Back Modifications (3)
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Red squirrel

By Bigpoolman
Lucky to see a few of these on a walk at Formby. Hadn't got long to linger but managed to grab a few shots whilst I was there. No tripod/monopod with me.

Little bit grainy as light was quite low under the trees and I've no idea how to reduce this if you can. I used auto ISO as I wanted to keep a reasonably fast speed to avoid camera shake and freeze the squirrel which was constantly moving.

Comments very welcome.


Tags: Nature Autumn Formby Wildlife and nature 2017

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dark_lord Plus
17 2.8k 769 England
10 Nov 2017 8:54PM
Thats very good noise performance for such a high ISO and more so as this is a crop, though it'd be interesting to know how much of a crop (you could post an image from the complete frame as a mod).
Talking of which, a looser crop, giving some 'breathing space' around the subject would be more pleasing, less claustrophobic.

As you shot RAW you can apply very effective Noise Reduction in yor RAW converter. In Lightroom for example, the Detail palette in the Develop Module gives you control over noise.
DPP which came free with your camera would, or should, have something similar.
You just need to adjust the sliders and see the effect, though too much will give a very smoothened result at the expense of detail so don't go too far.
10 Nov 2017 9:31PM
Thanks Keith, uncropped version added as a mod

mrswoolybill Plus
14 2.8k 2408 United Kingdom
10 Nov 2017 9:44PM
It's impressive at such a high ISO. I think perhaps the focus is just in front of the animal, on those pine needles?

Thanks for adding the original. I've added a mod, I lightened but first I used the burn tool set to midtones very gently over the fur to preserve detail in the lighter hairs.

Your crop is, I think, too cramped, it needs space on the right otherwise the nose is almost nudging the edge of the frame!

A bit of noise reduction and sharpening...
TonyDy Plus
12 52 3 United Kingdom
10 Nov 2017 10:19PM
Good shot in the low light but I agree with the comments above about the crop - I much prefer the uncropped version.
banehawi Plus
16 2.4k 4236 Canada
11 Nov 2017 2:22AM
Original is very nice. Underexposed, so if it had been exposed about +1 you would see less noise.

Ive used it for the mod which has less noise. is brighter,

tonyguitar 9 77 37 Canada
11 Nov 2017 4:12AM
His side fur has a very special sheen. That lens speed usually covers for no tripod.
Mod 3 comes close but your original is still best. TG
dudler Plus
17 1.6k 1845 England
11 Nov 2017 8:08AM
As a very occasional photographer of living, moving things, I recognise the 'central focus area over the eye' technique.

A little more room for the composition would definitely be good, and I am pretty sure I'd stick to my old favourite Aperture priority mode so i didn't need to worry about expiosure.

I wonder if the slight focus error is because you moved a fraction between locking on and exposure?
paulbroad 13 131 1293 United Kingdom
11 Nov 2017 8:26AM
This is a perfectly good personal record, but the quality shows the high ISO and this will not sharpen. The composition is a little tight, even for me, and you needed the settings in the situation but I would have tried to stay at 6400 or below. Removing nose also reduces resolution and that causes even more loss of resolution.

Better noise and sharp.

As a pure natural history record, the quality would preclude use as an illustration or stock shot.

dark_lord Plus
17 2.8k 769 England
11 Nov 2017 7:49PM
Just checking back Tim.
I'd go for a small crop off the right hand side of your original capture, so the animal occupies two thirds of the frame. That size ratio is something I came across many moons ago as a general guide and I think it's still helpful, the subject is best occupying between half and two thirds of the frame. Of course, there will be times when this isn't possible or creatively something different can work.
11 Nov 2017 8:09PM
Thanks all.

There wasn't too much of an option at the time and 12800 ISO is a big ask but the lens was fully open and to get the speed it needed a high ISO. Its the problem with taking a camera on a walk rather than going somewhere specifically to take pictures.

Having made a load of excuses, the cropping wasn't the best and I can't say that I am surprised at the comments in that regard, which make a lot of sense. Thanks also for the other helpful suggestions and comments.
I did get a couple where the squirrel stopped in the sunlight which helped with the ISO but not with my attempts at nailing the focus! I needed spot focus at times but had it set to pick up a few extra focus points as the damn thing kept moving at the wrong time (how dare it!) and it has focussed on a branch or a pine cone instead of the squirrel on occasion

Oh well, try again.


paulbroad 13 131 1293 United Kingdom
12 Nov 2017 6:40PM
Yes, multi point auto focus can be a problem. It is very good on many cameras when the background is the sky - birds and planes - or a long way back, but if a slightly more angular or contrasty object is in the focus field, the camera will go to that.


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