70-200mm IS lens, Animals, Canon 50D, Nature, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

Weekly Photo Challenge: A Face in the Crowd

This photo was taken at a hippo pool at Serengeti National Park.

ISO 2000 11mm f/14 1/1250sec

It was taken in the middle of the day so lots of contrast between the bright light and dark hippos, making a good exposure a bit of a challenge.  Here is the original photo:

ISO 2000 11mm f/14 1/1250sec

The camera handled the exposure fairly well, but I wasn’t crazy about it, even though it was a good representation of the scene.  The vegetation is a distraction, and really I wanted the photo to be more focused on the hippo faces, many of whom were looking at the camera. Cropping the photo helped with that.  From there I applied a filter that darkened the photo overall and a vignette to draw attention away from the water a bit.

Do you think this edit helped the photo be a better portrait of this crowd? Your thoughts are welcome below.



37 thoughts on “Weekly Photo Challenge: A Face in the Crowd

  1. Pingback: WPC: Anonymity Known | Lillie-Put

  2. I have to agree with Tina. I like the original shot better (just some honest feedback!). I felt the vegetation offered a bit of context – that the hippos were lazing around in a pond and the original photo gave me the ‘outside looking in’ feel. You took a very, very good shot in the first place 😊 But I do like how you drew attention to the hippos in the second shot. Bit too much vignette for my liking, though 🙂


    • Thank you, Mabel, for your honest thoughts on this. I particularly was struck by your thoughts on the vegetation which I didn’t even think about leaving it, but you are right it does create a context for this photo. The vignette was heavy, and I think the potential issue here is how often we don’t use a vignette for nature photography, so I think that is a valid criticism as well.


      • I was going to say the vignette was dark, but all vignettes are dark. You hit the nail on the head by describing it as heavy. It is not a photo that you see too often – and it did catch my attention for what it is, lol. The edited photos makes me feel like I am looking at the hippos using a telescope.


  3. Yes, I really like the improved photo and what you’ve done with the image, Amy! It helped when you explained that you wanted the faces to “pop out” and when I went back to view the photo again, I saw them! The pink-gray of ears, noses, etc. was nicely featured. As always, thanks for explaining your thought process, I really enjoy reading about it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. That is quite a crowd. Big fellows! And they look so peaceful resting on each other (but of course, looks can be deceiving). I like your processing, although maybe the vignetting is a little too much in my opinion.


  5. Hi Amy, What a fantastic set of faces! I like your post-processing to isolate them with the vignette, however, I think the original gives a natural sense of place with the leaves in the foreground. Terrific shot.


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