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Lemur portrait

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A close up of a Ring-tailed lemur taken in the Madagascar walk through exhibit at the Cotswold wildlife park.
They are a lot smaller than I was expecting and very difficult to pin down for a photo at all, let alone a close up, but patience won and this one decided to have a rest for a minute. The background was not the most interesting, but hopefully not too distracting.
Thanks for looking,
Chris.

f.l. 200mm
ISO 200
f5.6 @ 1/180

Camera:Nikon D90 Check out Nikon Nation!
Lens:18-200
Recording media:RAW (digital)
Title:Lemur portrait
Username:ChristineL ChristineL
Uploaded:15 Oct 2010 - 8:36 AM
Tags:Animal portrait, Cotswold wildlife park, Pets / captive animals, Ring-tailed lemur
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Comments

This photo is here for critique. Please only comment constructively and with suggestions on how to improve it.
CarolG
CarolG e2 Member 7128 forum postsCarolG vcard Greece17 Constructive Critique Points
15 Oct 2010 - 8:53 AM

An excellent capture, Christine, such an enchanting little face. Carol

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Alvar
Alvar  7 France2 Constructive Critique Points
15 Oct 2010 - 8:54 AM

Lovely shot, Well done.
Alvar

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franken
franken e2 Member 123127 forum postsfranken vcard Wales4 Constructive Critique Points
15 Oct 2010 - 12:54 PM

A lovely portrait here.

Ken

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CathR
CathR  7139 forum posts United Kingdom563 Constructive Critique Points
15 Oct 2010 - 2:39 PM

The good bright eye and a sharp nose make this portrait. Thanks for posting your camera settings - it really does make a big difference to understand what is going on with a photo. I was wondering whether 5.6 might be too open an aperture here. The other eye and the whole of the body are going out of focus. It does not matter so much as far as the body is concerned but sharpening up that other eye might have been preferable.

I think you have been lucky also with the shutter speed which is less than the focal length of the lens. As a very general rule they should be at least the same to avoid camera shake. Also unless animals are really still, which they seldom are, a high shutter speed is a good idea to freeze the motion.

This all points to bumping up the ISO a bit, to say 400, to give you a smaller aperture and a shorter exposure time. I dont know about Nikons but I was told once that for Canons you should be able to use 400 without any adverse effect on quality.

All that having been said, it has come out as a very pleasing shot. As you say photographing these small creatures is not easy and you have done very well.

Best wishes

Catherine

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ChristineL
15 Oct 2010 - 2:58 PM

Thank you Catherine, yes I was at the very limits, but the lens is VR which helps a bit.
I'm always a bit reluctant to up the ISO, but I'll give it a try on some other stuff to see how it looks.
I agree though that 5.6 was a bit shallow in this case with the side on pose. I didn't have a lot of time to think in this instance, slippery little fellas they are Smile I'll just have to practice and be prepared.
Chris.

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RonnieAG
RonnieAG e2 Member 4139 forum postsRonnieAG vcard Scotland111 Constructive Critique Points
15 Oct 2010 - 4:07 PM

Hi Chris,
I do love your shot and the pose is excellent. Interesting to read the comments above. I have the D700 and can push the ISO there happily to 800 and have even used 6400 for indoor shots in the local Transport Museum. I do not have a D90, but still use its predecessor, the D80 and have gone up to ISO 400 without any discernable noise. So I think it would be worth experimenting wit the ISO button.
Ronnie.

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DRicherby
DRicherby  5269 forum posts United Kingdom725 Constructive Critique Points
15 Oct 2010 - 4:11 PM

ISO-400 should be OK for noise. On my four-year-old Canon, it gives a bit of graininess in out-of-focus areas but is, otherwise, fine. Your camera's rather newer than mine so should be even better.

I think your depth of field is sufficient, here, as the near eye is very strong, and the nose and far eye aren't far off sharp. A bit more DoF certainly wouldn't hurt so, really, it's just a question of whether you think the slight increase in noise is a price worth paying to go from ISO-200 at f/5.6 to ISO-400 at f/8. Of course, a narrower aperture would also make the background a little clearer, which is another thing to factor in.

You might also want to play around with slightly squarer crops, since most of the body is soft. Perhaps something more like 3:4 than the 2:3 that you have — still definitely portrait but not quite so much body.

Something I'm picking up on a lot of photos at the moment is the white balance. Yours is just slightly off there's a blue tinge around his forehead and on the side of his nose. I've posted a mod where I set the colour temperature to something around 5,900K and added a little green to stop the fur on his belly getting too warm.

Overall, though, a very nice shot. Room for playing around and small improvements but what you have already is very solid.

Last Modified By DRicherby at 15 Oct 2010 - 4:14 PM

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ChristineL
15 Oct 2010 - 4:41 PM

Thank you for that David, I did wonder about the background, that's why I set it at the lens' maximum aperture.
Unfortunately, for some reason, I cannot see your mod, there appears to be a hazy film over it when I open it, I've tried several times, but to no avail, but I'll try it myself to see the difference,
Chris.

p.s. just tried again and it's as clear as a bell, much warmer tones thank you.

Last Modified By ChristineL at 15 Oct 2010 - 4:44 PM

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ChristineL
15 Oct 2010 - 4:42 PM

Many thanks to everyone for the great comments and helpful advice,
Chris.

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banehawi
banehawi Critique Team 10868 forum postsbanehawi vcard Canada2867 Constructive Critique Points
15 Oct 2010 - 5:52 PM

Very good shot, - one of the better ones Ive seen of this popular animal. Face and eye are super sharp.


Regards


Willie

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ChristineL
15 Oct 2010 - 6:51 PM

Thank you Willie,
Chris.

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RayJ58
RayJ58  4 United Kingdom
15 Oct 2010 - 11:10 PM

I love this shot - well done. I was lucky to get a vist to Paradise Park in Herts and if you have a few moments to spare, please have a look at my PF where I have posted 3 or 4 Lemur shots (amongst other things) which you may enjoy. Please note that I am very much a novice and have a lot to learn, but I am enjoying this new found hobby.
Regards - Ray J

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ChristineL
16 Oct 2010 - 6:24 PM

Thank you Frank,
Chris.

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