Nature Photography Photo Critique
owl eyes 2
by Douglas Pfister
Category: Nature Photography
Canon EOS 5D
Lens: Super-Telephoto: > 2
Exposure time: 1/400 ,
Description: lots of shadows. I used fill flash.
Subject of photo
Composition & Perspective
Use of camera, exposure & speed
Color & Lighting
Depth of field
I like the subject. Owls are always compelling subjects just simply because of their enigmatic demeanor and historical reputation as harbingers or omens.
I think placement and use of space on this image is generally good. Cropping is also good as well. You may want to experiment with cropping the image a little to the left to move the owls head a bit more to the left margin for balance. . but its a subjective choice I think that is not critical. The way in which the owl is placed leaves no room for the eye to wander elsewhere and there is no mistake about who the subject of this image is. Having the subject dominate works well here particularly considering the intense expression of the eyes which would be lessened by having backed off the subject.
The focus is where it should be, sharply on the eyes and frontal part of the face. the focus drops off smoothly to the periphery of the owl till it becomes a very soft, almost a gaussian blur in the background.
I think everything pretty much worked here. Shooting at f/8 and at a fast shutter speed ensured that you were pretty much in your lenses sweet spot for focus and at low risk for movement blur. Using a tripod also helped considerably in that regard. despite the fact you shot in the afternoon the use of fill flash eliminated any risk of harsh shadows and the lighting is quite even and natural.
I love the colors in this composition. The muted earth tones, browns and yellows and blacks provide a very woodsy look to this image, as does, what appears to be,a muted birch or aspen tree trunk in the background.
The depth of field is, I believe, perfect for this image.
Very nicely executed image. I think if I were a small ground rodent and saw this image, I'd be very worried.
How to improve your photo
I have so very little to take issue with on this image. So I'll suggest some things that you may want to consider but that aren't necessarily critiques. Consider cropping the image as mentioned above to move the owl a little bit off center.
You may wish to increase the dramatic effect of the owl by adjusting levels and brightness and even saturation to a degree using a post processing software program such as photoshop or lightroom.
Shoot varying versions of the subject with perhaps its entire body visible.
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