Bear - a Portrait

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Bear - a Portrait

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Ganesh H Shankar
Bear - a Portrait
This was made long back at Daroji using a remote trigger. It came too close to the camera, probably almost touched the tip of my wide angle lens. This resulted in blurred mouth but the eye was relatively more sharper(probably my nearest point of focus was about 2-3 feet away, 24mm on full frame D700 at f13). While this composition wasn't "dialed-in" in the the field (you know it is tough to manage the composition using remote triggers), I kind of liked what I got even though most of the bear got clipped.
Sat Mar 17, 2012 9:54 pm
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Ganesh H. Shankar
Wishing you best light,

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Ganesh H Shankar  Joined CNP On 24 Apr 2008    Total Image posts 495    -   Total Image Comments 5121    -   Image Post to Comment Ratio 1:10    -   Image Comment Density 42     -     Total Forum Posts 643

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Commentby Vikram Sathyanathan on Sun Mar 18, 2012 8:40 am

Hi Ganesh, I see this as "a prey's view of the world' before being preyed upon by the bear". The outside view, the trees and the bear's eye make this image for me, may be a tighter crop by taking off a few pixels at the top can also be experimented, this just my thought. It does not matter to me if the there is an OOF on the bear's nose but it conveys a the mood and a not-so-usual perspective of bear images that we normally see. Thanks for sharing.

Commentby AratiRao on Sun Mar 18, 2012 5:53 pm

I like this image, Ganesh. i could not make out anything from the thumbnail and clicked on it eagerly. Here is what makes the image for me. The eye, the trees and the hint of the floor of the cave (?). Why? the eye allows me to imagine what the bear was thinking - curious? The trees seem like scrubland trees - are they? that allows me to imagine the terrain. The texture of the floor of the cave grounds (literally :)) the image ... they come together to give us a worm's eye view of the bear's world. (vikram also alludes to a prey's view) ...

How did the image look in color? the reason i ask is that in BW the tones on the bear's nose and the sky attract the eye, how would it be if the colors differed, how would i see that image ... i wonder.

thanks,
A

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~ Arati Rao ~
http://www.aratirao.com

Commentby sandeep somasekharan on Sun Mar 18, 2012 10:27 pm

He he he - agree to Vikram- this is probably the last thing a termite would see before being sucked into that muzzle - or maybe that of a man trapped in the darkness of a cave, seeing death from one eye and salvation from another? But definitely, the mood that this one evokes in me is of horror for sure!

Commentby nevilzaveri on Sun Mar 18, 2012 11:31 pm

just don't know what to say?! ganesh. saying 'genial' would be understated so let it be simply 'ganesh'! ... only you could chose to relate 'n portray these two windows to the world, in this way.

tfs. regards.

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nevil zaveri
http://www.flickr.com/people/nevilzaveri/

Commentby Nilanjan Das on Mon Mar 19, 2012 11:04 am

I was recently having a discussion with a well known natural history photographer from India, we went on to discuss what makes a solid portrait ? On the basis of the discussions two things came out, one was that do we need to see a portrait in absolute sharpness ? He thought the eyes need to be very sharp which I could not agree to, I simply feel that a portrait is based on connecting the true character of the subject to the mind of the viewer, it might be with the help of it's environment, some activity or even it's gaze. Not necessary that the eyes need to be included even if some other part of the subject is conveying the message. Secondly, I was in a dilemma after seeing several images shown to me. I felt that if the subject becomes curious about the camera and either exhibits signs of fear or surprise or curiosity which happens mostly due to the flash, how much can we say is the subject is in its natural element to exhibit its true character ? It's a difficult situation to handle, every single bird or animal will react to the presence of the camera, even if it is well camouflaged, the light from the flash to which it is not used to will steal away the show. It is perhaps for the same reason that even after capturing some never seen before visuals of large animals moving in very agitatedly towards the camera have been considered to have less impact. It was an induced aggression. I am too caught in two minds here Ganesh :-), can't think of a solution. Do you think trap camera settings are a better choice to show behavior not seen before than showing portraits where most of the times the animal would respond with curiosity, shock or related expressions ? I was hoping an image where we could see the interaction between a cub and the mother inside a cave which otherwise is impossible to capture.....but then again the light from the flash might make both the cub and the bear alarmed. This is indeed a very tough call. Just my thoughts pal....

