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Thread: Deer portraits

  1. #1
    DouglasRC's Avatar
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    Deer portraits

    My main purpose in taking these photos was to test my new monopod with my l00-400 mm lens (EF f4.5-5.6). I have had problems getting sharp photos handheld in low light with this lens, so the conditions (low light, 70 km/h wind) seemed about as difficult as it could get. A better test would have probably been a smaller subject (bird or even bird IF), but you can only get what is there. My goal with the deer was a portrait shot, a shallow depth of field and hopefully a reasonable bokeh. I think I was partially successful but I also think that there is too much busy stuff in the background. I tried a crop on the 3rd photo, but I donít know if that improved it or not. The only PP was an adjustment of curves (let me know if I overdid it). I am a raw beginner in PP, but the tutorials here are a great help Ė Iím just a little slow about these things.

    Deer portraits
    Deer face on. Bit of a boring pose. f5.6, 1/640, ISO 800, 340 mm

    Deer portraits
    f5.6, 1/640, ISO 800, 340 mm

    Deer portraits
    f5.6, 1/500, ISO 1000, 340 mm

    Deer portraits
    I tried a crop on the previous pic to see if that would improve it. Maybe a little?
    f5.6, 1/500, ISO 1000, 340 mm

    As always, you candid criticisms and advice are greatly appreciated.
    Cheers,
    Doug

  2. #2
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    Re: Deer portraits

    Doug, I think you achieved the focus you were after, looks pretty sharp. Yes the background is a bit busy but I am guessing your model did not take to direction well. In the first two the foreground twigs that show green against the fur is something that has caught me up a couple times, I am betting you'll see them next time. Well done.

  3. #3
    DouglasRC's Avatar
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    Re: Deer portraits

    Quote Originally Posted by jeeperman View Post
    Doug, I think you achieved the focus you were after, looks pretty sharp. Yes the background is a bit busy but I am guessing your model did not take to direction well. In the first two the foreground twigs that show green against the fur is something that has caught me up a couple times, I am betting you'll see them next time. Well done.
    Thanks Paul. I did notice the green bits once I downloaded the images, but was unsure what to do about it. Perhaps cloning or the healing brush? I'll take a stab at this and see what happens.
    Cheers,
    Doug

  4. #4

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    Re: Deer portraits

    For me, Doug, that closer crop works well.

  5. #5

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    Re: Deer portraits

    I actually like all of these, even the "boring pose". I've taken deer shots myself and they're not always easy animals to find and they're very nervous when you do. Given the shooting conditions you had, I'd say you'd made an excellent job of it.

    I don't mind the busy background at all as deer are, when all's said and done, woodland animals, and the trees are not about to step aside while you line up your shot. The depth of field blurs out the background quite nicely.

    As for PP, I'd suggest a little extra blur (Gaussian) to still further smooth out the background. The deer, I think, might benefit from a little more saturation or "warming" the colours to make him a little more red-brown. I'd also be tempted to ever so slightly sharpen the eyes and nose (particularly in the first and last shots).

    My favourite is the boring pose. I feel that image engages the viewer very directly. My second choice would be the last image which is a nice frame filler. In short though, a very nice set I'd be very happy to have captured. Well done.

  6. #6
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    Re: Deer portraits

    I've never used a monopod, but other photographers swear by it. It looks like you got some sharp photos out of it. I like the very last image. nice job.

  7. #7
    DouglasRC's Avatar
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    Re: Deer portraits

    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff F View Post
    For me, Doug, that closer crop works well.
    Thanks Geoff. I'm still struggling with cropping, not knowing when enough or too much. Your comment is helpful.
    Cheers,
    Doug

  8. #8
    DouglasRC's Avatar
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    Re: Deer portraits

    Quote Originally Posted by Szczur View Post
    I actually like all of these, even the "boring pose". I've taken deer shots myself and they're not always easy animals to find and they're very nervous when you do. Given the shooting conditions you had, I'd say you'd made an excellent job of it.
    Thanks Matt. Instead of "boring" I should have said "standard" as I was thinking of human portraits where you often see the subject staring at the camera. I do like this one as it was at this point that I got noticed, so that added a bit of drama.

    I don't mind the busy background at all as deer are, when all's said and done, woodland animals, and the trees are not about to step aside while you line up your shot. The depth of field blurs out the background quite nicely.
    Good point. I didn't mind the background and shot 5.6 hoping for a kind of middle ground.

    As for PP, I'd suggest a little extra blur (Gaussian) to still further smooth out the background. The deer, I think, might benefit from a little more saturation or "warming" the colours to make him a little more red-brown. I'd also be tempted to ever so slightly sharpen the eyes and nose (particularly in the first and last shots).
    Excellent advice. I'm still very much a beginner at PP and try not to overcook the PP. I'll try the blur (never thought of that) and some saturation/warming. Also the selective sharpening is something I'll try, never having done that either.

    My favourite is the boring pose. I feel that image engages the viewer very directly. My second choice would be the last image which is a nice frame filler. In short though, a very nice set I'd be very happy to have captured. Well done.
    Thanks for the encouragement. Your advice has been very helpful.
    Cheers,
    Doug

  9. #9
    DouglasRC's Avatar
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    Re: Deer portraits

    Quote Originally Posted by mstrozewski View Post
    I've never used a monopod, but other photographers swear by it. It looks like you got some sharp photos out of it. I like the very last image. nice job.
    Thanks Mavourneen. I have to admit, one reason for the monopod was to save my poor old neck. The lenses are so heavy and after 3 or 4 hours of shooting, I can feel the strain. Twice now I've been out of commission for about 6 weeks due to the neck strain and pinched nerve. The monopod has pretty much solved that problem. And a big plus is that it is added stability so I feel I am getting sharper shots, although I'm still working on technique.
    Cheers,
    Doug

  10. #10
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    Re: Deer portraits

    Doug, personally I like #3, nice and clear with a good light in the eye plus the deer has that alert look with the ears cocked forward. I know what you mean about busy backgrounds as I often get caught, I'm now trying to overcome the problem by thinking about positioning myself in a better place where possible.

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