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Skywatcher
03-05-2012, 09:07 AM
I would like some advice about where to go now with my plan to take photos of my resident badgers.

I will post some more pics top this thread later on when I upload the last 2 nights efforts

At the moment I am having to take shots through my double glazing with a flashgun off camera to avoid reflections in the glass.

I appreciate this is far from ideal but they are such timid animals that any noise spooks them and they run away. It has taken me 2 years of feeding and slowly indroducing lighting to them to be tolerant of the flashgun.

I am hoping with the summer months ( big LOL at the moment) I will be able to get outside in a makeshift hide with them to avoid the glass

I have 3 problems that I need help with really

1. Is lighting - they tolerate the flash now but obviously being nocturnal beasties you cannot take photos of them during lovely golden twilight, I would appreaciate advice of how best to light them other than the flashgun - gels? I don't know - The step is covered in soalr garden lamps but these provide little in the way of decent lighting

2. Background - I would love a better background than our decking covered in peanuts - One Idea I had was to get some lastolite http://www.warehouseexpress.com/studio-backgrounds/b3100 and pput this on and over the decking to provide either a completely black or , more likely a completely white backdrop and floor to take a shot on - do you think this would work? is the paper thick enough not to tear? I kinda like the idea of a shot against a totally white background - are there issues with doing this and lighting?

3. Getting them to look up - I'll have to work this out myself most of the time they graze with nose buried in the floor - have seen people dangling peanut butter sandwiches on wires to get them to look up and stand up - so may give this a go.

Any thoughts appreciated :D

badgerbadgersnaaaaaake

Tink
03-05-2012, 09:09 AM
Re: Advice re Badger photography project

I have no idea about any of that (there's a real surprise) I just want to see the photos! :D Looking forward to them, Doc.

catrancher
03-05-2012, 11:42 AM
Re: Advice re Badger photography project

Hmmm... not sure about the backdrop or the lighting but how about setting the camera up outside on a tripod. Camouflage it a bit and then use something like this (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/749996-REG/Vello_RW_C2_FreeWave_Wireless_Remote_Shutter.html) to fire it from in the house. That would avoid shooting through the glass and also get you a bit closer to the action.

Tom (:macwave:... just thinking...)

Skywatcher
03-05-2012, 12:04 PM
Re: Advice re Badger photography project

Thanks Tom - thats a thought but there would be no way of framing the shot quite right unless I was looking through the lens at the time I think - and getting close to the action isn't an issue - last night I was 2 inches from one of their noses :D

Esmeralda
03-05-2012, 12:24 PM
Re: Advice re Badger photography project


I would like some advice about where to go now with my plan to take photos of my resident badgers


Have you thought of beavers? There must be all kinds out there? :unsure:

Skywatcher
03-05-2012, 08:36 PM
Re: Advice re Badger photography project

Any other ideas anyone :unsure:

Anyway while we wait here are some from this week , two in the dry and 2 in the soaking rain that seems to never end during this period of 'drought'

Pretty happy considering they are through double glazing and shot in pitch darkness but I still want better and I need to get around the double glazing issue :fingers:

Spent a long time on the last 3 cloning out peanuts, its a shame as I really like the first one as its side lit but try as I might I just can't get the peanuts gone - anyone who is better at PS give me a hand or offer any suggestions?



http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7091/7139709215_16abf6cae9_c.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/48304094@N08/7139709215/)
side lit badger (http://www.flickr.com/photos/48304094@N08/7139709215/) by Sidleydoc (http://www.flickr.com/people/48304094@N08/), on Flickr


http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7077/7139710415_72e273e4fa_c.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/48304094@N08/7139710415/)
Soaking wet stripes (http://www.flickr.com/photos/48304094@N08/7139710415/) by Sidleydoc (http://www.flickr.com/people/48304094@N08/), on Flickr

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7080/7139711187_f9be578815_c.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/48304094@N08/7139711187/)
Wet and Wild (http://www.flickr.com/photos/48304094@N08/7139711187/) by Sidleydoc (http://www.flickr.com/people/48304094@N08/), on Flickr

