Big and little critters, and other stuff with the 100-300 mm

Started 4 months ago | Discussions
Ron Evers
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Re: More 100-300, including a few using ext. tubes ...
In reply to GeorgianBay1939, 4 months ago

GeorgianBay1939 wrote:

Ron Evers wrote:

But it IS possible to dig in for hidden birds using the smallest area focus of the GH2, just more difficult ...

Another unknown birdie...

I do not know if you have it on your camera but I use S-AF + MF & that helps a lot when encountering AF not getting the target as in your shot above. When the AF is confused by branches or other, I can just turn the focus ring to lock onto the subject as seen below.

EXCELLENT ADVICE. I could've easily done that above and also with the Trumpeter Swan.

Click View Original Size.

Bunny in the brush.

-- hide signature --

The wood is clear between the knots.

I like those kind of shots, much more interesting than the typical "zoo" shots that almost look posed!

I think that I'll be using that technique a lot. It is much more accurate than trying to find an open spot the same distance as the target. Good stuff.

Tom

Sometimes the small focus box works.  This shot I took yesterday was through brush between me & the chippy but I found a window through it & using the small focus box got the shot without resorting to manual focus.  Most of the near brush just disappeared from the shot.

Click View Original.

Back-lit Chippy

-- hide signature --

The wood is clear between the knots.

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GeorgianBay1939
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New Sandhill, squirrel etc...
In reply to Ron Evers, 4 months ago

Ron Evers wrote:

GeorgianBay1939 wrote:

Ron Evers wrote:

But it IS possible to dig in for hidden birds using the smallest area focus of the GH2, just more difficult ...

I do not know if you have it on your camera but I use S-AF + MF & that helps a lot when encountering AF not getting the target as in your shot above. When the AF is confused by branches or other, I can just turn the focus ring to lock onto the subject as seen below.

EXCELLENT ADVICE. I could've easily done that above and also with the Trumpeter Swan.

Click View Original Size.

Bunny in the brush.

-- hide signature --

The wood is clear between the knots.

I like those kind of shots, much more interesting than the typical "zoo" shots that almost look posed!

I think that I'll be using that technique a lot. It is much more accurate than trying to find an open spot the same distance as the target. Good stuff.

Tom

Sometimes the small focus box works. This shot I took yesterday was through brush between me & the chippy but I found a window through it & using the small focus box got the shot without resorting to manual focus. Most of the near brush just disappeared from the shot.

Click View Original.

Back-lit Chippy

-- hide signature --

The wood is clear between the knots.

Good one.  Nice back lighting. Thanks.

I was out in the rain for a while today and got this guy ...

Squirrel hiding behind two spruce branches.   Small area focus.

I tried the AF-S + Manual Assist on some grackles but it is very sensitive on long shots, eh?  I need practice.

Got a bit closer to the Sandhills:

120 meters.  If I can get into 100 meters in good light I hope to get a "proper" photograph!

In the meantime I can practice on this sort of stuff in the rain ....

A week of wet windy wx is forecast.  Difficult to get those birdies before they move off to their nests.  But we can be thankful that we are NOT getting the catastrophic wx that our friends in the SE USA are getting.

Tom

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Ron Evers
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Re: New Sandhill, squirrel etc...
In reply to GeorgianBay1939, 4 months ago

GeorgianBay1939 wrote:


I was out in the rain for a while today and got this guy ...

Squirrel hiding behind two spruce branches. Small area focus.

I tried the AF-S + Manual Assist on some grackles but it is very sensitive on long shots, eh? I need practice.

Got a bit closer to the Sandhills:

120 meters. If I can get into 100 meters in good light I hope to get a "proper" photograph!

In the meantime I can practice on this sort of stuff in the rain ....

A week of wet windy wx is forecast. Difficult to get those birdies before they move off to their nests. But we can be thankful that we are NOT getting the catastrophic wx that our friends in the SE USA are getting.

Tom

Tom, you are having some problems with white balance.  The shot of the Red squirrel is way too blue (cold) & the shot of the Sandhill likewise.

Try to get the focus box on the eyes if possible, methinks the focus falls behind the eyes on the squirrel.

-- hide signature --

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19andrew47
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Same swan at LaSalle Park
In reply to GeorgianBay1939, 4 months ago

Two nice sets.  I particularly liked the fox and woodpecker.  I have a group shot that includes (barely) that same swan, tag number A03, taken at LaSalle park on the ice.  The locals there feed them and they over winter there before moving on.  The full size image is below and a crop from it.  The images aren't very good so I didn't do anything with them but when I saw the tag on yours I thought I would check them to see if was one of the ones there.

