Monday, July 08, 2013

Print of the Week

Diamond-back terrapin
(click to view larger)

This is a Diamondback terrapin at the National Aquarium in Baltimore, one of the stops on our train trip around the USA. As in most aquariums it was pretty dark. This shot was taken at 250mm (375mm equivalent and full zoom on my Tamron 18-250). I used 1/500 to counter camera shake with the long telephoto. This required ISO 6400, a speed that would have been impossible not long ago. Even on the K5ii I try to stay lower than this, but in this case it worked ok. There is some noise if you look closely at the original, but after reduction in Lightroom it's not really visible even in a 13x19 print. I turned the sharpening up on the print to offset the softness from the noise reduction.

The turtle was in an exhibit that was open, i.e. no dirty glass between us, which I'm sure helped get a good shot. I was also able to rest my elbows on the railing to help steady the camera.

I was lucky to get the eye in focus - that's generally what you want with wildlife photos. And there's even a catchlight in the eye (more luck since I had no control over the lighting).

I like the expression, and the reflection in the still water. I could have turned the water black, but I like the patterns, even if it does distract from the turtle slightly.

I wish I had left a little more room on the right. I blame it on too many years of my father telling me to "fill the frame". That used to be important, especially when you shot slides, but now that cameras have plenty of pixels and cropping is easy it's better to play it safe and leave a little spare around the edges.

I realize I have quite a few shots, like this one, that I think of as animal "portraits". Fairly direct, nothing fancy, fairly close up - a lot like you'd shoot a portrait of a person. Many of them were taken in zoos or aquariums. I prefer photographing animals in nature, but it's a lot harder to get shots like this in the wild. I got quite a few turtle photographs on our kayak trip in Florida, but not closeups like this.

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