Study Group 2


Natalie Murray (C)

Click image to enlarge




Upload Next Round's Image and Description
FEBRUARY 2020 ROUND
Title:    Little Egret Chasing Long Tom Fish

Goal:  To capture action shots of shore birds on the incoming tide. This shot was one of my favourites because of the egret jumping and the position of the fish.
  

Equipment/Source:   Canon 6D2, 100-400mm ii lens at 400mm, f5.6, 1/2000sec, ISO 1250. Handheld.

Technique:  Quietly followed this bird along a protected shoreline while it fished for breakfast. Lighting was overcasting dull and not really conducive to having a go with the teleconverter. Image is heavily cropped.

Processing:  Lightroom for cropping and adjustment of highlights and shadows. Topaz Labs DeNoise AI for noise reduction and sharpening (using auto mode), Photoshop for curves adjustment.

Comments/Scores (N, T, P, E, Total)
   Critique Image (only members of Study Group Two may critique this image)

Review by commentator Tom S.

 Predator/Prey always makes for a strong nature story.  The fish seems to be defending itself, since its sharp mouth is pointed up at the egret. Good action. Good composition and all the bird is in focus.  Overcast day makes for soft light and no harsh shadows.  Nice image.

 N3, T3, P3, E1  = 10


Review by MJ S

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Great action story, prey and predator

SCORE N (Nature) 3-nature story strong

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I felt the image was a little soft

SCORE T (Technical Quality) 2-Average exposure color balance and sharpness

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I liked the positioning of the bird and the fish but dark spot in background kept diverting my eye

SCORE P (Pictorial Quality) 2-Average composition and impact

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 7


Review by Martin P

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
You can certainly see the connection between the pray and the hunter. These birds are aggressive hunters and this image shows it well

SCORE N (Nature) 3-nature story strong

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The image looks relatively well exposed, I think some of the whites in the wings maybe a little suspect. The overall image looks reasonably sharp where we expect it to be

SCORE T (Technical Quality) 2-Average exposure color balance and sharpness

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The connection between the 2 creatures is clear, however the egret flying away from the viewer does mean that we don't have the best angle on the egret, but does mean we get a lovely view of the wings. Unfortunately there are some distracting elements in the water.

SCORE P (Pictorial Quality) 2-Average composition and impact

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 7


Review by Larry T

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
I will take you at your word that this is a fish but as I look at it it appears to me to be an anhinga or a snake bird. Wish I knew for sure what it is.

There is an inherent nature story in a confrontation between two creatures in the wild and the body position of both creatures shown here follows that up. This pending confrontation I feel has to be developed in the mind of the viewer rather than what is presented in the image and as such I feel it is only an average nature story.

SCORE N (Nature) 2-Nature story of average strength (portrait

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
In this instance I do not fee the camera gear was set to proper advantage in capturing the image. Although the light seems flat and quite overcast the f5.6 fails to deliver enough DOF to save this image. The head (and the eye) of the egret are clearly not sharp nor is the fish (bird) that is sticking up out of the water. Since the two creatures are central to the story they both need to be sharp and they are not. I doubt that the shutter speed of 1/2000 was really necessary and reducing it closer to 1/1000 would easily allow for an increase in DOF. The wings of the egret may be a bit overexposed.

SCORE T (Technical Quality) 2-Average exposure color balance and sharpness

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The composition takes on an interesting dynamic with the lower subject placed on one of the let fixation points and the egret placed on an upper fixation point on the right. Together they form a diagonal line that adds strength to the image.

SCORE P (Pictorial Quality) 2-Average composition and impact

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 6


Review by Charlie Y

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
nice capture of this image, wasn't a pleasure to see the image? sweet. nice water droplets, add points. this with better light situation, would be good 3. sorry can't give a 2.5

SCORE N (Nature) 2-Nature story of average strength (portrait

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
image is sharp and clear, a bit over, with minor exposure adjustment it would be great.
Note: a bit of ghosting around the egret's outline. look carefully. Don't have raw image to see what's the corrective action, but I'm sure once you see it, you'd be able to fix it.

SCORE T (Technical Quality) 2-Average exposure color balance and sharpness

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
very pleasing image, and clean. lovely.

