Madhusudhan Srinivasan  

Elephant Suckling by Madhusudhan Srinivasan

June 2020 - Elephant Suckling

June 2020 - Madhusudhan Srinivasan


About the Image(s)

Elephant Suckling

In continuation to my previous post, I am posting another elephant from Mana Pools, Zimbabwe. In our pursuit to find Boswell, we passed many interesting scenes across the park. This was one of them.
At a distance, we noticed a few elephants grazing and thought to pass the normal scene. However, this baby elephant was approaching it's mother and we decided to wait for a couple of minutes to see if there could be some expressions/gestures to witness. Viola! we got to see this and capture it.
It was a beautiful moment, so I tried to get the habitat shot & see if it comes out as interesting as the scene was on-ground. Hopefully, it is as appealing. I chose to present the image in B&W to showcase the lights and shadows with the required depth. Happy to receive feedback to improvise or learn a different view point from stalwarts here.

Nikon D7200, Nikkor 70-200mm f2.8, handheld shot @280mm

1/250, f7.1, ISO 200, matrix metering

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

Larry Treadwell   Larry Treadwell
This is a really nice intimate scene and so see this live must be quite thrilling. I feel that the stars of the show have to be mom and her calf. While I do understand the concept of getting the environmental "feel" for the image I think that you just have too much environment. I also feel that the elephants are a bit squeezed into the frame. There for a did a bit of Photoshop Magic to "adjust" things just a bit. First I cropped the scene to take away some of the unnecessary environment both above and to the left of the elephants. Then using both Edit>Content Aware Scale and finally the healing brush I added some space beneath the elephants to that they don't look quite so crowded at the bottom of the frame. Then using a bit of dodge and burn techniques I brightened the elephants to help them stand out and the did a bit of extra work to bring up the all important eye of the mother elephant so that it shows a bit more. Finally, just for fun I dodged a few shadows in the upper left corner just because I felt like it. Almost forgot---I also added a touch of texture to the bodies of the elephants. All in all, about 10 minutes of work.

Hope I didn't ruin your image. That Content Aware Scale tool is pretty powerful when you figure out how to use it.

The image looks a bit grainy, but I was working with a tiny file not the original.   Posted: 06/08/2020 21:11:32
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Madhusudhan Srinivasan   Madhusudhan Srinivasan
Thank you so much for the inputs Larry. This version is indeed more appealing. I wondered why it did not stand much in the salons but now I got the answer. Will try entering this version and test my luck.
I forgot to mention, that I used Nik s/w and Silver Pro Effect within. That has added some grainy effect too.
Thanks again!   Posted: 06/09/2020 23:26:43
Larry Treadwell   Larry Treadwell
Anything I can do to help is my pleasure. I try to look at each image as if I were judging it in a competition.

Two thoughts 1. always make sure your subject is the star of the scene. Light is always the key--so make sure light emphasizes the subject.

2. anything that takes attention away from the subject has to be removed.

You have a good image, just a few tweaks. :-)

  Posted: 06/10/2020 07:22:27

Mark Winter   Mark Winter

Another really nice image. I had the same thought as Larry, which was to bring out the elephants more, which Larry did an excellent job with. A really unique part of the world.   Posted: 06/10/2020 16:01:26
Madhusudhan Srinivasan   Madhusudhan Srinivasan
Thanks Mark.   Posted: 06/30/2020 02:32:54

Beverly Caine   Beverly Caine
(Groups 48 & 80)
Visiting from 48 & 80
I love elephant images. For years I collected everything I could find in Elephant statues, place mats, tee shirts and everything else.

