Critique To catch a fox

Messages
2,855
Name
Stu
Edit My Images
Yes
Lads/lasses I'd appreciate brutality in the crit simply you are looking at a couple of weeks of me throwing everything I have at what essentialy seemed at the out set,not really possible. the image is made from me front door. the famiily come here because I feed the birds. . The front door I have sort of replaced so I can keep the house secure but have a hole at the bottom for me to make images through and no issues with shooting through glass, I'll probably detail what exactly has gone on elsewhere.


Specifically why I'masking for brutality in crit is the image is made at night, under continuous lighting. Maybe i'm a sad old git ,but I just hate the idea of using flash on animals at night. So I have never done anything like this or made an image in this way before, haven't a ruddy clue what i'm doing So I'm desparately open to anyone else's thoughts re lighting post processing anything really .

I have largely had to video them because very simply I am so damn close they can hear everything. i'd tried all incarnates of shutter ,but the 1dxii is so bloody loud.:banghead: Anyway with that gale last night came that OMG moment after i'd made the same mistake twice:. simply if I put the mirror up or let it come down ,to go in or out of live view,fox will spook. But the wiind last niight covered it and two mistakes later cubins was still here. Fella spooked before I got my act together, but when she ( I think) came back I tried to take my chance

Canon 1DX mark ii 400DO IS II no crop made @ 400mm 1/ 200 f4 ISO 6400 In DPP 4 No adjust to WB camera set to 4100K lights set to 4110K ( Lit with 3 rotolight neos ) In PS I have only made a mask to selectively NR the bkg and sharpen subject. I wanted to present this as close as possible to what came off the camera as it's shot at night with lights,so you can see it sort of as honestly as possible. i'm utterly out of my confort zone having never used flash o lights in any way until a couple of weeks back

Many thanks for constructive advice and thoughts. .

_S2I2718 cubins smj RL by Stuart Philpott, on Flickr


LMFAO I'm sat here beyond bewildered, the things we put ourselves through to try and make an image . Making fake front doors barely a nights sleep for weeks hours and hours reading about lights then hours trying to find a way to buy them trying to find some form of silly deal that I could afford. Then trying to work out how on earth to use them. i've made no bones about the fact I'd love to do this as a day job.. i'm sort of stuck on no mans land shielding due to C19 barely working . So I've tried to hit this like a pro might ,taken an ethos of anything I can do I will : I have no excuses not to, I ain't running a ladder or doing hundreds of meters on my knees tomorrow on some god forsaken building site .. I mention this not in a way of emphasising the efforts i've made it's not that at all , It's just reinforced to me how hard a prowildife tog really works just how much effort goes into a project and how deadicated these guys are I have so much respect for them I had it anyway but this has really driven that home

cheers for reading all this i've barely mentioned the distraction into video. Just so stunned to have piccy to post :D. .

take care all

stu
 
Messages
6,355
Name
Russ
Edit My Images
Yes
Stunning shot mate - well worth all that hard work and carpentry on your door (a man of many new talents it seems :)). The camera/lens combo has given some spot-on detail around the eye, and the lights have produced nice natural colour to the fox. Obviously the fox was very close from what you say Stu, so might a slightly smaller aperture have given a wider depth of field to bring the whole head into sharp focus perhaps? Just some initial thoughts, otherwise stunning portrait!
Very well done indeed Stu (y)

Russ
PS Why 3 Rotolights, and how were they set up, mate?
 
Last edited:
OP
S
Messages
2,855
Name
Stu
Edit My Images
Yes
thanks all a first step :)

russ it's a great point, I was sort of playing safe with exp trying to ETTR, I'd no real idea how the images would come out. Mate I tried to vary things last night,got into the cub for around an hour I listened to your thoughts particularly the DOF, but there was reasoning on being wide open.

Buddy i'll detail this elsewhere, it's more something for the talk nature section Russ. I'll try and explain about the lights the whole thing properly. how an image is made is of interest and this one using continuous lights is tricky,but opens up a choice to the animal of it moving into the light . Which sits better with some of us. If folks want to use flash it's their choice,it's just not really for me. It might take a few days russ on and me door is functional not a work of art:D
Mick this one is strange, because they are so close I behave like i'm in the field,or they simply leave,and yet i'm in my house cheers for that reply else where, time absorbing this isn't it!!

cheers again for the lovely words guys
 
Messages
941
Edit My Images
No
Hi Stu, nice portrait. I think you've done very well with the lighting - it looks very natural. I note a tinge of magenta in the WB but otherwise spot on. Your concerns about artificial light and wildlife is mostly unfounded. To date I have yet been presented with scientific evidence that this actually harms wildlife. Yes, some would initially react to flash, for example, but most animals acclimatise and will return (of their own freewill, I may add). They may be startled at first, just like you and I would with something new. The camera shutter is a real problem when you're working close, as you've found out. It was the main reason I got rid of my D750 a few years ago - it was like hitting an empty tin can with a stick!
 
