By David Hearne, Runcorn, Cheshire, UK rnExif: Olympus E450, 40-150mm, 1/60sec at ISO 200
“I have been into photography for many years but more so now into digital photography. I would say that I am very much an amateur, and still learning. This photo was shot at Busch Gardens, Orlando, without the use of filters and, as you can probably see, was shot behind a pane of glass. I think this shot works so well with the zoom being so tight and the reflection of the water.”
This picture did grab my attention because I didn’t automatically twig that it had been shot in a zoo environment. The shallow focus hides the actual environment quite well and the purple and green out-of-focus background and the reflections make this picture stand out more than most. It is also a strong picture because it has been photographed at the same eye level as the crocodile. This adds to the impact of the shot and lets you see the crocodile from what would normally be a very dangerous vantage point!
But as I look more closely I can see how the glass has softened things and made the view rather hazy. There is an excellent and really simple remedy for this, where if you apply a low amount and high radius unsharp mask, you can improve the midtone contrast in any image. That is what I did. I copied the Background layer, applied the unsharp mask settings shown here and then used a layer mask to hide the effect everywhere in the picture except for the crocodile’s head and reflection in the water.