I think Arati made some matured points, I too would love to see if the colored version connects more....I was just wondering if somehow the light on the eye can be reduced, the bottom eye lid is prominent enough, do you think toning down the flash effect will make it look more natural ? Just looking desperately for a solution buddy....

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Nilanjan Das Photography


» Last edited by Nilanjan Das on Mon Mar 19, 2012 11:31 am; edited 1 time in total

Commentby Ganesh H Shankar on Mon Mar 19, 2012 6:30 pm

Thanks for your thoughts and questions ! First, let me clarify some confusions here. First of all there is no cave here, the bear is in beautiful evening light (no flash light used) near a boulder as shown in this color full frame image below. I chose to present the tight crop of this color image as a B&W version. So here is the full-frame color image.

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I am presenting it as more of an artistic perspective than a natural history(aggression) perspective. I kind of liked the crop - the placement of the eye which I felt is unconventional and seem to work (for me) and the window on the right formed due to the crop. I am sure it did not like the shutter noise and might have stared at the lens. But then the intent here is not showing the aggression and (induced) behavior of the species.

Nilanjan, some thoughts about wide angle photography using remote triggers. First, I agree with your observation that those induced aggression/startled eyes etc that we normally see in such images does not portray the natural behavior. However, the use of such triggers can enable us far more interesting perspectives (both artistic and natural history). If I get a chance to repeat my bear experiments again I would do it totally differently - with a far more focus on artistic intent than focusing on behavioral aspects (which might get influenced anyway as you mentioned). I think exploring artistic intent using remote triggers is a very unexplored area. We need not intimidate the wildlife. We can stay a little away and play with context, we can play with perspectives using depth, light etc..etc..

--
Ganesh H. Shankar
Wishing you best light,

Image
Personal Websites Fine Art Nature Photography | www.ArtOfLife.Gallery
Facebook Pages Ganesh H. Shankar | Fine Art Nature Photography | Art Of Life



» Last edited by Ganesh H Shankar on Mon Mar 19, 2012 7:59 pm; edited 3 times in total

Commentby AratiRao on Mon Mar 19, 2012 6:43 pm

wow, Ganesh. You chose a perfect crop for the BW version, but i prefer the colors within that crop so much more than BW. The hues allow my eyes to move very differently and my senses are appeased in so many more ways than in BW - not least because of the flowering trees and the floor (stone) boulder! as for remote triggered perspectives, i agree with you and hope some day to be in a position to try some of this myself.

thanks very much for sharing the color version and your thought process. it helps me tremendously in my own thoughts also.

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~ Arati Rao ~
http://www.aratirao.com

Commentby Nilanjan Das on Mon Mar 19, 2012 6:49 pm

I like the colored version too. Ganesh I completely agree that very new visuals using wide angle lens placed strategically can result in some great new visuals. My comment was more in terms of understanding portraits specifically. I would love to know your views in terms of portrait photography using remote triggered wide angle shots. The UN-cropped version is somehow attracting me more to this image :-). In fact the black n white and the colored version are creating very different impressions in the mind. It would be really interesting to see your future images of the bear created more with artistic intent than behavioral or other natural history perspectives. Am trying to imagine what's working in your gray cells man ? :-). We will discuss this.......

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Nilanjan Das Photography

Commentby Ganesh H Shankar on Mon Mar 19, 2012 7:58 pm

Nilanjan, most of the wide angle (portrait) remote experiments I have seen are of the type - "get the subject very close to full frame, have everything from 1 inch to infinity in focus to give the wide feel" . I think there is a scope to be far more creative and artistic than just that. Let us see.. Unfortunately those experiments takes lots time and familiar place to work with. Hopefully I still have some stray green cells left in between the ocean of grey ones :) LOL.

Sure we will discuss this - we will have long calls after 31st of Mar, once we complete our 5th std exams :)

--
Ganesh H. Shankar
Wishing you best light,

Image
Personal Websites Fine Art Nature Photography | www.ArtOfLife.Gallery
Facebook Pages Ganesh H. Shankar | Fine Art Nature Photography | Art Of Life



» Last edited by Ganesh H Shankar on Mon Mar 19, 2012 8:01 pm; edited 2 times in total

Commentby Nilanjan Das on Mon Mar 19, 2012 11:09 pm

That will be great man, thankfully my exams are over, awaiting results on 27th :-). Hopefully will buy new books and pencils......lol.

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Nilanjan Das Photography

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