London Zoo – results and guides 1

Well here starts a change in the pace – this will be the first in several entries which will detail from start to finish how I altered photos in post production. The photos are all new ones from my recent trip to London Zoo.
However first, my impression of the zoo overall: This felt like a zoo that has past its time, a broken and forgotten place still stuck in the renovations of cheap concrete enclosures and small spaces of the city. Though it has some spectacular works for its age – such as the large outdoor aviary, the mould on the sides is showing the age. Personally, as I walked round and looked at the different exhibitions I thought that they should to away with the larger enclosures – creatures such as tigers, hunting dogs, giraffes and zebras to name but a few, really need larger enclosures. I am aware that many animals have already been moved to their other site – Whipsnade – which has considerably more room. A recent transfer is the cheetahs. I also overheard plans to expand some of the enclosures into “waste space” or as I read it, space where once humans thronged in their hundreds where now they gather only in their 10s. Though I think the establishment should stay open, it should focus on smaller animals on a whole = becoming more like a large city farm – with a few more exotic creatures such as the reptiles, otters and meerkats.
Well that is enough of my views of the zoo – onto the photos:
This day was hard day to shoot for it was overcast with grey clouds – that would spit forth the odd drop or two of rain. The wind was on the colder side of cool, leading fingers to get far colder than you would notice at first.
All photos in the Zoo collection were taken with:
Cannon EOS 400D
Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 DG Macro lens
Tripod
For settings save pic to pc and review properties
AFRICAN HUNTING DOG
ORIGINAL (reduced for web)
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For this one I went through the usual smart fix, levels, contrast and colour auto settings. I then increased the saturation and further added a little bit more reddening through temperature. I then selected the far right hand side of the hound – in line with the tree trunk and increased this areas saturation and reddening further – to balance out the effect of the glass. The reddening was to counter the dull light cast by the overcast day. I then sharpened the image using the unsharpen mask. Following that I reduced the noise and then sharpened (to a lesser degree) again. I finally lowered the tint a fraction into the green – to counter the harsh reddening.
For the web version I overhsharpened a little and then reduced the image size – adjusting the sharpening a little again.

Another version:
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With this one instead of altering the colours on the far right I cropped the section off entirely

PHOTO 2
ORIGINAL (reduced for web)
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Again though smart fix, auto levels, contrast and colour. Following that I again increased saturation and reddening (temperature) with a very tiny tint towards the green. Following that a near full unsharpen, followed by a second lesser sharpen. I then cropped out the bar from the bottom of the photo – as it added nothing but a distraction to the image. I then altered the image back and forth between large and small (websize) and decided to crop out a little of the top and right hand sides.
I then reduced the photo for the web and applied another near full unsharpen followed by reducing the noise.

PHOTO 3
ORIGINAL (reduced for web)
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First off, again smartfix, levels, contrast and colour all done on auto settings; From there I boosted saturation by a bit and then increased temp and decreased tint by small degrees. From there it was a full sharpen followed by removing noise and then a smaller degree of sharpening again.
After that it was time to reduce sizes again and then a final larger sharpen (unsharpen mask).
My initial worry about this photo is the back of the dog not being in focus – as the dog is looking in that direction as well, the viewers eyes are dragged a little that way and the blurred back spoils the effect. I tried changing sharpening of only that section of the pic, but to no luck.

PHOTO 4
ORIGINAL (resized for web)
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First off, again smartfix, levels, contrast and colour all done on auto settings; From there I boosted saturation by a bit and then increased temp and decreased tint by small degrees. From there is was a full sharpen however this time I decided to try out the demo edition of neat image and see what I got. I found the software easy to pick up in basic mode and managed to remove a greater amount of noise than was possible with my photoshop skills.
From there I then reduced the image for the net and sharpened yet again.

link to neat image demo: http://www.neatimage.com/

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2 Responses to “London Zoo – results and guides 1”

  1. The Wicked Sword Maiden Says:

    Interesting blog OR. What a shame about the London Zoo. I like the idea of a smaller zoo though. We have a number of those, also ones where the children can pet sheep and see real chickens!
    Your write up about the various camera settings and equipment is really good. Look forward to reading more.

  2. Nuts! I was contemplating blogging about the same thing! If I do is it ok if I link to this post?

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