This is a lovely image but I would like to suggest that you remove the tree trunk on the right and then for change of view I converted it into a panorama removing a lot of the dead space in the trees and leaves in the background. Wonder what your thoughts are.   Posted: 06/13/2020 08:53:26
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Madhusudhan Srinivasan   Madhusudhan Srinivasan
Thanks for taking time to visit and share your feedback Beverly. It is interesting how different people look at the same thing differently. You input well taken with a combination of Larry's cropping / extending the ground a bit more.   Posted: 06/30/2020 02:39:17

Richard Matheny   Richard Matheny
I don't think I can add anything to the conversation that has not been said. Only maybe I wish I have been with you to witness this scene. You just can't beat a mom and her baby together. The 3 things I agree with the most is the removal of the tree trunk on the left, I really think that helped the image. I really like the texture that larry added to the animals. That adds as so much life to them, I find that amazing. The last I think I like the panorama as the best crop.
A really great image.   Posted: 06/13/2020 16:31:25
Madhusudhan Srinivasan   Madhusudhan Srinivasan
Thanks a lot Richard. It was indeed a great time to watch these gentle giants at close proximity   Posted: 06/30/2020 02:40:41

Jason Stewart   Jason Stewart
I loved the original image, but when i read larrys comments i had to agree. the elephants could stand out a bit more. When i was in africa for dark scenes like this they had us in auto iso using the exposure compensation to make the subject stand out in darker or lighter scenes. This helped me a great deal.   Posted: 06/14/2020 07:38:31
Madhusudhan Srinivasan   Madhusudhan Srinivasan
Appreciate your input Jason. Will try to explore that in my next trip   Posted: 06/30/2020 02:41:49

Michael Weatherford   Michael Weatherford
A charming image. I like Larry's adjustments, but to me the color version is far better. I like the softness of the original image - the soft browns and greens, and how the light falls on the elephants.   Posted: 06/16/2020 10:37:37
Madhusudhan Srinivasan   Madhusudhan Srinivasan
Oh lovely, you liked the color version   Posted: 06/30/2020 02:42:34
Michael Weatherford   Michael Weatherford
Yes, just a personal preference. I like the compatibility of the soft colors. It adds to the intimacy of a touching scene. On the other hand, the black and white brings out the the unique form of the elephants. I like Beverly Caine's crop because it gives space in front of the elephants - nothing is lost by cropping out the limbs at the top IMO. So I like both color and B&W versions and can imagine them side-by-side on your wall to capture the best of both worlds!   Posted: 06/30/2020 09:17:42

Todd Grivetti   Todd Grivetti

Beautiful initmate moment between a mother and calf. You have captured this well.

Looking at both original and Larry's rendition, I would agree with Michael, the original is very nice. I took the liberty to make some adjustments as well. There is one distracting item in the background I noticed in the original. It looks like there is a person leaning over with a blue shirt on, just behind the tree behind the mother. I love the gazell in the ravine as well. I used the healing brush on the person to remove it from the image, then decided from the other recommendations to crop out the tree, which eliminated this altogether.

I used both the Horizontal gradient and radial gradients to make some minor adjustments with a focused approach to the elephants by adding some sharpening, clarity, and texture to bring out the hides a little better. I then did the same for the trees to bring out the texture of the bark and adjusted for the light. With the radial gradient, I adjusted some shadowing to bring out the calf's face a bit more as well, and also brought out the gazell in the ravine.

Here is the color version. I also did a rendition in B&W.

  Posted: 06/20/2020 08:34:54
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Todd Grivetti   Todd Grivetti
Here is the Black and White version.

I did some slight modifications with the color filters adding a hint of orange, reducing yellow and increasng the greens. I left everything else alone from the Colored version related to the previous descriptions.

Thoughts??   Posted: 06/20/2020 08:37:38
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Madhusudhan Srinivasan   Madhusudhan Srinivasan
I like both your versions Todd. However, Color version looks better to me in this cropping. Over and above, I understand Larry's version of extending the ground a bit more might take care of rule of third & a bit of breathing space at the bottom of the frame.
I am still curious to find out where did you see a man with blue shirt behind the mother... But having seen the scene personally, I can confidently say there was no human element noticed on ground while shooting :)   Posted: 06/30/2020 03:00:32