Captive Animal Photography

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  1. 1. Wildlife Photography When the critters are not in the wild! aka Captured Animal Photography
  2. 2. Agenda 1. The Usual Boring Intro 2. Know Your Subject 3. Getting the Photo 4. Sanctuary Photography 5. Things to Review Later 6. Favorite Software & Resources 7. Appendix some sample sanctuary photographs
  3. 3. Section One 1. Housekeeping & Introduction 2. A Word About Safety
  4. 4. Speaker: Andy Foshee Animal Lover Longtime CPT Volunteer (15 yrs) Digital since 1997 Cameras used Sony Mavica FD91 Olympus E-100RS PowerShot A70 Canon Rebel XT Job: Process and Workflow Analyst Photographer (primarily outdoor) Andy with a couple of friends at the Duke University Primate Center on 8/20/05
  5. 5. Purpose of this Presentation This is not a deep dive into photography. At a minimum, that takes a week-long photographic boot camp! This will be a very fast-paced hour of basics, tips, maybe one or two tricks o the trade.
  6. 6. A Note About the Photos Many of the photos in this presentation were taken at Carolina Tiger Rescue in NC are Carolina Tiger Rescue may have been slightly altered in Photoshop likely were cropped most are digital, a few are scanned photos
  7. 7. A Word About Safety
  8. 8. Know Your Subject It may be your life that you save.
  9. 9. Critters are Unpredictable You can count on some critters wanting to get to know you up close & personal!
  10. 10. Section Two Know Your Subject
  11. 11. When are they most active? Lighting Available angles given the environment Access to animals, background Distractions Treat feeding This photo would have been dramatically improved with a fill flash to pop the foreground. The tree is also too heavy so it detracts from the Kinkajou.
  12. 12. How will they react to you? Anger? Intense interest? Indifference?
  13. 13. Oh cool, is that one of those old Sony Mavicas?!? You can use the animals reaction to help create a better photo!
  14. 14. Photography Challenges Many animals have a reflective membrane in the eyes & a sheen to the pelt that can make lighting a challenge. Any animal will have unique challenges location, activity, skin, eyes, size (focal range), etc. Take stock of the challenges and see which might be used in creative ways.
  15. 15. Influencing Animals How can you influence them? Treats (watch the fingers!) Floppy Hats (canvas, no pins or buckles) Noise Makers (coo, whistle, dog whistle) Goofy antics Staring contest Whats the difference between influencing & irritating the animal?
  16. 16. Should you influence them? Ethics of natural vs staged photos. There is great debate! Use your own values and purpose to which the image will be used. Some animals can become stressed. Each animal will help define the parameters with which youll be able to work.
  17. 17. Treats Get a helper if the animal requires it Dont compromise dietary requirement s Do NOT use your fingers! You may not see it, but Melissas treat stick is resting against her right leg. Honest!
  18. 18. Section Three Getting the Photo
  19. 19. Patience Animals have a different agenda than we do You may need to stop, reset, come back later We all know what W.C. Fields said about working with children & animals! Ragsdale ~ Caracal
  20. 20. Get Help Dont go it alone Comfort Distraction / focus Photographer Comfort Someone who can provide a calming comfort and security Distraction / Focus Use toys, treats, or noise makers to keep the attention where you want it Tip: Nervous critter? Let them smell the camera so they become used to it.
  21. 21. Location, Location, Location Safety first in all things when dealing with animals! As with real estate, location is important because it defines and limits so much of what you can do and have to deal with.
  22. 22. Location, Location, Location If you dont have an appropriate location, make one. Yes - the location is that important! A few alternatives to the usual expensive tools used by the pros.
  23. 23. A Word About Safety Sharp claws. Scratched camera. Better than getting my face tho!
