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Thread: Animals in cages and other examples of manual focusing

  1. #1
    darekk's Avatar
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    Dariusz Kowalczyk

    Animals in cages and other examples of manual focusing

    Sometimes autofocus fails. For example when something is behind bars or fence. Or maybe AF system in some of cameras can omit such obstacle and sharpen on the photographed object ?

    Animals in cages and other examples of manual focusing

    Pygmy Marmoset Cebuella pygmaea, Warsaw ZOO on Monday.

    Is that animal happy ? If it was captured in the wild - probably not. But if it was born in the cage and doesn't know freedom, maybe doesn't know that such situation is not normal or doesn't know why fells badly.

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    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: Animals in cages and other examples of manual focusing

    IMO, the aim of a photographer shooting animals in a cage or other confinement should be to show the least indication of the cage or any other indications of confinement. Different zoos display their animals in different ways. Many of the more enlightened (and more economically advantaged) zoos provide habitat that is as close to the natural surroundings as possible.

    To tell you the truth, I seldom bother with shooting animals through bars or cage grids. However, my two local zoos; The San Diego Zoo and The San Diego Zoo Safari Park (AKA: Wild Animal Park) are prime examples of zoos that display their animals in photographically friendly areas so I have plenty of subjects to shoot without choosing those behind bars or wire grids.

    Here is a shot I did of a Bald Eagle that resides in a nature conservancy on Alaska's Kenai Peninsula. The eagle was injured and cannot fly. Thustly he cannot be returned to the wild. That is sad but, beats the alternative which is death from starvation or by a predator.

    I shot the bird because he looked regal, even in captivity behind a wire grid. I converted the image to a graphic and use it as the first slide in my Alaska slide show. The graphic conversion helps eliminate the attention caused by the wire grid.

    Animals in cages and other examples of manual focusing

    Besides using a wide aperture and manually focusing, I played with the image in Photoshop to reduce the indications of the cage to the best I could...

    Other enclosures which can be problematic are glass (usually Plexiglas) enclosures. These can cause problems with reflections; scratches and dirt; as well as producing a color cast...

    BTW: I have just replaced my toilet plunger with a new one that is more germ free.

    Animals in cages and other examples of manual focusing

    I plan on cutting a hole the diameter of my lens in the spot where the handle is now attached. Placing the cup against the window should produce a sheltered view through the Plexiglas and hopefully reduce or prevent reflections. I expect that this might give me a bit more freedom in composing my images. I would expect that a lightweight plastic bowl painted black would be a lighter weight, but not as rugged, substitute for the toilet plunger.
    Last edited by rpcrowe; 11th September 2013 at 03:05 PM.

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    William W's Avatar
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    Re: Animals in cages and other examples of manual focusing

    Quote Originally Posted by darekk View Post
    Sometimes autofocus fails. For example when something is behind bars or fence. Or maybe AF system in some of cameras can omit such obstacle and sharpen on the photographed object ?
    Yes. Some lenses do have and Auto Focus Limiting Switch.
    That switch is useful for this type of shooting scenario, shooting through a fence or behind a Football (soccer) or Hockey Goal Net.

    Here:

    Animals in cages and other examples of manual focusing


    WW

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    darekk's Avatar
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    Re: Animals in cages and other examples of manual focusing

    This is very practical application of that switch ! But only in case, when distance between the camera and net is significantly lower than between camera and photographed object. And when that threshold distance of 0.48-3 m from the lenses above is between the net and object.

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    Re: Animals in cages and other examples of manual focusing

    I found awhile back when I was going to my local aviary that the size of the lens and the size of the wire mesh has a bearing of sucess. My camera of those days had front cell AF and at first attempt I got a lens error so focused with the lens just clear of the mesh and with focus moved a little closer. I have a shot where it looks as if the bird ruffled its neck feathers at the moment of exposure but I think it is an OOF wire. Having the bird as far away as possible so that one is using telephoto helps as the angle of view is narrower and 'fits' through the hole in the mesh. In all this I think the smaller lens of my bridge camera compared with those on DSLRs could be a help. Here I wanted to free it from the cage to the bush close to the cages.
    Animals in cages and other examples of manual focusing
    The other solution when you are not up to putting the lens to the cage was when I shot the lion at Orana Park and then removed the wire in editing. It was scarey enough a couple or so feet back from the mesh
    Animals in cages and other examples of manual focusing
    Both these were done around 2004 or so and shot with my Nikon 5700 which is why I feel that the editor, a proper editor, is as important as the camera and should be developed as of equal importance.

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    Re: Animals in cages and other examples of manual focusing

    On the subject of happiness I have a feeling that in this case it is the birds natural state
    but does lend itself to the title "Hey Man!... its cold!"
    Animals in cages and other examples of manual focusing
    Here in 2005 I had changed to Panasonic an FZ20 and using a 432mm lens [ x12 zoom instead of the x8 280 of the Nikon]

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