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Old Feb 21, 2011, 2:16 PM   #1
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Default Desert Lizard

I frequent the desert quite a bit and have always wanted to capture a lizard in "action" ... last Friday I got lucky to spot this well camouflaged small lizard eating a tiny dung beetle ... the lizard was way too quick for my 43 yr old legs but I manged to fall to the ground on time (scraping my elbows in the process) and got a few shots at it (thanks to the 8fps of Canon 7D).
Please have a look and let me know what I could have done better.
The image is right out of the camera (no post processing done) ... I cropped the same image to seek your advise if you would have cropped it differenly and why.
Image taken with the following:
Canon EOS 7D
EF 70-200 f/2.8 L IS II
at 200mm (in Av mode)
f/11
1/640s
ISO 200
(oh, f/11 happend accidently ... I wish I used my 100mm f/2.8 L IS lens, which was in my bag around my shoulder but there was no time ... it was either this or miss the shot)
Also, I use mainly Picasa for storing, cropping & straightening but occassionally I do use Adobe CS5 (but am a beginner at it) ... so any advice, specifically, on either of the software is also much appreciated.
Most people around me think I'm a professional bcoz of my gear, if they only knew the truth (my gear has better IQ than me)
Thanks in advance
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Old Feb 21, 2011, 3:56 PM   #2
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OHHH yum. Well, you could have asked him to pose...guess not...
I think it is perfect for a 'fall on your belly' shot. Especially the close up.
He is, as is necessary for survival the color of the surroundings so you do not want to mess around with changing it, you have the depth of field good...IMO. If it were a Biology shot, sure, make it ALL in focus....but...
Lizards are hard...they do not like an audience.
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Old Feb 21, 2011, 4:37 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lisalonewolf View Post
He is, as is necessary for survival the color of the surroundings so you do not want to mess around with changing it, you have the depth of field good...IMO. If it were a Biology shot, sure, make it ALL in focus....but...
Lizards are hard...they do not like an audience.
Thank you for your kind comments
Sorroundings (that help camfouflage the lizard) was one of the reasons why I was not very comfortable post processing it ... also my post processing skills in enhacing the image were a failure, so I wanted to learn from others who can add/share their tweaks in making it a better image.
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Old Feb 21, 2011, 5:34 PM   #4
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All in all it's a very good shot result for having to fall down quickly, focus and shoot. You nailed the focus of the face and exposure is spot on. Considering sun was high, not much shadow to work with here leaving it well lit. I'd say if you submitted it to National Geographic's Daily Dozen contest, IMO you'd have a good chance at having it picked.

Hope all is well with you where you live. We are watching.

Kevin
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Old Feb 22, 2011, 1:45 AM   #5
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i think for a quick 'fall down and shoot' photo, you did very well. with wildlife, you often don't have the opportunity to get the perfect light or background or composition. this shot is one where you had to take the shot with the settings you had, or miss it entirely. i think this came out quite well. if you'd been using f/2.8, the DOF would have been so shallow that only his head would've been in focus... be glad you were set at f/11! you must have been close even at 200mm, for the DOF to be that shallow.

i think the horizontal crop works well. the lizard's body is across the frame, and the vertical format just looks a bit odd. the only thing i might do in processing might be to try different contrast and saturation levels to see if you can enhance any details, but since everything is sort of a uniform sand color, you can't expect much real "pop" from an image like this... all things considered, a very good capture!
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Old Feb 22, 2011, 2:24 AM   #6
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Hi Rienz

I agree with the others, that for a shot that you needed to 'snap quickly or never' - you did a very good job. Indeed, it was good that you took this at f11, otherwise even less would have been in focus.

The depth of field (dof) works quite well. I like how the body & tail gradually goes out of focus. The tighter crop works best for me (it gives enough context to the environment, in my opinion). I like the rounded rock / stone behind the lizard.

As we have many lizards here in varied places in Australia, I know some (particularly the smaller & faster ones) can be hard to take photos of.

Well done.

Paul
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Old Feb 22, 2011, 3:01 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by squirl033 View Post
i think for a quick 'fall down and shoot' photo, you did very well. with wildlife, you often don't have the opportunity to get the perfect light or background or composition.
I think a younger or quicker chap would have had the extra time to do some more adjustments ... but I was lucky that the lizard wasn't at its maximum speed.
Quote:
Originally Posted by squirl033 View Post
if you'd been using f/2.8, the DOF would have been so shallow that only his head would've been in focus... be glad you were set at f/11! you must have been close even at 200mm, for the DOF to be that shallow.
Prior to this shot I was using 24-105 for a pic of the interiors of a cave and wehn I got to the lizard location I saw some camels in the distance so I changed lens to 70-200, that's when I noticed the lizard and got all excited and forgot all about the aperture ... but it was blessing in disguse.

Quote:
Originally Posted by squirl033 View Post
since everything is sort of a uniform sand color, you can't expect much real "pop" from an image like this!
This question is for anyone who is knowledgable about CS5: If I select the lizard, inverse and use blur, how can I make sure that the body of the lizard and the remaining image seperates nicely without the edges of the lizard's body looking artificial? ... any help with that would be really really helpful to me for future pics.
Thanks in advance
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Old Feb 22, 2011, 3:29 AM   #8
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Awesome shot. I think the DOF helps. Its the head and what it is doing that make the shot. I like having the tail in the shot, but out of focus. It helps to keep your mind on the pretty amazing moment you captured.
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Old Feb 22, 2011, 4:40 AM   #9
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Very nice, rienz...!

Would you mind if I showed you what I've done with a few simple tweaks
using FastStone...?
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Old Feb 22, 2011, 10:18 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wizzard0003 View Post
Very nice, rienz...!

Would you mind if I showed you what I've done with a few simple tweaks
using FastStone...?
Please I'd love that ... I was actually hoping for someone to say that they could tweak my photo a bit ... please do share how its done, so I can use it in the future.
Thanks
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