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PostPosted: Mon Oct 03, 2011 3:26 pm 
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I think another thing people get frustrated with which you illuded to Thomas was the lack of quality images when all is said and done. I think this is the "nature of the beast", pardon the pun, you encounter on any wildlife photography outing no matter where it takes place. The variables are just too great and fluctuate to frequently to even imagine a high rate of success.

I find myself, at times, taking litterally hundreds of pictures of a subject when the conditions fall close to perfect just for the hopes of that "one shot". This happened this past summer as a pair of hawks was circling over me for about 10 minutes... conditions were perfect and I ended up taking 200+ pics. In the end I think I kept 17 and of those 2 stood out.

I dont remember the exact numbers but National Geographic had a special on last winter called "Wildlife Photographers". It was about a world renouned husband and wife team of wildlife photographers who spend 6 months out of the year on a wildlife park in Africa. Thier typical outing lasted 6 weeks and in that time they would take on average 30,000+ pictures. Of those they would bring a few thousand home. Of those less than a hundred would be marketable... and of those only 4 or 5 would be "WOW" images. Sometimes they would return with absolutely no images coming in with that "WOW" factor.

Wildlife photography, in my opinion, is probably the most challenging type of photography one can undertake simple due to all the variables which one encounters. For me success has less to do with the photography end and more to do with understanding animal behavior. You can be one of the best photographers in the world but if you do not understand the bahavior of the subject you are shooting you may not even encounter it much less get images of it.

It is a hell of a lot of fun though and to this day my enthusiasm for it grows every time I get out :D

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 Post subject: The fence
PostPosted: Mon Oct 03, 2011 5:48 pm 
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One of the worst things for photographers in zoos are the fences - especially those that are between you and the animals.
With some you could shoot through as the mesh wire is wide enough to aim your lens through. Others are so low that you could shoot over them with no prob. But there are those occasions where the target is sitting almost right behind the fence and you have to shot through the fence from some distance.
Large aperture helps here like f/2.8 and larger. But also look out for the sun and shadows. Which leads me straight to

Lesson #11:
If you have to shoot through a wire-mesh from a distance look for a section that lies in the shadow.

The following image illustrates this:
Image
The disappearing fence 31881 by Thomas, on Flickr
Shot at 140mm f/2.8. See the traces of the sunlit fence on the right and how it warps the background. But in front of the bird the fence was not lit by sunlight. It's still far from perfect, but had the background been darker the fence would have become almost invisible.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 28, 2013 2:41 pm 
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just re-read this, some good lessons in there Thomas.

I was at the Monarto Open Plain Zoo near Adelaide a few weeks ago. Lots of challenges getting any shots, with harsh light, poor light and uncooperative subjects. It was particular difficult as we were driven around on a bus, shooting through the moving bus and dirty windows all making it tricky. Unfortunately got very few decent shots of any animals. Between lions, cheetah`s, rhino`s, giraffes, etc either being too far or in harsh light, or partly hidden it was a bit frustrating from a photographic point of view.

We went up to the Chimpanzee enclosure , where I got these.

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Baby chimpanzee with mum at Monarto Zoo by maxjj, on Flickr

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LR-8352 by maxjj, on Flickr

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Male Chimpanzee Monarto Zoo by maxjj, on Flickr

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Baby chimpanzee Monarto Zoo by maxjj, on Flickr

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Baby having a bit of a drink by maxjj, on Flickr

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 28, 2013 9:20 pm 
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Good images, maxjj!
Esp. the last one could rate pretty high - without the stripes.
Where did those come from?

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 29, 2013 1:34 am 
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thanks Thomas, Monarto Zoo, near Adelaide.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 29, 2013 4:45 pm 
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Ah, sorry: I'm not expressing myself clear enough!
What is the reason for the strips going across the last image? A fence, reflections in the glass,...?

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 30, 2013 4:51 am 
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oops, sorry , I blame nightshift, brain wasn`t working properly.

Yes the chimps were behind a glass enclosure and it created the reflection. Was quite dirty at times and it was much darker in there than what you would expect. Getting good light on the subject was difficult and lost contrast and colour through the glass.

At least when working with raw files, you try and get some of it back.
Pushing clarity in Lightroom and decreasing highlights and increasing shadows, helped here a lot.

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PostPosted: Wed May 01, 2013 10:13 am 
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I'm trying to put the lens with the lens-shade directly onto the glass. That eliminates reflections pretty effectively. But you normally need a wider-angle lens to get the shoot then.
And sometimes you're not aloud to walk up to the glass - or touch it.

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