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Thread: Magic in the Moonlight

  1. #1
    BPN Member Loi Nguyen's Avatar
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    Default Magic in the Moonlight

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    We were cooling our heels waiting for a family of cheetah to wake up from their afternoon nap when the driver got a call of a possible hunt 1/2 hr away. We raced to the scene, but it was a bit late. A female cheetah had taken down a gazelle. We got to witness she calling to the 4 cubs in hiding, so it was fun and spent the rest of the day watching them devour the kill. The driver said the presence of the vehicles may deter the hyenas, so we stayed as long as we could. There were 3 cars there initially, but soon only our vehicle was left and was rewarded with this unbelievable scene.

    The mother is ever vigilant. She would eat a little bit and then stand up scanning around for danger while her cubs devour the kill.

    Canon 5D4
    70-200 f2.8 II @ 182mm
    1/85
    f8
    ISO-1600
    HH while lying on the floor of a Land Rover.

    I used F8 to get as much DOF as possible and ISO-1600 to minimize the noise in the dark sky.

    It was a difficult shot. I tried many different combos and even with flash, but this one seems to be the best.

    Appreciate your comments.

    Thank you

    Loi
    Last edited by Loi Nguyen; 02-17-2017 at 11:23 AM.

  2. #2
    Wildlife / Landscape Moderator Morkel Erasmus's Avatar
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    Hi Loi - good to see some "fruits" from your trip
    The colouring looks pleasingly natural to me here. I do wish she was looking more parallel to the imaging plane (do you have any like that?)...
    Any chance of an image little wider as well, just feels like it needs a hint more breathing room?
    Morkel Erasmus

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    BPN Member haseeb badar's Avatar
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    Hi Loi -- Lovely scene and I loved that you included the moon in the frame. 1/80 must have been tough to freeze them sharp , i still feel it would have been easier to remove the noise by upping that iso. Is there any chance that you have shot this in landscape format , having more space horizontally ? A beautiful image though .

    TFS !

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    Super Moderator Rachel Hollander's Avatar
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    Hi Loi - What a great scene to witness. I too think that it was great to get the full moon in the image. I agree with Morkel that having mom's head more parallel to the sensor or angled a bit towards it would take this to another level. Keep them coming.

    TFS,
    Rachel

  5. #5
    BPN Member Loi Nguyen's Avatar
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    Thank you all. Here is a full frame shot except for a slight rotation. The moon is the real "subject" in this case, so it is included. Landscape format is not possible at this distance and still have the moon in the frame. A shorter focal length would require the moving of the vehicle closer to the site. Given that there are 4 hungry cubs feeding, we were not keen to mov the vehicle closer to disturb them, so I did the best I could with a 70-200.

    Will look to see if there are other frames with the Mother in different position or her face parallel to the frame. I had frames with her looking towards me as well, just need to check to see if the IQ is good enough. It's tough to shoot at 1/85 while crunching myself on the floor of the safari vehicle without much support.

    Loi

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    BPN Member Andreas Liedmann's Avatar
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    Hi Loi
    i really like the scene with the landscape and moon adding some context .
    Facing away of mummy not ideal ... but nothing you can do about it.
    Colors does look good to me , from my POV contrast is too high and you have almost no fine detail in the subjects . Just wondering as you have a really powerful kit to work with and the techs are not ideal from my POV ... push that cam further .... but not with slow SS.
    TFS Andreas

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    ETL Moderator Tim Foltz's Avatar
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    Loi, I really like what you were going for here to bad you can't see any of the Cheetahs faces.

    -Tim

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    Wildlife Moderator Steve Kaluski's Avatar
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    Hi Loi, would echo Andreas thoughts here. However, I'm surprised no one else has thought this, but to me, based on your description of the light, techs etc, the 'family' look as if a spot was used to light them???

    It's tough to shoot at 1/85 while crunching myself on the floor of the safari vehicle without much support.
    You have a 1DX MKII you should have used it here and cranked up the ISO for more SS, as you can easily address any noise in PP if exposed correctly. Did they not have any bean bags Loi????

    TFS
    Steve

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    Super Moderator Daniel Cadieux's Avatar
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    Sounds like that was a surreal time! I love the mood of the image. The head angle issue has been brought up, but I say that I love that we can see the gazelle's eye - cool and eerie at the same time.

  10. #10
    BPN Member Loi Nguyen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Kaluski View Post
    Hi Loi, would echo Andreas thoughts here. However, I'm surprised no one else has thought this, but to me, based on your description of the light, techs etc, the 'family' look as if a spot was used to light them???



    You have a 1DX MKII you should have used it here and cranked up the ISO for more SS, as you can easily address any noise in PP if exposed correctly. Did they not have any bean bags Loi????

    TFS
    Steve
    steve, it was all natural light. The spot was the moonlight. Had bean bag, but if I shot from the normal position where it could be used, I wouldn't be able to include the moon at the same focal length. Go shorter would make the cheetah too small in the frame. Should have switched cameras and upped the ISO with hindsight. Will look for another frame today.

    the magic light lasted only for a few minutes before it became too dark.

  11. #11
    Wildlife Moderator Steve Kaluski's Avatar
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    steve, it was all natural light. The spot was the moonlight.
    OK, but to me it appears that the moon was behind the Cheetah's and therefore the 'viewing' side would be in shadow?? No worries, just my initial take.

  12. #12
    BPN Member Loi Nguyen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Kaluski View Post
    OK, but to me it appears that the moon was behind the Cheetah's and therefore the 'viewing' side would be in shadow?? No worries, just my initial take.
    The sun was behind me and I think the cheetah was lit by the twiglight.

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