Photo Review - Deep in Thought by Chris Watson

Local Seals at Shag Point, NZ are great to photograph - This particular one was sitting in a quiet corner and looking deep in thought... I shot in tight trying to keep the whiskers in the shot.

F8, 1/125s, ISO400, hand held at 500mm

Thoughts from the reviewer:

The first thing that grabs my attention in this photo is the beautiful moment that was captured. In photography, especially wildlife photography, timing is essential. We are unable to control or even accurately predict the behaviour of wild animals, thus a capture like this is very impressive, and leaves me imagining the photographer waiting motionless for a long time to get the perfect shot.

The seal truly appears to be deep in thought, as the title suggests. There’s a lot of details which keep our eyes wandering – the eye, the fur, the ear, the whiskers...

It was hard to find any notable flaws in a photo that captures such a moment. The only important flaw of the photo for me is the framing. The cut is perhaps too close.

Cutting at the top of the head and into the body, makes the animal look fat and lack the elegance that a pose like this would benefit from. Not having the end of its neck and the whole curve of the body makes the seal’s neck and body seem “endless”. Cutting a little wider, like bellow, would make the pose and the subject look more graceful, and complete. Possibly the whole fin would integrate nicely into an aesthetically pleasing circle that the curve of the body would make.

As for the technical aspect of the photo, it was done very well. The only improvement could be a faster shutter speed. It would give us more sharpness and detail, and the seal’s fin would not be blurred. There was a possibility to go with a shorter exposure, as the aperture was set at f/8 and the shutter speed at 1/125 sec. A bit more open aperture would let us have a faster shutter speed.

In conclusion, this is a beautiful photo that captures a rare moment. A wider framing would change the composition for the better in my opinion and a faster shutter speed would make it sharper and more detailed.

This photo has been viewed so far more than 34,000 times on Excio! You can find it in NZPhotographer Magazine collections, Issue 4. Join our community to have your photos reviewed and featured.

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