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

Weekly Photo Challenge: Oops!

For this week’s challenge, I invite you to take you on a walk around the zoo with me as I go in search of a photo. I take a lot of photos and I’m grateful for digital photography.  It’s easy to go ahead and take a photo, try another angle, another setting perhaps.  Think for a minute, try something else.  The beauty of digital is that you can throw away all the duds.  My laptop trash bin often has a lot in it. Here is a little gallery of our walk:

You can roll over any of the photos to see why they will not be making it into a blog post other than this one where I show you all my oops moments.  For those of you who visit regularly, you will recognize that cheetah.  He was in last week’s post looking like this:

I see you

ISO 800 f/5.6 1/250 0ev 200mm

To get that one photo, I took one hundred and twenty two photos, for me that is almost nothing.

I have a few that I will keep.  I’ll edit those, make sure they are tagged, and save them to a separate hard drive too.  The rest, well those are headed for the bulging trash bin.

Thanks for taking a walk with me. I always like chatting about photography.  Feel free to comment below, either about what I have done here or about your own creative process.

Cheers!

 

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50mm Lens, Animals, Birds, Canon 50D, Nature, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

Still as a Statue

I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to post for the travel theme statues at Where’s My Backpack? when I saw the original post on Friday.  But yesterday I was looking through some of my files when I came across some images that almost looked like statues.  So I chose one and set out to make it look more like a statue.  Here is what I created:

ISO 400 50mm 0ev f/4 1/125

ISO 400 50mm 0ev f/4 1/125

This is a Cape Thick-knee who lives at the St. Louis Zoo.  I had shot this image using exposure bracketing, so I created an HDR image using Photomatix.  I ended up thinking that the Black and White artistic setting ended up looking the most like a statue.  In Photoshop then I cropped and sharpened the image.  Here is the original:

ISO 400 50mm 0ev f/4 1/125

ISO 400 50mm 0ev f/4 1/125

It is a bird that blends in with it’s background, and it was sitting very still, so it would have been very easy to miss.  It has lovely colors, but what do you think of my stone version?

Cheers!

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50mm Lens, Animals, Canon 50D, Nature, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

Butterfly

I hadn’t been in awhile, so last week I stopped by the butterfly exhibit they have at the St. Louis Zoo.  As butterfly houses go, this is a small one and it is often crowded.  It was when I was there, but I still managed to set up and use my tripod.  But if you are in the area I would encourage you to stop by.  It is a beautiful spot.  Despite the crowd, people seemed to be relaxed, perhaps a result of being around natural beauty.  I got this photo:

ISO 250 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/20

ISO 250 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/20

You will see that the lighting on the butterfly is a bit uneven because he was in a sheltered spot.  Because I knew that I would have difficulty getting all the detail I wanted in one shot, I set my camera to get a bracketed exposure.  So, the final photo you are looking at is an HDR image I created using Photomatix.

In order to get as much detail I also used a low ISO, and therefore needed a slow shutter speed and a tripod for this shot.  Once I had created my image in Photomatix I then opened it in Photoshop.  I cropped the image, sharpened it and then applied a blur to the edges and background.  Here is one of the original images, to give you an idea of what I started with:

ISO 250 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/20

ISO 250 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/20

Pretty big difference I think, but before I started editing, I thought the final image was in there, just waiting to be revealed.  What do you think?

I didn’t know it when I took this photo but just a few days later, gardens would be the announced travel theme at Where’s My Backpack?, so this image is my submission for this week.

Cheers!

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50mm Lens, Animals, Canon 50D, Nature, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

Travel Theme: Tempting

Sometimes when I am traveling, I am tempted to put my camera away.  Sometimes there  is a good reason for that, but honestly most of the time it is because I am tired.  I was just on the verge of putting my camera away the other day when a docent came up and told me I had to take this picture:

ISO 250 50mm 0ev f/6.3 1/125

ISO 250 50mm 0ev f/6.3 1/125

He was right, so three cheers for the docents at the St. Louis Zoo!

I am on a break from my Photoshop class, so for this photo I just did some cropping and sharpening in Aperture.  Is this an award winning photo? No, but it is a nice snapshot of this Red Panda in the morning light.  If you go to the zoo, I would recommend going early to get the best morning light and to beat the crowds.

This Red Panda spends a lot of its time resting and roaming around near the back of her home.  I have few photos of her, something I have written about before here and here.

Do you talk to docents when you visit places like the zoo? We do, they tend to be very knowledgeable and passionate about their subject matter.  Have you ever had a moment like this, where you were about to put the camera away and someone told you not to?

This post was written in response to the theme tempting at Where’s My Backpack?

Cheers!

