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Greater grison : Hamerton : 15 Jun 2018

Galictis vittata

Greater grison : Hamerton : 15 Jun 2018
    • hmb_zoo
      Great capture Rob. I'd love to know how you managed to shoot this without getting the wire fencing dominating the shot. I've failed miserably so far with no successful shots taken.
      ro6ca66 likes this.
    • ro6ca66
      Thanks for the kind comment @hmb_zoo :)

      Alongside the good advice which you've already received in the Hamerton Zoo Park - Visiting Hamerton thread, I'd add the following:

      I'm shooting with a full-frame DSLR; the large sensor size does make it a little easier to adjust the depth-of-field (via the lens aperture) so that it only just encompasses the subject. Assuming that you're also getting the camera as close to the mesh as is practicable, and that the subject is as far away from the mesh as possible, then you've a fair chance of throwing the mesh out of focus. That's exactly what I've done in this photo.

      The other aspect is the lighting conditions. If possible, choose an overcast - even a gloomy - day to shoot these subjects (similarly for the civets, binturongs, tayra and others with dark pelages). This lessens the amount of light falling onto, and thus reflecting off of, the mesh. This reflected light really stands out against any dark subject or background, even when it's thrown as far out-of-focus as the camera settings and positioning will allow.

      However, there may still be things you can do to reduce these reflections. With the grisons (which tend to be most active in the afternoons), I try to shoot through the mesh within a couple of inches to the shady side of a supporting upright. Often there's a small shaded strip of mesh next to the uprights, noticeable even on an overcast day; shooting through that strip will lessen the chance of an ugly grid over the subject. This technique may mean revisiting the exhibit at different times of day or even year, depending on where the sun is in relation to the face of the mesh.

      If the sun is low enough, you may even be able to ask someone to stand between the sun and a portion of the mesh to create a more shaded area to shoot through. Possibly a good use for a bored spouse, I should imagine ;)

      If you do end up shooting in duller conditions, you may need to increase the ISO on your camera in order to get a usable photo. Many modern cameras will allow a reasonable photo to be had, even at some higher ISO settings. Again, I'm lucky in that my camera probably lets me get away with shooting in darker conditions than do many cameras with smaller sensors.

      Even so, you may still end up shooting at quite a slow shutter speed. Although many camera/lens combinations have decent anti-vibration mechanisms to allow this, they're of little help with a moving subject, so you'll probably need to wait until the subject is stationary, as I've done here. Obviously this is not always easy with the mustelids!

      If all else fails (and it often does fail!), and I have an otherwise decent photo, then I may attempt to deal with the mesh in post-processing. I use Adobe Lightroom software to organise and edit most of my shots, and sometimes I can somewhat reduce the effect of the mesh using a combination of the Adjustment Brush, Radial Filter and Heal/Clone tools, in combination with the various sliders (eg. Dehaze, Contrast, Exposure etc).

      In the end, a lot of it is pure luck; whether you can get (or engineer) the shaded mesh at a time when the grisons are out, but fairly stationary. Most times those planets just don't align, but I just see that as one more excuse for a return visit :) Luckily, I live within a reasonable distance of Hamerton.
    • hmb_zoo
      @ro6ca66 Wow, so much info and help thank you so much.
      I use my bridge camera usually in aperture priority but as you say the sensor is smaller so you can't change the depth of field so much as with a DSLR. I was thinking of getting my old Canon 10D out of moth balls but even my Canon telephoto lens is not a very fast one (75-300mm 4-5.6f I think but no image stabilisation so I'd need a monopod or tripod too) - still worth a shot though (no pun intended).
      I found the two Grison out this morning - 1st time for me at this time - they were less frantic so did manage to get slightly better shots than previously. It was certainly dull today too.
      I used ACDsee if I need to do any post processing but I prefer to spend my time out shooting photos rather than at a computer manipulating images ;)
      Again, many thanks for all your generous and really helpful information and for taking the time to write it too. It's very much appreciated Rob.
      ro6ca66 likes this.
    • Terry Thomas
      Good photo.
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  • Category:
    Hamerton Zoo Park
    Uploaded By:
    5 Jul 2018
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    EXIF Data

    File Size:
    507.3 KB
    Mime Type:
    Canon EOS 5D Mark III
    Date / Time:
    2018:06:15 15:37:20
    Exposure Time:
    1/500 sec
    ISO Speed Rating:
    ISO 800
    Focal Length:
    286 mm

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