Tag Archives: Photoshop

CoGC GU2: Scottish Wildlife — Shoot 5 Outcome

G0082141.JPGThe Highland Wildlife Park shoot was something rather quite unexpected, perhaps slightly disappointing, although can understand due to the nature of the animals and
safety of those they take on photographic tours, however for what it was worth I wouldn’t quite value the photographic day tour at £150. As the website described they would get you closer to the animals, however didn’t state how. The biggest disappointment was knowing that the tour guide for the tour was not a photographer therefore had no experience with photography which I found odd, he was a nice enough guy but again if you compare that to the day tour I did with Neil McIntyre there is quite the difference:

  1. IMG_1121.JPGNeil himself has more than 30 years of experience shooting wildlife and was able to pass on his knowledge and experience which I learned from. When doing a photographic day tour of the Highland Wildlife Park with someone who has know knowledge in photography there’s nothing to take from that.
  2. Being out in the wildlife it is more of an experience such as where to stand and how you approach. The Highland Wildlife Park we were given access to certain areas the general public wouldn’t have however still shooting through wired fencing. We were photographing the animals during their feeding time, that was a benefit but I wouldn’t value the tour at that price.

I managed to get some great pictures which I was pleased with such as the wolves eating etc, however a lot of the time we were left photographing either up or down at the animals which I felt wasn’t favourable. If I were to compare how many good images I captured through Neil’s photographic day tour to that of the Highland Wildlife Park there’s a telling G0031027.JPGdifference, then again it was to be expected as it’s a task in itself photographing through fencing and in restricted areas, especially the task avoiding capturing the wired fencing.

When photographing the animals, as expected I was pretty much limited regarding the techniques I could use and wide angle wasn’t ideal, especially when shooting through fencing and surrounding fencing to the back of the wildlife. I managed to capture the odd stunning shot however that made it appear as if I was level with the wildlife, an example being the Musk Ox which I may consider towards my final 20 images. It was difficult photographing much of the other animals due to the angles, but was pleased with shots I captured of the wolves as it appeared as if they’re in their natural habitat in the woodlands. I was disappointed with several images however such as capturing the wildlife with fencing or being slightly off focus such as the tiger and any closeups I did capture I wouldn’t quite place it as my one of my favourites.

For much of what I had captured I could have captured myself going around the park like a normal visitor. Some of the time I had to use a higher ISO for my 1_20A771050-600mm Sigma Sport lens as zoomed into 600mm the widest aperture is f/6.3 and using the faster shutter speed. I am pleased I captured a variety of shots of the different animals to give me options but will limit that as I want my final 20 to show a variety of different techniques and will only include if I feel it stands out.

The photographic day tour started at 8:30am in the morning and lasted throughout the day until 3:30pm in the afternoon. Within that time we were given a certain allocated amount of time photographing the wildlife whilst they were being fed. Thankfully I did take the Sigma Sport lens with me as I was unsure how close I would get to the animals and what I was to expect on the day.

Here is a contact sheet of some of my best shots I captured on the day:ContactSheet-001The first image of the alpha male wolf staring directly at the camera was one of my favoured portrait shots I managed to capture with the hint of the trees surrounding him, this certainly helped make the picture stand out; another shot I was fortunate to capture was one of the wolves eating a carcass showing it’s teeth, not only does it show the character of the wolf but was also pleased with the framing of the shot with the trees to make it appear as if in it’s natural habitat; the third picture was one of my best as I was lucky to capture the wolf eating with the expression on its face looking at the camera. I also captured it framed with the wood across the bottom and the tree, again appearing natural; The fourth image of the Musk Ox looking to play with another was another one of my favoured shots not just for the moment but also managed to capture them framed with raised bit of land to make it appear level with them which appears more natural; for the tiger, although a slight disappointment with it slightly off focus on the eyes but love the composition and finally one my favourite closeup portraits of a monkey with the sharp detail on its face and eyes as it calls out as it knows it’s about to be fed.

Here is a sample contact sheet of images I was disappointed with:ContactSheet-002The first image of the wolf was a disappointment due to capturing the back cross hatched wired fencing, I did try to take out in post processing but the higher ISO grain noise makes that extremely difficult. This would have been one of my best images had the wolf been closer to blur the background out more; the second image was one of my absolute favourites for the way the wolf was walking towards, again it shows the character of the wolf and loved the framing of the shot, however it was a big disappointment with the eyes completely out of focus; for the third image of the Scottish wildcat it chose to eat at the back of the enclosure with the wired fencing and shooting through the fencing was problematic especially shooting down at the Scottish wildcat; another disappointment and example shooting upward was the snow leopard on top of the rocks as you can barely make out the creature; the second shot of the snow leopard eating, again it was one of my favoured shots but disappointment due to the wired fencing you can see slightly blurred across the face of the snow leopard which ruins the overall image and finally although I loved the shot of the tiger walking towards and looking at the lens, the eyes were slightly off focus due to the woods and fencing.

A sample of post process work I did for one of my best images I began by making slight adjustments in Camera Raw, first by reducing shadows to enhance contrast in the shadows and then by increasing sharpness. I also added a slight increase to the clarity:

postprocess1

Using the Smart Sharpen tool from the filter menu I reduced the grain noise in the image as well as enhanced the sharpness by 10 to retain sharp detail on the wolf.

postprocess2

After reducing the grain noise and retaining sharpness in the detail, I used the burn tool at 2% to paint over the midtones and the dodge tool at 1% set to highlights to enhance the overall image.

postprocess3

The final touch I made to the photograph was by adding slight colour desaturation. I began by duplicating the second background layer, then choosing Image > Adjustments > Desaturate from the Image menu. From the layers palette with the 3rd background layer selected I reduced the opacity of the layer from 100% to 20% for a more realistic look.

postprocess4

Advertisements

CoGC GU2: Scottish Wildlife — Shoot 1 Outcome

Benmore Botanic Garden: Outcome

006

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:
3Exposures

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.

photoshop

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.

menu

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.

photofilter

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.

spottedbrush

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.

Screen Shot 2017-03-27 at 05.28.06

Screen Shot 2017-03-27 at 05.28.26

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.

ContactSheetRow1

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.

ContactSheetRow2

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.