Andrew

4/3 70 - 300 mm

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DonSC
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Re: Big and little critters, and other stuff with the 100-300 mm
In reply to GeorgianBay1939, 4 months ago

The fox and the woodpecker are nice catches.

For BIFs, you'll probably want to use a center point group and C-AF rather than S-AF. Don't use C-AF + Tracking because focus will jump to the trees (strong vertical). There is an option that keeps focus on the subject lock rather than jumping. You might want to look at that.

You want to get closer. Birds -- even the bigger ones -- are just really small.

Best to have them front lit if that's possible.

Have fun. You'll get the hang of it.

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GeorgianBay1939
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Re: New Sandhill, squirrel etc...
In reply to Ron Evers, 4 months ago

Ron Evers wrote:

GeorgianBay1939 wrote:

I was out in the rain for a while today and got this guy ...

Squirrel hiding behind two spruce branches. Small area focus.

I tried the AF-S + Manual Assist on some grackles but it is very sensitive on long shots, eh? I need practice.

Got a bit closer to the Sandhills:

120 meters. If I can get into 100 meters in good light I hope to get a "proper" photograph!

In the meantime I can practice on this sort of stuff in the rain ....

A week of wet windy wx is forecast. Difficult to get those birdies before they move off to their nests. But we can be thankful that we are NOT getting the catastrophic wx that our friends in the SE USA are getting.

Tom

Tom, you are having some problems with white balance. The shot of the Red squirrel is way too blue (cold) & the shot of the Sandhill likewise.

Thanks Ron, That (above) version of the squirrel has the WB bumped up to 4267 from the 3800 default.

Here is the squirrel RAW OOC with default settings in LR5.3, AWB set on GH2:

Lightroom default gives a WB of 3800

Auto WB in Lightroom gives a WB of 4700 (Tint +30) Which looks pretty good to my (aged) eyes.

I have been in the habit of adjusting WB manually.   I'll try the Lightroom presets including "Auto" for a while to educate my eyes.  I should shoot a grey card for a while also.

I shot a Sandhill very late (dark) this afternoon using AWB on the GH2.  The OOC Lightroom WB "As Shot" was 3550.  The "Auto" in Lightroom gave 4450, this:

I suspect that the best WB is a little cooler than the above.

This has been a good  review for me.  I changed my "computer glasses" recently.  They have a warmish tint to them which has resulted in messing up my "eyeball" sense of WB. 

Thanks a lot, Ron!

Try to get the focus box on the eyes if possible, methinks the focus falls behind the eyes on the squirrel.

Agree!  I was having a devil of a time getting that camera reasonably motionless at that speed, whilst cranking the MF assist to get a fine focus.   PRACTICE!

t

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GeorgianBay1939
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Re: Same swan at LaSalle Park
In reply to 19andrew47, 4 months ago

19andrew47 wrote:

Two nice sets. I particularly liked the fox and woodpecker. I have a group shot that includes (barely) that same swan, tag number A03, taken at LaSalle park on the ice. The locals there feed them and they over winter there before moving on. The full size image is below and a crop from it. The images aren't very good so I didn't do anything with them but when I saw the tag on yours I thought I would check them to see if was one of the ones there.

Andrew

4/3 70 - 300 mm

Thanks Andrew,

I have never seen so many Trumpeters in one spot!  There must be a big gang of folks tagging them there.   I have yet to send in my tag report.  The folks send me a nice little computer generated certificate giving me the background of the bird.

A03 was the only trumpeter that was northbound here this year.  People around here know that I am interested and always phone me whenever a trumpeter is seen.   I have never seen the same tag # in different years.

Interesting to see Mallards, Canadas and Trumpeters in such  close proximity.

Thanks,

Tom

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GeorgianBay1939
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Re: Big and little critters, and other stuff with the 100-300 mm
In reply to DonSC, 4 months ago

DonSC wrote:

The fox and the woodpecker are nice catches.

For BIFs, you'll probably want to use a center point group and C-AF rather than S-AF. Don't use C-AF + Tracking because focus will jump to the trees (strong vertical). There is an option that keeps focus on the subject lock rather than jumping. You might want to look at that.

You want to get closer. Birds -- even the bigger ones -- are just really small.

