only minor flaw was that the focus was off. the eyes should be super sharp since this was a close-up shot.

    on #13, This was my 3rd choice from the series. Technically, the fence was OK since we can't do anything about it. If the fence was no there, this would be one of the best because the color just works great!

    on #14, I was hoping that the mother would be in the frame, too to show more emotion.

    on #15, the white foreground gets the attention more than the main subject.

    Just some minor suggestions. As I have said, the series are really great, some of it just needs some further tweaking to make all of them winners.

  6. #6
    BJ Denning's Avatar
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    Re: Brevard Zoo - 2011-07-09

    Great shots, very interesting with great colors. My picks would be #2 -- true enough the head has soft focus, perhaps a greater DOF would have helped, but I love the detail in the back feathers. And #11, hyacinth macaws are a personal favorite and the blue is wonderful. I would have perhaps flipped #11 horizontally to have him facing left, just an odd preference.

    The big cats, #15, are great but I wish we could see his face/eyes. You can only do what you can do. As the weather warms up, the animals get more lethargic and uncooperative.
    Last edited by BJ Denning; 10th July 2011 at 04:01 AM.

  7. #7
    kaneohebud's Avatar
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    Re: Brevard Zoo - 2011-07-09

    Quote Originally Posted by jiro View Post
    Blurring the background is just one of the tools you can use to have good subject to background separation. Another tool is color harmony - how you use color to emphasize and de-emphasize something. Another is brightness level. Sometimes, a little vignetting would make an ordinary shot more interesting. Sharpness is also a great separator. Subject attitude or emotion is also another.

    Here is my subjective comment on each of them. Kindly take it constructively and not as an insult to your awesome work.

    on #1, The background was a bit busy. The crop was very tight, too.

    on #2, the focus was off by a tad. the details on the feathers near the eyes are softer compared to the neck and the back feathers. The green ferns or leaves to the left of the main subject robs some of the attention away from it. However, the composition or subject positioning is really great!

    on #3, your main subject shows a lot of character on him. He is brighter than the background that is why the shot was strong or with great impact. It is sharper on the eyes which is what you need to make the shot work. That extra catchlight on the eye completed the shot for me.

    on #4, the crop was too tight. I would further blur the background to really emphasize his head more. It can be done via PP or via change in aperture setting and a use of a telephoto lens, probably 85mm or more.

    on #5, the focus was spot on, but the composition is a little bit wanting for some dynamic movement. I would probably position his eyes on the 1/3 focus points so I could add some extra space to his front area to connote movement. I would also further darken the reflection on the waters and change the color of the background to work with the color of the feathers.

    on #6, that brighter white out-of-focus twig or branch on the right side of the frame is really getting too much attention even though the eyes of the bird are sharp and in good focus. I know it's hard to work around getting everything right in composition with wildlife shots like this. Still, a little patience and good camera position would make this a stronger image.

    on #7, this is an awesome shot. If this was mine, I would further darken the background and give some extra space on top and right to balance the composition.

    on#8 and #9, this was my second best choices. Again, if this was my shot, I would use some dark vignette to let the eyes concentrate on the bird and less on the bright background.

    on#10, the focus was off by a tad.

    on#11, awesome colors and subject! my only comment why it did not work that strong for me was that the background was a bit busy and still in focus a little bit to compete with the subject. I would also consider adding some extra space to balance the composition.

    on #12, great composition and color harmony, the only minor flaw was that the focus was off. the eyes should be super sharp since this was a close-up shot.

    on #13, This was my 3rd choice from the series. Technically, the fence was OK since we can't do anything about it. If the fence was no there, this would be one of the best because the color just works great!

    on #14, I was hoping that the mother would be in the frame, too to show more emotion.

    on #15, the white foreground gets the attention more than the main subject.

    Just some minor suggestions. As I have said, the series are really great, some of it just needs some further tweaking to make all of them winners.
    Thanks Jiro for some truly educational comments. I liked most of the photos but your keen eye pointed out some minor details I will start looking for in my own work.
    Mahalo from Hawaii. Bud

  8. #8
    spngr311's Avatar
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    Re: Brevard Zoo - 2011-07-09

    Thanks Jiro for taking the time for the constructive criticism. For the most part, I do agree with your comments.

    Quote Originally Posted by jiro View Post
    Blurring the background is just one of the tools you can use to have good subject to background separation. Another tool is color harmony - how you use color to emphasize and de-emphasize something. Another is brightness level. Sometimes, a little vignetting would make an ordinary shot more interesting. Sharpness is also a great separator. Subject attitude or emotion is also another.

    Here is my subjective comment on each of them. Kindly take it constructively and not as an insult to your awesome work.

    on #1, The background was a bit busy. The crop was very tight, too.
    Agreed. I didn't find the background that interesting, and thought cropping it tighter would pull the eye to the bird a bit more. I may go back to this one, but the DOF is too great to really help without faking it.

