Lions, Tigers & Bears ::Oh MY!:: ok... no bears though

Discussion in 'Nature & Wildlife' started by itsjustbrandy, Jan 10, 2010.

  1. itsjustbrandy

    itsjustbrandy TPF Noob!

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    So yesterday I had the awesome opportunity to go and visit an exotic feline rescue center with another photographer, friend of mine... who is much more experienced than I...
    It was absolutely amazing :heart: to see all these beautiful animals!!
    My initial thought when walking into this place, seeing these big, beautiful kittys in cages... was :(...

    But as we walked through the grounds, it was explained to us, what these wonderful people do for these babies. If they hear or find felines in desperates sistuations, such as not being taking care of medically, not being fed by owners and any other situations that require attention etc, they seek out help to get these animals taken out of the care of those that don't take care.... and nurse them back to health.
    And don't think it's like they are in tiny little cages now...
    They have quite a decent amount of running space. They are separated, but I think they said the property is a total of 80 acres... and they house 201 felines at the moment. Of course, it's not like being out in the wild, but it's also not being in an itty-bitty 10x10 cage, with cement floor.. no grass, no sunlight, and no interaction...
    They do a lot for these precious creatures.... They dedicate their lives to taking care of them... Every single day, of the week....all day.
    Every kitty has there own story. and most of them are sad...
    Their goal is to provide top knotch medical care, for those that are in dire need. One cat, named Sampson, who's previous owner bought him from someone in a Steak-n-Shake parking lot for only $300, has cataracts and is blind. They are trying to raise money for his surgery that will cost $6K. They've raised $2K this far, but are still a great ways away from their goal. They do sooo much for these felines... it's truely wonderful :heart:
    If you'd like to help: www.exoticfelinerescuecenter.org

    This post wasn't intended to open your wallet BTW.... lol...

    Being an amateur still, I wanted some opinions on the photos that I was able to take... oh and maybe keep in mind, that there was a fence in between us, obviously... lol... so the shots seemed limited, I thought anway...

    Oh and another fun fact - Can you believe they put out three thousand pounds of meat... A DAY!! The lady that walked around with us and told us about where they come from and how they got here, she was dressed in cartharts (bc it twas freakin freezin mane!), and they were covered in blood pretty much all over... yummy.. i know ;)

    Anyway... please... tell me your honest opinion!!
    i think i like 3 & 5 the best. MO

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    Last edited: Jan 10, 2010
  2. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Sounds like you had a great day out shooting and getting to see the cats :)
    Shot 1: I like this shot and its overall effect works for me with a good directional gaze of the cat with frame space for him to stare into; though its let down by a few little niggles. The first is the clipped ear which is often tricky with animals, they will insist on having large ears that stick up! The other detracting element is the band of dullness going through the shot (visable on the animals neck mostly) which is the line of an out of focus bar going through the shot. You can counter this though if you use layers and contrast - boosting the contrast in the affected areas can correct the problem. Its a tricky thing and sometimes it does not work, but if it does it can help save a shot.
    Shot 2:No ear clip, no paw clip and heck hardly any whisker clipping - combine this with both cats giving you a great predatory gaze, whilst only having one actually staring at the camera (I personally prefer that both are looking hte cameras way, but that its the shaded cat in the background that has a lock with the viewers eyes). Sadly the bars (or it might be light on a glass barrier) have really affected this shot, I would certainly try the contrast trick on this shot.
    Interestingly the shot also have a slightly soft feeling to the cat in the foreground, which to me again draws you to the cat in the background. I like it, though a bit more sharpness in the foreground cat would have been nice
    Shot 3: Best shot of the set you have here - yets its got bars, right there in the shot. To me they are part of the shot itself and the cheeky perfect stare from the cat is the great counter. Its a very different presentation of bars in a captive shot to the normal (which tends to be sad looking animals gazing out). Infact with the background so well blurred and looking rather like woodland this could almost be a cat staring in at the human in the cage.
    Ears are cut again, but since its more of a cut than a clip and you have the eyes and tongue grabbing the viewers attentin I don't think stands out as much as it might in other shots.
    Shot 4 and 5 - again some bar problems in these shots - but they appear a little weaker (to my eye) than the above shots. 4 has a bit too much top to it which could be lost to move the cats head up a little more in the frame. Gaze capture is good, but the eye (whilst well focused) is too central - it needs to be more to the left or more frame to the right just so as it can lead you through the shot rather than having you view the right half and miss out the left.
    In 5 the bigger let down for me is that the cats whites have blown on the face, which gives it an "oncamera flash blast" effect.


