This morning while drinking my coffee I read interesting article on the Huffington Post site about how humans are close to killing off two-thirds of the wildlife on the planet within the next fifty years. Kind of a depressing way to start my morning, but still an interesting read. Then this afternoon while cruising around on Vimeo I came across the video below, which is kind of a depressing way to end the afternoon. None the less it is a beautiful animated short for the WWF and it ties directly to what I read this morning. Produced by Zombie Studio “Dream” was featured in the Wildlife Conservation Film Festival, showing four animals that are facing extinction. They tell their stories through the words of “I Dreamed a Dream” a song you might recognize from the musical Les Misérables. The animation and styling of the short has a great look and feel to it, and while at times it can get a little heavy-handed, the message is still very powerful. If you have a large monitor and a powerful enough system, run it full screen or watch it on your large TV.
The two-minute short for wildlifeaid.org.uk is about the declining population of hedgehogs in Great Britain. While the demise of the beloved hedgehog is concerning to me, especially since they have dropped from 30 million to 1 million since 1950, I really want to talk about the wonderful animation quality of the video. Directed by Kris Hofmann with Illustrations by Sandra Dieckmann, the animation is a really nice blend of 2D and 3D techniques that creates a really unique and memorable look for the short. Being memorable is exactly what a PSA needs to do, and Wildlife Aid with the talented crew they hired to produce this have done just that.
After spending a total of seven hours of hiking through various trails at altitude it’s safe to say I had my ass handed to me. The photo below was at Lilly lake after hiking up to Jurassic Park trying to find rock climbers. No rock climbers, but a great view from the top was great.
This is a mallard duck couple over in the marshland South of Lilly Lake. The challenge, getting them to sit still, not fly off, or swim behind tall marsh grass. Using a tip from a wildlife photo blog I set the OMD to aperture priority, set the f-stop to f-11 and started shooting. The 150mm to 300mm did a great job and the OMD’s image stabilization saved me. This is all the way out at 300 with the birds at about 50 yards.
Minor post processing was done in Snap Seed on the iPad with a little tone adjustment.
One of the things I love about staying at Tim’s place in Estes Park, Colorado is the abundance of wildlife so close to the property. The image below was taken just a half mile from his house, South of the Lumpy Ridge Trail Head. I was testing out the 150 to 300mm (300 to 600 on a full frame DSLR) with the OMD.
The camera did a solid job of stabilizing the shot, but I need practice with the lens though. Especially at maximum focal length. The shot below has the lens all the way out. The coyote is about 75 yards away.
What I noticed was all the grass seems sharp, as well as the coyotes face. The mid section of his body seems a bit soft though. I think I need to increase shutter speed and find the sweet spot on an f-stop that renders sharpness across the depth of the frame.