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On the Prowl

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Another fox taken at the British Wildlife Centre last July

All comments welcome

Tim Smile

135mm, f3.2, ISO 200, 1/1600sec

Camera:Sony A900
Lens:135mm
Recording media:RAW (digital)
Title:On the Prowl
Username:tigertimb tigertimb
Uploaded:18 Jan 2011 - 6:47 PM
Tags:British wildlife centre, Pets / captive animals, Red fox, Wildlife / nature
VS Mode Rating 102 (75% won)
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Votes:32
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Comments

saeidNL
saeidNL  4 Netherlands3 Constructive Critique Points
18 Jan 2011 - 6:49 PM

Wonderful and Excellent capture,
saeid

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stevoe_mc
stevoe_mc  5 Scotland
18 Jan 2011 - 6:52 PM

lovely shot, great capture
steven

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Len1950
Len1950 e2 Member 4Len1950 vcard England
18 Jan 2011 - 6:56 PM

Captured this very well with superb detail and colour.

Len

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bigjim147
bigjim147  3 United Kingdom
18 Jan 2011 - 7:12 PM

this is a great shot with nice colours and nice dof well done regards jim

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jgmford
jgmford  6 England
18 Jan 2011 - 7:32 PM

Stunning close up detail capture, love the composition, super animal great colours.
Jeff

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Mynett
Mynett  5137 forum posts United Kingdom6 Constructive Critique Points
18 Jan 2011 - 8:10 PM

a sly and long legged look to this fox, very nice capture

Linda

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CarolG
CarolG e2 Member 7125 forum postsCarolG vcard Greece16 Constructive Critique Points
19 Jan 2011 - 6:13 AM

A super capture, Tim. Carol

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gingerdelight
19 Jan 2011 - 8:59 AM

Love this one Tim!
Carol

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TrevBatWCC
TrevBatWCC e2 Member 5TrevBatWCC vcard England6 Constructive Critique Points
20 Jan 2011 - 9:38 AM

Wonderful capture, Tim.
TrevB Smile

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Lillian
Lillian e2 Member 4Lillian vcard United Kingdom16 Constructive Critique Points
20 Jan 2011 - 1:02 PM

A great capture and what a look ..has his eye on somebody, wonder who?
Good colours and detail Tim
Lillian

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Imagephotographics

Wonderful shot Tim - well done !

Chris

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Glostopcat
Glostopcat e2 Member 8226 forum postsGlostopcat vcard England2 Constructive Critique Points
23 Jan 2011 - 4:56 PM

A fine shot of this handsome animal, he/she is posing beautifully for you

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DRicherby
DRicherby  5269 forum posts United Kingdom725 Constructive Critique Points
26 Jan 2011 - 2:39 PM

I think I'd prefer more depth of field in this one. Having only the head fully sharp doesn't seem quite enough, to me, especially as the front legs are quite a large part of the frame and are in that in-between case of not being fully sharp but not really being nicely blurred, either. You've bags of shutter speed to go to f/8, for example.

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tigertimb
tigertimb  640 forum posts United Kingdom66 Constructive Critique Points
27 Jan 2011 - 10:15 AM

Hi Dave
Thankyou so much for the critique, although may I respectively ask if you'd be happy with less DOF instead of more?

I agree entirely about the detail of the fox's legs, and obviously I had lots of shutter speed to play with, but I chose the aperture for the shallow DOF and already feel that the background is getting a little busy. Going to f8 and I feel I'd also lose the way the subject is isolated from the background and that slight '3d' feel.

This is obviously always going to be the choice and compromise when the subject isn't that far from the background. And in terms of preference, I admit that I'm probably close to the extreme in liking the effect of a shallow DOF, as long as the critical features are sharp.

Would be lovely not to have to compromise in this way and suit more people's preference: to get the whole subject sharp and then have a rapid dropoff to blur the background.
And I've been trying to reason it through in my head: am I right in my thought that a long focal length from further away is the way to have this control; that for the same DOF the dropoff with sharpness would be quicker?

Tim

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DRicherby
DRicherby  5269 forum posts United Kingdom725 Constructive Critique Points
28 Jan 2011 - 5:00 PM

tigertimb wrote:
> I respectively ask if you'd be happy with less DOF instead of more?
> [...]
> I'm probably close to the extreme in liking the effect of a shallow DOF, as long as the critical features are sharp.


I don't think I'd be happy with less DoF, either, though that would address the issue of the legs being in that half-way house of neither sharp nor fully blurred. Liking shallow depth of field is fair enough, and largely a matter of personal style, but, to me, this photograph contradicts itself a bit. The shallow depth of field seems to be saying that the face is really the only important thing in the shot, since it's the only part that can be seen clearly. The composition as a whole seems to be saying that you want me to appreciate the fox in its environment but I can't even see the whole fox clearly, let alone its environment. I think this 'mixed message' dilutes the shot's impact.

In general, I'd say that less depth of field requires a closer crop so that the composition and DoF are making essentially the same point. For example, here's one of my cat photos (off-site link). I'm not proposing that it's a perfect shot but it does illustrate my point. The depth of field is very shallow at 200mm and f/4 (full zoom and wide open on that lens) which means that just the cat's head is sharp. But the head takes up about a third of the frame and the extra space is mostly there for composition, to give him space to look into.

In contrast, the fox's face here is only about a twentieth of the frame. Now, I'm not saying that there's some magic percentage of the frame that has to be sharp for a photo to work but I do think that there needs to be consistency between what the composition and the depth of field say is important in the shot.

> already feel that the background is getting a little busy.

I don't think it's too bad, as the orange fox stands out well against the green. Even at f/8, I think the fox would hold the shot. Smoothly blurred backgrounds are great but you do need a decent distance between subject and background to get that.

> And I've been trying to reason it through in my head: am I right in my thought that a long focal length from further
> away is the way to have this control; that for the same DOF the dropoff with sharpness would be quicker?


From the way you've phrased this, I assume you know that you get the same depth of field at essentially any focal length as long as the subject framing is the same. I'm not sure if that means that the sharp region tails off faster or not. However, longer focal length lenses certainly give the impression of more background blur because they have a narrower angle of view. This means that, if you'd taken this shot from farther away with, say, a 300mm lens at f/3.2 (good luck affording one of those Wink) you'd get the same DoF on the fox but a smaller amount of background would be spread over the same amount of photograph, giving an apparently greater degree of blur. Brian Carnathan has a good demo of this on his site (flower shots, about 60% of the way down that page).

Last Modified By DRicherby at 28 Jan 2011 - 5:02 PM

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tigertimb
tigertimb  640 forum posts United Kingdom66 Constructive Critique Points
28 Jan 2011 - 7:19 PM

PM sent Dave, but thankyou for the detailed and considered feedback; lots for me to take on board and not really thought about the relation of DOF to composition before

Tim

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