Skip to Content

My Wildlife Photography - Criticism & Advice Needed!!

Discuss and share your wildlife photography, filming and equipment
Benn Kempster
Posts: 29
Joined: Wed Jan 10, 2007 5:36 pm
Location: London, England

My Wildlife Photography - Criticism & Advice Needed!!

Unread post by Benn Kempster » Mon May 26, 2008 8:29 pm

Hi - hopefully, you can all help me here to get some better results. Below is a weblink to some of my shots from a trip to Kruger last May and also a few bits and pieces from some UK safari parks and zoos.

Where am I going wrong here? What suggestions do you have as to how I can get better results?

Please be as critical as you like!

http://photobucket.com/bennkempster

Thanks,

Benn
All the best,

Benn

KNP - 10 nights 05/2007
Addo - 10 nights 12-21/10/2008

User avatar
Scout
Posts: 36
Joined: Wed May 16, 2007 11:17 am
Location: Pretoria

Unread post by Scout » Mon May 26, 2008 8:54 pm

Fill in flash is your friend during the day in africa it helps to get rid of the harsh shadows.

Then optimal shooting time is from first light till about 7:30 - 8AM and then again from 3/4 till about 30 minutes after last light depending on the subject matter and also depending on the season and if there is cloud cover or not.

The rest of the day is harsh light and very unforgiving if you want to take photo's that time of day I would advice to take your light meter reading of the sky and use a flash to fill in your subject a bit.
KNP - 11 August 2009 - 26 August 2009

User avatar
DuQues
Honorary Virtual Ranger
Honorary Virtual Ranger
Posts: 14520
Joined: Fri Jan 14, 2005 5:42 pm
Location: Red sand, why do I keep thinking of red sand?

Unread post by DuQues » Wed Jun 04, 2008 9:40 am

That, and a bit of using the rule of thirds. Almost all the photos are centered.

Taken at random, this photo:
Image

If you had moved the camera over a bit, less greens on the right and bottom the kudu would have 'space' to look into, and would not be afraid of bumping his horns on the top of the frame.

Do you like this photo?

Image

And why?

I made it, bit of a walk but worth it, with the rule of thirds completely in mind. It's a very simple photo, but as you can see it works.
Not posting much here anymore, but the photo's you can follow here There is plenty there.

Feel free to use any of these additional letters to correct the spelling of words found in the above post: a-e-t-n-d-i-o-s-m-l-u-y-h-c

User avatar
bert
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Posts: 14292
Joined: Thu Jan 13, 2005 9:02 pm
Location: mind in SA, body in The Netherlands

Unread post by bert » Wed Jun 04, 2008 10:01 am

Can only add.
As with the kudu try to make the composition in a way that the head/horns are free from the tree.
And if you use autofocus and have the abilitly to play with the focus points try to shift the focus to the right or left for eg.

User avatar
UKbadger
Posts: 214
Joined: Wed May 23, 2007 5:06 pm
Location: London UK

Unread post by UKbadger » Wed Jun 04, 2008 11:02 pm

Hi Benn

Looks like you had a great time!

All the advice so far is excellent.

When I changed to an auto focus cam., it took me a surprisingly long time to adjust my photo framing.

Just a few idears:-

Are you shooting in RAW or JPG as quite a few pics. look a little lacking in saturation, eg. the Ellies and Rhinos? Experiment with adjusting the saturation in the soft ware that comes with the camera, but don’t overdo it as a tiny bit too much can make things look unnatural.

Sometimes a little overall darkening/lightening or an increase in contrast will lift a rather flat looking pic.

When shooting animals or birds, always, always focus on the eyes, out of focus eyes mean the shot is for the recycle bin!!

:cry:

User avatar
sheldogz23
Posts: 107
Joined: Thu Sep 04, 2008 11:25 am

rate my photos

Unread post by sheldogz23 » Fri May 22, 2009 10:18 am

im sheldon and i love wildlife photograpy can any1 plz rate these pics and give some advise!!!(even though i live in australia i took these on holiday in april/may)
crocs
Image
cat at sanbonani
Image
lions
Image
impie
Image
ellie eye
Image
fish eagle
Image
hammerkop
Image
flower forgot the name
Image
kudu
Image
ellie bull
Image
goose at perrys bridge reptile centre
Image
leopard in reeds
Image
{PANTHERA PARDUS}

User avatar
bert
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Posts: 14292
Joined: Thu Jan 13, 2005 9:02 pm
Location: mind in SA, body in The Netherlands

Re: rate my photos

Unread post by bert » Fri May 22, 2009 7:43 pm

crocs: nice comp. the 2 crocs from left to right makes it very pleasant
cat: if only the other eye was also clear :cry: Great one
lions: same issue. the male under the bush.and not to sharp
Impy: not to sharp
ellie: nice , except for the harsh light
fish eagle: Nice one. light is good and composition is okay
hammerkop: like the composition and the light in the back
flower: nice, except for the harsh light
Kudu: composition is good.Nice one
ellie bull: agian, not to sharp or crisp. looks like it has been photographed through a window
goose: very nice compostition. a bit sharper would have been perfect
leopard: the best performance in the situation.

