Study Group 2

Andrew Hayes·

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Title:  Mothers Pride and Joy
Goal:   While waiting for tigers I studied a small troop of Gray Langurs and looked for an interesting subject. I spotted this mother and baby close by and marvelled at the detail in the babies hands. I could even see the tiny black fingernails. She sat long enough for me to capture this intimate moment.

Equipment / Source:   Canon 1DX MkII, EF 200-400 f/4 L IS USM, ISO 1600, 217mm, f/6.3, 1/640 sec, Hand held

Technique:    Once I found the subject I checked exposure as they were under a canopy of high trees. The little one had a beam of light right on its face so I had to darken its face. At 6.3 I did manage to blur the background but there are still some annoying grasses in the shot. Also the tree trunk on the LHS was unavoidable as the track didn't allow me to move over far enough. Especially with three tigers nearby but not sighted.

Processing:  Had to bring out the mothers face as it was too dark and had to darken the baby face as it was too bright. Took back the highlights and added a little clarity. I also used a background mask to help make the subject stand out, darkened and reduced clarity. Added usual sharpening.

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Brown Jaguar 2

Goal:    A few years ago I had arranged to spend a day with a ranger at a place where endangered cat are bred in captivity. My goal was to capture images of these beautiful cats in as natural environment as possible.
Some images were taken from outside the cages and some from inside, this one was definitely outside. This is Athena she was very co operative, a bit of a poser.
Some photographers don't agree with taking images of captive animals. I find this type of work very interesting. Being able to photograph rare animals, animals I have little chance of seeing in the wild, intimately, is a great privilege. I also learn a lot about them from their keepers.
Equipment / Source:    Canon EOS 1D MkIII, EF 100-400 f/4.5 to 5.6 L USM, 100mm, f/4.5, 1/500sec, ISO 800, Handheld
   This image was taken from outside the cage. The mesh was about 2 inch square. I put a UV filter on the lens to protect it and placed the lens hard up to the mesh. Chose a large aperture opening, But still trying to keep the bulk of the cat in focus. Concentrated focus on the eyes.

 LR Classic CC
I've now discovered that the AUTO in the tone panel does about 95% of my work for me. Added some clarity and sharpening.

Comments/Scores (N, T, P, E, Total)

    Critique Image (only members of Study Group Two may critique this image)

Review by commentator Rick C.

Captive or controlled conditions are worthwhile in many situations. Rare and endangered animals is one of them. Don’t hesitate to take advantage of those situations when the opportunity presents itself. This one probably wouldn’t go in nature anyway as the wall is discernable in the upper left BG, but that doesn’t make it less effective as a pictorial capture and reference. I’m a little curious on your reference to Brown in your title as I have seen and can find no reference to a brown variant, only the black (melanistic) and occasional albino ones. The composition and exposure are both reasonable. Based on what I can see in the image, primary focus actually looks to be a little in front of the facial area. DOF is falling off and the eyes are going a little soft on you. Some of this may relate to the old 100-400 tendency to shift focus, some due to wire related diffusion,  some of it is definitely the F4.5. As I noted on a couple of other posts, the Topaz Studio AI Clear adjustment immediately corrects that, but in this case, I think you would need to mask it some to keep it off the surroundings. Burning in the brighter parts of the upper right and left corners would help some pictorially.

N-1, T-2, P-3 = 6 (N-1 only because the wall shows in the upper left running along the top BG. T-2 Fix the sharpness on the eyes. P-3 I didn’t knock down for the brighter material in the corners as my eye still goes right to the subject’s face.)

Review by Mike P.
Good capture through the mesh. A nice portrait but not enough action for me to give it high marks for a nature story. I like how the image is composed.
N-2, T-3, P-3, E-0, Total-8

Review by Les L.
I like this photo. You did an excellent job of softening the colorful background. I think the muted colors really add to the flavor of the photo. The Jaguar is exceptionally sharp and I like the way you positioned him off center.His open mouth adds drama to the image. Outside of it not being a dynamic, action filled nature photo, I think it's outstanding.
N-2, T-3, P-3, E-0, Total-8

Review by Tori T.
You did a very good job of shooting through mesh. I might have tried to enhance the bokeh if possible, but otherwise a very pleasing photo.
N-2, T-3, P-3, E-0, total-8

Review by Fran M.
She is lovely. Not a lot of story in the image, but well done with capturing her portrait. Demerit points for putting your name in a watermark on the image. This would disqualify the shot in a Nature Competition.
N-1, T-2, P-2, E-0, total-5

Review by Ken W.
Nice portrait of a jaguar. Good exposure, sharpness, and composition. It looks like there is a board in the background, I would suggest that you darken it so that is not noticeable. It is a little weak as a nature story, since the jaguar is just resting.
N-2, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-6



I was born in Prestwick, Scotland and travelled to many parts of the world with my father who was in the Royal Air Force. Now living in historic village of Fettercairn in Kincardineshire, Scotland with my wife Hilary and 'Smokey' the cat. Semi retired construction industry owner and business consultant. Grampian representative of the Royal Photographic Society, member of Brechin Photographic Society. (Est 1888), Dundee Photographic Society and a Scottish Photographic Federation Judge. Much of my photography was aviation photography but about 10 years ago I returned to Wildlife photography, mostly in Scotland, but with trips to Kenya and India.