Best to have them front lit if that's possible.

Have fun. You'll get the hang of it.

Thank you.  I have yet to try C-AF (without tracking).  I often use EXPOSURE LOCK but have never used FOCUS LOCK.  I will try that option.  Gonna have to read the manual!

Had one try for these Canadas who flew over the truck in the bush near dusk this evening. S-AF but clear of trees.  Center Square one size larger than minimum.

S-AF worked ok.  Underexposed a stop (brightened in Lighroom) to bring the speed up.  A long shot again.  But good practice.

Thanks for your encouragement.  Yes, it is lots of fun!

Tom

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bigley Ling
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Re: Big and little critters, and other stuff with the 100-300 mm
In reply to GeorgianBay1939, 4 months ago

My latest effort with the Panny 100-300 mounted on E-M1

Absolutely loving this lens!! Rock solid focus tracking

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Ron Evers
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Re: New Sandhill, squirrel etc...
In reply to GeorgianBay1939, 4 months ago

I am spoiled - the AWB on my E-M5 is excellent & I rarely need to adjust it in Lightroom.

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GeorgianBay1939
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Re: Big and little critters, and other stuff with the 100-300 mm
In reply to bigley Ling, 4 months ago

bigley Ling wrote:

My latest effort with the Panny 100-300 mounted on E-M1

Absolutely loving this lens!! Rock solid focus tracking

Beauties! How far was that raptor from the camera?  How much cropping?

We had our first butterfly of the season here last week.  A Mourning Cloak.  It looked quite rough but stopped in a clump of weeds next to the snow long enough for a quick pic with the 100-300.

Amazing to see this before all the snow had disappeared.

I really like that lens too.  All I have to do is learn how to use it better!   It's on the GH2 now but I'm toying with the idea of upgrading to a GH4 (!!!) to give myself some more advantage in capturing BiF!  We'll wait until there is more field experience with the new focusing capability before I make the jump, though.

Thanks for sharing your images.

Tom

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GeorgianBay1939
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Re: New Sandhill, squirrel etc...
In reply to Ron Evers, 4 months ago

Ron Evers wrote:

I am spoiled - the AWB on my E-M5 is excellent & I rarely need to adjust it in Lightroom.

-- hide signature --

The wood is clear between the knots.

I think that the AWB on the GX7 is more reliable than the GH2.

I usually have to adjust WB on the GH2 when I am underexposing (to get a short shutter interval when wide open) at ISO 640.  Often I will brighten in LR, increase contrast, push shadows and add some clarity.  The result is usually an image that is too cold.  If I shoot at nominal exposure or ETTR, the AWB is usually pretty good.  Chalk it up to operator error!

Tom

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jeffharris
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Re: More 100-300, including a few using ext. tubes ...
In reply to GeorgianBay1939, 4 months ago

GeorgianBay1939 wrote:

Some more critters with the 100-300 ... (below are a few with 10 +16 mm extension tubes).

I think that's a phoebe, maybe a flycatcher of some sort.

The woodpecker looks like a yellow-bellied sapsucker. Pleated woodpeckers are much bigger (crow-sized) have longer beaks and a big red crest. The facial banding is very different, too.

A lot of the above have been heavily cropped so I don't have enough file size for big prints. But most seem ok from a sharpness POV. Since I don't a photographer's judgement I'd appreciate feedback on this len's performance. My performance, too!

Some excellent shots! Ms. Fox from the first set is fantastic. Usually they run away if you get within eyeshot, so you must have been downwind or something.

The trick with the 100-300mm on the long end is to keep the aperture at f7.1 and try to get the shutter speed up to 1/640 or faster. For flying birds, I've used a red dot sight, which is quicker and easier to use than either the EVF or LCD.

http://gadget.brando.com/wildlife-photography-with-tactical-four-reticle-sight_p01341c73d3.html

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GeorgianBay1939
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Re: More 100-300, including a few using ext. tubes ...
In reply to jeffharris, 4 months ago

jeffharris wrote:

GeorgianBay1939 wrote:

Some more critters with the 100-300 ... (below are a few with 10 +16 mm extension tubes).

I think that's a phoebe, maybe a flycatcher of some sort.

Thanks Jeff,

Yes, I agree.   Since I took the photo,  I have been hearing the Eastern Phoebe singing, also seen them balancing on the hydro wires, tipping back and forth.

The woodpecker looks like a yellow-bellied sapsucker. Pleated woodpeckers are much bigger (crow-sized) have longer beaks and a big red crest. The facial banding is very different, too.

