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By FloKl
Was at the Vienna Zoo (Schoenbrunn) and tried myself at some wildlife photography (do you say wildlife in a zoo?). Was a ton of fun walking around the zoo watching and shooting various animals. This one, I think, is one of the better shots and since it's only the second time I tried wildlife I'd appreciate some tips from your side.

What I wanted to achieve with this shot - just a nice pic from an amazing animal.

In postprocessing I added some color to the animal because it was a little pale. Had WB set to cloudy but it still appeared a little pale.
I chose ISO 400 in order to get shutter speed down to 1/250 due to the long focal length.

Tags: Cheetah Pets and captive animals


banehawi Plus
16 2.2k 4150 Canada
31 May 2015 10:08PM
Its a nice study of a beautiful animal.

The shot is well focused and the head especially nicely sharp. Shot settings are ok, - shutter speed may be a bit slow if you were not using a VR type lens, or a solid support.

The head is in some shade due to the way he/she is looking which gives you a challenge. In your RAW post processing, moving the Shadows slider to the right helps with this to a large extent.

On my monitor, it appears over saturated for a Cheetah, - monitors do differ unless they are both calibrated, when they can be closer.

In the mod, I have lifted the shadows and exposure on the head, and added a small amount of sharpening. Saturation as mentioned is reduced a little.



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dark_lord Plus
16 2.6k 684 England
1 Jun 2015 11:11AM
Willie's mod has addressed the main issue for me, and that is that the eyes are too dark. There is detail there, as the mod demonstrates.

Selectively lightening the eyes is a technique to consider in other situations rather than the whole image if that results in a washed out look.

pamelajean Plus
14 1.4k 2149 United Kingdom
1 Jun 2015 12:07PM
Judging from this "wildlife" shot, FloK, you did very well.

I like the fact that you have a nice close shot of a very relaxed animal.
However, you engage your viewer with your subject by its eyes. Not only is the cheetah looking to one side, but the eyes are dark. Willie has addressed the darkness.
I know it's a challenge to get your subject in the right light and with eye contact, but it's something worth at least aiming for when you try this type of photography in the future. If it doesn't happen, at least you've got a shot.

That's not to say that there's anything wrong with a sideways look. It simply creates a different impression. With your subject looking outside the frame, it can leave the viewer wondering what they’re looking at, adding a bit of mystery. It can feel as though we’re gaining a glimpse into the thoughts and private moment of the animal portrayed.

Many different poses can work and will alter the mood and focal point of the image considerably.
More importantly, though, always try to get the focus on eyes, we know a portrait lives in its eyes.

paulbroad 13 131 1289 United Kingdom
1 Jun 2015 4:38PM
A reasonable image but I, too, would prefer the head nearer the right. A flash fill would have helped the dark eyes andto me, the focal point is a little too far forward. Enlarged, the whiskers and chest fur are slightly sharper than the eyes. The lighting is obviously very low and thus somewhat against you.

FloKl 6 73 Austria
1 Jun 2015 8:05PM
Thanks a lot for your input and tips. As always, they are much appreciated!

I actually tried to focus on the eyes, because in some wildlife tutorial (might have been here on ephotozine) it said to always focus on the eyes of the animals Smile Although I have to admit it was not that easy at 300mm and without tripod.

If you are in the mood for some of the other pics, feel free to drop by on flickr. I have uploaded some there. Here's the link: (I hope this link works. If not, look up my username FloKlinge)
FloKl 6 73 Austria
4 Apr 2016 9:00PM
Link above doesn't work (hat tip to banehawi) ... here's the correct one:

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