Study Group 2


Adrian Binney, LRPS

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JULY 2019 ROUND
Title:   Weaver bird doing the splits
     
Goal:    To capture a Weaver bird doing something amusing while building its nest - whilst visiting our local zoo.

Equipment/Source:  Olympus EM1 Mk2 with 300 F4 lens + 1.4 converter
Settings 1/200 f5.6 ISO800

Technique:   Handheld, using 6x IS capability of body - but judging time of taking shot when bird was materially still - so used single shot setting. The bird was in a shady area. Timing also fixed on when bird had some grass in its mouth, starting its weaving technique.

Processing:   Crop, leaving sufficient area around the bird to tell the story. Add punch to bird, darken greens and add vignette.

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

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


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JUNE 2019 ROUND

Title:    This is Bliss
   
Goal:    To take 2 white faced capuchin monkeys interacting
 
Equipment/Source:   Olympus EM1 mkii, 300mm prime +1.4 converter. ISO 5000 - 1/250 f5.6
 
Technique:   This was taken in the grounds of our Costa Rica hotel this January (totally wild as the grounds bordered a National Park). These two were high in the shady canopy with strong sun coming through - challenging! I had to use a slow shutter speed to stop the ISO increasing excessively - the 6.5 stop IS in camera/lens helped, but I still held my breath when pressing the shutter. Camera is micro 4/3, so lens with converter is equivalent to 840 Full Frame.

Patiently waited for the right expressions and when still.

Processing:   
Lightroom only. Small crop. Worked as much as I could on the canopy area first, then selectively on the animals adding clarity & bit of sharpening. On my monitor with full Raw file, the 2 monkeys are fully sharp.  

  

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


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

Review by commentator Dan C.

Grooming is the glue that binds monkey troops together.  You captured that behavior very well with this image.  The canopy adds to the story by clearly showing the habitat of this new world monkey.

Technically your exposure is good.  You are on the verge of loosing  details in the white of the monkey being groomed but that could be due to differences in the brightness of my monitor and your monitor so I am not knocking off a point for that.  I am knocking off a point for that funky area above the monkeys out-stretched arm since it gives the impression of poor dodging to darken a bright area.  Burning and dodging are allowed but maybe using NIK Viveza to selectively darken that area might have looked more realistic.

Pictorially I prefer the image flipped horizontally.  I am less bothered by that funky area, less bothered by the near merger of the monkey’s arm on the branch with the edge of the frame, and the hanging arm acts as a leading line.  I am also less bothered by the highlight on the background foliage.  More importantly, I feel it shows the story and the expression on the face of the monkey being groomed better.

N3, T2, P2, E0, Total 7


Review by William S.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
You captured a very good nature story by showing an interaction between the animals.

SCORE N (Nature) 3-positive nature story

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
On my screen the monkeys seem a little soft and the leaf slightly behind the sitting monkey’s head is sharper. The angle and composition is good, reversing the horizon did not seem to offer any real benefit although I thought it might. Reducing the highlights with luminosity curves would improve the detail in the animals’ light fur.


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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I like the image but the pictorial quality could use more postprocessing.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 7


Review by Bruce F.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
The nature story is strong and clear. The one monkey is grooming the other. A common social activity that bonds the individuals of the troop to each other. The expression and the laying out and expressing bliss of the one being groomed is subline. This gesture or expression increase the nature story value, and you caught a decisive moment.

SCORE N (Nature) 3-positive nature story

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The fur under the neck of the one being groomed is a bit hot, and I would tone this down. I would also work on all the hot spots and bokeh in the background. These are the pictorial elements that really holding this image back from being top notch. Even though these are less important than the nature story elements, they do separate good from great images. Clean up this background, and you’ll have a stronger image.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I don’t mind that the tails are cut off and their bodies not totally shown. By getting in close, you focus on the intimate nature story of this behavior. Two to three format works fine with the subjects. The overall issue is with the background highlights and light spots.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 7


Review by Bogdan B.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Nice interacting.

SCORE N (Nature) 3-positive nature story

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Due to high ISO I think, the photo is not quite sharp. Neck hair seems me overexposed.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
A lot of distracting branches and leafs.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 7


Review by Robert D.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
3 Good nature event with one monkey preening the other. Great expressions

SCORE N (Nature) 3-positive nature story

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Very little detail in the shadows. Some blown out highlights. Not much depth of field. Halo on the back of the left monkey. Distracting very bright background highlight. High ISO and wide aperture for the distance. Did you use a tripod ?
P 1 It’s a good record shot but too challenging for the equipment. You might try processing with Aurora HDR. This works on single shots and may help to bring out the shadows and highlights.


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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Interesting event

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 6


Review by Suman B.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
good nature story as you could capture the interaction between the monkeys among the habitat which is commendable.

SCORE N (Nature) 3-positive nature story

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
since you used a shallow DOF so your elements are soft and not properly sharp. I would advise you to keep a greater DOF in such cases. your choice of such a high ISO may also be the cause of the softness.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Your job is tricky as there are ample highlight and shadow merger which needs to be dealt with carefully. I find the halo around the monkeys disturbing which you need to carefully burn and if possible use a shallow / soft brush to burn the areas.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 6


Review by Prasad D.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Nice grooming image of the MOnkeys. The grromed monkey and his shoulder seems to be overly exposed. The Clutter of leaves in the background disturbs.

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The highlights on the Sholder of the groomed monkey is over exposed.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The leaf over head and the clutter of leaves in the background disturbs the scene.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 5

I am retired (64 as at 2018) and keen to devote more time to photography and travelling. My photography started 40 years ago with a home darkroom and like many, was kickstarted again with digital SLR’s becoming affordable.
I was a Canon man - 5 and 7 bodies, with many L series lenses, but sold the whole lot in 2015 due to weight issues. I now use an Olympus EM1 Mkii with many of their Pro series lenses and don’t regret the move. My core wildlife lens is a 300 f4 prime, which is razor sharp. Used with a 1.4 converter gives a Full Frame equivalent of 840mm - in a recent trip to Costa Rica 80% of my shots were at this reach (birds there are small and other wildlife are very high in the canopy!).
When at home in the UK, I enjoy visiting zoos and bird protection areas, as well as trying to photograph insects in gardens etc. I also travel abroad to enjoy wildlife experiences - Africa and Costa Rica mostly.
I am Secretary and Committee Member at a large Camera Club (Winchester, Hampshire) and enjoy helping to run a large club (200 members). I continue learning a lot from the many excellent photographers (particularly in use of Lightroom and what makes a good image). I don’t use Photoshop. In December I was awarded LRPS - the first distinction level of three awarded by The Royal Photographic Society.