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Thread: Do These Look Fake?

  1. #1
    kdoc856's Avatar
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    Do These Look Fake?

    We have a fine zoo, but it's very poorly set up for photography, and virtuall every shot must be taken through fencing or very thick plexiglass. Here's a few I took last week. They have all been significantly processed, to the point I cant look at them with fresh eyes. Do these look fake? Any suggestions? Are they worth keeping?
    I value your opinions

    1.
    Do These Look Fake?
    2.
    Do These Look Fake?
    3.
    Do These Look Fake?
    4.
    Do These Look Fake?.

  2. #2

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    Re: Do These Look Fake?

    Hi!

    Nice shots! Second to last is by far the best, and definitely worth keeping. Looks great. Background on the last one looks like it's a painted wall, so it looks like it's been shot in a zoo, but nice posture and expression on that one. On First one the color of the background might be a bit unnatural, perhaps, if it's meant to suggest wild nature. On the bird, the sky might need some gradient, a bit lighter on the bottom of top of the frame.

    Reima

    edit: on closer look i find that there is already some gradient, so i'm not so sure about that anymore. Perhaps some experimentation. Amount of sharpening looks to be a little bit violent.

  3. #3
    Kris V's Avatar
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    Re: Do These Look Fake?

    Definitely worth keeping.
    I love the gorilla! #4 is my favorite.

  4. #4
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    Re: Do These Look Fake?

    Hey kevin,

    good shots. The first one has a nice expression. I think it may have worked if you included something that shows the context of zoo living. The second photo is very good. It looks very natural. Although I would be tempted to reduce the saturation of the sky a bit. I'm assuming that was the back wall of the cage? Number 3 is my favorite and the most natural looking to me. The bokeh separates the gorilla from the background, making it so you cant tell where the photo was taken from. The fourth looks like the background is a picture or mural of woods. That's the only one that doesn't look natural to me. assuming that by natural you mean the subject in nature.

    Overall a nice series. These situations can be very difficult to photograph. There's not much you can do when shooting through plexiglass. But perhaps you can try taking a few steps back from the scene and show the zoo visitors observing the animals, making the photos more about the overall experience. Just a thought.

    -Jason

  5. #5

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    Re: Do These Look Fake?

    Kevin these all look wonderful to me. The last one is my favourite, even if, as mentioned the background might make it an obvious zoo shot. Actually i think it's the straw that is the give away. Perhaps that could be cloned, but regardless it's an amazing shot.

    I also love the first one. It looks a bit soft around the eyes which is unfortunate, but the expression is wonderful and if I wanted to rationalize, the softness could be said to add to the melancholy look.

    The third one is also excellent. The crop the expression the B&W conversion, everything works. I'd be thrilled with all 3

    The eagle is an excellent shot, but as already mentioned the background seems to take precedence it's just to clean and bright. I'm thinking maybe???? desaturate the blue a bit???? Not sure. Regardless again this is a wonderful shot. I'm a terrible judge of technical stuff so i can't comment on whether the eagle is oversharpened. To me it looks pretty good. I hope to hear more comments about the sharpening, because it's an area where I always have trouble and I think others do also, so some discussion might be very helpful.

    Excellent job on all of them.

    Wendy

    edit: Jason must have posted while I was writing so apologies for the repeat. Also after reading Jason's comment about including some context in the first shot to show the zoo would work perfectly with that sad expression.

  6. #6
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: Do These Look Fake?

    You can just do the best you can to avoid man-made looking backgrounds which are common in many zoos around the world. Although the painted wall in the last image doesn't look like natural habitat, it is still a very pleasant image...

    We are lucky in that we have both the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park (AKA: Wild Animal Park) in which the animal enclosures (especially in the Safari Park) are well set up and often provide a natural looking background.

    Do These Look Fake?

    The background in this case is part of a cement wall at the rear of the enclosure. The wall is engineered to look like a rock formation and the climbing ivy makes it look even more realistic. Additionally, the enclosure is large enough that BG can be thrown OOF with selective focus and a relatively wide aperture.
    Last edited by rpcrowe; 6th November 2012 at 04:00 PM.

  7. #7

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    Re: Do These Look Fake?

    Yes... worth keeping...

    No 3 is my favourite...


  8. #8
    kdoc856's Avatar
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    Re: Do These Look Fake?

    Thank you for all your input, it was quite helpful. The eagle was surrounded on all sides by wire mesh, and it showed up quite prominently, so I completely extracted the eagle and recomposed it onto another bird shot that I had taken. I'll look for another more interesting but hopefully noncompeting background.

    The gorillas were indoors, and there was not anything interesting in the background at he time I was there (there is a very nice exhibit actually but these guys wouldnt get on anything-probably since they saw my camera and wanted to torture me. I tried backing away from the glass a bit and there were really troublesome reflections- I actually had my lense surface flat in contact with the glass to avoiid them. I can certainly clone the straw in the 4th image. The 3rd shot was my personal favorite.

  9. #9
    terrib's Avatar
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    Re: Do These Look Fake?

    I do not think they look over-processed. I think they are all great shots but, like you, I think the third one is the best. Love the eyes.

  10. #10

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    Re: Do These Look Fake?

    I love #1 Kevin. The mask of the face dominates the picture and there is such a sad expression in the eyes. He looks resigned to his lot and bored.

    Keith

  11. #11
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    Re: Do These Look Fake?

    Kevin I think the backgrounds in #1 and #3 are fine. In #2 it is very easy to drop in a natural sky. The lighting on the bird is warm so I think the background colour/sky needs to be as well. I have dropped in a sky I had just to see how it looks and removed the band on its leg.

    Your #4 image I think would be improved using the same technique but with a very out of focus bush background. It is possible to get great animal studies from zoo shots but they are not classed as natural history photographs for most photographic competitions. Personally a good photograph of an animal is good regardless of where it was taken and when I view a photograph I do not care whether it was easy or difficult to take the shot, that's not my problem. Degree of difficulty is not on my score sheet but novelty and unique situations are.

    Do These Look Fake?

    Just been viewing my post to check it and I think the whites on the bird need warming and toning down slightly for it to look completely real so keep an eye on that if you drop in a sky. I am happy that the branches seem to match the sky correctly.
    Last edited by pnodrog; 7th November 2012 at 07:07 PM. Reason: I never get it right first time.

  12. #12
    kdoc856's Avatar
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    Re: Do These Look Fake?

    Thanks, Terri,Keith and Paul.

    Keith- these animals looked so bored during the time I was there it was painful to remain with them. I felt like I should do something to entertain them.

    Paul- Thanks for the edit, and very nicely done. I have a file of skies that I should be able to find something
    suitable, similar to yours. Your points about a better match of temperature between the bird, sky and branches are spot on and I will correct that right away. Very helpful, and I'll do a better job of checking for that in the future. Thanks again

  13. #13

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    Re: Do These Look Fake?

    Hi Kevin,
    Do they look fake? No. I don't think so. The background in No 4 is fake, that is all.
    Worth keeping them! Your decision, maybe to compare with shots taken at another visit. Always worth keeping to see how you improve.

  14. #14
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    Re: Do These Look Fake?

    I think you have done a fine job in difficult conditions, the 3rd is an absolute standout keeper for me.

  15. #15
    kdoc856's Avatar
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    Re: Do These Look Fake?

    Thank you, Kay
    I'm hoping to catch these guys outside sometime- I'm 0 for 2 thus far.

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