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8005/7139711875_c6480ee680_c.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/48304094@N08/7139711875/)
Midnight Caller (http://www.flickr.com/photos/48304094@N08/7139711875/) by Sidleydoc (http://www.flickr.com/people/48304094@N08/), on Flickr

the large files look pretty good on flickr - if you click on them and go for 'original' they show a lot of detail which you would never normally see on a badger in the wild

Britchick
03-05-2012, 08:45 PM
sorry not really been reading stuff properly today, just read this. The first thing that springs to mind - don't spend a fortune getting black lastolite, get some black material that's easy to wash and iron -doesn't crease too much. You can then up the black in the processing- can't remember what you call it and it gets rid of any creases, dust etc. I use it for back drops for portraits and it works really well.


or you need to build a hide in your garden LOL or convince Lisa that a lens size hole in the patio doors is a good idea LOL

Skywatcher
03-05-2012, 10:13 PM
sorry not really been reading stuff properly today, just read this. The first thing that springs to mind - don't spend a fortune getting black lastolite, get some black material that's easy to wash and iron -doesn't crease too much. You can then up the black in the processing- can't remember what you call it and it gets rid of any creases, dust etc. I use it for back drops for portraits and it works really well.


or you need to build a hide in your garden LOL or convince Lisa that a lens size hole in the patio doors is a good idea LOL

Awesome idea, :D never thought of cutting a hole in the glass.

Good idea about the cloth, may go to Dunelm mill and see what they have cheap.

What about white lastolite? Really like the idea of a white background to liven up the image a little, although the beasts are bound to make it dirty!

keith
03-05-2012, 10:15 PM
I wish I could be of use but honestly, the photos you've already got are so far beyond any wildlife photos I've got that it would be silly for me to suggest anything :lol:

One thing I guess I sorta FEEL about it though is, I wouldn't personally go too far down the road of making things artificial even if the intention is to make it look natural.

I guess an uncluttered natural colour background isnt the end of the world but if they're nocturnal then I think added light should be kept to a minimum and their natural environment is good to see. I mean, I wouldnt WANT to see a spot on perfectly lit Badger posing with sunglasses waving against a high key backdrop (not that I think for a moment that's what you were aiming for either).

If you did go down the white background route, you'd have the same exposure issues as with snow. Your cam would try and take the white to grey and so you'd have to dial in a bit of compensation to cope. Not the end of the world. I'm not really feeling it for a white background but I could be convinced by some great shots :D

The few shots here ALMOST look a tad oversharpened to my eyes but it could just be the software scaling them downsize.

All in all, I LOVE these environmental shots I really really do and think you're doing a brilliant job on them.

foreverducky
03-05-2012, 11:21 PM
If I understood Keith right, then I tend to see it how he does. I think it's okay for it to be naturally unpretty. As you appropriately named one of your photos, they are wet and wild. Nature is sometimes dirty, but never flawed. And I have seen your previous animal photos, and well, they are absolutely stunning. Go for the gritty natural approach.

(I hope I didn't put words in Keith's mouth) :unsure:

Britchick
04-05-2012, 07:47 AM
I agree with the natural thing to, you could always try the black fabric it's cheap enough, they may not like the texture on their paws though.

Kate
04-05-2012, 08:33 AM
I wouldnt WANT to see a spot on perfectly lit Badger posing with sunglasses waving against a high key backdrop

I want to see that!!! :happybounce:

I think the photos that youve already taken are brilliant! :yes:

Tink
04-05-2012, 09:30 AM
Well, I understand a bit more now of what you are trying to accomplish. I wonder how many of the shots in National Geographic and other nature periodicals are created? All this time I thought they were candid!

Any shots of nocturnal animals that I recall are all dark, especially the background. Once in a while there will be the odd lemur with the overly lighted pose and that is sort of creepy.

I think the shots you have here are wonderful. You can see each hair for goodness sake!

