Lynx at Cat Survival Trust, on a wet summer's day. Title is not the lynx's name, which I don't know.
Canon 7D, EF-S 15-85 at 85mm, f/5.6, 1/400s, ISO3200
I don't think I ever posted this one here. The other thread on the question of PP level reminded me of a parallel question: what is an appropriate level for technical quality to play in artistic output?
Let's go back a bit. It was summer. I got talked into going to CST as they had baby snow leopards. I saw photos elsewhere of them running about and playing on the grass, in the open. A unique opportunity! So I signed up to go. Of course, the weather was against me when the day finally came. It was very dark and gloomy on arrival at the site, and started raining not long after a late lunch. The babies couldn't be let out in that weather, but we still had the cats on site. The rain got heavier as the day went on. Most people had left by mid afternoon, even though we were free to go around as much as we wanted for quite a while yet. As I still had free space left on the cards, I stuck around a bit longer.
This lynx certainly had an expression. At close range I was using the 15-85 in order to ensure I had enough un-zoom to get them in if they got close. The low light was kinda annoying. I had a general setting applied which coped with most cases. Leaving the exposure at a medium value of 1/400s to help against (subject) motion blur, it meant I was forced up to ISO3200. The aperture was fixed also. A faster lens would be of limited value here since the DoF is already very shallow and only just about enough to keep the face in focus. The Lynx didn't stay like this for long, so there was no time to dial in other settings. This is the shot, no second chances.
While I like the expression, I didn't like the rest of the shot. The high ISO induced limited dynamic range was becoming visible in the white bits around the eyes. The background is... non existent. A blurred out grey concrete wall. Chroma noise shows up most in grey, so I had to noise reduce it. The wooden platform it was sitting on wasn't that nice either. So I put a tight crop on to limit its visual impact. And just to take the edge of the flatness, I added the vignette in post. No, it's not from the 15-85!
So what did I have? Dull colours, limited dynamic range, noise, shallow DoF but not in a great way. Technically there is a lot I wish was improved. I didn't upload it to dA for a long time, as I had what were technically better shots. I wasn't even sure it was worth bothering with when I finally did. It got a bit of interest comparable to my other big cat shots. Didn't think much about it.
A few days later, my comment box exploded. It was selected for a Daily Deviation. Each day on dA, they select a submission from any time in various categories and feature it on their site. Precious here got selected which was both an honour and a surprise. At the time, if you were to ask me to select my top 10 photos, this wouldn't have been one of them. It did really made me think, just how much influence should we apply to technical quality?
Bonus points to anyone who figures out why I picked the title.