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By cappelli
Squirrel eating walnuts on a log.

Tags: Wildlife Squirrel Bokeh Walnut Squirell Wildlife and nature Squirels small mannals

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mrswoolybill Plus
15 3.2k 2527 United Kingdom
26 May 2022 9:05AM
A squirrel with sophisticated tastes!

Hello Matthew, welcome to the Critique Gallery. You've been on the site for a few years but this is the first time that you have ticked the critique box - I hope that it was intentional, and that you will find it useful. It disables votes and awards, but brings the upload to the attention of the Critique Team so you will get serious commenting.

We can see your Exif data, thanks for not hiding that as a lot of uploaders do; but it would also help us to hear more from you. Are you looking for advice on any particular aspect, of the taking or processing of images? How do you see this, are you satisfied with it or are there things that you would change? Have you any questions?

I have a few thoughts. First of all this is an attractive, well timed image. It's reasonably sharp where it needs to be, on the eye. Large aperture has given a nicely blurred background so that the subject stands out. I would prefer a somewhat smaller aperture though, to get the face and paws in better focus. But settings are a juggling act, with one arm tied by the light available - see below!

Two further points though. It needs more space at the bottom of the frame - we need to see the feet! Imagine a full length portrait of a human, cut off at the ankle - that's what you have done here. Be prepared to step back (with a prime lens the saying is, Zoom with your feet...)

Secondly, the shutter speed was perilously slow! Using aperture priority you still need to keep an eye on shutter speed. For safety it could do with being a bit faster than 1/100 second, so bump up the ISO further. Two reasons:

First the risk of camera shake if hand-holding. The further you extend the lens, the further the centre of gravity moves away from your hands - and you were using the equivalent of 144mm full-frame here. Aim for nothing slower than the reciprocal of full frame focal length, so for this lens aim for 1/160 second. Juggling settlings again...

But also, you are photographing a living, breathing, blinking, twitching creature, that moves fast and unpredictably. So again I wouldn't want anything slower than 1/160, and preferably faster.

But you got a result, so well done.

I hope that you will join in the conversation, that's how the Critique Gallery works best.

pamelajean Plus
16 1.7k 2257 United Kingdom
26 May 2022 6:42PM
Hi, Matthew, and welcome to the Critique Gallery.

This is a good capture, but I have to agree with Moira regarding the depth of field and the missing feet.

I have done a modification showing one way that you can make the missing feet look like a deliberate framing and less like a mistake. I cropped to show less of the bottom of the squirrel's body.

I mirrored the image because the eye moves across an image from left to right, and most subjects, even flowers, tend to look more pleasing when facing to the right. That's just a personal preference and is certainly not any sort of rule of composition.

I then rotated the image clockwise so that the squirrel leans forward a touch, and the background lines are straight. I tidied up the background a bit, especially toning down that bright white spot, and eliminating what was left, after my crop, of the tree stump at the bottom. I know how difficult it is, when shooting wildlife, to ignore the background for fear of losing "the moment".
I finished with some sharpening, especially of the eye, and gave him a frame.
All of these things are just small cosmetic suggestions for you to think about.

Please join in the comments section and make this a two-way experience.

dudler Plus
18 1.9k 1937 England
26 May 2022 8:25PM
Welcome from me, too, Matthew.

Moira's said all that I'd want to say, other than suggesting that you shouldn't be afraid of raising the ISO (many camera club members are). But better sharp and with noise than blurry...

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