Skywatcher
04-05-2012, 09:31 AM
I wish I could be of use but honestly, the photos you've already got are so far beyond any wildlife photos I've got that it would be silly for me to suggest anything :lol:

One thing I guess I sorta FEEL about it though is, I wouldn't personally go too far down the road of making things artificial even if the intention is to make it look natural.

I guess an uncluttered natural colour background isnt the end of the world but if they're nocturnal then I think added light should be kept to a minimum and their natural environment is good to see. I mean, I wouldnt WANT to see a spot on perfectly lit Badger posing with sunglasses waving against a high key backdrop (not that I think for a moment that's what you were aiming for either).

If you did go down the white background route, you'd have the same exposure issues as with snow. Your cam would try and take the white to grey and so you'd have to dial in a bit of compensation to cope. Not the end of the world. I'm not really feeling it for a white background but I could be convinced by some great shots :D

The few shots here ALMOST look a tad oversharpened to my eyes but it could just be the software scaling them downsize.

All in all, I LOVE these environmental shots I really really do and think you're doing a brilliant job on them.

Thanks Keith great advice as always.

I know what you mean about the background - the thing is I really ideally would like them against a natural woodland background, not against something so obviously man made as the decking but so far I haven't progressed to that. Again maybe in the summer if I get a sort of hide in place and can get them before they get up on the deck.

The idea of the white was to look at the creature in isolation as stark contrast to the background, to bring out its colours and contours in a way you can't against the dark. It was just an idea and it may fail horribly, it was just an idea to do something 'different'.

No wasn't planning on the spotlight or the sunglasses, or the straw donkey and umbrella in the cocktail :lol:

Really don't like the way a lot of the software compress' the pics if I'm honest , may have to find a better answer than flickr - I really don't like sharpening of images and to be honest I very rarely do it at all and I'm fairly certain I didn't use any at all on these, infact I didn't do much post processing on the images at all apart from a few levels and curves, most of the work was on removing the tons of peanuts by cloning. The reason I did this was the bright orange was rather distracting.

OMG how anal have I become :lol:

Think I really should have picked an easier animal like my cat to focus on

Tink
04-05-2012, 09:37 AM
Now I have no idea if this is remotely do-able or just stupid, but could you have an area in your garden that is lighter through the use of sand? You could put something on the sand to lure the badger (those peanuts maybe?). That would be natural in one sense (although I doubt there are many badgers in the desert). It would give you a lighter background?

Kitties are awfully pretty! :D

keith
04-05-2012, 09:48 AM
Well, I understand a bit more now of what you are trying to accomplish. I wonder how many of the shots in National Geographic and other nature periodicals are created? All this time I thought they were candid!!

This is becoming a huge problem in these digital days.

There's always been the modification of surroundings. Cutting off some brances or making an "area" for animals which is good for the photo. That's one thing and generally that's understood and accepted. This is what Skywatcher is talking about.. just making the environment the best it can be for a great shot.

Nowadays not only do you have that, but you even have people digitally editing the photos to a really unacceptable (in my eyes) extent. Indeed only a year or so ago, the guy who won wildlife photographer of the year was stripped of the title after it was shown that he'd basically edited a few photos together. (It was of a fox jumping over a fence and ISTR it was shown that the fox was wearing the wrong fur for the season shown in the photo and he ended up admitting it).

It's hard now to look at an amazing photo and then think hmmm, but is it real :/

This is one of the reasons we're so lucky to have sir skywatcher around since we're seeing proper images that we can trust

Skywatcher
04-05-2012, 10:44 AM
:lol: and the oscar for excessive flattery goes to.. ;)

Yep I totally disagree with the digital manipulation of wildlife photographs UNLESS people are obviously being very open and honest about it ie they are using the photos for art rather than a representation of the animal in the wild.

What you see a lot of is composite images, people spend ages ( and there is still a lot of skill involved) taking multiple images of a scene , and over the weeks a badger may walk by and a fox and some birds. What they then do is mush them all together to create a stunning image that has them all together.

