Tag Archives: Habitat

CoGC GU2: Scottish Wildlife — Shoot 9 Outcome

_20A8486As arranged I arrived early afternoon to the Osprey Centre in Boat of Garten. Similar to the dolphin’s you don’t know what to expect and what you will capture, however I was lucky enough that when I arrived the female Osprey was sitting guard in her nest as the male Osprey was off fetching food for the female. Photographing the Osprey was pretty challenging, they are a very protected species by the RSPB which I can understand and therefore limited access from the viewpoint of their nest. The Osprey nest is a good distance from the centre which I can respect and therefore I was limited to the shots I could capture of the Osprey. I also tried to avoid photographing where the camera points down at the nest to appear more natural.

As much as I would have preferred to have captured some stunning closeup shots of the Osprey in action, I did manage to capture the female taking off with her food as the male returned to the nest with the catch which was a special moment. From that the female was spotted off to the distance perched on a dead tree eating the fish, I did manage to
capture a few interesting images from that which could be classified with a camouflage technique. To capture the Osprey in action I used my Sigma 150-600mm Sport lens with my 5D Mark iii set to high speed drive mode and with a faster shutter speed I was required to use a higher ISO number to capture the correct exposure. I did use a narrower Red Squirrel Habitataperture for some images for extended depth of field so my settings varied.

I was severely limited to techniques I could use for photographing the Osprey and their nest and since I already had a silhouette shot of an Osprey nest from Loch Insh I decided to concentrate on a composite image which tells a story. There were telescopes put into position to help spot the Osprey and this helped for direction when looking for the female perched on the dead tree eating her catch. There were several other birds I managed to capture in the surrounding forest area just outside the Osprey centre at the car park and was delighted with some of the pictures I captured. I also managed to capture a landscape image of the forest that really caught my eye with the light breaking through the trees, using the extended depth of field with the narrow aperture, slower shutter speed I managed to capture a stunning landscape which has potential to be used for some of the wildlife I’ve already captured such as the red squirrels etc.

Here is a sample contact sheet of some of the best images from that shoot:ContactSheet-001

The first image was one of my favourites as I managed to capture the female just as she was taking off with the fish which you can see clutched in her claw and was pleased with the composition; the second and third images I used for different perspective both of which have the eyes searching for the female Osprey, the portrait shot I wanted to show more of the landscape leading to where the female Osprey was perched to make the viewer feel closer. For the fourth and fifth picture I was delighted to capture two of the smaller birds on the trees and the lighting captured my eye; the final image showing the landscape shot I captured through a forest with the light breaking through, one of my favourite landscape shots.

Here is a sample contact sheet of some of the bad images:ContactSheet-002

The first image shows the ledge from shooting through the window, the weight of the Sigma 150-600mm lens can sometimes be troublesome holding for a lengthy period of time handheld; the second image I captured the female Osprey flying back to the nest, however it was out of focus and I felt in the third image there was too much over exposure on the leaves from the sun and not as favourable on the angle.

For post processing of my favourite shot I reduced the highlights and shadows, increased clarity and slightly reduced saturation to enhance the atmosphere of the forest, then increased sharpness of the overall image using Camera Raw.

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Using the brush tool I began creating a scattered spotted brush by increasing the scattering and spacing.

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Using the spotted scattered brush tool created, I painted over the image with smaller and larger brush sizes to desired effect with a light coloured brush matching the lightest areas of the photograph. Secondly using Filter > Blur > Radial Blur with zoom setting I created the blur effect with the new layer and finally I reduced the opacity of the rays of light to desired effect for the final image.

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CoGC GU2: Scottish Wildlife — Shoot 1 Outcome

Benmore Botanic Garden: Outcome

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Having done research on Benmore Botanic Garden I travelled out to the location with high expectations. The weather was good, the location was beautiful, although I did stumble across a few obstacles; I arrived a bit later and felt time was against me and having seen the size of Benmore Botanic Garden it’s a place you require a full day to navigate around. The second problem was perhaps the main problem and that being the absence of insects, this came of quite a surprise to me given the amount of plants, trees and flowers I saw which were beginning to blossom. There was one tree I came across with a lot of bees
swarming around the upper part of the tree, I had IMG_5031waited for considerable time however none would appear in sight. It makes you appreciate what wildlife photographers have to go through to capture shots that they want, a lot of time and patience is required and that was not in my hands, especially in a location with opening and closing times.