SCORE P (Pictorial Quality) 3-Excellent composition and impact

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 7


Review by Louis P

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
wonderful nature image with a strong story and impact

SCORE N (Nature) 3-nature story strong

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
exposure was excellent but only about 95% sharp; dull day really helped with taking a photo of a white bird

SCORE T (Technical Quality) 2-Average exposure color balance and sharpness

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
great impact and a wonderful composition. I agree that catching BOTH the bird and fish in motion was excellent.

SCORE P (Pictorial Quality) 3-Excellent composition and impact

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 8




Upload Next Round's Image and Description
JANUARY 2020 ROUND

Title:     Ghost Trees at Sunrise

Goal:   While on a weekend away with a fellow photographer, we were lucky to have a heavy fog at sunrise on the morning of our last day there. Here I have aimed to capture the the eerie scene of the dead trees in the fog, and the fading layers of colour as the mist is burnt off by the morning sun.

Equipment/Source:    Canon 6D2, 24-105mm f4L@84mm, f11, 1/125 ISO 640. Handheld.

Technique:  Walked around the water's edge trying to optimise composition and lighting. 

Processing: 
 Lightroom adjustments of exposure, highlights, shadows, noise reduction and sharpening in Lightroom. Tonal adjustments in Photoshop.  


Comments/Scores (N, T, P, E, Total)

  Critique Image (only members of Study Group Two may critique this image)

Review by commentator Rick C.
Since the trees aren’t Cypress, they typically would not grow in this much water. As such, we don’t fully understand what lead to their being flooded and death. While there is a nature story present in that aspect and in the fog as an atmospheric effect, I do not feel it rises above the level of minimal and that holds the nature story value to 1.

I feel you did much of what you set out to do in this capture. Your exposure looks good for the lighting and conditions. Focus also looks reasonable. The DOF also looks reasonable given the conditions. I might wish for more contrast in the largest of the trees, but the fog blocks that and we can see it as such. Given that you were trying for an eerie mood, I feel your technical execution was pretty much on the money and warrants a 3.

This is likely stronger as a pictorial image than as a nature image. Your composition is effective. I feel the receding diagonal formed by the trees and the convergence of the diminishing height provides enough structure for the image to be effective. As I noted before, I would like the contrast to be on the largest tree. The slight added contrast on the second, more central tree allows it to compete a bit with the mass of the largest one. That is the only true issue I see. A swirl in the fog might have shifted that emphasis. Pictorially I feel the image warrants a rating of 2.

N-1, T-2, P-2 = 6


Review by Rich F

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
This is a strong image showing trees that have overtaken by rising water. The effect of the fog is apparent in causing the trees that are further back to be obscured by the fog.

As far nature store, I don't see a strong on. Perhaps there is a history here which I don't know. Telling us about the area in more detail would have possibly helped.

SCORE N (Nature) 2-Nature story of average strength (portrait

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The exposure and process is well done. There is a strong diagonal from the bottom left to the middle right. The color balance works well lin this image.

The process does not appear to have a strong white point which well in this image.

SCORE T (Technical Quality) 3-Excellent exposure color balance and sharpness

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I find the image intriguing. But it also fails for several reasons.

First the several of the trees are merged - you said you looked for the best place to put your camera. In images like this it is hard to avoid mergers. Unfortunately I think that they hurt this image.

Secondly without a tripod you could not have a very long exposure to blur the water.

SCORE P (Pictorial Quality) 2-Average composition and impact

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 7


Review by Andy H

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
I see a story in the dead trees. What caused their death? When did they die? Why did they die?

SCORE N (Nature) 3-nature story strong

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Technically I see no issues with your settings and the image is sharp, well exposed, good DOF and tonal range.

SCORE T (Technical Quality) 3-Excellent exposure color balance and sharpness

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The image has impact and I like the composition of the trees angling down from left to right. I also like the ghost images of the background and the colour gradient from top to bottom.

SCORE P (Pictorial Quality) 3-Excellent composition and impact

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 9


Review by Todd G

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Great title and very appropriate for the image. The pictorial story is strong and revealing of sunrise and fog within a landscape composition.