User avatar
Scottm
Posts: 214
Joined: Wed May 31, 2006 1:26 pm
Location: Fourways, Johannesburg

Re: rate my photos

Unread post by Scottm » Mon May 25, 2009 12:57 pm

Hi Sheldon

A couple of points. Firstly, I am not a professional photographer, so the comments are not from a professional perspective. Secondly, I am hyper-critical, so please do not be too sensitive about the comments. Thirdly, are these taken with a D-SLR, or a point-and-shoot? Here are my comments:

- The crocs - Ho-hum, and nothing special. Very difficult to get great pics of crocs, especially when taking pictures from above;
- Cat - Not a bad effort, but two things, the focus must be on the eye, not the bridge of the nose, and the grass over the left eye spoils it for me; You would get different results from a DSLR and a point-and-shoot;
- lions- Just another happy-snappy - nothing special - time of day would not have allowed for much improvement;
- Impala - nothing special, and again, probably the wrong time of day for photography. Composition OK, but you have very little control over the lighting;
- ellie - Nice and unusual. Keep trying at these unusual pics as often, one will stand out;
- Fish Eagle - again, nice with its prey, but being in the shade, over which you have no control, not too special (special sighting, and a great memory, though);
- Hammerkop - I like this, especially with the back light, but a pity you have lost the legs which spoils it a bit;
- Crane flower - Great, clear and well defined - Nice One;
- Kudu - Nothing special, but keep trying, and keep checking for the right light;
- Ellie - Out of focus, and light not great for taking pics;
- Goose - Pic of the bunch - In my view, Brilliant. Extra special well done on this one :thumbs_up: ;
- Leopard - Another pic over which you often have no control over the light. Too far from the subject, so unless you have telephoto lenses on a DSLR, there would have been little you could have done about this.

The fact that you are only 15 years old is a plus, in that you have a lifetime to continually improve, and that you are able to learn in a time when taking pictures does not include the cost of development of film. Take LOTS of pictures when the lighting is more appropriate, like early in the mornings and late afternoons and select the best from those. The difficulty in getting great wildlife pictures will be rewarded when that one special picture is admired and commented on, without you having to ask for it.

Photography is a great hobby, and a lot more difficult than most people believe. You have made a great effort and some of your results show it. Just remember that, no matter how good you become at it, there is ALWAYS more to learn.

I have been trying to take wildlife pictures for over 10 years, and have taken 10's of 1000's. I keep comparing my pictures to those in magazines, and try to learn composition and lighting from others. That is the joy. Most important, have fun while doing it, and never give up trying to improve.
"Take nothing but memories, leave nothing but footprints"

Photographs help to crystallize memories, but cannot be seen to be a replacement of them!

User avatar
kesheshe
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
Posts: 516
Joined: Tue Jul 14, 2009 9:44 am
Location: Pretoria

Advice required to improve photo's

Unread post by kesheshe » Sat Jul 25, 2009 9:16 am

Hi

Firstly i am new to the forum and this is my first post.

i am current using Sony body's mostly using A700. Most used lenses sigma 10-20, sony 100 macro and 50-500 sigma (bigma).

My question is what do i need to do to improve bird photo's (I realise more practice and experience will help).i know the sigma is soft at the top end but my only Sony alternative is the fairly new 400G. My options are:

Sony 400G (est R20k)
Sigma 500 f4 prime (est R55k)
Wait for sony 500 f4 rummored to be released mid 2010 (Est unknown)
stay with what i have

If i add a convertor say 1.4 or 2 would it be better to buy based on the brand of the body sony or match to the lenses sigma (i assume this may mean only manual focus)? Also would i lose a substantial amount of IQ?

i would be appreciate any advise on options above or other alternatives. Have added photo's for comment.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image
2011 September KTP - 17 days

I am against hotels in KNP

User avatar
Scout
Posts: 36
Joined: Wed May 16, 2007 11:17 am
Location: Pretoria

Re: Advice required to improve photo's

Unread post by Scout » Sat Jul 25, 2009 12:38 pm

Welcome to the forums, ok nice compositions but the time of day is against you in most of those photos. Try and get your photos in Golden Light that is the first 2 hours after sunrise and the two or three before sunset with a good support system you can still do landscape photos for 30 minutes after sunset.

Natural perches are always better than man made ones... that being said it isn't always possible just like the fact that you might not always get your great photos in golden light...

I normally look at if the light is harsh on the subject how can it be reduced if it can't I will see in post if I can reduce it there, and then convert to black and white. You will be surprised at what a difference that can make to a photo that normally would end up in the bin with me.

Also from time to time try and take your subjects out of the center of your images move the composition to the right or left remember to leave space especially when your subject is looking to one side so that it creates the illusion that he is looking far away...

What do you use to process your photos or do you shoot jpegs?

I shoot Nikon myself but for me I would wait for the Sony 500mm F4 to be released...

