A few years back a friend introduced me to the Siracha Tiger Zoo near Pattaya.  I’ve written this article and another here on the place.  At first it was a lot of fun because at this certain location in the zoo we had an unobstructed view of the tigers running through water and playing games.  It was both fun and challenging coming up with great tiger photos.  Photo’s I’ve never seen the like of anywhere else.  (this location/view is no longer available)

Canon 1ds Mark II, 300mm F2.8L IS USM  @F4  1/250th  ISO 100

 

A few years back a friend introduced me to the Siracha Tiger Zoo near Pattaya.  I’ve written this article and another here on the place.  At first it was a lot of fun because at this certain location in the zoo we had an unobstructed view of the tigers running through water and playing games.  It was both fun and challenging coming up with great tiger photos.  Photo’s I’ve never seen the like of anywhere else.  (this location/view is no longer available) 

But even then we noticed the horrid conditions of the place, but not being knowledgeable about such things we gave them the benefit of the doubt.  Unfortunately since, I’ve read at least 4-5 different articles in major newspapers decrying the treatment and conditions of these endangered beasts at Siracha Tiger Zoo.  I’ll let you be the judge, but I can tell you that like the infamous Tiger Temple (much worse) I no longer visit nor take clients to the Siracha Tiger Zoo.  But that isn’t really what The Featured Photograph is about this week

Recently I posted a photo of an antelope munching grass , which was so sharp and detailed it was interesting just because of the sharp detail the image revealed. Several readers sent me an email agreeing a sharp detailed picture holds much more interest by virtue of the detail alone.  This week’s Feature Photograph is significant because it shows how much more interesting an image is.. when sharp and detailed.

 

Above you can see a closer crop revealing much more detail.  And it made me give pause and consider my own journey as a photographer.  When I first started I was doing mostly photojournalism and I couldn’t be bothered with image quality.  If you could see the event taking place, I was happy.  The technical difficulty presented by the equipment back then was something I didn’t want to be bothered with.  It just wasn’t necessary.

Canon 1ds Mark II, 300mm F2.8L IS USM  @F4  1/250th  ISO 100

 

Above you can see a closer crop revealing much more detail.  And it made me give pause and consider my own journey as a photographer.  When I first started I was doing mostly photojournalism and I couldn’t be bothered with image quality.  If you could see the event taking place, I was happy.  The technical difficulty presented by the equipment back then was something I didn’t want to be bothered with.  It just wasn’t necessary

Fast forward ten years and I’m making portraits and wedding photos for my own studio and now I’m using digital bodies and higher quality lenses.  Certainly the ‘event’ was still my first priority, but to compete in the market the images also needed to be technically perfect.  I had to up my game.  Just not in one area of image quality, but all areas.  I started to develop a sort of pride in critical focus and I’m sure you’ve heard me talk about it many times before

Lately I’ve noticed many of you lambasting yourselves over critical focus and I worry I’ve over emphasized the subject.  Certainly an image is more interesting if sharp and detailed, even if the subject is plain boring.  However, you need to keep things in perspective.   A suitable sharp image of a space alien, or a golden egg laying goose, is going to be a hit critical focus or not.

Being able to achieve critical focus is a demonstration of our ‘image quality’ skills and the quality of our equipment, but being able to make the intended capture will always be the most important.  I’d much rather have an appropriately sharp image of the bride and groom exchanging rings, than a critically sharp image of the ceiling.  Perspective is important.