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Thread: f2.8 Landscape and what makes a good animal photo?

  1. #1

    f2.8 Landscape and what makes a good animal photo?

    The new Hoya PRO1 Digital uv filter that Donald had wisely recommended came in the mail today; so, I headed outdoors to try out the new Canon 60mm prime lens (now that it had protection.)

    I was just going to start working on some f2.8 landscapes that Donald was very anxious to see.....

    f2.8 Landscape and what makes a good animal photo?
    f2.8!

    When this guy came bounding in front of me!

    f2.8 Landscape and what makes a good animal photo?

    Tom had been throwing the ball for him for about twenty minutes. He loves to retrieve!

    f2.8 Landscape and what makes a good animal photo?

    He became too slow, though, and when Tom held the ball out for him, Una swooped in and stole it.

    f2.8 Landscape and what makes a good animal photo?

    Actually, she's quite a trickster! Here she is lying in wait to ambush Chubbs!

    f2.8 Landscape and what makes a good animal photo?

    Tom and the puppies went in and I tried to photograph some abstract/extract grass...

    f2.8 Landscape and what makes a good animal photo?

    Not realizing that the sun had gone down and the wind had picked up. Next time I won't go out without my long johns!

    f2.8 Landscape and what makes a good animal photo?

    (Sorry, I think this is reading suspiciously like a blog post! )

    Questions:

    1) What makes a good "in the field" portrait of an animal? DOF? Action but frozen? Light? Zoom? Personality? I am really asking! Please feel free to nitpick these pet photos!

    2) I don't know quite what's going on but, when I go to sharpen or post process a lot of these photos with this new lens, I feel like I ruin them. Most of these are sooc. Are they okay? The evening light was SO mellow - when I try to lighten them, it changes the whole mood of what it was like.

    The first landscape and the grass is just silly but

    3) I've come to the conclusion that this last photo of the barn is as far as I can post process these kind of exposures (and it's not much) without going "tonally eek!" What do you think of it? It's not my very best effort but, I'd still like to know what you think. (post process in iphoto, I mean. I have a growing pile of photos waiting to be post processed when I make the jump to something better, this month.)

    Thanks!
    Last edited by Katy Noelle; 6th January 2011 at 03:31 PM.

  2. #2
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: f2.8 Landscape and what makes a good animal photo?

    Quote Originally Posted by Katy Noelle View Post
    Questions:

    1) What makes a good "in the field" portrait of an animal? DOF? Action but frozen? Light? Zoom? Personality?
    Personally, my take on this is that unless you are going for a very deliberate motion blur for artistic effect, then you've got to get it pin sharp. Anything in between looks like a mistake. As you say, 'action but frozen'. And that, as you know, doesn't mean that the animal looks static. You can pack a lot of action and movement into a picture that has the animal perfectly in focus and sharp.

    Quote Originally Posted by Katy Noelle View Post
    2) I don't know quite what's going on but, when I go to sharpen or post process a lot of these photos with this new lens, I feel like I ruin them. Most of these are sooc. Are they okay? The evening light was SO mellow - when I try to lighten them, it changes the whole mood of what it was like.
    Are you trying to sharpen parts of the image that are already out of focus? (Warned you about shooting f2.8!). For me the only one that works with the narrow DoF is the second one of the dog standing in the grass. The background is appropriately and to the right extent, out of focus.

    How are you trying to lighten them?

    The first landscape and the grass have, for me, far too narrow a depth-of-field.

    The dog laying-in-wait in the grass - the focal point is in the wrong place. It seems to be focused on the clump of grass just up from the bottom of the frame in the centre.

    Quote Originally Posted by Katy Noelle View Post
    3) I've come to the conclusion that this last photo of the barn is as far as I can post process these kind of exposures (and it's not much) without going "tonally eek!" What do you think of it? It's not my very best effort but, I'd still like to know what you think.
    I like the composition. One way of looking to lift it a bit could be put on some Local Contrast Enhancement and, then put ona slight dodge brush over the trees, the barn and the shed beside it, just to give them a bit more 'pop'. There will be other ways to achieve the same result; e.g. I wondered about fill light?

