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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Critique Corner 
Thread started 12 Jun 2008 (Thursday) 16:28
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Zoo shot...need some opinions

 
Walczak ­ Photo
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Jun 12, 2008 16:28 |  #1

Hey Folks,
I posted some shots over in "Nature & Animals" but I need some opinions on this shot specifically....

First, does it look over-sharpened?

Second, should I try and do something more with the green/yellow wall in the background there...take down the DOF a little more perhaps?

Lastly, should I trim the crop in just a bit more?

Image was shot with the new 40D and Tamron 70-300mm lens with my Metz flash on a tripod (off to the side obviously). I'm still poking at it in Photoshop. All other comments are welcome as well.

Thanks!
Jim


IMAGE NOT FOUND
IMAGE IS A REDIRECT OR MISSING!
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EDIT: I went ahead and did the crop and reposted the shot so please ignore the last question

.

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seed808
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Jun 12, 2008 19:58 |  #2

The half shadow across kitty's face is really killing this one from being a great photo. I think if you had the flash straight on, as apposed to being on the side, it would have made this a great photo.

I really dont have a problem with your sharpness, or the wall color... And if its brought up, I kinda like how the rock is in the foreground. Gives the feel that this cat is trying to sneak around a corner, ready to pounce...

Very intense pose...lol




  
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kirkt
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Jun 13, 2008 09:43 |  #3

The catchlight in the cat's right eye seems dull or blurred. Maybe try some sharpening on that area of the image to get the eye to be a little more sharp and contrasty. That eye is the focus of the image, based on the lighting and the placement within the frame. It needs some more oomph and it needs to be tack sharp. It looks like your focus was slightly in front of the eye and the DOF was pretty shallow.


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Walczak ­ Photo
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Jun 13, 2008 12:07 |  #4

seed808 wrote:
The half shadow across kitty's face is really killing this one from being a great photo. I think if you had the flash straight on, as apposed to being on the side, it would have made this a great photo.

I do actually have a couple of shots of this cat where the lighting was dead on but in this particular case I was going for a more "dramatic" effect as per a photography workshop I had taken a couple of months back.

Here's the other shot where the lighting was much more even (and the image was a bit sharper too)...

IMAGE: http://img171.imageshack.us/img171/1210/img0621ti7.jpg


While this second shot is a decent, I think I have to agree with the instructor from the workshop in that the side lighting on the first shot does create more tension and drama. To me at least the lighting makes the shot a little more interesting...but as with most things of this nature, I'm sure that's also quite subjective.

kirkt wrote in post #5715168 (external link)
The catchlight in the cat's right eye seems dull or blurred. Maybe try some sharpening on that area of the image to get the eye to be a little more sharp and contrasty. That eye is the focus of the image, based on the lighting and the placement within the frame. It needs some more oomph and it needs to be tack sharp. It looks like your focus was slightly in front of the eye and the DOF was pretty shallow.

Point very well taken. The first shot there was actually a tad bit oof to begin with...a result of too much coffee and not enough food along with a lower ISO! LOL!!! I really had the caffeine shakes pretty bad so a bunch of the shots from Tuesday were a little off/oof.

You are also quite correct in that the DOF was pretty shallow...you can chalk that one up to the new camera. I had forgotten to bring the owners manual with me and I couldn't remember how to change the freakin aperture in manual mode so I was stuck at f/5.6 LOL!!!

I've already done a rather significant amount of sharpening to the eye in that first shot (as well as smoothed out the background a little more) but I will go back and see if I can touch up those highlights just a little more.


Ok...thanks for the comments!
Peace,
Jim


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kirkt
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Jun 13, 2008 12:46 |  #5

I know this may be taboo, but if you have already sharpened the eye in the original to within an inch of its life, try extracting a sharp eye from the image you posted subsequently and see if you can chop it into the original. The catchlight may not be accurately located in the transplanted eye, so maybe just chop in the catchlight part of the sharper image into the original. Just a thought.

As far as forgetting to set all of the dials and knobs, been there, done that. Just when you think you got it all set up just right....

I get he feeling you will be going back to try this shot again - I think you will get it, as long as you bring scooby snacks for the cat and caffeine for the photographer.

Have fun!

Kirk


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midnitejam
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Jun 13, 2008 13:32 as a reply to  @ kirkt's post |  #6

I always tend to lean toward the dramatic lighting styles, but the light ratio is just a tad excessive for even my tastes in #1. It's still a great photo.
Have you tried dodging the dark side of the face and eye to alter the face shot into more of a rembrandt illusion? This procedure would be in addition to rather than instead of.

#2 is great as is. You always do good stuff.

That 70-300 tamron works good for you, huh?


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Walczak ­ Photo
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Jun 13, 2008 15:00 |  #7

kirkt wrote:
I know this may be taboo, but if you have already sharpened the eye in the original to within an inch of its life, try extracting a sharp eye from the image you posted subsequently and see if you can chop it into the original.

Nothing taboo about it in my book...in fact the thought had already crossed my mind before you had even mentioned it :D. In fact I'm actually playing with it right now but I'm not sure if I like it or not yet as there is a slight difference in perspective from the first shot to the second shot (which effects the shape of the eye a bit). I'm going to noodle with it a bit more and do a "before and after" comparison and depending on how things go I may post both up here to see what folks think.

I get he feeling you will be going back to try this shot again - I think you will get it, as long as you bring scooby snacks for the cat and caffeine for the photographer.

