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  1. #1
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    Zoo Trip with new lens

    I thought I'd share some pictures since everyone else has been sharing and I've just been looking.

    I bought a new lens, the Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 VR to put on my new D200and took it to the zoo. This is a nice sharp lens, and I really love the VR function. It is a little bit on the long side and a little heavy, but its very easy to hand hold.

    Anyway, here are my shots. I'd love your honest opinions, critique, comments, whatever.

    #1


    #2


    #3


    #4


    #5


    * Edit: Reduced the size of the images.
    Last edited by pod13; 05-02-2006 at 09:01 PM.

  2. #2
    Editor and Site Administrator Convergent's Avatar
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    Look like some great shots in harsh lighting. On that first shot, you might try running it through the PS CS2 Shadow/Highlight told (mildly... about 20%) and it should recover a lot of detail in the body. One thing to try in difficult lighting like that is to give up some highlights. I initially was tuned to never blow highlights and keep the histogram from spiking on the right axis. I've since found that blowing some highlights to pick up faces and midtones is worth it and actually a natural effect in harsh light/shadow situations.

    Nice captures though... makes me want to get to the zoo. I used to have that lens when I shot Nikon and loved it. Not only does it take great pictures, but it is also one very cool looking coversation piece for those that are watching you shoot.
    Mike - Been Converged?

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the feedback, Mike. The shadows are pretty harsh, and I was on the wrong side of the sun. I guess morning light is only good when its really early. An overcast day would have been better. A flash wouldn't make any difference from that distance would it?

    Despite the harsh sun my levels seemed to be packed to the left hand side. Does that mean underexposed? I can see your point about blowing the highlights. It would be better to lose some highlights to gain dynamic range for more shadow detail.

    So is this one any better?
    Dave
    POD13

  4. #4
    Editor and Site Administrator Convergent's Avatar
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    Dave, I think it is better, but you can probably still recover more shadow detail with some PS work. Do you have PS CS2? All of this is really creative preference and the look you have is cool too... the face looking out of the shadows. In cases like this though, it is really good to use a meter and shoot manual. You can then determine what you want to give up. That spot just under the neck is going to blow out if you open up the lens any... but that could be OK. The thing is that your face is exposed pretty well, and that is the most important part. You just have a wide range to pick up, and thats where working it a little in PS could help. By creating a correct layer and then masking it you can expose detail in portions of the leopard that are in the shadows without effecting the parts that are correct. If you don't mind, I'll give it a shot with the image you have here and see if I can recover anything. Let me know if that's OK.
    Mike - Been Converged?

  5. #5
    Editor and Site Administrator Convergent's Avatar
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    OK... I went ahead and tweaked it. If you would prefer I not post a modified version of your image, let me know and I will happily remove it. Some people don't like their images modified.

    Here is the last one you posted.... (not the original one in the thread, which I see now had better color to start)



    Here is the one I tweaked in PS CS2...



    What I did was the following:

    - Converted to 16 bit
    - Created a new layer copy of original
    - Increase saturation to about 48 (a lot)
    - Created a Levels correction layer
    - Increased the levels abruptly... adjusted all three sliders to get the body exposed better... didn't worry about the head.
    - Hit Cntl Backspace to set the mask to all unfilled
    - Selected a brush of about 100 pixels diameter with 25% soft edge, and set the opacity to abotu 65%
    - I then carefully painted in the body... by just tapping the mouse button around on the body until the look was fairly uniform. I didn't touch anything else.
    - Flattened the image
    - Converted to 8 bit
    - Cropped it to full size 72 dpi for web
    - Applied Unsharp Mask of 85 0.3 0
    - Saved JPEG 10.

    That's it. It took a total of about 2 minutes to do this. Obviously with more care, and starting from the original image, you'd get better results. The point is that you can recover a lot of shadows selectively, without disrupting other parts of an image.
    Mike - Been Converged?

  6. #6
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    Just to be clear, I do not mind you posting a modified version of my image in the slightest.

    I can see what you mean now by selectively painting in the shadow detail. I'll work on my photoshop skills. It might be easier, and more fun, to just go back and try to get a better shot, though.

    Thanks for all of your help.
    Dave
    POD13

  7. #7
    Photographer Orgnoi1's Avatar
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    Dave those are some great captures... I have to get my butt to the zoo or game farm one of these days...
    TRJ Photography
    National Press Photographers Assn. Member (NPPA)
    Canon User:1DMII/20D/10D(IR)/1nRS/Pro-1/Some L Glass

  8. #8
    Editor and Site Administrator Convergent's Avatar
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    Ross... the Bronx Zoo is a great day trip if you haven't been. You can enter the parking lot right from the parkway. It is also a top notch zoo. I've been to the famous San Diego Zoo and I think that the Bronx zoo is of that caliber. And hey... where else can you capture a Cheetah with a kid listening to a boom box, sitting on a fire escape, in the background! (just kidding) It is a great day trip.
    Mike - Been Converged?

  9. #9
    Photographer Orgnoi1's Avatar
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    LOL yeah that would be kinda humerous...LOL

    Do they ever have problems with cameras you bring in at the Bronx Zoo? I was thinking about going down at some point... also to the Catskill Game Farm...
    TRJ Photography
    National Press Photographers Assn. Member (NPPA)
    Canon User:1DMII/20D/10D(IR)/1nRS/Pro-1/Some L Glass

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