Study Group 2

Charlie Yang (B)

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Title:   Search for Spring
Goal:  Out to look for sign of spring, in this instance, "skunk cabbage", and get a shot of early development of this plant, and capture the bursting out. 

Equipment/Source:    Nikon D5300, 10-20mm lens, at 11mm, F/11, S 1/20sec, ISO 800
Technique:   looking the weather forecast, it's hoover around 30F, I want to capture the cabbage still in frozen ice stream, So, rushed a bit, found it along the stream, lay flat on ground, and position my camera on the flat ice surface (on top of a square tarp), timer trigger. 

Processing:  Crop, align, in LR, clarify+, white/black adjustment. 

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

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

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Title:     Bald Eagle hunting
Goal:    Capture Bald Eagle Activities. last year didn't get good shots.

Nikon D810, 200-500mm @500mm, S 1/2000, ISO 450, handheld
Technique:   Stand along the visitors platform at Lock and Dam 14, Le Claire Iowa, observe Bald Eagle fly by, circle, dive, and catch fish, fly off. Try a few practice shots, get the shuttle speed up, then shoot in burst mode.   

Processing:    crop, darken surrounding: water (reflection), Ice.

p.s. upon reviewing the photos. this is a lot of timing to get a good shot. Further, about post processing, any tips would be welcome. I'm new to wild life, etc.

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

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

Review by commentator Dan Charbonnet

You caught good action with this shot.  While marginally sharp, the head is on the verge of going soft when seen on a large screen.  I have mixed emotions on whether I like it presented the way you show it or flopped horizontal.  For an occidental like me, the upper right thirds intersection in a strong location and in this shot it is strong enough to grab my attention immediately and almost miss the fish.  Flipped horizontal the head becomes less dominant and the fish becomes a stronger element.  This is one case where the culture of the audience can play a part in how an image is read.

Pictorially I would like to see just a bit less space behind the eagle so it is not so centered in the frame.  This space differential will also impart a stronger feeling of motion to the image.

N3, T2, P2, E0, Total 7

Review by Martin P.
At first glance a wonderful behaviour shot of a fabulous creature.
N = A wonderful behaviour shot of a predator with its prey freshly dripping having just been taken from the water.
T = I am feeling like the main subject is not quite tack sharp in the eye or beak which is a real shame. In my view and on my monitor I am feeling like the lighting was not in your favour as I can see an area on top of the head which looks like it is blown out and the detail is not there. I am feeling like the water has taken on a strange look as you have made the dark areas stand out due to the processing. You could try reducing the contrast in the background as this may help. Adding additional clarity in post processing can sometime help with apparent sharpness, but in this case I don’t think we are quite sharp enough.
P= From a compositional perspective I am wondering if a little more space in front of the bird might help with the overall picture feel to allow space for the bird to fly into. This would also move the bird a little out of centre which I feel might improve the picture. I am wondering what the large white area in the water is as well as I am finding my eye drawn to this area rather than the bird.
Birds in flight are never easy so well done getting such a wonderful bird in the frame.
N-3, T-1, P-2, E=0, Total-6

Review by Larry T.
This fine image of a Bald Eagle with fish does carry out the Nature theme of story telling. Thus I’ll award the full 3 points for story telling.

Although the D810 only does five frames per second you managed to get excellent wing position and were thus able to display the entire bird and its catch. I will note that the birds wing tips are slightly out of focus which in this case is probably due to lack of depth of field and not shutter speed as you were already at 1/2000. Since you used a relatively low ISO I will suggest that you could have raised the ISO and also the fstop to better manage those wing tips. Note the added fstop and related depth of field will not matter much since you already have a distant background. The detail in the bird itself is a bit soft suggesting that perhaps you cropped this by a considerable amount. If you do not have a the Nikon TC1.4 may I suggest you get one. That will turn your 500mm lens into a 700mm without a noticeable loss of image quality and will reduce the need to crop as much. I will also note that you have slightly blown the highlights the eagle’s white neck feathers. They are not blown very much and you might be able to recover them by reducing highlights and bringing down the exposure slightly using the Lightroom Adjustment Brush.

