Study Group 2


William C. Smiley (C)

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SEPTEMBER 2019 ROUND
Title:    Humming Bird Challenge 
 
Goal:   I visited a friend in Alabama (USA) who had a number of humming bird feeders in his backyard. There was no shortage of birds visiting the feeders that provided many opportunities to capture the birds at different angles. Wasps, hornets, and bees like the nectar in the tubes and create a challenge for humming birds. I was lucky to capture a challenge between one of these insects and a bird. At first I was disappointed that the wings were not frozen (1/2500 sec) but later saw it as emphasizing the action of the challenge. 
 

Equipment/Source:    Nikon D4, Nikkor 200-500mm lens at 500mm, f10, and iSO 2800, 1/2500sec. 

Technique:   I set up a tripod with a gimbal head on a porch away from the feeders and waited for the birds to arrive. The gimbal head allowed easy movement to follow the birds and shoot 10 frames per second at 500mm, f10, and 1/2500sec. 

Processing:    Camera RAW files were processed, noise reduced and sharpened in Adobe Camera RAW. Curves adjustments and cropping were completed in Photoshop.

Note: This is my last submission to this forum and I would like to express my appreciation to all for your comments. I have learned a lot, especially from the group leader comments, and hope that you will continue to share good advice with 

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
Title:   Annoyed Fossa
   
Goal:    My camera club was asked by the local nature science center to accept a project to photograph the animals in their small zoo. My goal was to try and capture the animals performing a natural act.
 
Equipment/Source:    The source was a RAW file taken with a Nikon D4, Nikkor 28-300mm, hand held, f 5.6, 1/200 sec., at 300mm and ISO 2500.
  
Technique:  The Fossa is the largest predator on the island of Madagascar – the only place it is found in its natural habitat. It was the end of the day (after hours) when we entered the grounds to begin photographing the animals. The light level in the shaded area was very low requiring a wide open lens setting and a relatively fast shutter speed to hand hold and stop action. I spent time with this Fossa hoping that he would do something before taking a nap. Fossas do not have a regular activity period, they are equally active throughout the day and night (cathemeral), with periods of inactivity during the hottest and coldest parts of the day or night. He was active, moved around in an exploring manner and then provided the action in this photograph.

Processing:    Noise reduction, sharpening, and exposure adjustments were made in Adobe Camera RAW. Cropping, conversion to sRGB and luminosity layer adjustments were applied in Photoshop.

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

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

Review by commentator Tom S.
It is different to get good nature story images of an animal in a zoo because you won’t get predator/prey, natural food, or family situations. All things considered, you did as best as could be expected with getting a yawn out of the Fossa.

The Fossa is sharp but the whole image is underexposed and the green grass have too much saturation. I brightened it up using levels in Photoshop and desaturated the green grass slightly. Also, the bright, out-of-focus thing in the lower right is distracting so I cropped it out. The white fangs are a real plus, and lets you know it is a predator.

N2, T2, P2, R0 Total = 6


 Review by Gang Z

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
The big opening seemed to growl. Something seems to have invaded its territory.

SCORE N (Nature) 3-nature story strong

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Reasonable exposure, clear focus, reasonable depth of field control. But not enough to zoom in. Could be the camera.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Reasonable composition, excellent post-processing.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 8


Review by Larry T

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Your stated goal was to capture this animal exhibiting some form of behavior and the open mouth yawn show here does exactly that. While this is animal behavior, that is not always seen I do not feel that a it is a strong nature story line



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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
While the high ISO may be a contributing factor, then entire image appears to be quite soft. In the absence of an open eye to look at, I found myself looking at the teeth and they just do not seem sharp. The image looks better in the thumbnail size but when enlarged it begins to fall apart.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I feel the composition is nearly adequate but the rock in the lower right corner is even more out of focus than the rest of the image. This may be remedied by cropping the rock to remove it. I also feel that you could easily crop off some of the blank space at the top as it is serving no useful purpose. You may also be able to remove some of the green plants along the right side of the image wile cropping out the rock.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 6


Review by Charlie Y

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
perhaps a nature act, but really? could take it while it's taking a nap! just wondering if there're other activities, like running, jumping, eating that might be more interesting behaving.

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
overall seems ok, bland colors and surrounds

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
overall compositions seems ok, kind of bland colors and surrounds that not present with contrast or colors to better tell a nature story. thus lack of impact.

SCORE P (Pictorial Quality) 1-Inadequate composition and impact

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 5


Review by Ken W

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Nice photo of a fosso showing teeth.

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Good exposure and sharpness.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Nice photo of fosso, The tall grass next to the mouth is distracting, and there is a blurry object in the lower right corner that is also distracting and could possible have been cropped out.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 7


Review by Hattie S

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Looks like someone just woke up from a nice nap.

SCORE N (Nature) 3-nature story strong

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The blur spot at the bottom right is a bit distractive, which could be cropped out. I would crop the top a little too.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The photo could use more sharpening in photoshop.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 7

Retired university professor aspiring to become a fine art photographer.  I enjoy a variety of photography styles but tend to photograph birds, landscapes and wildlife.  All critiques that may provide insights for producing better photographs are welcomed.

Equipment used:  CAMERAS-Nikon D4 and Nikon D810

LENS –Nikon 28-300mm, 200-500mm, 50 mm

              Tamron 24-70mm

Tokina  17-35mm, 100mm macro

Rokinon  14mm 

Software:  Photoshop CS6, Topaz Studio, Nil Collection