Messages
4,372
Name
Richard
Edit My Images
No
Hi Stu, nice portrait. I think you've done very well with the lighting - it looks very natural. I note a tinge of magenta in the WB but otherwise spot on. Your concerns about artificial light and wildlife is mostly unfounded. To date I have yet been presented with scientific evidence that this actually harms wildlife. Yes, some would initially react to flash, for example, but most animals acclimatise and will return (of their own freewill, I may add). They may be startled at first, just like you and I would with something new. The camera shutter is a real problem when you're working close, as you've found out. It was the main reason I got rid of my D750 a few years ago - it was like hitting an empty tin can with a stick!
I dare say we’ve all seen urban foxes wandering about in well lit areas and the rural ones must often come across security lights that come on when they pass.
 
Messages
88
Name
Steve France
Edit My Images
Yes
I am just a beginner but I think its a stunning picture and well worth all the effort you put in.
Inspiration for me to try harder, thinking of modifying my garden shed, just to get a shot of my occasional visiting fox.
 
Messages
5,154
Name
Mike
Edit My Images
Yes
Ay up Stu, excellent shot, well done with the lights, some very good points raised throughout the thread, especially about the way they seem to react with the continuous light.

Des has hit the nail on the head with the WB - always check it, even if you think it should match straight out of camera. As all the other relevant points have been made, I did you a quick RP to show the WB then off a neutral area of the neck.

2 Other little nits were the bright leaf above the head, so I've darkened that, and I added canvas to the left and cut some back off the right to try and allow some room for her to walk into.

just personal preference after that in post, so I added few points of black to the reds and yellows in 'selective colour' in photoshop on the head only and taken down the highlights a little

50058412332_092af4c060_o-RP.jpg

DoF is fine for me, as long as the eyes are sharp I don't mind the gentle fall off from the focus, at this range and in this light, stopping down will not make much difference to the in focus areas, but will negatively affect the IQ by pushing the ISO even further.

This is great work at ISO 6400

Mike
 
Last edited:
OP
S
Messages
2,855
Name
Stu
Edit My Images
Yes
Hi Stu, nice portrait. I think you've done very well with the lighting - it looks very natural. I note a tinge of magenta in the WB but otherwise spot on. Your concerns about artificial light and wildlife is mostly unfounded. To date I have yet been presented with scientific evidence that this actually harms wildlife. Yes, some would initially react to flash, for example, but most animals acclimatise and will return (of their own freewill, I may add). They may be startled at first, just like you and I would with something new. The camera shutter is a real problem when you're working close, as you've found out. It was the main reason I got rid of my D750 a few years ago - it was like hitting an empty tin can with a stick!

Des it#s a very personal thing this not using flash unfounded,well .....no I treat 'em like me and I hate flash. they might too. A foxes eyes might be simialr to mine possibly way more sensitive to light I don't know Des?? I concur bro concrete hard evidence based on proper hard core reseach is hard to find , it's funny buddy for me the same applies to say feeding raptors I'd love hard core science to guide me and other togs But it's not there as you say mate so we each have to make our own choice
Des I'm a bit nutty soft call it what ya like, :D i'm not really one to judge others, I don't have strong views on others using flash Simply I can't find a science to base a strong view on. Mate me being me slightly mad, soft about animals, all my lunatic streaks make my images look how they do., Well simply that's why this image exists,there's a degree of insanity here. Ha i'm a complete train wreck Des from this

so for me taking this path where my gut is leading me where the hours of observation lead me is my way fowards The leds give me "all the time light" that I can base an image on but more importantly for me see and work with, while shooting. It's not just thinking about the animals Des it's finding a way that works for me as a wildlife image maker Although the lack of power is a disadvantage the advantages of being able to see what is happening constantly makes this an easier option for me than flash.