Will add more when and if I think of it :)
Last edited by Scout on Sat Jul 25, 2009 1:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
KNP - 11 August 2009 - 26 August 2009

User avatar
oddesy
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
Posts: 2694
Joined: Wed Jan 02, 2008 4:57 pm
Location: Randburg, SA

Re: Advice required to improve photo's

Unread post by oddesy » Sat Jul 25, 2009 1:03 pm

Hi and welcome kesheshe :D :D

Your pics look great to me, as scout said the light is really your only problem. If you do not already shoot in RAW try it as it makes a very big difference. :thumbs_up: The giant kinfisher is my favourite, just a little sharpening would make it look even better. Also on that photo is where scouts advice on composition is really important, if the bird was more to the left it would catch your eye better :thumbs_up: , but im no expert :D
The beginning of knowledge is the discovery of something we do not understand.

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." Aristotle

User avatar
kesheshe
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
Posts: 516
Joined: Tue Jul 14, 2009 9:44 am
Location: Pretoria

Re: Advice required to improve photo's

Unread post by kesheshe » Sun Jul 26, 2009 7:10 am

Thanks for the replies and advice.

i agree with all comments (black and white good idea - must try that). Always shoot in RAW and use picture motion browser software provided with Sony @ camera. The software has all the standard editing functionality (have photoshop but just find it easier with Sony software provided).

i choose not to crop adjust these to much as i wanted the type of advice you both provided about composition and sharpness (guess i need to apply rule of thirds more). Scout regarding support use beanbag in van and manfrotto tripod no monopod.

Going on 6 week trip so will get enough opportunity to practice and work on the composition.
2011 September KTP - 17 days

I am against hotels in KNP

User avatar
Hibiscus
Posts: 47
Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2007 9:57 am
Location: 25º17'N 51º30'E

Re: Advice required to improve photo's

Unread post by Hibiscus » Sun Jul 26, 2009 1:31 pm

I am not an expert either, just an ambitious amateur.

First of all, try to get the birds from the front, not from the back as in picture 2 (and even 3)

Second, composition: try to apply the rule of thirds (actually it's not thirds, but the Golden Mean, but that's details for the very ambitious ;-) Having said that, don't ALWAYS do it, sometimes centered pictures also work well. Try to draw the viewers eye to the center of interest in the picture, not out of it. Also, leave room in front of the subject, not behind it (as in p 2)

Third, try to play around with depth of field and exposures. Make different versions of the same motive and see what happens, what works, what you like etc. Try all kinds of different settings, use everything that your camera is capable of, forget the automatic mode for a while ;-)

Fourth, image editing is important as well, but you say you are doing it. Especially with RAW files level adjustments, sharpening, colour enhancement etc. is essential.

Fifth, as Scout said, try to avoid shooting during the harsh midday light. If you can't avoid that, use fill flash. (High Speed Sync Mode!), it works wonder. You need to check your camera and flash for the settings.

And last - I don't recommend the 2x converter. You really lose a lot of quality. The 1.4 converters however are ok.

And PS: many photographers tent to forget that there is not only landscape/horizontal, but also portrait/vertical "mode." Try that as well, just play around and practise. Doesn't cost anything ;-)

User avatar
kesheshe
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
Posts: 516
Joined: Tue Jul 14, 2009 9:44 am
Location: Pretoria

Re: Advice required to improve photo's

Unread post by kesheshe » Sun Jul 26, 2009 6:35 pm

Hibiscus never tried to utilise flash during the day so that it something i will have a go at (this maybe to advanced at my level but will try).

Not really using auto, but at my entry level i use it sometimes to provide an idea on what the camera would select.

i don't even know what the golden mean is about so guess i will have to do some reading. Assume will find info on the net.

As i said in PM to scout i need to realise that i should be editing more need to get to grips with digital age.

On the subject of convertors does it matter whether i match it to the lense or body (i realise this may be a stupid question - in a way i was forced to buy sigma lense as at the time sony didn't have lenses with enough reach)

Am i right that when you talk about depth of field my problem starts with not having a lense that provide me with F2.8 or even F4 at long length.
2011 September KTP - 17 days

I am against hotels in KNP

User avatar
oddesy
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
Posts: 2694
Joined: Wed Jan 02, 2008 4:57 pm
Location: Randburg, SA

Re: Advice required to improve photo's

Unread post by oddesy » Sun Jul 26, 2009 6:57 pm

kesheshe the golden mean is one of natures ''constants'', also called e or a continous natural exponential growth number. Supposedly the ratio or number 2.718 in terms of proportion is the most appealing to all organisms :thumbs_up:
The beginning of knowledge is the discovery of something we do not understand.

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." Aristotle


Return to “Wildlife Photography Enthusiasts”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests


Webcam Highlights

Addo
Submitted by Ton&Herma at 16:57:56
orpen
Submitted by Sabina01 at 02:19:55
satara
Submitted by Sabina01 at 02:19:46
nossob
Submitted by MOGGYMINDER at 17:00:10