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Thread: petting zoo!

  1. #1
    vicphotog's Avatar
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    petting zoo!

    I went to the petting zoo to get some practice shooting animals, and in my head of course I see all these possibilities for different compositions etc... and so forgot about some basic camera settings (grrrr) in other words I left the camera on aperture priority when I probably should have changed to shutter priority (I think anyway - I'm terrible with anything that moves, thus the need for practice!)
    Anyway, I got a few shots that are ok, focus is not great, but C&C is very much appreciated, and really what I hope for here is some feedback regarding specific technique tips & tricks / tutorials etc for shooting animals (with the camera, no guns lol). I use a Canon G11 by the way...
    Here's a peacock and some goats
    petting zoo!

    petting zoo!
    Last edited by Dave Humphries; 1st April 2011 at 06:42 AM.

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: petting zoo!

    Quote Originally Posted by vicphotog View Post
    ...really what I hope for here is some feedback regarding specific technique tips & tricks / tutorials etc for shooting animals
    What I was always told was, a) get down to 'animal level' (which you seem to have done) and don't shoot from above looking down and, b) get the eyes in focus (which you have also done)

    Quote Originally Posted by vicphotog View Post
    and in my head of course I see all these possibilities for different compositions etc... and so forgot about some basic camera settings
    And that's just all about practice, practice and more practice until all these things just become second nature and you do all the thinking that needs to be done, almost automatically. You effectively train yourself to think about the right things in the right order. Until then it's useful to write yourself out a checklist. What I think you'll find is that you then start, almost subconsciously, to memorise it.

    At this stage you might be thinking, "I can never achieve that". Don't worry, we've all been there ......... and we did !

    It's interesting that you write about concentrating so hard on composition that you forgot some of those basics.Turn that around. Before you even switch the camera on, run through some of the basics

    • How am I going to meter this?
    • Is depth-of-field going to be important and what aperture do I need to use/achieve to get that depth-of-field I want/need?
    • Is shutter speed going to be important and, if so, what speed do I need to achieve?
    • What mode am I going to shoot in?
    • Given the aperture value I need and the shutter speed I need, do I need to up the ISO rating to allow me to achieve those?

    ......... And then start thinking about composition.
    Last edited by Donald; 1st April 2011 at 08:04 AM.

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    Re: petting zoo!

    And by the time that I have considered Donald's list, the subject has moved!

    Nowadays, I tend to take one quick 'lucky snap' before I switch to 'thinking mode' which means that at the very least, I do have something in the camera. Then I do think my way through the same list. But I still often get something wrong.

    But there was nothing wrong with using aperture priority for that scene, Rachel. Unless there was obviously going to be some fast movement, it is what I would have used.

    In fact, a lot of photographers use aperture priority almost exclusively. The trick is to also consider the shutter speed at the same time. Yes it involves bilateral thinking; which is a bit of a strain for me.

    However, I can't really find a lot wrong with those images. Possibly a little bit of selective sharpening could enhance the required areas and I think I would consider a slightly closer crop for the second photo. But all in all, they are quite good.

    ps. If you find that you are having to make some compromises over aperture/shutter speed settings, consider the raising the ISO slightly.

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    vicphotog's Avatar
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    Re: petting zoo!

    thank you both, your comments are very helpful!
    I have that same issue with bilateral thinking when trying to determine shutter speeds and apertures... I pretty much leave the camera on aperture all the time, and I think there was some luck in that the animals were not in constant motion... there was a peacock hen in the area so the males were doing their preening slowly enough to capture a few shots anyway...
    Next time, I'm going to try being armed with a check list, at least that will help me to organize my thoughts around particular shots that I want

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: petting zoo!

    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff F View Post
    And by the time that I have considered Donald's list, the subject has moved!
    But is that not the point about practice, practice, practice?

    You know where you're going to shoot and what you're going to shoot. So an awful lot of the preparatory work can be done before you get there.

    If you haven't got time to assess the scene and the details (light etc) once you get there, then I think there's a problem. If the only shot that's available is the one that's there within the first 10 seconds of you arriving, then maybe it's the wrong location.

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    Re: petting zoo!

    Hi Rachel: I love the peacock, It's beautiful. Both shots look great for exposure and focus, but the background of the goat shot is a bit busy and there are just too many goats. I think if you could have isolated 1 or 2 it would have been better. Then of course there are poles and posts in the background to watch out for. Try to keep it so they don't look like they are growing out of the animal. I notice in the goat shot you used f8. I'm thinking I might have opened up that up for this shot. That would have given less DOF and perhaps blurred the background a bit and also given you a faster shutter speed just in case there was a bit of movement.

