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Lemur portrait

By ChristineL
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,

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

Tags: Animal portrait Cotswold wildlife park Ring-tailed lemur Pets and captive animals

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This photo is here for critique. Please only comment constructively and with suggestions on how to improve it.


CarolG 11 199 20 Greece
15 Oct 2010 8:53AM
An excellent capture, Christine, such an enchanting little face. Carol

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Alvar 11 23 2 France
15 Oct 2010 8:54AM
Lovely shot, Well done.
franken Plus
15 4.6k 4 United Kingdom
15 Oct 2010 12:54PM
A lovely portrait here.

CathR 11 151 564 United Kingdom
15 Oct 2010 2:39PM
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

ChristineL 13 39 United Kingdom
15 Oct 2010 2:58PM
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.
RonnieAG Plus
8 154 118 Scotland
15 Oct 2010 4:07PM
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.
DRicherby 9 269 725 United Kingdom
15 Oct 2010 4:11PM
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.
ChristineL 13 39 United Kingdom
15 Oct 2010 4:41PM
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,

p.s. just tried again and it's as clear as a bell, much warmer tones thank you.
ChristineL 13 39 United Kingdom
15 Oct 2010 4:42PM
Many thanks to everyone for the great comments and helpful advice,
banehawi Plus
13 1.8k 3863 Canada
15 Oct 2010 5:52PM
Very good shot, - one of the better ones Ive seen of this popular animal. Face and eye are super sharp.


ChristineL 13 39 United Kingdom
15 Oct 2010 6:51PM
Thank you Willie,
RayJ58 8 1 United Kingdom
15 Oct 2010 11:10PM
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
ChristineL 13 39 United Kingdom
16 Oct 2010 6:24PM
Thank you Frank,

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