Bristow Joseph  

Social Distancing by Bristow Joseph

June 2020 - Social Distancing

About the Image(s)

Social Distancing
Camera:Nikon D850
Lens :Nikkor 200-500/f5.6
Shutter Speed:1/2000s
Focal Length: 500mm

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

Margaret Frazer   Margaret Frazer
Great title. I love the colours but find the owls don't stand out much with the background. Really nice soft background. The out of focus rocks in the foreground take a lot of room and are a bit distracting pulling my eye from the subjects. Perhaps a higher F-stop would help or repositioning the camera. The owl on the right is very interesting with his pose but the one on the left it would have been nice if he turned around to see his eyes. I hope you get another chance to shoot these cute little owls. They are adorable.   Posted: 06/01/2020 11:34:13

Bristow Joseph   Bristow Joseph
Hi Margaret ,
Thank you for your valuable comment.This is from middle east country ,Qatar and these pictures taken in a farm in the middle of the desert where we normally find some birds.So most of the time the background is not pleasing in this part of the world and unfortunately in this case the color of the owls and rocks and even the background is almost same and if I turn whichever the direction I cant get a distinct background.I agree on the foreground rocks is a distraction but I thought this could be used to illustrate the Habitat of these birds as they have a nest in these rocks and also afraid of flying off these birds when I move my car from that position.I wanted both the birds in fairly well focused and thus used f/8 , I did wait for the second bird to turn a little bit but she disappointed me , as you said may be next time.
Thanks a lot Margaret   Posted: 06/01/2020 12:39:21
Margaret Frazer   Margaret Frazer
yes -- it must take infinite patience and animals/birds don't always co-operate with the pose we want :)   Posted: 06/01/2020 12:48:12

Larry Treadwell   Larry Treadwell
(Groups 36 & 67)
Even at first glance this image has a strong positive impact upon the viewer. The use of the analogous ¬ colors green and yellow are quite harmonious and create a well balanced and "comfortable" image. Analogous colors are generally the best colors to use with nature images. For the record, photographically, green is the best color to use behind birds and you scored well with this. The technical aspects of the image feature some very strong positives. First the background is absolutely seamless with no distractions. Such a background makes the subject pop from the background and makes it easier on the eye of the viewer. Your selections of camera settings both made the background possible and perfectly captured the subject in complete sharpness. The owls and the rock the one on the left sits upon are as sharp as possible. Even the fine hairs of their faces are sharp. The aperture of f8 provided you with enough DOF to capture both owls with outstanding sharpness. The selection of a quite fast shutter speed is responsible for this sharp image The greatest drawback to the image is the large out of focus rock in the lower right corner. Because it is both bright, and very soft, it immediately draws the eye of the viewer away from the subjects and this weakens the image considerably. Sadly, from this camera angle this rock issue cannot be solved. Judging by the harsh shadow and its position directly below the left owl's tail this photo was taken during the middle of the day. Mid day light is the most unflattering light for wildlife. You did well to keep from blowing out the highlights. The composition places the owls on a diagonal (the strongest positions) and this adds drama to the image. Additionally, since they are looking at each other it creates a feeling of intimacy that always creates an emotional connection between the viewer and the subject. The image as posted is a bit on the hot side and this has reduced the colors significantly. It also makes the out of focus rock on the right even brighter. Since the eye is drawn to the bright areas this just makes the rock even more of a distraction. I took the liberty of doing some edits on the image. First I brought down the exposure which helped to resaturate the colors. I also used Lightroom's gradient filter diagonally up from the lower right corner darken the out of focus rock to reduce its shock to the eye. I also used noise reduction applied locally with a brush on the background as your sharpening techniques (mentioned below) brought up some noise. When ever you have these seamless beautiful background even a little bit of noise shows so it is best to brush it out. ¬ I also cropped part of the upper image out. If you notice the original has a somewhat grey band across the top edge. This band ruins the seamless beauty of the background and only adds a distraction. Removing it cleans up the back ground and removes distractions. One final bit of caution. Nature images must look and feel natural. You do not mention what work you did not processing the image but the rock upon which the bird on the left sits clearly shows over sharpening. This over sharpening process creates telltale artifacts that are a dead give-away. If you slightly enlarge the image you will easily be able to see a white rim on the leg of the left bird that also extends upward along the left side of the bird's body. The lower wing feathers on the left side of the bird also exhibit the signs of over sharpening. Over sharpening and too much contrast generally cause the effect. You have to use these tools carefully to avoid the artifacts.