    Quote Originally Posted by jiro View Post
    on #2, the focus was off by a tad. the details on the feathers near the eyes are softer compared to the neck and the back feathers. The green ferns or leaves to the left of the main subject robs some of the attention away from it. However, the composition or subject positioning is really great!
    I did not notice this one with the focus. I thought it looked a little off. I rummaged through the other shots and found this similar shot, that is not as cool of a position:

    Brevard Zoo - 2011-07-09

    I am very hesitant to do anything where I remove items from pictures.

    Quote Originally Posted by jiro View Post
    on #3, your main subject shows a lot of character on him. He is brighter than the background that is why the shot was strong or with great impact. It is sharper on the eyes which is what you need to make the shot work. That extra catchlight on the eye completed the shot for me.
    Again, thanks. The catchlight was luck and is what was actually there from the sun and I am glad to have gotten it on him.

    Quote Originally Posted by jiro View Post
    on #4, the crop was too tight. I would further blur the background to really emphasize his head more. It can be done via PP or via change in aperture setting and a use of a telephoto lens, probably 85mm or more.
    This shot I was not very crazy about, but I was desperate to get a shot of it before the sun got even harsher. I was shooting through an opening in vegetation and that kind of limited what I could do with the crop. By the way, all shots were with a 70-200 f2.8 lens.

    Quote Originally Posted by jiro View Post
    on #5, the focus was spot on, but the composition is a little bit wanting for some dynamic movement. I would probably position his eyes on the 1/3 focus points so I could add some extra space to his front area to connote movement. I would also further darken the reflection on the waters and change the color of the background to work with the color of the feathers.
    I probably cropped it a little tight, but I was following the diagonal of the bird to the lower right corner. It seemed to flow to me, but as they say, if you have to explain the art, it wasn't there (or something like that). Here is the same image as shot with a cooler color temp:

    Brevard Zoo - 2011-07-09

    Quote Originally Posted by jiro View Post
    on #6, that brighter white out-of-focus twig or branch on the right side of the frame is really getting too much attention even though the eyes of the bird are sharp and in good focus. I know it's hard to work around getting everything right in composition with wildlife shots like this. Still, a little patience and good camera position would make this a stronger image.
    This one I'm a little torn on. I can see your point with the branches, but that is what I was going for. I was using the brush as a frame for this colorful bird. But again, if you have to explain it...

    Quote Originally Posted by jiro View Post
    on #7, this is an awesome shot. If this was mine, I would further darken the background and give some extra space on top and right to balance the composition.
    Thanks, I do need to work on my photoshop skills.

    Quote Originally Posted by jiro View Post
    on#8 and #9, this was my second best choices. Again, if this was my shot, I would use some dark vignette to let the eyes concentrate on the bird and less on the bright background.
    Thanks, these were my two favorites. I've never been a fan of vignettes, but I may give them a shot with it.

    Quote Originally Posted by jiro View Post
    on#10, the focus was off by a tad.
    I think I rushed this shot and I grabbed the lower portion of the birds face and had a very shallow DOF. I think I was sweating too much!

    Quote Originally Posted by jiro View Post
    on#11, awesome colors and subject! my only comment why it did not work that strong for me was that the background was a bit busy and still in focus a little bit to compete with the subject. I would also consider adding some extra space to balance the composition.
    I am actually mad about this shot. My wife was rushing me and I was only able to snap a few off quickly. She wanted to see the giraffes, which looked horrible to me in the 11 am sun! I could only get it at 90mm f4. I wish I could have backed up a few feet and this would've gotten that background blurrier. I always struggle with the crop when I have an animal with a background I do not really care for. I should have selected a different focus point too.

    Quote Originally Posted by jiro View Post
    on #12, great composition and color harmony, the only minor flaw was that the focus was off. the eyes should be super sharp since this was a close-up shot.
    I think I rushed this and the autofocus didn't set right.

    Quote Originally Posted by jiro View Post
    on #13, This was my 3rd choice from the series. Technically, the fence was OK since we can't do anything about it. If the fence was no there, this would be one of the best because the color just works great!
    I actually wanted the fence as it was. It gave it a sense of this beautiful bird in captivity. Kind of like a clown in prison.

    Quote Originally Posted by jiro View Post
    on #14, I was hoping that the mother would be in the frame, too to show more emotion.
    I can see that point. This one gets blamed on the wife. "Get a pic of the baby monkey!" In this case, she was the client, so I will defer to her!

    Quote Originally Posted by jiro View Post
    on #15, the white foreground gets the attention more than the main subject.
    That guy was a pain. He was focused on his ball and was not budging. I liked the texture and fur, but did not like the composition of the leopard and that his face was mostly hidden.

    One of the cropping issues I have been struggling with has been cropping them to fit aspect ratios that are common. I'm trying to be a bit more flexible, but it is hard when you're used to cropping for desktop backgrounds!

    Thanks everyone for the critiques, they have been helpful, and I hope to put them to use in the next photo trip.

    Just some minor suggestions. As I have said, the series are really great, some of it just needs some further tweaking to make all of them winners.[/QUOTE]

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