SCORE N (Nature) 2-Nature story of average strength (portrait

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
You have captured beautiful colors and the settings. Sharp and clear throughout with beautiful color and tones, cool blues. Did you look at this as a B&W? Wondering if this would make the image more dramatic.

SCORE T (Technical Quality) 2-Average exposure color balance and sharpness

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Beautiful gradation of colors from the water to the sky and you can see the separation the water to fog to sky. The reflections of the trees in the water with the ripples add to the “ghostly” feel you are trying to convey. You have nice leading lines from the foreground trees to the background and the way the fade. The bokah is nice and I cannot tell, but is that mountain in the background that is sneaking through?

SCORE P (Pictorial Quality) 3-Excellent composition and impact

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 7


Review by Bruce F

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
I think the fog and the atmosphere helps the nature story and gives some of the trees a ghostly appearance. I guess it’s the difference in bark that gives the dark appearance on the bottom of some of the trees, and maybe the whiter or lighter area on the top of the others and this is due to more or less weathering from the air and the weather.

SCORE N (Nature) 3-nature story strong

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I think the exposure is fine and the sharpness is adequate since the fog does provide a vail, a nice diaphanous look, where sharpness isn’t as significant as in other images.

SCORE T (Technical Quality) 3-Excellent exposure color balance and sharpness

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Here is where I think simplifying is a key. The image feels very crowded, too many trees and branches, too many mergers. I am not sure on the viewpoint where you could simplify the composition by including less. One or two or perhaps including only three would give elegance and visional impact to the composition. I think by moving to the right so the trees are more perpendicular would allow you to isolate them much easier. This might have put you into the water, but the situation, light, and fog are so good, you need to do what’s necessary. The viewer only sees the final image, and not what’s there or if you had to crawl through mud while a million mosquitos are biting you. It’s the image, all about the final visual image that counts to viewer.

SCORE P (Pictorial Quality) 2-Average composition and impact

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 8


Review by Dennis H

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Nice nature scene of dead trees in fog and mist with muted background colours.

SCORE N (Nature) 2-Nature story of average strength (portrait

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Your camera settings look good for that time of day with the fog and early morning light with good exposure and colour balance.

SCORE T (Technical Quality) 3-Excellent exposure color balance and sharpness

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Good composition with misty background and fading colours

SCORE P (Pictorial Quality) 2-Average composition and impact

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 7


Review by Tom K

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Hi Natalie, I think the story is dead trees in the water. I'm not sure what else to add to that, but I am new to nature reviews and perhaps am missing something more.

SCORE N (Nature) 2-Nature story of average strength (portrait

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I feel that the image is properly exposed, but it seems like there is a lack of sharpness in the trees. Foggy days are difficult to shoot and this is a good exposure.

SCORE T (Technical Quality) 2-Average exposure color balance and sharpness

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The fog gives a depth to the image which makes it more interesting than a day shot. I like the vertical frame which matches the subject nicely. There is the slightest sense of color as a gradiant in the the background, otherwise the images is monochrome. I think increasing the color would have added interest. I would have liked to see more separation between the trunks so that each trunk in the foreground had separation from the background. For example, the 2nd from the left foreground trunk is on top of the large background trunk.

SCORE P (Pictorial Quality) 2-Average composition and impact

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 6


Review by Malena K

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
I feel you captured what you set out to get. I can feel the eerie in the photo.

SCORE N (Nature) 2-Nature story of average strength (portrait

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Settings seem right for the photo. I like how you can see the fog has lifted from the trees in the front.

SCORE T (Technical Quality) 2-Average exposure color balance and sharpness

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I may have tried to give more room at the top of the photo as the tallest tree looks like its about to go out of the frame.

SCORE P (Pictorial Quality) 2-Average composition and impact

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 6


















Hello.  I'm Natalie. I live in Brisbane, Australia and have been interested in nature photography for approx 8 years.

Last year I joined my local camera club.  They are a very supportive bunch and I was immediately encouraged to enter club, national, and international competitions.  I am lucky to have a diverse range of birds that live locally or a short drive away, and I also enjoy looking out for the smaller creatures in our botanic gardens.  I shoot primarily with a Canon 6D2 and 100-400mm zoom or 100mm macro lens and edit in Adobe Lightroom.