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out on a limb

By keenlyside
A red squirrel taken at Formby Point, Merseyside. This is one of the few places in the UK you can still see them.

Tags: General Wildlife and nature

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IshanPathak 8 202 12 India
4 Aug 2014 6:02PM
A great capture Smile

For me the image is very soft,and not as sharp as it should have been. I think there is motion blur too. 1/80 is quite slow shutter speed, and i think the squirrel was moving a bit ( it seems that it was eating ) so naturally your shutter speed wont be able to reduce that movement.

I like the fact that you have provided room towards where the squirrel is looking, but i think it needs a tighter crop.

banehawi Plus
18 2.9k 4337 Canada
4 Aug 2014 6:36PM
Welcome to the Critique Gallery Peter.

Theres a very important guide you need to be aware of that has to do with focal length, and minimum hand-held shutter speed.

When hand-dolding. the minumum shotter speed you need t get a sharp shot of a STATIC subject is 1/(focal length X crop factor); So since this is a DX format camera, the crop factor 0magnification factor) is 1.5, therefore you need 1/(300 X 1.5) = 1/450th. You used 1/80th. You didnt deliberately select 1/80, but because you controlled the aperture and the ISO, thats all the camera could do.

Now I can hear you say, BUT I have a VR lens! So thats the next important thing you need to be aware of. lets say you have the worlds best and finest VR lens at 300mm. It will give you 2, or three at the most additional "stops" to play around with. So with two stops, youre at 1/250th sec; and with three, youre are 1/125th. 1/125th is pushing it for handheld. BUT, VR only adjusts for the camera and lens, and your movement; it does NOT do anything for that squirrel at all. Its movement, wind blowing fur, movement of paws and face, all cause blur. So, in this case, VR really doesn help. You need that fast shutter speed. The you would have a really first rate shot here. Nicely framed as Ishan mentions. You can see also that at 1/80, the branches have movement blur, so youre way outside the range where VR helps.

So, what you needed to do, to maintain the Aperture which is good, is increase ISO to 1600. This would multiply your shutter speed by 4, upping it to over 1/300th, and an award winning shot. A slightly noisy sharp shot beats a blurred less noisy shot 100% of the time.


paulbroad 15 131 1294 United Kingdom
4 Aug 2014 8:16PM
Potentially nice, but you have significant camera shake. Do not assume VR removes shake. It does not. It reduces it and that reduction is relative to the amount of shake. Youhad no chance at 300mm, thats 450mm in effect, and 1/80, VR or no.

You needed a tripod, or, at least, a monopod. Failing these, a fence, gate post or something rigid to rest the camera on.

dark_lord Plus
18 3.0k 836 England
4 Aug 2014 8:22PM
It has been a few years since iwas last there, and it's good to see they are fine as numbers did drop.

I'll echo what Willie has said. Some of the hair in the tail looks sharper than the face, and as it's eating the nut its head will be moving - quickly.

Composition wise this is very pleasing, with the animal off centre, we have a clear view and the background is not distracting but adds some environmental information.
Exposure looks fine too.

dudler Plus
19 2.0k 1974 England
4 Aug 2014 9:33PM
And welcome from me to the Critique Gallery. I hope that you'll find all the help and advice, and a good bit of companionship here.

Perhaps, partly, it's about getting it recorded: you were there, and you saw it!

Technically, it isn't sharp, and it's not surprising, as others have set out very clearly. My modification (see the tab on the left, below the picture: then click on the thumbnail) won't help at all, as I've cropped it tighter. That would be fine if it was sharper, especially working from the full size file that you started with, but it shows the possibility of concentrating more on the squirrel, and removing most of the distracting highlights in the background.

I hope you'll have the opportunity to go back with brighter light, so that you can make the most of the quality that your kit can deliver.

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