  3. #3

    Re: f2.8 Landscape and what makes a good animal photo?

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    Are you trying to sharpen parts of the image that are already out of focus? (Warned you about shooting f2.8!). For me the only one that works with the narrow DoF is the second one of the dog standing in the grass. The background is appropriately and to the right extent, out of focus.

    How are you trying to lighten them?
    No, the sharpening anything out of focus tool in iphoto just DOES NOT work. It, immediately causes haloing or demosaicing. There are several ways to lighten a photo in iphoto - I've reworked this several times and, believe you me, this is as far as it can go in iphoto. If this were another pp program, I would probably be able to get it up farther, right?

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    The first landscape and the grass have, for me, far too narrow a depth-of-field.
    DONALD! It's a joke intended particularly for you! I know!!! LoL/snort!

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    The dog laying-in-wait in the grass - the focal point is in the wrong place. It seems to be focused on the clump of grass just up from the bottom of the frame in the centre.
    I wondered if someone would say that. I did this on purpose because, the story is that it just looks like grass - if you didn't know she was there, you'd probably miss her - sort of idea - she just blends/blurs right in. Doesn't work for you?

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    I like the composition. One way of looking to lift it a bit could be put on some Local Contrast Enhancement and, then put ona slight dodge brush over the trees, the barn and the shed beside it, just to give them a bit more 'pop'. There will be other ways to achieve the same result; e.g. I wondered about fill light?
    This is just what I'm asking. This is advice for which post processing program? or does it work for all.... ?(except iphoto, of course! )

    So, then, are the second and third pet photos out of focus or too in shadow? I was wondering....
    Last edited by Dave Humphries; 6th January 2011 at 07:18 PM. Reason: fixed quote tags

  4. #4
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: f2.8 Landscape and what makes a good animal photo?

    Hi Katy,

    Hmmm, it sounds/looks to me like you need Elements (won't break the bank) and I'm sure there's a Mac version.

    Then you'll have access to ACR (which I assume works on a Mac) and the Fill light control which would help with a lot of these.

    I did 'get' #5 (dog in grass) though.

    Una swooping looks a little over exposed, whereas the one before definitely needs Fill light to lift the levels a bit.

    I'm not familiar with iPhoto sharpening what sort of controls do you have and what settings are you using?

    Unfortunately I don't 'get' the abstract grass shot, it is just too obviously grass and focused too close. To me "abstract" means I have to study a picture for a few seconds to work out what it is, if I can tell at a glance, it isn't abstract enough

    I must admit, I probably would brighten the barn shot quite a bit, but that may not be what you're after. It is actually quite atmospheric as it is; it does convey that cool feeling you get in the hills when the sun's still 'up', but behind a hill and not ever gonna shine in this place no more today - at least, not until tomorrow hopefully!

    Hope that helps,

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: f2.8 Landscape and what makes a good animal photo?

    Quote Originally Posted by Katy Noelle View Post
    DONALD! It's a joke intended particularly for you! I know!!! LoL/snort!
    Oops. Sorry.

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    Re: f2.8 Landscape and what makes a good animal photo?

    Like Donald said, the second photo works well. There is a tiny area of shadow from a stalk of grass which I may consider cloning away; but it is a very minor point. And that lens is producing very sharp results although with a narrow depth of field so, yes, too much extra sharpening will look wrong.

    I suspect that getting any better results from processing would require some selective editing using layers and semi transparent masks.

    The light does appear a touch on the yellow side so I wonder if the White Balance is correct. Although the late afternoon winter light can produce rather strangely coloured effects and I have often found that attempting to 'correct' the colour just makes things worse. The sky and snow aren't far off though, so perhaps just a little touch of extra brightness around the midtones may be worth trying; but don't overdo it.

    And as regards what makes a good animal photo. Well besides sufficient shutter speed and a suitable aperture, I would say that patience and a willingness to delete at least 90% of your shots are the most important elements.

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