    The peacock shot is wonderful as is, but I notice you were shooting at f8 for this one also. In this case I think I would have closed down to f16 or so in order to keep as much DOF as possible on the feathers. I also notice that ISO is set to 80. For shots like these I would have upped that to 200 (or more depending on your camera) Then you would have more latitude as to what aperture to use for each situation. Of course the lower ISO is better but in both of these your shutter speeds were very slow 1/15s for the peacock, which may or may not be the cause for the blurriness on the right feathers and 1/30s for the goats. I would say you have a good camera and a steady hand to get such nice clear shots with such a slow shutter. Good job

    What editing software do you use. The reason I ask is that I would love to see the perspective of the peacock changed so that it fills the whole frame diagonally. In Elements I would be able to do this by going to Filter > Correct Camera Distortion (which this isn't, but it serves the purpose) > Horizontal Perspective Slider to the right until the tree trunk disappears and the peacock fills the frame. Then extend the edges.

    The shot is wonderful as is, but I think I would like it even more without the tree trunk and the rock, and perhaps more DOF or sharpness on the right side feathers.

    Good work, and like Donald says - keep practising - It really will become automatic. I didn't think I would ever be able to change settings quickly with my camera because I'm far sighted and can't see any of the dials. Now I change them by feel. I suppose some people would say that explains a lot and maybe I should put my glasses on, but.... well it really does get easier and more automatic.

    Wendy

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    Re: petting zoo!

    Wendy thanks so much for your detailed response, thankfully, the petting zoo is only a few blocks from home and I can go back as often as I want to re-shoot and practice! I did get quite a few shots where the opened tail of the peacock filled the frame completely and is nicely focused but the head moved and as a result is badly out of focus... I tried to tell myself that the motion blur looks kind of cool, but it really doesn't! lol
    I try to do as little post-processing as possible so I mainly stick to the Canon Digital Photo Professional, but I do have PS 7 that I will use when I think a photo is worthy of more work. I'm pretty sure my camera only goes to F8 - but I have much more latitude with ISO so I will try it at around 200 for the next time, thanks for that too! The goat pen is the only one where people are allowed inside so on that particular day, I think the goats were huddling in protest to the many, many, many toddlers running around, next time I'm going much earlier in the morning - and hopefully by then there will be piglets too.

    Donald I agree with that last as well, with a day like this one, it was planned so yes a lot more prep could have been done ahead of time although I am just as often opportunistic and just go for walks until I see something that inspires me, thus the need to really learn so Im better equipped for capturing what just happens to be there as well...

    This is by far the best forum I've found for being able to get and give feedback in an honest and appreciative way (if that makes sense? lol)
    happy weekend

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    Re: petting zoo!

    Rachel, love the Peacock, what great colors they have. I am jealous you are so close and can just take a walk to reshoot if need be. It looks to be speed was the factor in the blur as you said, being it is just that section of feathers out of focus and not the rock or tree so much. I look forward to seeing you nail that reshoot!

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: petting zoo!

    Quote Originally Posted by ScoutR View Post
    I didn't think I would ever be able to change settings quickly with my camera because I'm far sighted and can't see any of the dials. Now I change them by feel. I suppose some people would say that explains a lot and maybe I should put my glasses on....
    Did you know that there's always something new to learn about your camera?

    Since I got my 40D over 2 years ago, I've always kept my glasses on when looking through the viewfinder, because without them things would just be blurred. I had read how you could buy corrected pieces to slide in over the eyepiece, but never got around to doing anything about it.

    Then, a couple of weeks ago, I noticed the little wheel that's just at the side of the eyepiece. I turned it and looked through without my glasses on. EUREKA. The world was clear and in focus. Not sure which makes and models have this feature.

    Call me stupid (well, don't .... but you know what I mean). Only problem is, I've still to make a decent image having not been wearing my specs. Mmm??

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    Re: petting zoo!

    Then, a couple of weeks ago, I noticed the little wheel that's just at the side of the eyepiece. I turned it and looked through without my glasses on. EUREKA. The world was clear and in focus. Not sure which makes and models have this feature.

    That was one of the reasons why, a few years ago, I got a good deal on a 10D. The seller had recently bought it, from another person, who obviously had poor sight and had adjust the compensation to suit.

    The person who sold it to me obviously thought it was a camera fault.

    But my chief problem is with insects. My long sight is fine but I need glasses up close. Which means, glasses on to find the subject and check if it is worth photographing, then take them off for the shot; hopefully without stepping on them, which has happened!

    Nowadays, I usually tuck them inside my shirt collar when taking the shot. But I have still dropped a few by leaning over too far. And today, I was photographing flies in my garden when I 'lost' my glasses again. So I got another pair from the house, and slid them inside my collar to take the shot.

    Later, when I took my shirt off, I found 2 pairs of spectacles.

    I blame it on a touch of Anno Domini.

    So now, I only use the cheapie supermarket glasses for outside work.
    Last edited by Geoff F; 2nd April 2011 at 08:14 PM. Reason: extra line

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