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Thread: Zoo shots-C&C please

  1. #1

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    Zoo shots-C&C please

    I took these shots recently at Edinburgh zoo . It was difficult as the animals are all behind glass so I had to discard quite a lot .Its the 1st time I've tried to photograph animals, its usually landscapes I do so all comments and advice welcomed as I'm here to learn. Thanks

    Zoo shots-C&C please

    Tian Tian, one of a breeding pair of Giant Pandas on loan from China

    Zoo shots-C&C please

    Leopard

  2. #2
    kdoc856's Avatar
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    Re: Zoo shots-C&C please

    Hi, Tylie and welcome to CiC.

    I share your pain re: difficulty of zoo shots. We have the top-rated zoo in the US here in Columbus, Ohio, but it is miserably setup for photography. I'e thrown away for more shots than I've kept.

    The indoor shots are quite difficult as the lighting is usually a combination of natural and fluorescent, and getting a good White Balance can be near impossible. I have often just planned to convert those to B&W. It's almost laughable that I buy the best lenses I can afford, clean it till it's spotless, then shoot through 4 inches of Plexiglass that has been washed with a garden hose. But... it's what we do.

    Image #1 shows good focus, is a little underexposed, and could use some WB correction and a little left-sided crop. If you cant get the WB where you're happy, try a B&W conversion.

    #2 is a lovely "pose", maybe a tad over-saturated (personal preference notwithstanding) but very nice color, and a little soft on focus. The softness seems more diffuse than local, so I'm assuming you were properly focusing on the eyes. I dont have your EXIF data so I dont know what your shutter speed was- may have been a little low for the circumstance. From the bit of noise in the image, I'd thnk you had pushed up the ISO but maybe not quite enough.

    Overall I'd say you did well for your first attempt, and I hope I've been at least a little helpful. But mostly, I'd encourage you to keep shooting and just accept that you'll have a higher percentage of "casualities" in this genre and not to be disgusted or discouraged. Clearly the zoos didnt ask our advice for ther designs.

    Cheers,

    Kevin

  3. #3

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    Re: Zoo shots-C&C please

    Hi Kevin, that's all really helpful, thanks. The leopard shot was taken outside and I was struggling for light as it was about half an hour before sundown so was shooting wide open with a slow shutter speed, and the ISO was up.I think I was a bit heavy handed with the saturation as I was trying to give it some pop. Will go now and try a crop and wb adjustment on the panda. Thanks again for your advice , much appreciated

  4. #4
    davidedric's Avatar
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    Re: Zoo shots-C&C please

    Hi,

    I think the leopard is also showing a bluish/purplish around the whiskers and muzzle - don't know if this is also a result of over-saturation. It's not visible in that picture you have in a mini competition, which I suspect is the same leopard?

    Dave

  5. #5
    JPS's Avatar
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    Re: Zoo shots-C&C please

    Hi Tylie,
    You certainy had a lot to contend with; pictures taken at zoo's are normally very hard to take. Overall you have done a good job. I agree with Kevins comments completely.

    Hope you don't mind I've had a little play with them in PP, to see how they would look if they were mine; I will of course fill you in on what I did if you want. I will also remove them, if I've overstepped the mark in posting them.
    Thanks for sharing.
    John



    Zoo shots-C&C please

    Zoo shots-C&C please
    Last edited by JPS; 31st December 2012 at 03:04 PM.

  6. #6
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Zoo shots-C&C please

    Hi Cindy,

    You might want to try Local Contrast Enhancement (LCE) to give images "pop" rather than a simple saturation increase.

    When applied, you'll notice the saturation also appears to have increased, but not as obvious since the luminance contrast will have increased too.

    Witha simple Auto Colour (balance adjustment) in CS5, here's your Panda with a couple of other tweaks to concentrate the attention on the subject (yes I did apply a bit of LCE);

    Zoo shots-C&C please

    Let me know if you'd like it removed.

    Welcome to the CiC forums from ....

  7. #7

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    Re: Zoo shots-C&C please

    Quote Originally Posted by davidedric View Post
    Hi,

    I think the leopard is also showing a bluish/purplish around the whiskers and muzzle - don't know if this is also a result of over-saturation. It's not visible in that picture you have in a mini competition, which I suspect is the same leopard?

    Dave
    Hi Dave, yes its the same one

    John and Dave thanks very much for reworking my shots. I'm more than happy for you to do this as it has let me see straight away how much the right editing can improve them.

    John if you would let me know what you did that would be great, though so far I only use Lightroom 4 (I have just bought Elements 11 but thought I would try to get to know more about LR before using Elements).I might be able to something similar in LR.

    Dave I'll see if I can find similar options in LR .

    Once again, I have found your replies incredibly helpful, it makes a real difference to have constructive comments like these

  8. #8
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: Zoo shots-C&C please

    It is a shame that Zoos don't seem to consider photography when setting up the enclosures. A simple half-round bamboo addition to the end of the plywood bench on which the panda is resting could have improved the chances for a more natural image.

    IMO, you have achieved very decent shots. The challenge in all zoo photogrpahy is to show the animal in the most natural habitat possible. Some zoos such as the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park are set up quite well to make easier for photographers to achieve natural looking "wildlife" images but, even in these primo zoos, it is sometimes a challenge to avoid tha evidence of the enclosures when shooting the animals.

  9. #9

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    Re: Zoo shots-C&C please

    Thanks Richard. We have a safari park quite nearby which would be a much better place to get shots of the animals in something approaching their natural habitat but its closed for the winter now, will definitely be heading there in the spring

    ps completely agree with your tagline, I would never buy another dog now, there are so many waiting to be rescued, I wouldn't be without mine, he's an idiot but he's my idiot!

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