Andrew Hersom, PPSA  

Orangutan & Young by Andrew Hersom, PPSA

August 2019 - Orangutan & Young

About the Image(s)

This was taken at Apenheul Primate Park in The Netherlands this spring. Weather was difficult so I had to use a high ISO. This has been cropped and highlight/shadow areas adjusted. That's about it.

This round’s discussion is now closed!
13 comments posted

Alison McMahan   Alison McMahan
This is a very powerful photograph. The adult orangutan looks out at us with an expression full of intelligence and emotion. The young orangutan inspires the feelings of tenderness and protectiveness that images of young almost always do, at least for me. There is something about the way they are both chewing on twigs that is very endearing.
When I could wrest my eyes away from the adult ape's expression, the next thing that jumped out at me were the textures. I feel like I could reach out and touch the ape's hair. Also the contrasting texture of the grass. Although there is no real depth to the image, the background is blurry, almost bokeh but not quite. If you want to separate the apes more from their background, you could experiment with adding blur to the darker area at the top of the frame.

Some of the image's power comes from the use of the rule of thirds. The two tree trunks in the background emphasize the composition. If you were to play with anything, I would suggest selectively darkening just the tree trunks in Photoshop.
Another thing you could do is selectively lighten the eyes of the adult ape, and whiten the whites of her eyes, just as you might in the portrait of a person. I have links to a tutorial on how to do that, if you need it.
I really like this image. I wish I could meet this ape family myself. I lived in the Netherlands for five years, but I never knew about this Primate Park.   Posted: 08/04/2019 20:09:13

Jamie Carrier   Jamie Carrier
The colors, lines, and like Alison, said, the textures all make for a picture I want to return to again and again. You can feel the love.
The Primate Park seems like good place to return to.   Posted: 08/13/2019 12:17:20

Henry Roberts   Henry Roberts
Andrew,beautiful mother and offspring sharing a moment together! And you even have catchlights in the mother's eyes. I think your highlight/shadows adjustments are right on. I can't tell that you used a high ISO so you handled that well.

Great image!

Alison has some thoughtful comments but I am quite satisfied in how the image looks as you did it.   Posted: 08/17/2019 11:17:36

Sharon Prislipsky   Sharon Prislipsky
(Groups 35 & 52)
Andrew, I think this image presents a strong nature story. It appears that the mother is enjoying a meal and also feeding her child, much the way a human mother would so it is easy to make an emotional connection. The detail in the fur of both mother an baby are sharp and I see no signs of excessive noise although you stated that the ISO setting was high. From a compositional standpoint, I like the triangular shape of the subjects. but the two tree trunks are elements that are somewhat problematic for me.
I think that what you do with this image from here on depends on your intended use of it. As a nature image I think it is pretty strong, although I agree with Alison about darkiening those tree trunks. I would also try to add some light in the eyes of the adult. The appear to be sharp but shadowed.
If you are not worried about the rules in the Nature Division, I would clone the tree trunks out. Also, in my opinion, the image might be enhanced by darkening the entire background. I think it is very busy and takes attention away from your center of interest. My thinking is that you want to work to get the orangutans to pop out from that grass.   Posted: 08/19/2019 07:30:04
Andrew Hersom   Andrew Hersom
Thanks for these points.   Posted: 08/19/2019 08:35:28

Catherine Honigsberg   Catherine Honigsberg
Really great job on capturing a moment and the textures of both the grass and the fur detail.   Posted: 08/19/2019 08:21:32

Mike Cohen   Mike Cohen
(Group 52)
Hi Andrew. I'm a visitor from group 52. I love this image. Very sweet story of love. I've read and agree with the other comments about the trees and lightening up mom's face. I'm not bothered by the existence of the trees as much as from their brightness, but if was my image, I might remove them and compare how I liked it. My suggestions would be to tone down both the vibrance and luminosity of the green grass, which comes across as very loud on my monitor. I might add a slight blur to the bottom foreground and see how a slight vignette looks as well. These are all nitpicks given your super strong subject and story appeal.   Posted: 08/19/2019 08:44:40

John Roach   John Roach
(Groups 52 & 64)
In order to not be redundant, I will not add to the positives already mentioned. Rather, in my opinion, I can only think about things that I believe might enhance the image. For me, I'd prefer to have my eyes focused, using tone curve and contrast as well a vignette, more on the animals. I feel that background surrounding the animals is at the same tonality and thus needs to be subdued. I also, might have preferred a bit more room on the left to minimize the sense of the animals being dead center. Overall, it is a wonderful image that with framing and tonal adjustment will be a winner.   Posted: 08/19/2019 09:02:55

Andrew Hersom   Andrew Hersom
Thanks Nature+ Group 52! I don't think I will be entering this in a ND salon so a bit of tweaking is going to be OK. I obviously took lots of shots of this pair. This image does have natural catch-lights albeit small; I suppose I could enhance these. It is amazing how in many of the images the eyes are inaccessible, being naturally hooded. I think you are right about the background and I will work on that as well as the grass, although it seemed natural at the time, being in May (we've had lots of rain). I might have some room on the left, need to check the original. Thanks again.   Posted: 08/19/2019 11:35:22

Lisa Auerbach   Lisa Auerbach
(Group 52)
This is a great nature story. I would suggest what others have said. The first thing I noticed was that the eyes need to be lighter so they are seen first, and the grass is a bit too bright. Those are the two major distractions to an excellent composition.   Posted: 08/20/2019 06:23:06
Andrew Hersom   Andrew Hersom
thanks I need to work on that   Posted: 08/20/2019 09:53:45

Judith Lesnaw   Judith Lesnaw
(Groups 52 & 79)
Andrew, I am visiting from group 52 (and 79). You have captured a wonderful moment in nature. It is amazing that the Orangutan's eyes are looking at the lens. I would emphasize this by lightening the eye area and intensifying the eyes. The reddish brown of the animals within the surrounding green grass is very pleasing, and the repetition of the green in the leaves being munched draws my eyes right to the mother's face and up to those eyes. I would lessen the harshness of the surrounding green and clarify the green of the munched leaves. I see that you will not be entering this image in a Nature competition. I would therefore definitely remove those trees in the background as they compete with the browns of the animals. I would also experiment with a very slight vignette to further pop the subject.   Posted: 08/20/2019 09:33:43
Andrew Hersom   Andrew Hersom
Appreciate these comments.   Posted: 08/20/2019 09:54:12