Note that these are only my opinions and I have been known to be wrong frequently. As the maker of the image you are always right. I am eager to hear your thoughts on my comments. If you have any questions I'll be happy to provide answers as best I can.

Oh yes, in wildlife images getting the eye of the subject sharp is mandatory. You captured the eye of both birds and that is a huge positive. Animals with soft eyes or positioned so that the eye is not visible are always scored low.
  Posted: 06/01/2020 13:50:44
Comment Image

Bristow Joseph   Bristow Joseph
Hi Larry,

Thats a lot of detailed analysis and thanks a lot and you are very much right about the lighting as we reached there early morning but due to the corona restrictions they stopped all people from entering the farm till 8:00 AM and when we reach these rocks area it was already 9:30 to 10:00 and I missed the Golden hours.
Thanks a lot about mentioning about the artifacts and I will try do take care of it in the future with controlled sharpening techniques.Could you please recommend the best way in photoshop to do sharpening without increasing the noise , currently I am using Topaz denoise for this purpose and I was thinking it was good enough but seems that it need to be optimized/fine tune to avoid such defects in the picture.

Overall thanks a lot and I hope to go back to the same spot sometimes later to get a better picture at the right time and light.   Posted: 06/02/2020 03:46:20

Tage Christiansen   Tage Christiansen
Hi Bristow
Good picture and good current title, I like that the two owls look at each other, it is important to see so much of the eyes. The owls are nicely sharp, the blurry cliff in the foreground bothers my eye I also thought there was too much with the top. But I would probably be happy even if I had taken such a picture.
Tage   Posted: 06/03/2020 09:16:51
Comment Image
Bristow Joseph   Bristow Joseph
Hi Tage,

Thanks a lot , good suggestions I agree on both points.   Posted: 06/04/2020 02:39:44

Gary Schafer   Gary Schafer
Good Evening Larry,

Do you know what kind of owls these are? Very fun photo. Owls are my favorite subject but rarely see them. Good shot with interest. A couple of comments. I would have dropped the ISO to 200 to 250. The photo is a bit bright. Good composition and good color. Background is blurred out nicely. I wish the birds were looking at you but shooting skittish owls is a difficult task. You get what you can get. I like the eye of the bird on the right. The birds are sharp and that is what makes the photo. I would like to see the foreground rocks in better focus. Overall a good photo.   Posted: 06/04/2020 19:18:57
Larry Treadwell   Larry Treadwell
(Groups 36 & 67)
My guess is that they are burrowing owls. We have them here in Florida and I love to photograph them. Especially when the young are just starting to get out and about.   Posted: 06/04/2020 19:57:55
Bristow Joseph   Bristow Joseph
Hi Gary,

These are called Lilith Owls or Desert Little owls , they are very small in size width is around 50cm and length around breeds in very small numbers. This bird also breeds in rocky desert areas in rock crevices often near cliffs. Unlike other owls, it may often be active by day.This is a species that is semi-open habitats and desert.There are thirteen recognised subspecies of this species which differ in size and colouration.It has an extremely large range with a stable population and it occurs in a broad band extending from western Europe and north-west Africa east to Mongolia, China and Vietnam. The southern limits of this species' range extend as far as The Arabian Peninsula and the horn of Africa, while its northern limits extend as far as Latvia.   Posted: 06/07/2020 15:56:04

Glenn Rudd   Glenn Rudd
As an experienced bird photographer, I appreciate your work in getting this capture. Getting clearly focused eyes of both birds would have been ideal, but not to be on this shoot. As pointed out by others, the image lacks contrast and is a bit over-exposed. I like Larry's treatment with the crop and use of the gradient filter. Another tool that might be useful is De-Haze in Lightroom. Nothing to be done about the our-of-focus foreground rocks, but they are a distraction   Posted: 06/06/2020 08:37:09
Bristow Joseph   Bristow Joseph
dear Glen,
Thanks a lot for your valuable comments , I agree on the points and will do the corrections.   Posted: 06/07/2020 15:59:28

Dave Ficke   Dave Ficke
It sounds like you were on a tour and completely understand those kinds of situations - you get one chance and that is it. I guess that is why with nature photography we go back again and again.
Your technique is good - no camera shake and yes the foreground owl could have been a bit more agreeable - oh well. The out of focus rocks - bummer but the eyes and feathers age great.   Posted: 06/14/2020 17:22:46