Overall you did a pretty good job with processing. As noted above you could bring down the highlights, and I would suggest moving the bird slightly to left to get him out of the dead center giving him some space to fly into. I’ve noted that others often suggest flipping the bird so that he flies from right to left, but the direction of his flight is not an issue with me. It looks like you may have over processed the water as you might note the white halos around the black shadows in the water above the bird.
N-3, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-7

Review by Andy H.
It looks to me that you did all the right things. Practice, practice, practice, and timing that's what it takes. I think you've done really well to capture this shot. Technically there are a few issues but it's still, a good image. The composition is a little too, central crop some off the LHS.
The unfortunate piece of ice Is a major distraction but little you could do about it. Due to the strong sunlight the image lacks impact. Post processing - I would try the dehaze, up the contrast, take down the exposure a little and add some sharpening. Hope that helps.
N-3, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-7

Review by Rich F.
This is a good action shot. The shutter speed was sufficient to freeze the bird in flight as well as the water droplets falling from the eagle's talons. ISO 450 is rather low. You did not mention your f-stop but I suspect that your shot wide open or nearly wide open. I would have increased the ISO and f-stop of gain a bit of DOF. The exposure of the bird's feather is excellent but the head is blow out, especially the top of the head. Also it looks as if the focus was slightly off, perhaps on the wing. What focus mode did you use?
N-3, T-2, P-3, E-0, Total-8

Review by Robert D.
Great action shot. Congratulations – this is very difficult. First of all, I would crop from the left upper corner. The bird is very central. Secondly I would decrease the saturation especially in the blues ( image adjustments/Hue ) While the image is clear, I feel like it is a little fuzzy. Your shutter speed is good, what was the f stop ? My guess is that you would need f8 and a higher ISO. Most importantly one will encounter this if you shoot hand-held. The best way to make it pop is to use a gimbal head on a tripod.
N-2, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-6

Review by MJ Springett
Charlie, I think your capture of the moment is well done. Your exposure could be a little darker, as the eagle head feathers are not as defined as they could be. Shutter speed looked adequate. I know how difficult this moment is to capture and I applaud your effort.
N-3, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-7

Review by Dennis H.
Good capture of bald eagle fishing. Nice colour on bird. Image appears a little soft. Good try.
N-3, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-7

Review by Natalie M.
This is a great capture, Charlie. Timing is perfect to show that poor fish with his mouth open, so 3 points for the nature story. Your fast shutter speed has frozen the action well, and the overall shot looks well exposed. Processing appears very natural, so you score 3 points for TQ. 2 points for PQ, I'm probably being a bit tough here, but I would prefer a tighter crop behind the bird, and more room out in front, but this is just my preference. Well done.
N-3, T-3, P-2, E-0, Total-8

Review by Bogdan B.
Good action photo. I'm sorry, that it's not sharp enough.
N-3, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-7

Review by Omar P.
Great job capturing the eagle in flight and showing off it’s catch. For me the image is to over processed and doesn’t look natural. My guess is you tried to reduce the noise from the image and it caused the details to be to soft and blotchy? Better lighting or an adjustment to the camera settings could have helped capture a more natural looking photo.   
N-3, T-1, P-1, E-0, Total-5

Review by Valentin D.
This is such a nice shot. I like how you immortalized this moment. I would personally leave more room ahead of the eagle and maybe increase the contrast e bit. 
N-3, T-3, P-2, E-0, Total-8

Review by Charlie Y.

The Bald eagle in flight is a dream for me. You have put in great effort. However the face of the eagle is not tack sharp and feel the snow in the background demands attention. The fish in the grip of the claws is great.
N-3, T-2, P,-2, E-0 Total 7
Review by Suman B.
your equipment is A+ category yet I could not find the excellent shot you captured enticing. I was trying to find reason from amongst your explanations and stumbled upon the fact that 1. you chose to shoot handheld and 2. your shutter speed was 1/2000 parts of second. these two are the villains as per me. if you shot at higher shutter speeds viz. 1/4000 parts of a second you could have captured an excellent crispy shot or otherwise if you have used a versatile tripod / monopod with a gimble type helpful rotation enabled ball head the effects could have been tremendous. upon closely observing the water gushing out of the captured fish's mouth you could also be able to see the lazy effect the water is creating due the 1/2000 shutter speeds. and since light is ample or you could have used a higher ISO which would be enabling you the higher depth as I could not find the F-stop you used. Nature story wise it's a 3 but regarding shooting techniques and post processing you could do better. there is blue tail fins which should have been white as well as the fact that I didn't find your picture sharp enough to mark it a 3. you would do better as I also learned a lot from the comments you all are attributing to my pictures in this group. thank you for that. good try and I hope you will be there soon enough.
N-3, T-1, P-2, E-0, Total-6

I love to travel, and travels bring back pictures and memories, that’s one of the reasons I join PSA, to take better pictures and learn what to adjust afterwards. Just start to learn the capabilities of LR and PS, and things some of my club friends can do with them just simply amaze me. 

Nikon D5300, D810 are my main camera, and still learning what they can do, and it's fun to walk around to take different pictures at different time and under different light. 

My other pastime is golf. Hope to play out 50 states PGA courses. 

I live in Schaumburg, Chicago suburb, looking forward to get some fun experiences with Nature.