Study Group 2


Janice Rosner (B)

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JULY 2019 ROUND
Title:   Puma with guanaco kill
 
   
Goal:   To capture images of pumas in the wild
  

Equipment/Source:  Sony a7riii, Sony 100-400 with 1.4 extender (560mm), tripod,

Technique:  f9, 1/640, ISO 3200,
We knew that the pumas had a guanaco kill on the shoulder of a road. As we approached the area, we could see a puma coming down the side of the hill across the street from the kill. We quietly got out of the car and set up on the shoulder of the road opposite the kill. There was a buzzard eagle on the kill. The puma saw the eagle, ran across the road about 50 yards from us and went after it. The eagle flew but attempted to come back to the kill a couple times and each time the puma went after it. When the eagle was gone, the puma sat on the hill above the kill and watched it for awhile. After a few minutes, the puma came down the hill and began to eat on the guanaco.

The light was very poor as it was dusk. I needed to use a high ISO, and keep my shutter speed up and enough DoF to keep a quickly moving animal in focus. I monitored my histogram as the sun was setting and I was loosing light.  

Processing:  ACR- increased exposure 3 stops, adjusted white balance, increased whites, added some clarity and dehaze and decreased noise. In PS I adjusted the grey point and brightened the eyes.  

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:    Barn swallow chicks being fed

Goal:  I stood under this old building for quite sometime watching the activity of the swallows. I wanted to capture the feeding behavior I was watching   

Equipment/Source:    Canon 7d, Canon 100-400 at 365mm, f5.6, 1/250, ISO 400, tripod
 
Technique:  Stood watching the birds for about an hour, shooting both the chicks in the nests and the parents flying

Processing:   
ACR, added some clarity, vibrance and increased the whites slightly 

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

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

Review by commentator Rick C.

I feel the behavioral aspect we are looking for in a good nature story is present and relatively clear. That said, the inclusion of so much unrelated hand of man weakens the effectiveness of the image markedly. To clarify that comment, yes, this is a clear-cut case of adaptive behavior and as such it should not be disqualified by a judge for violation of the hand of man aspect of the Nature Definition. However, the extent to which a hand of man element is present should always be minimized to as great an extent as possible. The swallows and activity may be the center of interest, but as composed, the image is more about the barn than the swallows.

The exposure looks reasonable for the lighting conditions you were dealing with. I downloaded the image to deal with the compositional / hand of man aspect and noted that there is a lack of critical sharpness on the nests and chicks. Since the parent was in flight, I wasn’t looking too hard at it. Since you were able to work from a tripod and it was a recurring condition, my suggestion would be to use the live view on the 7D at 5x or 10x and manually fine tune critical focus on the nests rather than rely on autofocus as that will literally shift from one shot to the next even when aiming at the same spot (The technology involved is why DSLR’s focus more quickly than mirrorless but mirrorless focuses more accurately than a DSLR. The “play” (tolerance) in focus for a DSLR can mean that it will not provide critical focus from one frame to the next when focusing on a stationary subject. Most of the time the variance is not enough to be problematic.)

While composed to place the nests in the upper right crash point and reasonable from a traditional compositional perspective, in this case the need to minimize the “extraneous” (more than needed for the story) hand of man aspect dictates that we should compose much more tightly on the nesting group.

N-3, T-1, P-2 = 6 (I did not deduct on the nature score for the extraneous hand of man element. T-1 The lack of critical focus weakens the image significantly. P-2 While cropped properly for traditional pictorial viewing, the need to eliminate as much of the extraneous hand of man element as possible dictates a radically tighter composition. Look at the adjusted version to get a sense of what I am trying to get at. Unfortunately, I couldn’t restore complete sharpness when beginning with you image, but it should still give you a feel.)


Review by Prasad D.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Lovely picture

SCORE N (Nature) 3-positive nature story

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
A higher Shutter Speed of 1/1250 or more could have given a better image. Using a Tripod seems difficult for me. I could have shot the scene handheld. And gone closer with my FL.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
A tight crop of the image will magnify the activity.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 6


Review by Andy H.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
There is a nature story here but would have been improved if the parent was actually feeding the chicks.
I wonder if Rick could say something about the rules governing the Hand of Man.

SCORE N (Nature) 3-positive nature story

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Generally your settings are fine but with a bird like a swallow I would tend to sacrifice ISO for more speed.(1/1000)
Not sure how much of a crop you applied but the chicks are quite soft. A tripod is pretty much a must for trying to get a sharp image in these circumstances.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The image lacks impact and there is too much other stuff causing distraction. Getting in closer or cropping out some of the distraction might help.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 6


Review by Rich F.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Good image of the interaction between the adult and chick. One question I have is whether this technically meets the definition of nature. Should it be DQ because of the net and barn are visible. I don't think this matters but it might in an exhibitions

SCORE N (Nature) 3-positive nature story

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The image is well exposed and reasonably sharp. The slightly slow shutter speed (1/250) leads to the wings being blurred. You did not report the distance to subject but guessing it is 25', then your DOF is only 3" (from photo piills). Increase the ISO to 1600 would allow you to double your shutter speed and increase the aperture to F8.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The image has a number of interesting features (triangles and leading lines) which help draw the viewers attention to the nest. Never the less the nest is slightly off a bulls-eyed. A better placement may help add tension to the image.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 7


Review by Natalie M.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Certainly a nature story here, and although there are plenty of man made inclusions in the shot, I believe they fit into the birds adapted habitat.

SCORE N (Nature) 3-positive nature story

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Unfortunately here the image is lacking sharpness, likely due to the slow shutter speed. I have found that at least 1/1600- 1/2000 is needed to catch these guys in flight.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
That scene was a nice find. I think it could be improved by cropping, however in this instance it would exacerbate the lack of sharpness. With an ISO of 400 I would go back and have another go with a faster shutter speed and slightly different angle to try and get more of the front of the parent bird.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 6


Review by Dennis H.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Unfortunately the infrastructure in this image would probably disqualify it in a nature composition.

SCORE N (Nature) 1-does not fit Nature definition

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I think you need a much higher shutter speed for these birds (at least 1000/sec) as the image is too soft.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I believe the image could be improved by cropping as much of the background as possible just leaving the nest and birds.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 5



I’m primarily a Canon shooter though I have recently started using a Sony a6500 when I hike.  For post processing I use ACR and photoshop.  I also have some Topaz products I use occasionally.