  24. 24. Presentation As with a fine meal, a photograph can be made or destroyed by the presentation. In this case, presentation means setting the environment that which appears in the photograph. Subject Background Props
  25. 25. Presentation Background Select for purpose of photo Contrast for the animal (light/dark, dark/light) Simple, single color Props Select for purpose of photo Compliment the animal Dont distract from main subject or message
  26. 26. Presentation (contd) Lighting Natural light is best Contrary to popular belief, a light but complete cloud cover is best Dont be afraid to adjust flash intensity Get a flash difuser Use multiple sources Contrast Contrast between subject and the background is good Contrast vs harsh
  27. 27. The Look Know your subject Take the time you need to get the image you want Shoot at eye level you get a better angle of the face Get close if you can, shoot at high enough resolution so you can crop it in later if needed Action vs still whats best for the animal and your purpose Take lots and lots and lots of photos it gives you options Capturing the look is the difference between a snapshot and a photograph.
  28. 28. Section Four Sanctuary Photography When the critters cant come to the camera, we have to take the camera to the critters!
  29. 29. The Fence as Barrier No matter what you call them, there may be a barrier of some kind between you and the animal. Take Sun Tsus philosophy and try to turn a negative (a barrier) into a positive (where possible).
  30. 30. Pros & Cons Cons Foreground Background Lighting Safety zone (spacing requirements) Pros Safety First! Barrier-based socialization Barrier-based indifference/attitude Stabilize your camera Bullet lists are fine, but how about a few examples?
  31. 31. Braced Placement Loose lens placement Braced lens placement
  32. 32. Loose lens placement means fence-blur across the image.
  33. 33. Even with fence issues, some images are still worth taking.
  34. 34. Given the right subject matter, your audience may forgive a bit of fence.
  35. 35. Different Types of Fencing Know the fence Opening size Flexibility (if animal hits or you lean into the fence) Test focal depth Image at left is focused on the fence material, not the bobcat. Fence location Foreground, background This image taken at Big Cat Rescue, Tampa, Florida.
  36. 36. The Fence Is it something I can crop around? Is it something that will actually detract from my purpose? Is it a situation where I really even care?
  37. 37. Natural Lighting It seems to be a living thing, always against you. If youre careful tho, natural lighting can work for you.
  38. 38. Flash Units Using a flash thru the enclosure wall can work. Tip: Dont let the light meter read off the fence. Fill-flash In this image you dont see the fence or other construction in the background.
  39. 39. Flash units and the fence you gotta be very careful, or very lucky! This is right out of the camera, it has not been Photoshopped!
  40. 40. Flash units & a diffuser Prevents demon eyes Reduces fence line shadows Detached flash units May work best due to separate lighting angles and line up flash with fence lines. Kiowa ~ Caracal
  41. 41. Loose the background with overflashing Mica ~ Snow Leopard
  42. 42. Using flash you can set a mood or environment.
  43. 43. This image is flat and would have been improved through the use of a powerful flash. Be careful of overflash on close subjects though.
  44. 44. Section Five 1. Camera Settings 2. File Formats 3. Image Resolution Things you should spend with later.
  45. 45. Camera Settings Familiarize yourself with the menus Animals wont wait for you to hunt and peck to find the settings you want. Sound effects Animals may be distracted by clicks & whirs White-Balance Settings Cameras can compensate somewhat for light when using settings like Daylight, Cloudy, Fluorescent, etc.
  46. 46. File Formats JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group) Compression means data loss each time its saved TIFF (Tagged Image File Format) No compression data loss but files are considerably larger RAW Best quality, HUGE files, takes time to save images Requires PhotoShop or equivalent to work with
  47. 47. Image Resolution Pixels The dots that make up an image Resolution The number of dots which makes up the image. The larger the number of pixels the higher the resolution. Higher resolution = larger file
  48. 48. Section Six 1. Tips 2. My Favorite Software
  49. 49. IrfanViewer View nearly any type of image or video Slideshows Thumbnail scanning Batch conversions Batch renaming Freeware or
  50. 50. Other Sources I havent used all these ~ but they do come highly recommended. You can always Google for more. Great digital photo newsletters Online albums w/copyright Enlarger PRO Enlargements w/new algorithms Available at Noiseware Professional Removing digital noise
  51. 51. Let me know if you find any good photo opportunities Have presentations, will travel! See more at:
  52. 52. The EndThe End ?
  53. 53. And now, as they say, for something completely different.
  54. 54. Appendix Duke University Primate Center August 20th , 2005
  55. 55. Thank you for your time!