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50mm Lens, Animals, Canon 50D, Nature, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

Travel Theme: Stone

One of my favorite places to go and photograph animals in the St. Louis Zoo.  This Black and White Ruffed Lemur lives there:

ISO 1600 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/50

ISO 1600 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/50

Obviously the image has been edited in Photoshop.  I’ll show you the original exposure at the bottom of the post.  Photographs in the primate house can be difficult to get.  The closer you can get to the glass the better and flash generally works against you in the scenario.  I have a fairly high ISO here but a slow shutter speed.  This combination worked for this particular photo because this lemur was pretty still, he seemed content to stare back at whoever was looking at him.

The image I wanted to create in Photoshop was one that looked like a print or a silk screen.  I would say the toughest part of achieving what I wanted was to maintain some of the texture in the white fur.  The way to go about creating an image like this is to create a separate layer for every color value you want to use.  Because I am pretty new to the technique, I first created a duplicate layer of my original photo, that way I hadn’t lost it if I messed up completely.  Then on my duplicate layer I went to Select-Color Range.  From there a dialogue box will open up and you can choose the color values you want to work with first.  Then click OK.  Then I clicked quick mask and got rid of any areas that I did not want to have selected.  Then I created a new layer, used the eye dropper to pick the color I wanted and did and option-delete to fill the area with that color.  That is one color selection done.  For each additional color I repeated those same steps.  Once I was satisfied with that, I added a layer of solid grey at the bottom of the layers to sort of hold the image together.  Then I found a stone texture on line and dragged it into the image as the top layer and dropped its opacity.  The lemur was sitting on a stone, but I wanted that texture to run through the whole image.  Here is the original image:

ISO 1600 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/50

ISO 1600 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/50

Pretty different from the edited version I created isn’t it?  What do you think? Do you like this particular editing technique?  Have you ever tried it?  Your comments are welcome below.

I wrote this post in part as a response to the Weekly travel-themed photo challenge at Where’s My Backpack?  The theme this week is stone.

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50mm Lens, Animals, Canon 50D, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside the Zoo

The St. Louis Zoo has an event every year for folks who participate in their Zoo Parent program.  One of the presentations was a talk by an orangutan keeper.  She was showing how they train the orangutans to present body parts to the keeper so that any medical care they might need can be as non-evasive as possible:

ISO 1250 50mm 0ev f/6.3 1/40

ISO 1250 50mm 0ev f/6.3 1/40

This wasn’t a particularly easy photo to get.  It was a very contrasty scene.  I was standing in the shade, as was the keeper, but you can see that it was very sunny in the background.  I did not want to use my flash in this situation as I thought it would be too distracting.  So, I have my ISO set high and my shutter speed is slow.  The keeper is a bit blurry, but I was OK with that in the case, because I really want you to look beyond the keeper to the orangutan.  I edited this photo in Photoshop.  I added a Levels adjustment and slid the black slider to the left.  I also did both some dodging and burning on the square that includes the orangutan.  Parts of it needed to be darkened and parts lightened.  When I was dodging and burning I also changed the opacity level of that tool, because having it set at 100% seemed a bit too heavy handed.

Watching presentations like this are very interesting to me, because it is just a glimpse of what goes on inside a zoo.  Inside is the theme for this week’s photo challenge at WordPress, so you can click here to see other interpretations.

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50mm Lens, Animals, Canon 50D, Nature, Photo Challenges, Photography

Travel Theme: Peaceful

This weekend I made a short visit to the St. Louis Zoo.  I had my 50mm lens on my camera when I saw this very peaceful looking lion:

ISO 250 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/160

ISO 250 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/160

And right there you see the limitation of a 50mm lens.  I can’t get any closer to the subject, so that is as good of a shot as I am going to get.  So I switched to my 28-135mm lens for these next two shots:

ISO 400 135mm 0ev f/7.1 1/60

ISO 400 135mm 0ev f/7.1 1/60

How peaceful looking is that? but remember to stay alert around wildlife because I took this picture 15 seconds later:

ISO 400 135mm 0ev f/7.1 1/80

ISO 400 135mm 0ev f/7.1 1/80

Hello there, not asleep!

For the two shots taken with my 28-135mm lens I did have to increase the ISO and decrease the shutter speed to get the depth of field that I wanted.  I don’t find the rock outcropping that she is sleeping on to be distracting, so I wanted to keep it in focus.

My blogging friend Rosemarie wrote about the St. Louis Zoo recently and also took some great photos.

This post was written in part as for the weekly travel-theme challenge that is hosted on the blog, Where’s my backpack? this week featuring peaceful as its theme.

Thoughts? Comments? feel free to leave them below!

Cheers!

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