Struggling to find insects to capture macro shots I decided to dedicate the remainder of my time to navigate Benmore Botanic Garden for ideal spots to show the habitat where insects may nest and their surroundings. I am disappointed to say I was limited to what I could find, had I more time to navigate more of the location I may have found more. Upon scouting around I did find a pond with a tree which rea_20A5008lly stood out, it was tricky using the tripod in the uneven surface. I switched to my wide angle Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 lens to capture more in the shot, my idea was to show some of the surroundings in the background but to use the tree to frame the shot showing the pond where insect life may surround it.

Another spot I came across was close to a Red Squirrel hide with a row of tall trees both sides. As the sun was beginning to set, the light breaking through the trees onto the grass really captured my eye. Again using the tripod with my 5D Mark iii and 24-70mm f/2.8 lens I took several different exposures to capture the ideal shot I wanted. Although I initially set out to find ideal backdrops for the insects habitat,IMG_5022 this one spot stood out for me for the habitat of the Red Squirrel. The backdrop I captured may go towards as being one of my final 20 images unless I find and shoot something I may prefer for the Red Squirrel habitat.

From the research I had done, Benmore Botanic Garden, although beautiful isn’t quite the same as what I imagined it to be as this time of the year the place isn’t out in full blossom. I should have perhaps researched to find out what time of year is best for finding insects as well, although to get around that problem I have planned a visit to the Edinburgh Butterfly & Insect World which has a lot of their natural plant life indoors to make them blend. I plan to capture macro shots of them where the backdrop colours blend as if they’re in their wild habitat. I maybe restricted from using flash however depending whether the indoor place allows flash photography or not.

Here are 3 exposures I shot for the Red Squirrel habitat:
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Using the 3 different exposures I was then able to decide in post process which of the 3 was best suited for a possible final landscape image. I then began by opening the camera raw image and made slight adjustments.

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After making slight adjustments in Camera Raw I then opened the file in Photoshop, duplicated the background layer and began using the Clone Stamp tool to remove a relatively small and distracting unwanted part of the image on the grass.

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Before and Afterbefore-after

The next step I implemented a warm photo filter from the adjustment layers in the layers panel to enhance the overall image.

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I wanted to add a subtle hint of light rays to give it a little more atmosphere. First I created a round soft spotted scattered brush.

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Using the spotted scattered brush I then painted the spotted scattered brush over the picture on a new layer and finally using Filter > Blur > Radial Blur I chose zoom to create the rays of light and reduced opacity of the light rays layer.

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Finally to finish off the image I added my own warm tone gradient layer, set the filter to Overlay and Opacity to 10% to add subtle warmth.

final   Some of the skills used for the first shoot wide angle with extended depth of field, on that particular shoot I was unfortunate not to capture macro shots I mainly planned for.
I was limited in shots I captured for the first shoot, however thought it was worthwhile as it gave me a fair idea of the location if I wish to revisit and with having a possible photograph I may use toward my final set of images.

Here below you will find my contact sheet for the first shoot at Benmore Botanic Garden.

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I would definitely say the fourth image from the first four photographs stands out as my favourite and best shot due to the compsition, lighting with the leading trail of trees the captures the eye. The first image with the fountain I do like however felt I could have captured better composition and wasn’t pleased with the limited space and distracting fencing in the backdrop. The second image I liked for the lighting and composition although feel I could have captured more in the image. The third image from the contact sheet I felt it could have been better with lighting and composition.

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Another image I captured of the fountain from different angle, again I felt there could’ve been more to the backdrop surroundings and better lighting. The sixth image is one of my favourites for the composition and thought it would be a nice location shot for other insect life. Another image that stood out for lighting and my favourite for composition was the seventh image from the contact sheet, this was something I captured thinking it might even be relative to the type of habitat for wild hares etc. For the final image of my contacts I felt I could have found better although it reminded me of the habitat you find ants nesting.