Des shutter noise, .is the one thing I overlooked when I started this, I've learnt i can use it as a tool to attract some species but mate really the racket interfeers with almost everything I do in mammal photography it's an absolute night mare for anyone making images of subjects that are fearful of man ,

thanks for the above Des . It gives me a chance to sort of explain why I went this route Point taken on WB :cool:
 
OP
S
Messages
2,855
Name
Stu
Edit My Images
Yes
I am just a beginner but I think its a stunning picture and well worth all the effort you put in.
Inspiration for me to try harder, thinking of modifying my garden shed, just to get a shot of my occasional visiting fox.

humbling words for me Steve thank you Compared to these lads I'm alearner too,ha mate it never stops that's why wildlife is so addictive we are always learning go hit that shed buddy and all the luck in the world. Probably best not nick your missus skirt to put your camera up, like I have it gives the wrong impression to folks:LOL: Seriously though it's been hard but very rewarding. as tough gigs always are. do have ago Steve, if ya don't try ya don't make a piccy:)
 
OP
S
Messages
2,855
Name
Stu
Edit My Images
Yes
Ay up Stu, excellent shot, well done with the lights, some very good points raised throughout the thread, especially about the way they seem to react with the continuous light.

Des has hit the nail on the head with the WB - always check it, even if you think it should match straight out of camera. As all the other relevant points have been made, I did you a quick RP to show the WB then off a neutral area of the neck.

2 Other little nits were the bright leaf above the head, so I've darkened that, and I added canvas to the left and cut some back off the right to try and allow some room for her to walk into.

just personal preference after that in post, so I added few points of black to the reds and yellows in 'selective colour' in photoshop on the head only and taken down the highlights a little

View attachment 284849

DoF is fine for me, as long as the eyes are sharp I don't mind the gentle fall off from the focus, at this range and in this light, stopping down will not make much difference to the in focus areas, but will negatively affect the IQ by pushing the ISO even further.

This is great work at ISO 6400

Mike

Mr Poole:D how are ya mate. Mike great points. thanks on WB I was completely unsure about post on this Mike, so tried to present with as little done as possible. I suspect you have sorted me for the lot now WB wise,just wasn't sure whether to change what should be right, lack of confidence I suppose.

Mike the notes about DOF are really important to me. I approached this with a mentality of wide open being my best option as my biggest concern was getting enough light on the sensor I read Russ's post and felt I really should try for more DOF he made agreat point for me The following night I got another chance, and so pushed iso up to 8K tried to get another stop on DOF and worked with that varing things . They are just so close the DOF gains are negligable aren't they you are bang on a always . My SS is so low I think I'm better off adding a bit extra there if I can find it and keeping the dof down . I tried under exposing a bit all manner of things as I had the cub for around an hour Mike so I sort of explored out comes as many images in this senario when cub is feeding are incredibly similar .

It's been a fascinating experience mike ( lmao bloody strange) a complete vertical learning curve thanks for the above. It sort of reinforces what I first thought that I am going to have to accept a really shallow DOF in these circumstances and try balance EXP and SS as best I can . I'm gradually trying to get them a bit further back i might move another light, pushing them away makes framing easier and also gives me that tad more DOF without opening the F. I wish I had another ten yards to work with

thanks again buddy as always a really useful post that I can dig at work with/ learn from/ apply

take care me olde mate

stu
 
Messages
4,643
Name
Dale.
Edit My Images
Yes
Late to the party, sorry Bud.

Stu, what a story mate, just great and well done. I've loved looking at the image, it's wonderful.
 
OP
S
Messages
2,855
Name
Stu
Edit My Images
Yes
My parties are always open late bro:D

Dale the above was my first chance, of pressing shuttter , so one of a set of images numbering maybe 25, lots to bin. The following night a bit better an hour with cub massive culls but much better, LMAO bar me. I think becuase I was using single shot and trying to use it too fast, I was pressing the shutter too agressively and hence my failings caused alot to have a tad of blur. Last night got in again. I tried to amend my poor shutter press technique and I think i've got past that, the results seem better.

It's a massive learning curve buddy but if this keeps going and I can keep pushing , there's a fair old chance of me getting a good haul out of this. It's right on the edge of getting a sharp frame with my given ability and shooting brain dead tired means I make mistakes, which there is little room for. But it's a blast it's opened a new world for me mate. If I can get lights on a fox like her, a completely freaked out rural mum fox, and get images ( I haven't yet) I'd lay a bet I can do that with other animals and possibly also birds ,owls maybe??

I'm not yet sure where this will lead yet Dale , I tend to run with something and see where it leads rather than have a complete plan . I knew there was something to grab from this situation though, no idea exactly on how to achieve

Cheers for the kind words bro I will show more with time.
 
Top