APRIL 2019 ROUND
Title: Leopard climbs down tree
Goal: My goal was to capture was to capture a leopard climbing down a tree. During my January 2015 trip, I captured a leopard going down a tree, but because my 600 mm lens was previously damaged and the connection to the camera didn’t lock. These images weren’t recorded. It’s a long story how my lens connection got damaged, so I won’t go into detail here. Therefore, I was really excited that the first full day in Tarangire National Park (February 2019), I got the image that I missed in 2015.
Equipment / Source: Canon D7II Body, 600 mm IS f4.0 lens, at 600 mm, shutter speed of 1/640 at f8, ISO 1600, Evaluative Metering, no Flash.
Technique: 600 mm lens f4.0 lens rested on a bean bag on the top of a safari vehicle.
Processing: Selective Noise Reduction with Nik Define, as well as, selective sharpening also with Nik Raw Sharpening I cropped a bit off the top, so the leopard had more room on the downward side. Some saturation reduction of the bright yellow in the background, and a little brightness and contrast added to the Leopard’s face and body.
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DECEMBER 2018 ROUND
Title: Adult Osprey with A Captured Striped Bass in Its Talons
Goal: To capture in flight adult osprey bring back fish for their juvenile ospreys in the nest.
Equipment / Source: Canon 7D Mark II body, EF600mm f4.0 lens with a 1.4 teleconverter III, 1/4000 sec at f8, ISO 1000, Aperture Priority, Evaluative Metering. Gitzo Tripod with a Wimberely Tripod head
Technique: Stake out a nest with Juvenile Osprey waiting for the parents to come back with food. Patience is important because you never know when the parents will come back with the food. Sometimes an hour or two would go by and nothing would happen, and in an instance that would all change. The more time spend in the field the more chances to witness and capture something special. However, at some point you do have to pack it up and go home. It can be difficult to know and/or decide when is the moment to leave.
This image is from an area near the Richmond/San Rafael Bridge on the East side of San Francisco Bay. Proper positioning is important. This was a morning shot, for afternoon images I was on the other side of the nest. Sometimes a little luck comes your way as this fish looks almost alive (and could still be), and fortunate that the parent osprey didn’t take some bites out of it, but bought the fish directly to the nest after capture.
Processing: I used Viveza to brighten and lighten the striped bass so you could see its eye better. I also might have added a little light to the Osprey’s eye too. Darken the sky a bit to a more appealing blue, by selecting the blue sky and applying a layer levels adjustment. Other than targeted noise reduction on the sky, and target sharpening on the bird and fish, I didn’t do much else in my processing workflow.
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Review from commentator Rick C.
A solid story captured well. The open mouth of the fish indicates it is likely still alive. The near (right as we view it) talon of the Osprey is all but off the fish, implying that the fish has been struggling and that the Osprey is now trying to regrip it. The downward tilt to the osprey’s head tends to confirm that. I didn’t enlarge it but there appears to be good sharpness in all key elements. I think the composition is effective. The one nit is the clipping in the white feathers on the Osprey’s head. You may have lost that when opening up the detail under the wings. It is within nature rules for you to double process the source image for highlights and shadows and then blend the two when contrast range is problematic. (HDR is allowed and double processing a single image is a form of HDR.) Check the source image and if you have the detail in the head when pulling back on the Highlights or the Exposure, this could be an option.
N-3, T-3, P-2, E-1 = 9 (P-2 the clipping on the head feathers is a weakness, E-1 The open mouth on the fish, talon all but off the fist and head angle on the Osprey add to the interest value of the image and elevate it above the normal Osprey with fish shot.)
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Response to a critique by Bruce F.
Reponse to Bruce's response:
I am a wildlife, nature, and scenic photographer. I now live in San Mateo, after spending most of my adult life in Millbrae. I previously worked full-time for Applied Biosystems and Life Technologies as a senior business analyst. I left this position a few years ago to concentrate on my true passion of nature photography. My Dad was a deer hunter and bought some property in Monterey County, so he could have a place of his own to go deer hunting. We have owned this property since 1946. I grew up spending my summers down there, following in my father's footsteps, hunting quail, dove, and black tailed deer--using a b-b gun, graduating up to a powerful hunting rifle. When I was eighteen I had to kill a black-tailed buck up close shooting him in the neck, since my first shot from afar had only wounded him. I saw death up close and personal, deciding from that moment on I didn't not want to be part of death, but to cherish life instead.
My friends and I do a lot of bird photography at my ranch in rural Monterey County, using photo blinds extensively; and recently we have built a few permanent ponds to attract wildlife.
I was a Minolta user, but switched to Canon in 2001. I used to shoot extensively with slide film; now I strictly use digital camera bodies, specifically the Canon 7D and 40D bodies, previously the Canon D1 Mark II and as backup the Canon 20D. I primarily use RAW capture, and process the images in Photoshop. I recently upgraded to CS5, and also have many external hard drives to store my raw files.