As far as being back out at the zoo again...you can count on it. I'm a member of the Cleveland Zoological Society so I get in free :D. I'm pretty much on a first name basis with most of the critters out there (and even some of the staff! LOL!). Now in regards to the caffeine for the photographer...don't encourage me! I already have enough of a problem with that as it! LOL!!!

midnitejam wrote:
Have you tried dodging the dark side of the face and eye to alter the face shot into more of a rembrandt illusion? This procedure would be in addition to rather than instead of.

Not yet, but since I'm still playing with the shot, I may give that a try. I'll let ya know if it works out.

#2 is great as is. You always do good stuff.

Thank you...it's nice to be appreciated!

That 70-300 tamron works good for you, huh?

Yes, absolutely. This is actually my second Tamron 70-300mm LD...the first had jumped out of my camera case in downtown Cleveland and busted on the sidewalk. I was able to fix the mounting ring but there's something in the e-tronics that's messed up causing the camera to error out. One of these days I may rip it apart and see what happened.

I'm really a big fan of Tamron lenses in general. My only real gripe about them is that they are a bit slow to focus and that seems to be pretty consistent across the whole Tamron line. In other words, it just takes a little more patience to use them compared with some of the more expensive lenses :D. I also wish they had more IS lenses (or "VC" to be more specific) but that I'm sure will come in time. Beyond that, considering I only paid $65 for my currant 70-300mm (and only $90 for the first one), I really can't complain at all. A lot of the lens snobs crack on the third party vendors but when it comes to sharpness, Tamron is really hard to beat for even three times the price. In my ever so humble opinion, they really are one of the best bargains in the biz.

Peace,
Jim


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djeuch
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Jun 13, 2008 15:26 |  #8

Maybe it's me, but the first one the eyes look a little OOF. I also looked at your EXIF information - I'd say your shutter speeds were a little low based on the lens length which could attribute to a little less sharpness.

I'm always careful to focus on the eyes... even at lower f-stops (my example below is f/3.2) I think good shots are still possible, as long as the right areas are in focus.

This is a non-flash shot, but here's a 1024x1024 crop (pixel peepers anyone?) off my 40D. No additional sharpening applied - basically out of the camera and converted/cropped with DPP:

IMAGE NOT FOUND
IMAGE IS A REDIRECT OR MISSING!
Byte size: ZERO | Content warning: NOT AN IMAGE

Canon 40D w/BG-E2N Battery Grip | Canon 5D w/BG-E4 Battery Grip | EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM | EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM | EF 85mm f/1.8 w/ET-65III | EF 50mm f/1.4 w/ES-71II | Canon 1.4x TC | Lowepro SlingShot 200 AW | B+W 77mm MRC (010) filter x2 | Speedlite 580EX II

  
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Walczak ­ Photo
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Jun 14, 2008 08:14 |  #9

djeuch wrote:
Maybe it's me, but the first one the eyes look a little OOF. I also looked at your EXIF information - I'd say your shutter speeds were a little low based on the lens length which could attribute to a little less sharpness.

I agree...I should have bumped up the ISO so as to get the shutter speed up to the full 1/250 for the flash. I think at the particular moment I may have actually been fighting with the aperture (see my second post in this thread about that) and the ISO sort of slipped my mind I guess. I had really been playing with the camera quite a bit that day...sort of an exercise in learning the controls, so things weren't always at their optimum settings. I think this combined with the afore mentioned caffeine issue...you get the point :D.

I'm always careful to focus on the eyes... even at lower f-stops (my example below is f/3.2) I think good shots are still possible, as long as the right areas are in focus.

I agree 1000%! Normally my main and biggest concern is the eyes and the rest is usually a bit subjective. The "eye" in that first shot was just off because of the reasons already mentioned. I was "focusing" there, just didn't quite nail it.

This is a non-flash shot, but here's a 1024x1024 crop (pixel peepers anyone?) off my 40D. No additional sharpening applied - basically out of the camera and converted/cropped with DPP:

It's a nice shot, but it needs more saturation and maybe a levels adjustment. There's also quite a bit of grain there from the extensive crop (you can really see it in the background) :D.

Here's one of my own cheetah shots. Also a natural light shot which was processed in Photoshop...

IMAGE: http://img186.imageshack.us/img186/3505/img8096awu6.jpg

Peace,
Jim

"It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment. " - Ansel Adams
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djeuch
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Jun 14, 2008 09:26 |  #10

Walczak Photo wrote in post #5720351 (external link)
It's a nice shot, but it needs more saturation and maybe a levels adjustment. There's also quite a bit of grain there from the extensive crop (you can really see it in the background) :D.

Agreed... it wasn't a sunny day so good for light distribution, bad for saturation. I have a 50% reduction of the shot (about 4x6 size print) and the grain issue just about disappears. The original is a full-body shot which is also decent in its own right. I just need to play with it more!

Walczak Photo wrote in post #5720351 (external link)
Here's one of my own cheetah shots. Also a natural light shot which was processed in Photoshop...

QUOTED IMAGE

Excellent!


Canon 40D w/BG-E2N Battery Grip | Canon 5D w/BG-E4 Battery Grip | EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM | EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM | EF 85mm f/1.8 w/ET-65III | EF 50mm f/1.4 w/ES-71II | Canon 1.4x TC | Lowepro SlingShot 200 AW | B+W 77mm MRC (010) filter x2 | Speedlite 580EX II

  
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Zoo shot...need some opinions
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