    Overall there is some solid work here and you are capturing events/gazes and motions very well which help to give your shots content as well as an animal. The problems are partly niggles (clipped animal parts) and also constrains of the shooting environment (bars) which are often a major problem at such places since it is often not possible to get right upto the bars in such places to lose them in the shot.
     
  3. itsjustbrandy

    itsjustbrandy TPF Noob!

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    Overread,

    I did have a great time out there! :mrgreen:

    Thank you sooo much for all of the positive feedback and constructive criticism you have given. I find it all extremely helpful! :hug::
    I love animals, especially shooting... wait scratch that.... especially capturing them on camera. Your advice has been very much appreciated!
    The second shot- This was one of the first I took that day.. I think my problem there may have been a foggy lens... It was sooo cold that day. I had issues with the lens fogging up when I first got out there. :meh: boo!

    I saw your work on Flickr and loved it!
    It's very inspirational...
    Do you get to do this for a living?

    Thanks again for taking the time to help.

    good day :D
     
  4. dcmoody23

    dcmoody23 TPF Noob!

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    Hahah ... "I love animals, especially shooting them." :lmao:
     
  5. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Glad you found it helpfull brandy
    Yah foggy lenses can be a pain when you change temperatures - I've had the same
    often when shooting in bughouses.
    And many thanks for the compliments to my shots - and no at the moment its just me shooting for me though I hope to someday get a chance to get some earning off my shots. (if nothing but to pay for the gear)
     
  6. elrick

    elrick TPF Noob!

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    Beautiful Cats!:)
    3, 5 expression:thumbup:
     
  7. ArtIn08

    ArtIn08 TPF Noob!

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    Oh wow, I love these pictures too. Beautiful animals indeed. They actually look very healthy and strong. And...proud. :) I also like the crispness of the photos. Kudos! :thumbup:
     
  8. itznfb

    itznfb TPF Noob!

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    Nice shots. I think Overread covered all the CC lol but I love big cats :D
    Wish we had more big cats in this area.
     
  9. itsjustbrandy

    itsjustbrandy TPF Noob!

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    yeah, wouldn't that be nice... :lol:

    And Thank You to everyone that had an input.. :hug::
     
  10. GFreg

    GFreg TPF Noob!

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    Yeah pretty much.

    Very nice shots. I have a friend that volunteers at a similar facility. She invited me next time I am down her way and I just hope I can get shots that are half as good.
     
  11. adarklullaby

    adarklullaby TPF Noob!

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    And that would be me...

    Brandy those animals are gorgeous. :) I'm not really experienced enough on here to really offer really in depth comments (yet!) but here goes anyway!

    I reall like #1. I like that the cat is looking away from the camera to some mysterious object. I like the blurred background. It really gives it the appearance that the cat isn't in a cage. I know there's already been a comment about the band going through the picture that is probably a blurred out bar. I won't repeat what others have said.

    I do, however, want to let you know that you (and your camera) did a wonderful job of picking up on the cat's true colors. My old camera I used prior to my new SLR was absolutely dreadful at that. The cat pictures on that camera would come out looking like I'd drug them through a pile of dust and dirt. Great job with that. :) The coloring comment applies to all your pictures of the cats. It's very hard especially in the winter months to really get the coloring. I have another friend who takes pictures of the cats and always makes the comment to me that "it's a brown cat on a brown background." You've managed to make the cats pop out on the virtual page for me. Fence bars, foggy lenses and uncooperative ears aside, I really adore your pictures.

    General thougts:

    Picture 2 - I know that "look" all to well. Leopards are scarily smart and just looking at the expression of the one in the back reminds me of that small detail. I have some awesome stories.

    Picture 3, 4 and 5 - I really love the eyes in these shots. Though for some reason the eyes in 5 look a bit cloudy to me. Perhaps it's the lighting in the eye. Or a flash of some sort? I always find cat eyes hard to really photograph.

    PS - now you have me looking at all the pictures I have of the big cats I know. :hugs:
     
  12. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Making an animal "pop" oh a photo can be enhanced (note that enhanced part - its always best to nail it in camera as much as possible) but using some selective editing. Even using something like photoshop elements you can use a layermask attached to a brigthness and to a contrast layers to add a bit of brightness and contrast to the animal alone. Not so much that it glares out from the image, but enough that it just slips away from the background - dulling hte background by lowering its brightness can also yeald a similar effect.
     

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