Another thing that is very very often used in 'wildlife photography' are captured and trained animals - a LOT of teh photographs you will see in wildlife magazines are of anuimals with perfect pelts agains stunning backdrops and these scenes are arranged in various locations around teh globe with a host of tamed animals. Again as long as you arent passing this off as a 'wild shot' I see no real problem with this. It was this reason that the photo lost the Wildlife photograph of the year award - it was a wolf jumping a gate - a really beautiful shot - chap made some story about how he'd tracked him for days and was amazed when he jumped and got the shot - problem was someone recognised the wolf as a tame wolf and actually it had taken him all of an afternoon of jumping him to get the shot.

The whole idea of the white background thing for me wasn't in any way to cheat the viewer, it was just an idea to get some different kind of shots - the beasties I can assure you are as wild as they can be, and it has taken me 2 years to get to be as close as I am - I just really want to see how far I can push myself and push this, one day I want to capture something that is truely stunning and these animals are beautiful and so often overlooked as they are so rarely seen by anyone.

uscwest
04-05-2012, 10:56 AM
Absolutely brilliant photography Chris. I can't even imagine being that close to a badger.

keith
04-05-2012, 10:58 AM
:lol: and the oscar for excessive flattery goes to.. ;)

:lol: nah I'm mega impressed, I honestly am. They're wonderful shots which I'd be very proud to have taken



The whole idea of the white background thing for me wasn't in any way to cheat the viewer, it was just an idea to get some different kind of shots - the beasties I can assure you are as wild as they can be, and it has taken me 2 years to get to be as close as I am - I just really want to see how far I can push myself and push this, one day I want to capture something that is truely stunning and these animals are beautiful and so often overlooked as they are so rarely seen by anyone.

yeah.. I mean I think what you're getting already is stunning but I understand the desire to go further and further.

I think the hide will be the key. Once you get that going and can get out there with them it'll be even better

Britchick
04-05-2012, 02:13 PM
What about just collecting some twigs, leaves etc and putting them on the decking? I'm sure if you promise to clean up afterwards you won't get in too much trouble!

Skywatcher
04-05-2012, 10:31 PM
Dressing the deck might not be a bad idea at all thanks Julie.

Had a bit of a breakthrough tonight, actually crept outside halfway through their feast and inced towards them. They were so preoccupied they let me get to within 6 ft of them. Unfortunately when they saw me they scarpered, but not far.

I think the biggest challenge outside is going to be noise. Behind double glazing the shutter noise is eliminated, outside it sounds like a machine gun going off to them. The light doesn't bother them but the noise sure does.

I'm hoping they have bred again this year and it won't be long until one of them shows me her cubs like she did last year :fingers:

Tomorrow ,weather permitting, I may just sit out at dusk and sit with them a while and just fire off the occasional click, over several nights I hope to get them used to that.

All this will be worth it for that one 'wow' shot and I'll know when I've got it.

Bizzarly (IMO) , this is my most viewed photo on Flickr and is picked up daily on google images, in fact it's on the front page if you google 'cute badger' which several people a day seem to do strangely.
It may just be because I called the image 'cute badger' rather than the way it's processed

http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5030/5751642455_2ddca491c5_z.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/48304094@N08/5751642455/)
cute badger (http://www.flickr.com/photos/48304094@N08/5751642455/) by Sidleydoc (http://www.flickr.com/people/48304094@N08/), on Flickr

keith
04-05-2012, 11:33 PM
Really love that shot. Absolutely brilliant

Does the 7d have a quiet shutter mode prone that holds the shutter from returning until you take your finger off the shutter? I can't remember

That mode is surprisingly quiet if it has it

josh.p.
05-05-2012, 07:09 PM
Not sure how I haven't replied to this thread before but I absolutely love that black & white shot. He looks so cheeky! (Assuming it is a 'he badger'.) I can have a go at doing the cloning of the peanuts but to be honest I think it will stick out like a sore thumb :rotfl: