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post #19 of (permalink) Old 01-29-2012, 11:26 PM
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Originally Posted by TickleMyElmo View Post
Very nice shots! I'll say a few things that would make them even better, since I happen to love wildlife and nature photography.

With both pictures, try to capture some sort of behavior. The number one rule of wildlife photography is to capture some kind of behavior, because when you do the interest of the picture increases greatly. Doesnt matter what it is, could be everything from an animal grooming themselves, to just walking, to hunting their prey, anything that tells a story about the animal really. Animals standing still are great, but when there's any kind of behavior the animal is performing in the picture, it draws the viewer in, and creates a sense of wonder.

For the snake picture, a flicking tongue would have been great to create some more interest, as the viewer would wonder why the snake was flicking its tongue and then that would create a sense of anticipation. Also, it would have been even better if it was shot from a lower angle, like the frog picture was. When you photograph animals from human eye-level, it doesnt help create interest as that's the way people always see animals. That even applies to anything above the eye level of the animal you're photographing. Basically, to really create interest and give the viewer a sense of being on the animals level in their environment, you have to be at the eye level of the animal. Additionally, by taking the picture froma lower angle, you would avoid the ground behind the snake being out of focus, and instead the sky/background would be out of focus, creating some nice seperation between the subject and the background...

For the second, you did capture it from the level of the frog, but the lack of behavior causes a lack of interest. Now image the same picture, but instead the frog was in the process of leaping, with its back legs on the ground and the front legs in the air. BAM! You just photographed the behavior, and in the process created interest and wonder in the eye of the viewer (Ex: Where is the frog leaping to? Is he hunting prey?!) which draws the viewer into the picture.

Now this first picture is just a snapshot and I know the background is distracting, which is why I blurred the background out at 24mm and f/1.4....but the point is to show the interest grabbing effect of photographing behavior....

Sometimes I feel so...BLAH! by Hyer Expectations Photography, on Flickr

Here's another example. Not a particularly exciting behavior, the bird was just walking and looking directly at me, but even the simple behavior of walking adds interest, and combined with photographing the bird (White Ibis) from the bird eye level, it adds a sense of seeing the world from the bird's eyes. The bad thing about this photo is the harsh sunlight, a result of taking the picture around 1PM in the afternoon, but I didn't have much choice as this was taken on an uninhabited island off the coast of the southern United States, and I didn't have my choice of times where I would be able to get to the island (Tide, weather conditions, etc all aligned at 1PM) Nonetheless, it still has interest....

7542 - White Ibis Reflection by Hyer Expectations Photography, on Flickr

One last note, besides the behavior rule, the other biggest rule of wildlife and portrait/people photography is to focus on the eyes. By doing so, it makes the viewer feel as though they are connecting with the animal/person, and people are naturally wired to first look at someones/somethings eyes, so it only makes sense to focus on the eyes!

Love the blue tounge skink.
Thank you for the constructive feedback i know about the eye rule for portraits but i will try to put the rest into practice. I am planning another trip to the zoo in spring and will try to get some action shots then. That snake would just not stick out his tounge for love nor money the frogs were just sitting or walking but hey they were very cooperative. the same day i had a monkey flash a smile at me as i walked past his enclosure (it was a split second thing)tried to get a shot but i was laughing too hard to concentrate.

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