I have to disagree here.   The nest in that particular Aspen tree has fledged several families of Pileated Woodpeckers over the years.  The beak is foreshortened because of perspective.  But the bird is certainly a FEMALE Pileated, even though  the back of the head flash is in shadow, giving the impression of a rounded head.  Here is a good description of the difference between male and female Pileated.

http://www.pugetsoundbackyardbirds.com/pileated%20woodpecker%20male%20and%20female.html

I will try to get a photo of the gal with here head further out, but I am not optimistic.  I had to tease here for quite a while to get her to poke out as far as in the photo.

A lot of the above have been heavily cropped so I don't have enough file size for big prints. But most seem ok from a sharpness POV. Since I don't a photographer's judgement I'd appreciate feedback on this len's performance. My performance, too!

Some excellent shots! Ms. Fox from the first set is fantastic. Usually they run away if you get within eyeshot, so you must have been downwind or something.

I think that she is a lactating female, with a some pups nearby.  She has been seen in the neighbourhood several times over the last few weeks.  I was downwind in my truck as she looked at me and then watched the ducks for a while, then quietly slipped away.  Typical fox  behaviour.

The trick with the 100-300mm on the long end is to keep the aperture at f7.1 and try to get the shutter speed up to 1/640 or faster. For flying birds, I've used a red dot sight, which is quicker and easier to use than either the EVF or LCD.

http://gadget.brando.com/wildlife-photography-with-tactical-four-reticle-sight_p01341c73d3.html

Those are great suggestions.  I have been often shooting the GH2 at ISO 640, underexposing a stop to get the shutter speed up but many of those Sandhill shots were made in low light so I am struggling with noise vs shutter speed.

I'll try to organize my next foray with the sun at my back, the lens stopped down, and underexposed a bit to keep the ss short.  Lots of compromises, eh?

I've also ordered that RDS.  I figure that the 4 most important factors for BIF are:

Exposure:   I am now locking AELock, often with a stop of underexposure to give an adequate ss.

Focus:  Using AF-S, Experimenting with AF-C, using modest central area.

Motion:  Propping against the truck with the ignition off.

Framing:  Using the LCD more ... the RDS will help a lot!

Many thanks for your encouragement and help!

Tom

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DonSC
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Re: Big and little critters, and other stuff with the 100-300 mm
In reply to GeorgianBay1939, 4 months ago

For more stationary subjects -- like the fox or a perched bird -- try zoom AF by assigning it to a button. You can really nail focus by increasing the zoom by 7X to 14X.

The best in flight bird shots are usually with the bird at or slightly below the camera. Shooting up usually doesn't produce very interesting shots, and shooting the backside of any critter usually doesn't produce anything very appealing.

FWIW, lots of people have birds around but very few find foxes!

Finally, not sure if you're shooting RAW, but to me your color balance is slightly off. The colors seem exceptionally cool. Easy to change.

Anyway, have fun!

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GeorgianBay1939
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Re: Big and little critters, and other stuff with the 100-300 mm
In reply to DonSC, 4 months ago

DonSC wrote:

For more stationary subjects -- like the fox or a perched bird -- try zoom AF by assigning it to a button. You can really nail focus by increasing the zoom by 7X to 14X.

Another trick to try.  Thank you.

The best in flight bird shots are usually with the bird at or slightly below the camera. Shooting up usually doesn't produce very interesting shots, and shooting the backside of any critter usually doesn't produce anything very appealing.

Agree!

I got this shot of some Sandhills just before they migrated last fall.

Up sun shot of Sandhills after both birds and photog were surprised.

I didn't expect them to be where they were so I had to try a back-lit image.

FWIW, lots of people have birds around but very few find foxes!

We have lots of 'em in some of the bars around here.  Even the dogs look like foxes after about 5 beers.

Finally, not sure if you're shooting RAW, but to me your color balance is slightly off. The colors seem exceptionally cool. Easy to change.

Yes, I find that AWB on the GH2 leads me astray more often then when on the GX7.  I have to remember to tweak it when I am shooting underexposures ( usually -1 EC) to keep my shutter speed short.

Anyway, have fun!

Thanks for your advice and encouragement.

