Unnatural Inclusions in Photos… Okay or 👎?

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Larry S.

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Shooting opportunities are seldom perfect for me and may include things I wish weren’t in the picture. Several years ago I was watching a sow w/cubs disassemble my apple trees from the safety of the house. An apple rolled down the hill and a cub chased it to within a dozen feet of the house. He retrieved the apple, looked at me then ran away with his prize. Cute…but.. The grass is obviously a mowed lawn and the 🍎 is not a natural food (or is it?) source for black bears. Is this acceptable as a wildlife photograph? I would have preferred leaf litter on the ground and a twig w/persimmons or wild 🍒 cherries with the cub. These are not things I can change in this image, nor the elevated angle of the shot…
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The cub was not a pet, a trained animal, or in a zoo, so sure, it is urban wildlife. That what the wild animal was doing. You didn't bait it or interfere with it, so it's all good. I don't have backyard bear, but the deer damage our backyard plantings despite fencing and deer off. I don't find them cute.

Nice shot, well exposed, sharp and in focus, good colors. Maybe play around with adjusting the green grass just a little. Possibly crop to a vertical since more grass isn't adding anything more to the story. Or crop to about a 5:4 ratio so the animal is not in the center.
 
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The cub was not a pet, a trained animal, or in a zoo, so sure, it is urban wildlife. That what the wild animal was doing. You didn't bait it or interfere with it, so it's all good. I don't have backyard bear, but the deer damage our backyard plantings despite fencing and deer off. I don't find them cute.

Nice shot, well exposed, sharp and in focus, good colors. Maybe play around with adjusting the green grass just a little. Possibly crop to a vertical since more grass isn't adding anything more to the story. Or crop to about a 5:4 ratio so the animal is not in the center.
Very good suggestions! Venison is delicious by the way…🤩
 
The cub was not a pet, a trained animal, or in a zoo, so sure, it is urban wildlife. That what the wild animal was doing. You didn't bait it or interfere with it, so it's all good. I don't have backyard bear, but the deer damage our backyard plantings despite fencing and deer off. I don't find them cute.

Nice shot, well exposed, sharp and in focus, good colors. Maybe play around with adjusting the green grass just a little. Possibly crop to a vertical since more grass isn't adding anything more to the story. Or crop to about a 5:4 ratio so the animal is not in the center.
Here’s a vertical 5x7 version that does de-emphasize the ”yard grass” somewhat…..
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For me, the crop is too tight. Instead I would crop looser and then apply a radial gradient to blur and possibly a vignette (white or dark) the grass around the cub.
 
For me, the crop is too tight. Instead I would crop looser and then apply a radial gradient to blur and possibly a vignette (white or dark) the grass around the cub.
Yeah…I agree. Wanted to see what Bleirer’s suggested crop looked like….too tight.. the vignette sounds interesting 🧐
 
For me, the crop is too tight. Instead I would crop looser and then apply a radial gradient to blur and possibly a vignette (white or dark) the grass around the cub.
The square + vignette seems to present better.. this is an adjustment from my iPad. I’ll have more tools w/iMac.

LCS_0312_2.jpeg
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Try expanding the feathering of the vignette and starting it closer to the cub....and don't go totally white. Just dial back the saturation to something you like. Here's just a quick play.....

It really depends on how YOU want to present the image and how YOU intend to use it.

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Try expanding the feathering of the vignette and starting it closer to the cub....and don't go totally white. Just dial back the saturation to something you like. Here's just a quick play.....

It really depends on how YOU want to present the image and how YOU intend to use it.

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Yup, ya’ beat me to the computer. This is where I was headed… maybe even a little stronger on the vignette…
 
Yup….cub was shot in 2011 at f/3.5.. no “fine tune focusing” with quick moving critters or old lenses. The grass is mostly out of focus which is good. The orange tint has to be edited away..
 
Is this acceptable as a wildlife photograph?
To answer your question: I'd give this photo the "it's a photo of something, rather than about something" feedback. Can man-made features be part of a great wildlife photo? Absolutely. And they usually are telling a story about the intersection between civilization and wild animals. NatGeo ran a whole story on urban wildlife captured at night on camera traps. Great photos.

As others have mentioned, I'd love a bit more breathing room to give context, and a lower camera angle would help with separation. I think your concern about making a "pure" wildlife photo may have done you a disservice by trying to crop (zoom) out anything that didn't fit that idea. I'd love to see the bear raiding the apple tree, especially if it's in a neighborhood. If you do it well, it could be a great photo about urban wildlife and how the animals come to rely on human activity to survive. Or a cute photo of a bear cub stealing apples. The toning on the photo feels a bit flat, which may just be a product of the light or the sensor of the D7000.

Story is everything, whether a single photo, or a series. The apple is a nice touch, the bear cub is cute, the two together are close to a great photo with a better composition that's lower to the ground and gives the bear some space.
 
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