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SEPTEMBER 2019 ROUND
Title: Wildebeest and crocodile
Goal: To capture the fight to survive of a migrating wildebeest
Equipment/Source: Olympus equipment as owned in 2015 (since upgraded lens). EM1 body, 100-300 lens.
At 300mm (equivalent to 600mm)
ISO400, 1/800 and f10
Taken from vehicle handheld.
Technique: The Pro for the group encouraged us to fix settings in manual once sun fully up and leave the settings there all day. On this occasion, the animals were in a shadow area, so the image was underexposed. No real disadvantage here with a RAW file.
Timed when the croc had surfaced.
Processing: Lightroom, crop, lighten significantly, then local adjustments to the croc. Sharpening added.
Comments/Scores (N, T, P, E, Total)Critique Image (only members of Study Group Two may critique this image)
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AUGUST 2019 ROUND
Goal: To capture an interesting picture of Zebras drinking whilst on a trip to Kenya at the time of the migration - in 2015.
Equipment/Source: Olympus equipment - taken at 300mm (600 Full Frame) - 1/320 f9 ISO250 hand held from a stationary truck.
Technique: Handheld, focussing on the drinking zebras and timing the shot (on single frame) when their heads had reasonable separation.
Processing: I originally processed this in colour (I rarely tried B&W until 12m ago). After recently deciding to enter mono Salons to force a learning curve, I found this shot and reprocessed it using Lightroom only. Used orange & yellow sliders to darken the grass and played with texture & contrast sliders selectively, to add punch where I thought desirable. I am hoping to use the image in both Nature and Mono Salons
Comments/Scores (N, T, P, E, Total)
Critique Image (only members of Study Group Two may critique this image)
Review by commentator Rick C.
If I haven’t done so already, please accept my welcome to the group.
The subject is clear and there are several different story lines going on. We can see some herd behavior in how they mingle, the drinking activity and, additionally, the way they tend to line up as a group when drinking in case there is a predator in the area since a group is a harder target than a single isolated animal. That said, there is so much going on in the image that it becomes difficult for a viewer to easily focus on one aspect of the herd as presented. In part this is due to the relative softness of the group in the water, which for me would be the most logical group to isolate. As a result of the lack of a clearly dominant area or aspect I would still rate this as a nature value of 2.
Technically primary focus appears to be on the zebra beginning to advance toward the watering area. Depth of field seems to hold in its immediate vicinity. The lack of critical sharpness on the group in the water is likely a combination of depth of field, their movement, and any movement in the truck while you were shooting. The exposure looks fine, though it is harder to judge that on a BW conversion than on a color image because the conversion can significantly alter tonal values. I don’t feel that making a BW conversion through this means in Lightroom is optimal, but it does beat a straight grayscale conversion. If you have Photoshop, try doing a basic conversion with a Black & White adjustment layer and then drop multiple HSL adjustment layers in underneath it and dial in the tonality you want for an area then mask that layer to only that area. You can fine tune the same colors in different ways using this process. My recommendation would be to alter the effective point of focus to the group in the water by means of something such as the Shake Reduction sharpening option in Photoshop or the Stabilize option in Topaz Sharpen AI. In either case you would need a mask to restrict the effect to just that group and the stream. The conversion has a full tonal range but because we have so many zebras, it isn’t really helping to isolate and define a singular subject group. The midday lighting isn’t helping in that either. I am rating the technical score as 2 primarily for the lack of s dominant subject group or individual.
Pictorially the composition works for where the primary focus and DOF are located. Given that the zebra on the right is already cut into, I would have preferred reframing to get the entire group in the water in completely with the focus on them and a shallow DOF to try to create separation. I understand keeping the entire zebra upper right, but if we do so, why not get the entire tree upper left rather than leaving a touch merger there? Pictorially I am also rating this 2, despite relatively small nits as presented because I believe it could be more effective with an alternative framing to allow a singular dominant group as the primary subject. It remains too chaotic as it is.
N-2, T-2, P-2 = 6 (see the adjusted version where the focus / sharpness on the group drinking has been adjusted along with a couple of tonal tweaks to try to shift emphasis to them.)
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