Study Group 2


Bruce Finocchio

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JULY 2019 ROUND

Title:   Black-bellied Bustard Sings Out Its Call
  
Goal:   To Capture A Male Bustard Singing its Mating Call 

Equipment / Source:    7D Mark II camera body, 600 mm IS f4.0 lens, 1/3200 sec at f7.1, ISO 1250, Aperture Priority, Evaluative Metering

Technique:   Taken on the Top of a Land Rover on a Bean Bag while on Safari in the famous Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania, East Africa
 

Processing:   Slight crop for better composition, targeted noise reduction using Nik Define 2, as well as some pre raw sharpening with the Nik sharpening tool. A technique to create mid-tone contrast and a slight lightening of the overall image with a general levels adjustment, for this mid-tone contrast technique has a tendency to darken backgrounds a little too much. All adjustments very subtle. Diffuse light and capture already very good. 

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

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JUNE 2019 ROUND
Title:  Rufous-tailed Hummingbird Sips Water and Nectar From A Heliconias Blossom  
 
Goal:   During my first trip to Costa Rica, I had a chance to photograph many new species hummingbirds. Costa Rica is an interesting country and more mountainous than you would think of Central America. I went on a week-long workshop, run by a former president of NANPA that I have known for quite a while.
One of the places we visited was Dave and Dave's Nature Park - Eco-Observatory, in the Caribbean lowlands in the northern part of the country. They had a feeder up along the backside of a building, which attracted many White-necked Jacobins and Rufous-tailed Hummingbirds. I used my Canon 600 mm lens, in a restrictive space and had to use an extension tube to focus closer than the minimum 18 feet focal distance for this lens. This was the first place I saw new non-US hummingbirds, like this Rufous-tailed Hummingbird. In fact, I kind of went crazy photographing all the different hummingbirds on this trip. 

Equipment / Source:   7D Mark II Camera Body, 600 mm f4.0 IS lens, 1/800 sec at f5.6, Aperture Priority, Evaluative Metering. 

Technique:  Gitzo Tripod with a Wimberley gimbal type head, waiting and watching the hummingbird land and waiting for some behavior like sticking its tongue out, or even preening, sipping nectar, fluttering wings, to separate the capture beyond just a portrait.   

Processing:    Used Viveza to even out the contrast in the background, darkening certain areas, and lightening and desaturating other areas. All with the thought of subtly creating tension to draw the viewer to the subject. I also used Nik’s Difine 2 noise reduction on the background, Pre Raw Sharpener for the subject, as local targeted adjustments. 

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

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

Review by commentator Dan C.

Your patience paid off.  The position of the wings and the visible tongue has taken this above a “Here I Am” portrait.  The helconia adds to the story by showing this is a tropical hummingbird species, not a North American species.  That drop of water hanging from the heliconia bract is a bonus.

Technically the image is well handled, with good sharpness and good exposure. 

Your processing to help focus attention on the bird has helped.  While not bright enough for me to deduct a point, you may want to consider a slight desaturation of the bracts so they do not compete with the bird.

N2, T3, P3, E0, Total 9


Review by Prasad D.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Humming Bird is a species I would love to capture. The image has immaculate sharpness. Action in the wild is fabulous.

SCORE N (Nature) 3-positive nature story

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Excellent exposure, sharpness, contrast and lovely action freeze exactly where its needed.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Lovely composition, and Impact due to shallow depth of field.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 9


Review by Robert D.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Great shot of this hummingbird with the wings extended.

SCORE N (Nature) 2-basic shot--no nature story

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The composition is not quite satisfying. I would like to see the bird lower in the image and I would like to get rid of the upper red hanging section of the bloom. It is very distracting. It would improve a lot with about ½ stop increased exposure. The eye could also use some attention

SCORE T (Technical Quality) 1-Inadequate exposure color balance and sharpness

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Would be better with a tight crop and increased exposure.
Would be better with a tight crop and increased exposure.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 5


Review by Adrian B.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
I love Costa Rica - been twice and will definitely return (from UK). A nice capture Bruce. I'm not sure one can time a single shot to capture these birds with their young out, I found its possible with either luck or on a burst mode. Whist this is a nice pleasing image, I query whether the fact that one can see the very beginning of its long young is enough of a story. It is marginal - but the scoring here says 2 = no nature story, so you get 3 from me.

SCORE N (Nature) 3-positive nature story

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I like the movement in the wings and the composition with the bird facing into the two arms of the red plant. The face is very sharp and the detail of its body (by face) is clear

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The colours help make it a striking image. It may do well in general colour exhibitions.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 9


Review by William S.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
A bird sticking its tongue out mat be a natural act. However, I think that the impact would be greater if the head were closer to the water drop.

SCORE N (Nature) 2-basic shot--no nature story

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The bird’s tail feathers seem to be sharper than the head or eye. The contrast in colors really make the image pop and the red area also helps to frame the humming bird.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The overall image has more viewer impact from the color combination than from the humming bird. Still I like the initial impression of the image.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 7


Review by Bogdan B.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Anyway I see just a potrtrait.

SCORE N (Nature) 2-basic shot--no nature story

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Sharp bird with blurred background. Maibe too sterile background seeming unnatural.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Upper right red leaf is sistracting to me although it's impossible to remove.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 7


NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
in a restrictive space with a long telephoto has its pros and cons. being a twitcher, you are rewarded with lovely new species in your kitty.

SCORE N (Nature) 3-positive nature story

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
except for the slight colour noise which only can be viewed when one enlarges and gosh! you have supplied a really high resolution image! however would you look in the petals as there is a o-shaped spot which may be in your camera / lens?

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
excellent is the placement of the bird and the love the colour balance.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 9

IF APPLICABLE, WHY DESERVING OF EXTRA POINT FOR EXCELLENCE
overall sharpness and good colour balance is the reason for the EXTRA ONE MARK.

SCORE E (Exceptional) 1

GRAND TOTAL WITH EXTRA POINT 10










I am a wildlife, nature, and scenic photographer. I now live in San Mateo, after spending most of my adult life in Millbrae. I previously worked full-time for Applied Biosystems and Life Technologies as a senior business analyst. I left this position a few years ago to concentrate on my true passion of nature photography. My Dad was a deer hunter and bought some property in Monterey County, so he could have a place of his own to go deer hunting. We have owned this property since 1946. I grew up spending my summers down there, following in my father's footsteps, hunting quail, dove, and black tailed deer--using a b-b gun, graduating up to a powerful hunting rifle. When I was eighteen I had to kill a black-tailed buck up close shooting him in the neck, since my first shot from afar had only wounded him. I saw death up close and personal, deciding from that moment on I didn't not want to be part of death, but to cherish life instead.

My friends and I do a lot of bird photography at my ranch in rural Monterey County, using photo blinds extensively; and recently we have built a few permanent ponds to attract wildlife.

I was a Minolta user, but switched to Canon in 2001. I used to shoot extensively with slide film; now I strictly use digital camera bodies, specifically the Canon 7D and 40D bodies, previously the Canon D1 Mark II and as backup the Canon 20D. I primarily use RAW capture, and process the images in Photoshop. I recently upgraded to CS5, and also have many external hard drives to store my raw files.


Check out Bruce's nature blog at www.brucefinocchio.wordpress.com and his website at www.dreamcatcherimages.net