Call of the Wild
A molting penguin in McMurdo Sound

Image 337 of 354
Comments 12
Views 1769
Media ID 20110518220538940 
Fri Feb 11, '11 09:57PM
Uploaded By: Patrick Flynn  


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Media ID 20110518220538940  
Date Fri Feb 11, '11 09:57PM
Comments 12
Views 1769
Uploaded By Patrick Flynn
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Because it was molting, this penguin didn't move for a week. It barked every ten minutes or so, and I just lined up the shot and waited...

Talk about getting around !!!!!!!!!!!!

This is an excellent shot habitat wise and also a great composition.

The colour palette is fantastic


 I definitely agree. Both the colors and the light is amazing. Fantastic shot.

A great eye-catching shot that shows the icy vastness of Antarctica. Your patience really paid off.

Edited on Thursday, May 19 2011 @ 06:37 AM EDT by

Thanks all for your kind compliments on this shot. It is definitely one of my personal favorites and I appreciate your feedback on it.

That's the Royal Society Mountain Range in the BG which features many peaks above 14K - I really wanted to include it in the image along with the icy sound. Lots of whales live there too but none decided to surface just as the penguin barked. Oh well!

Well..there goes the picture!  No whales!!   The Adelie penguins are really one of my favorite as they always look dressed for any occasion.   The position of the penguin is perfect with that magnificent background...awesome.  Again..monitors.  I would actually turn down the blue a little as it appears a little heavy on my screen...but hey, someday I will get it fully corrected!   Great shot. 

 It's an eye-catching shot and both the composition and the subject are good.  For me, the blues are too strong and the foreground looks a touch over-sharp.  I would ask - was it really that blue to your eye at the scene?  Nature and wildlife shots are usually kept as accurate as possible to the scene with only minimal post processing.  Nonetheless, this is a good capture.

Tricia, thanks for your compliment and also for your constructive criticism. The former is always fun to receive but the latter is truly valuable to me and I sure appreciate receiving it from you.
Regarding your points: I believe the foreground may appear oversharpened because of the preponderance of rime frost there, which forms as thousands of adjacent flakes atop the sheet ice. These flakes each catch the sun individually and glint it outward in a scattershot pattern. I have rued the irony that this effect appears to modern viewers as numerous artifacts of digital sharpening, when in fact it is naturally occurring - and really quite dazzling. This effect is only noticeable from up close, but it is equally prevalent on the distant ice sheets as well. I think if you consider the absence of sharpening artifacts on the penguin itself, it may add credibility to my claim.
As for the blues, I believe that can be largely attributed to the fact that this photograph was captured on Ektachrome - which as you know is a famously blue medium. I brought scads of it to Antarctica specifically for that effect. This image was shot ten years ago and I cannot rely on memory anymore to inform my opinion of what I really saw there. So I have to refer to the original slide, and the color palette demonstrated here is a pretty faithful rendition of what I see on the chrome. If anything the blues are a little more magenta here than on the original, and I did also boost contrast which may be bothering you if the FG water seems too deeply hued. That portion is where I see the greatest discrepancy between media.
Lastly, about your suggestion for minimal PP on nature and wildlife shots: I have a lot of respect for photographic purism and the rigors & rewards of strict adherence to its tenets. I agree that standards of excellence exist within every artistic medium and provide an essential crucible for the human evaluation of truth and beauty. So I know that what you are saying is true and in many settings non-negotiable. But for better or worse, I see digital photography moving away from that paradigm, in every aspect and discipline including nature photography.
And actually this dynamic is on display right now at the top of this very same gallery - see the commentary around Karin De winter's lion photograph. I just don't see any harm in the suggestions there to create a contrast which was not natively present. Overall, I do I feel energized by the emerging possibilities of digital photography and have found that I've lost much of my obeisance toward that stalwart sensibility of minimizing PP. And I mention this because I am endlessly fascinated by the discussion around that controversy!
Thank you again for your feedback, Tricia, I truly am as appreciative of that as I am long-winded in replying to it ;-)

Patrick - thank you for your response to my comments.  I made the assumption, obviously wrongly, that it was a digital capture and that possibly there had been a touch too much post processing.  Thank you also for explaining about the rime frost.  It must be quite something to see with the naked eye.  I've not had the pleasure of visiting that part of the world and I apologise for making the wrong assumptions.  But I'm glad you agree that the foreground water is very deeply hued.

We could open up a great dialogue on this site about whether or not to post process nature and wildlife shots, and I'm sure the debate would rage on and on.  I can only tell you that Nature and Wildlife competitions in Great Britain usually stipulate that there has to be only very minimal post processing, such as tidying up dust spots or perhaps a gentle white balance correction.  So it was on that basis that I made my comments.  However, digital post processing opens up many creative doors and I personally do use Photoshop (and also teach Photoshop) but I like to use it in elegant and subtle ways to enhance an image.  Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and photography is no exception.  It's still a good capture and looks like an amazing place (which is what travel photography is all about).  I look forward to seeing more of your shots on TPN.

Yes, Tricia, the debate about PP ethics can go on forever and already has on many websites - probably even this one in an earlier incarnation. I know that for many it is a tired subject but I still rather enjoy it ;-) However I am happy to spare our fellow TPNers a rehash of it all.

Personally and for the record, unless I am bound by terms that I have consciously agreed to - like in the case you specify of entering a contest - then I am more than willing to try anything in order to give my imagery more impact. I like to provoke an emotional response from my photography (who doesn't, right?) and I'm willing to use PP tools to do it. However, I do always try to achieve a realistic result, so I think we can agree on the importance of both subtlety and expertise. Since you instruct others in Photoshop it is entirely likely that you could teach me a thing or two about both aspects of PS use, so I hope you'll feel free to continue taking that approach if you comment on future posts from me.

Thanks again for your feedback, it is always welcome and appreciated.

This has been an excellent exchange of friendly and knowledgeable conversation in an area where I believe there are no rules specifically... but this is why I really like this site to hear from everyone their thoughts to challenges like this, especially with two such fine photographers with Tricia and Patrick.  You are both also quite blessed with successfully debating all aspects of a challenge and fun to read!

Personally....I believe it comes down to what drives the photographer in what he/she is trying to portray.  As you see with me sometimes, I can go over the edge in PP to get an effect I want and I have specific reasons to do this.  Having them posted here also is a great way to get some feedback on my vision.   Also there are times when minimal PP is needed, and especially with travel photography as you want to see the world as it is for the most part (Yes...I take liberties here sometimes too).  

Also, I believe having images portrayed on the internet has it's unique challenges too in how we view things as this has been my biggest challenge with this...was this image too blue, was it my monitor, etc?   Before Singapore, I was in a Photo Club where we were judged monthly on the printed image...fantastic as everyone viewed the exact same thing in the same way.  But as with digital photography, this site makes it all so much more accessible to everyone.  

One final long-winded point...I used to be sooooo fanatical about just showing what came off my camera until I saw an excellent Discovery channel bio of Ansel Adams.   In his day and age, he went through such tremendous heights to achieve what few others have done...and all without Photoshop!  Image what he would do today...interesting?   But..I also think the images in National Geo are the best as PP at all.  

Great conversation Patrick and Tricia...I really enjoyed reading it and hearing your thoughts...may more of it be around in the future!