A snit in the snow

Critique Style Requested: Standard

The photographer is looking for generalized feedback about the aesthetic and technical qualities of their image.


This is from a couple of years ago when I came across this little weasel scavenging off a turkey carcass. It would dart out from under a brush pile into what was left of the bird, but when it saw me it got quite nervous. Even so, it let me put down my pack, attach a longer lens and take a few photos. While it isn’t perfect, I just love the crabby little face and the raised paw. These guys are as slender as chipmunks, but an inch or so longer. Seriously tiny and quick. But oh look at the ferocious predator side!

Specific Feedback

Obviously I had to shoot through a bunch of stuff - grasses and plants - and I did my best to mitigate that. I recall I was crouched behind a big rock set up so you couldn’t drive directly down to the river on an old logging road. This view was the clearest. I had a go at trying to tone the effect of the OOF plants and no amount of cloning looked natural so I left it. Thoughts?

Technical Details



Lr for processing and a fairly large crop. Toned down highlights and lowered blacks. Raised shadows and whites. Ran Lr denoise AI and Topaz Denoise AI and this is Topaz because the details were better in this one and the noise is gone. Pretty happy that I can get these older files looking this good.

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Ha! He’s obviously a born killer! Reminds me of a chihuahua our family had when I was a kid; thought she was a Rottweiler. That’s a tough shot but, frankly, I like the environment of the shot. Lets us know what kind of cover these critters probably prefer for safety reasons. If the oof plants on the right weren’t there, it would be even better, but at least it’s not across the animal. Definitely a shot worth saving and presenting.

A very cool photo! And yes I mean cold too…the ice crystals really pop and add to the atmosphere. the colour of the needles and wood add some warmth. I think the OOF areas contribute to the feel it is coming out of the den. At first I was distracted by the small dark stick behind its whiskers but the sharpness of its teeth caught my attention! The eye catch actually looks like an ice crystal. Great technique to capture this…it tells a wonderful story.

Thanks @terryb & @Robena.Sirett - I’m so glad I could get this one to look its best. It’s my one and only encounter with a weasel other than seeing them zip across the yard at random times. Lucky the plants had that gap in them or else I don’t think I had another line of view to the little critter. Fierce little things despite their size and cuteness.

Oh and funny, my husband and I had a Rottie and he was the most laid back dog. Big, sure. Imposing, sometimes, but he had nothing to prove. He was quite protective though and one time in the summer the UPS guy comes up the walk. Magnum is instantly on alert and watches him out the window, then moves to the top of the stairs where he can see him through the top of the storm door. All well and good until the guy opens the door to put the package inside. Magnum launches himself down the stairs and the guy springs back and literally runs to the truck. The door slams and latches just as Magnum bashes into it. I’m sure on that day, the driver was glad his pants were already brown.

Very interesting! The environment tells the viewer all they need to know about the stealth it took to get the shot. I wonder about a little off the left and maybe bottom, but no big deal.

You have captured some nice expressions here.
While watching the bigger image, but before seeing the techs, I was just guessing the lens to be a long range zoom, which came out to be true. I may decrease the saturation of grasses to emphasize on whites.

Thanks @Diane_Miller & @JRajput - we were both trying very hard not to be seen (Monty Python voice), lol. Hm…the desaturation might work, Jagdeep. I didn’t think of it. Doh!

Very nice, Kris. So glad that he let you get a shot while he posed for you. I like @terryb comment about the “chihuahua who thought she was a Rottweiler” because we had one just like it. In fact, the professional photo we have of her hanging on the wall has her holding up one paw like this little guy. Anyway, I had to save her a few times because she would start a fight with big dogs (Great Dane, Doberman Pincher and a Chow, to name a few).

This is really nice even if there are some grasses in between. Hey, you are out in nature, not in a studio and so I think this is a shot worth saving and I’m glad you posted it.

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Thanks @Shirley_Freeman - I am so glad I went through my archives and found it. No idea why I didn’t work it at the time, but I am not a big-time culler so I have a lot of stuff that’s never seen the light of day. You have an excellent point about the in-between grasses - it was totally natural and spur-of-the-moment meeting of two species, luckily I was the one with the camera.

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Hi Kris, really nice find with a good look at the eye and I love the raised paw. Thanks for sharing this intriguing subject.

Thanks @Allen_Sparks - it was such a cooperative little critter despite its trepidation at my presence. I’ve found all mustelids to be pretty bold, actually. While sitting on the steps of the dock, I’ve had mink run right under me, not a care in the world.