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wildlife photography (in snow!)

youngw66 6 2
30 Mar 2012 7:50PM
I have fairly recently upgraded to a Canon 550D and took a photo of a Capercaillie which lives near to me in Austria, I would appreciate any comments on how well I have done, one thing I notice is that the snow is really washed out, with no texture to it at all, how would I go about improving this? or is it OK as it is?
thanks for any advice/comments

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discreetphoton 13 3.5k 20 United Kingdom
30 Mar 2012 7:57PM
Hi Will and welcome to the site.

I'm afraid we've had to remove your link, as it's against our terms. However, if you'd like to post the image to our gallery, there is an option to request critique of exactly the sort you are asking for. Doubtless one of our members will be able to help you out.

Hope you enjoy the site

David. (moderator, but ostensibly a well-wisher Wink)
GarethRobinson 11 1.0k 2 United Kingdom
30 Mar 2012 7:57PM
Will upload the image so we can see.
StrayCat 14 19.1k 3 Canada
30 Mar 2012 8:21PM
I have the 600D and it handles shots of wildlife in the snow admirably, in fact it's one of the best I've owned that does. However, there are some things you need to remember; I use spot metering almost exclusively, along with Aperture priority. If you use Auto mode, the camera may meter something that will throw off the exposure under extreme conditions like snow. I meter off the closest thing I can get to a medium colour in the image. If you meter off the snow, you can use rules of thumb; if sunny, dial in +1.5 to 2 EV compensation; if overcast, dial in +1. After taking the shot, press the info button and check the histogram for exposure.
csurry 16 9.2k 92
30 Mar 2012 8:52PM
A capercaillie in the snow is going to test the dynamic range of any camera.

The important thing is that the bird is correctly exposed.

Caper in snow

Can't post direct as updating from iPad
StrayCat 14 19.1k 3 Canada
30 Mar 2012 10:15PM
I took this through my studio window a couple days ago. I metered off of just behind the crows eye; spot metered; ISO 400, auto ISO off: f4.0; and 0.0 EV compensation; RAW and processed in DPP, sharpened in Elements 7.0.


youngw66 6 2
31 Mar 2012 1:26PM
Sorry about the link, here is the photo!

youngw66 6 2
31 Mar 2012 1:30PM
Looking at your excellent photo csurry I am thinking maybe I could try a wider aperture, of 4-5 rather than the 6.3 which I used for this photo to bring out the bird and blur the background more?
csurry 16 9.2k 92
31 Mar 2012 2:52PM

It's not easy with a caper, basically black against white. Your image has good detail in the bird and so I don't believe that the exposure was wildly off from the optimum in the conditions.

Your background will not be helping the situation because of the light coming through the trees to the left. Try to get a little lower so the bird is against the trees and there will be less difference between subject and background. In that situation if the snow burns out then so be it.

At the moment the bird is surrounded by white and so it is having a more detrimental effect on the overall image.

There are a few others from different angles in my portfolio with more or less of the surroundings which might help you to see how the proportion of snow to bird and background affects the impact of the burnout.

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