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Rendezvous with a fox

Sigma 70-200mm F2.8 DG OS HSM | Sports

Rendezvous mit einem Fuchs

When Harald Kröher foxes and raccoons photographed in an animal rescue center, he could rely on the autofocus and image stabilizer his new 70-200 mm telephoto zoom. For an attractive picture composition he made afterwards in Photoshop.

Between the wildlife photography and staged animal photography working with animals is at a shelter a category of its own. The animals are not wild and live unfree, but on the other hand not really tamed and strangers behave towards often shy. Harald Kröher came up with a model for a photo shoot in animal rescue center in Maßweiler in the Palatinate, and although he was able to build on the Council and the support of the local zookeeper, the photo shoot was a challenge. Like animals and Model would interact with each other, let hardly predict.

While the model Kim lured the pastel fox couple Frodo and Zoé with treats, the photographer hid in 15 meters behind a bush. The image stabilizer of the Sigma 70-200 mm F2.8 Sports Kröher set at level 1, to eliminate camera shake. Up to four shutter speed steps are thus to win in his experience, which the lens is also in poor lighting conditions "a true guarantee of success".

In this case, it came up with the cooperation of the animals, and to everyone's surprise responded Frodo, who had been suspended in 2016 and since then, lives amazingly confiding in the station: He climbed on his knees of the seated Kim to catch another treat. Now everything had to happen very fast. Kröher focused on Kim's face, and the fox was in the same plane he was in focus despite aperture. Even with the fast autofocus enough time for only two shots; then Frodo disappeared back into his burrow.

The unique moment Kröher had be used for expressive photos, but in the blurry background of his pictures disturbed a fence, the hut of foxes and Zoé, who had meanwhile picked up a few treats from the ground. Therefore, for a perfect picture composition mounting in Photoshop was needed.


Rendevous mit einem Fuchs01 A new background

With a focal length of 200 mm and a bright aperture of F2.8 the depth of field is already quite low, but the troubled background (a) distracts from the main motives Frodo and Kim. Remedy should create an alternative background that would retracted behind the cropped foreground subjects. In Harald Kröhers archive is an image of a forest clearing (b), which was added in similar lighting conditions found. Only the sharpness of this photo does not initially fit as the new background should be even more blurred than the real.

Rendezvous mit einem Fuchs02 Mask

Nach dem Zuschnitt des Fotos in Photoshop kopierte Kröher den Fuchsschwanz auf eine neue Ebene und vergrößerte ihn ein wenig. Er nutzte zunächst das »Schnellauswahlwerkzeug« für eine grobe Freistellung von Fuchs und Model, und verbesserte die so entstandene Maske mit den Tools von »Auswählen und maskieren« (a).

He then added a picture of the forest clearing in a plane in front of the original photo and took the scale in the first step mask as a starting point to Frodo and Kim indemnify in the new landscape. With the "brush" and black or white paint he gave the mask again in sight. He then inverted the mask and made a few strokes of a soft black brush for a soft transition between the lawn in the original photo and the forest floor of the inserted clearing (b).

Rendezvous mit einem Fuchs03 Bokeh and color corrections

The plane with the masked forest clearing duplicated Kröher and converted it into a Smart Object. After a blur for the preparation of an artificial Bokehs it resembled the color of the new mood background to the foreground. With "liquefying" Kröher undertook slight corrections in the model and used the filter "Color Efex Pro" from the Nik Collection with the options "Glamor Glow" and "Sunlight" for the desired look. There was a slight retouching portrait of Model and fox and the end of the cut to the desired image format.


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Michael J. Hußmann

Michael J. Hussmann is a leading expert in the technology of cameras and lenses in Germany. He studied computer science and linguistics and worked for some years as a scientist in the field of artificial intelligence.

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