Not on today’s menu

Posted on 13 May ’12 by Earl Moore

Earl Moore Photography
Large Caterpillar - Not on today's menu

I was shooting handheld with a long lens and a very shallow DOF so I just missed focus on this lizards head.

Still it was an interestingly enough scene/attempt to present here of this lizard eating a small green caterpillar while a large wooly caterpillar crawls by without a second glance. I only had one shot and the lizard was gone.

What Others Are Saying

  1. Don 13 May ’12 at 7:17 pm

    I think you made a fine picture. It’s looks sharp enough with great detail and color. Your past pictures look very good too…like always. Nice work.
    Don recently posted… Hangman Creek

    • Earl 14 May ’12 at 6:42 am

      Hi Don, thanks, on this one the large caterpillar is sharp as is the closer parts of the lizard but I need to shift my DOF just a bit further back to get the rest of the lizard in sharp focus.

  2. ken bello 13 May ’12 at 7:19 pm

    There is a little softness on the lizard but the caterpillar looks pretty sharp. You nailed the exposure and composition and the lighting is very nice on this.
    I saw a video from Russell Brown of Adobe Photoshop fame demonstrate a filter destined for a future version of Photoshop. This filter would sharpen even badly out of focus photos automatically. It worked beautifully in the demo but I don’t think this feature made it into CS 6. Still, it gives you an idea of what direction Adobe is going and what to expect in the future.
    ken bello recently posted… yeLLow

    • Earl 14 May ’12 at 6:47 am

      Ken, thanks. It was close here, but the DOF need to be shifted slightly backward to have both the large caterpillar and lizard in focus. I’d be interested in the filter you saw demonstrated. I know you can give an impression of sharper focus using tonal contrast and selective sharpening, which I did here, but I don’t think any filter can do much beyond a certain point. Still I’d love to be proved wrong in this case. :-)

  3. Paul Maxim 14 May ’12 at 8:51 am

    Just out of curiosity, Earl, what was the focal length, aperture, and exposure? It’s a good image, but you’re right about the softness. With critters, the head is all-important. You have to have the head (especially the eye) in focus or it just doesn’t work in most cases.

    I tend to agree with you on the “filter” thing. Correcting something that’s out of focus is sort of like reclaiming blown highlights. There’s a limit to what can be done. Personally, I don’t think you’ll ever be “proved wrong”.

    • Earl 14 May ’12 at 12:17 pm

      Paul, …400mm, f/4.9, 1/400sec. shot at about 20 ft — according to my calculations that gave about a 1.8in DOF.

      I got close but no cigar. If I had time to rethink this shot I’d drop the Aperture down to f/9 (3.24in DOF) but then it may have been blurred due to hand held motion and long exposure. Sometimes you’re the windshield, sometimes you’re the bug. ;-)

  4. Mark 14 May ’12 at 1:45 pm

    This is a tough situation Earl, one that has happened to me on quite a few occasions. Although I wasn’t fortunate enough to have two good subjects next to each other, it is usually something like a leaf edge that gets me. That, plus if this lizard is anything like the ones I have seen, they make a chipmunk scurry look like slow motion.
    Mark recently posted… Fracked

    • Earl 14 May ’12 at 1:52 pm

      Mark, yeah, the same type of lizard…one second he was there the next he was gone! :-) Thanks.

  5. Paul 14 May ’12 at 2:50 pm

    That large caterpillar looks to be more than a snack. I think that he might have to pass that baby up even if he was pretty hungry! The shot looks great to me! Not much you can do working at that shallow DOF and having a moving subject, or two.
    Paul recently posted… That place which moves you

    • Earl 14 May ’12 at 3:48 pm

      Paul, thanks! My brain just didn’t work fast enough to calculate all the variables and get the right combination for this shot. I needed that second (or third) shot to make some adjustments — the lizard had other ideas. :-)

  6. Monte Stevens 15 May ’12 at 11:46 am

    Sometimes we need get a shot but maybe not “the shot.” The story it tells makes it work for me so the focus is not a problem for me. That may be too much of a meal for the little guy or the green worm was tastier. :-)
    Monte Stevens recently posted… Storm Clouds Over the Plains

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