Tom

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bigley Ling
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Re: Big and little critters, and other stuff with the 100-300 mm
In reply to GeorgianBay1939, 4 months ago

GeorgianBay1939 wrote:

bigley Ling wrote:

My latest effort with the Panny 100-300 mounted on E-M1

Absolutely loving this lens!! Rock solid focus tracking

Beauties! How far was that raptor from the camera? How much cropping?

We had our first butterfly of the season here last week. A Mourning Cloak. It looked quite rough but stopped in a clump of weeds next to the snow long enough for a quick pic with the 100-300.

Amazing to see this before all the snow had disappeared.

I really like that lens too. All I have to do is learn how to use it better! It's on the GH2 now but I'm toying with the idea of upgrading to a GH4 (!!!) to give myself some more advantage in capturing BiF! We'll wait until there is more field experience with the new focusing capability before I make the jump, though.

Thanks for sharing your images.

Tom

All cropping was done in camera. The E-M1 has comprehensive image editor for converting RAW to JPG, with color profiles, shadow recovery and cropping all built in. So depending on the resolution of the image, will determine if the image was moderately or heavily cropped, as those are the two letter box predefined settings for the E-M1.

The key to capturing BIF, at 300mm is to use apertures 7.1 and smaller, especially when they are moving.

This is not saying the 100-300 is not sharp at 5.6, but rather the DOF focus and accuracy may not be good when it comes to moving subjects like BIF. When capturing static birds on branches I have had good results at 5.6 as long as I AF then override and fine tune the focus. An example of this was the butterfly shot

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GeorgianBay1939
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Re: Big and little critters, and other stuff with the 100-300 mm
In reply to bigley Ling, 3 months ago

bigley Ling wrote:

GeorgianBay1939 wrote:

bigley Ling wrote:

My latest effort with the Panny 100-300 mounted on E-M1

Absolutely loving this lens!! Rock solid focus tracking

Beauties! How far was that raptor from the camera? How much cropping?

We had our first butterfly of the season here last week. A Mourning Cloak. It looked quite rough but stopped in a clump of weeds next to the snow long enough for a quick pic with the 100-300.

Amazing to see this before all the snow had disappeared.

I really like that lens too. All I have to do is learn how to use it better! It's on the GH2 now but I'm toying with the idea of upgrading to a GH4 (!!!) to give myself some more advantage in capturing BiF! We'll wait until there is more field experience with the new focusing capability before I make the jump, though.

Thanks for sharing your images.

Tom

All cropping was done in camera. The E-M1 has comprehensive image editor for converting RAW to JPG, with color profiles, shadow recovery and cropping all built in. So depending on the resolution of the image, will determine if the image was moderately or heavily cropped, as those are the two letter box predefined settings for the E-M1.

That is interesting.   I know that some Panny models (GX7 maybe?) was criticized by DPR for not having the ability to do in-camera RAW conversion/processing.  I don't know if my aging eyes are good enough to do in-camera processing.  I always look forward to getting home and processing my RAW images on my computer.

The key to capturing BIF, at 300mm is to use apertures 7.1 and smaller, especially when they are moving.

Others have said something similar.  My issue is usually not having enough light to stop down and shoot fast without cranking up the ISO a LOT.

This is not saying the 100-300 is not sharp at 5.6, but rather the DOF focus and accuracy may not be good when it comes to moving subjects like BIF.

I had not thought of a correlation between f/ and AF accuracy.  Certainly stopping down gives a bit more margin for error in focus with a increased depth of field.  I use that principle in other types of photography but haven't, yet, used it for BIF.

When capturing static birds on branches I have had good results at 5.6 as long as I AF then override and fine tune the focus. An example of this was the butterfly shot

Yes.

Thank you very much for posting those two pix and for taking the time to make your comments.

Tom

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Trevor Carpenter
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Re: Big and little critters, and other stuff with the 100-300 mm
In reply to GeorgianBay1939, 3 months ago

Hope you don't mind I have taken my two favourites and done some very basic editing which I think improves them.

before

before

My Galleries are at
http://picasaweb.google.com/trevorfcarpenter

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Alan_W1
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Re: Big and little critters, and other stuff with the 100-300 mm
In reply to Trevor Carpenter, 3 months ago

Trevor Carpenter wrote:

Hope you don't mind I have taken my two favourites and done some very basic editing which I think improves them.

before

before

My Galleries are at
http://picasaweb.google.com/trevorfcarpenter

Looks a noticeable improvement to my eye......the fox shot especially, looks sublime!

How are you fixed for time Trevor?.........I have a bag full of shots needing a decent tweak!!

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