Study Group 2

Janice Rosner (B)

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Title:   Sparring Adolescent Elephant Seals
Goal:   Young male elephant seals stay together in groups.  According to the ranger, they often engage in behavior that will help them to learn how to compete for females when they get to breeding age.  I was fortunate to be able to watch a group of adolescent males for a couple of hours.  My goal was to photograph their sparing behavior. 

Equipment/Source:   Digital raw capture, Zoom 100-400@ 370mm, f5.6, 1/1000 

Technique:   I stood on the dock above the beach where the seals were and watched them over the railing.  

Processing:   ACR adjustments, increased exposure, clarity and vibrance, cropped in photos

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

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

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Title:   Mono Lake moonset

Goal:    To shoot the moonset with the alpen glow on the Sierras from the sunrise

Equipment/Source:   Canon 5dsr, tripod, 
Technique:   I know the shore of Mono Lake well. I got up about 4am and drove to the lake, walked along the shore until I found a position I liked and began shooting as the sun came up and lit up the mountains.

ACR & photoshop. In ACR I added some contrast, clarity and vibrance and took down some highlights and shadows. In PS I did some selective reduction of some highlights 

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

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

Review by commentator Dan C.

This absolutely sings.  It validates landscapes as strong nature images.  Unfortunately you ran into a sizing issue.  At 3” x 2” it looks fine.  When blown up to even a small screen it becomes pixelated and soft.

N3, T1, P2, E1, Total 7

Review by Larry T.
First, welcome to the group. Your introductory image is quite interesting and I’ll be looking forward to seeing more.

A bit of advice for future images: You might check the process you used when sizing the image for submission. Your image does not enlarge like the others in the group and thus it is most difficult to really see the image detail to fully critique the image.

Your stated goal was to shoot the moonset with the alpen glow on the Sierras. As a landscape photographer, when I joined this group I thought a beautiful landscape image was all that would be necessary. Since then I’ve learned to read the guidelines much more carefully and have noted that a “storyline” much be developed within the image. While I really like the visual product, according to the guidelines this image does not have a strong nature story line. Additionally, I really do not see the rosy color usually associated with alpen glow appearing on the peaks.

Your image will not enlarge so fully viewing details is difficult. You also do not provide the camera settings. From the thumbnail image it appears that everything may be proper focus, although to my eyes the shrubs in the middle look a bit fuzzy (probably due to image size. Using a tripod mount should provide a steady platform and thus I would expect a well focused and clear image. I will give you the benefit of the doubt and award a score of 3 for technical use.

The overall composition features a foreground, mid ground, and background, all necessary for a landscape image. You have nice placed the image within the frame and raised the horizon slightly above the center line. Placing the rising sun on the right fixation points adds interest and strengthens the composition Finally for foreground material helps to frame the lake. Reducing the highlights makes the overall mountains provides a more even tonality to the image.

N-2, T-3, P-3, E-0, Total-8
Review by Martin P.
On first viewing this image I was surprised to see a landscape. Having re-read the definition of nature photography I would agree that it appears to be within the rules. I will note that the image is of a very small size which makes it very difficult to be able to give feedback on the image.
N = I am finding it quite challenging to evaluate the “story” of this image. The author mentions moon rise but the image element of the moon is obscured by clouds so I cannot tell if it is the moon or a sunset.
T = Due to the size of the image it is quite difficult to comment on the technical elements such as sharpness etc.. The image appears to be well exposed for the foreground and mid ground, but I feel that the moon appears to be over exposed. A grad filter might have helped to balance the moon exposure with the rest of the image. I can also see a couple of dust spots in the sky in this image which should probably be removed
P= Overall, I am Struggling to enjoy this image. I feel that the double reflection of the moon is strange and disconcerting, and I am wondering how it happened. I feel that the foreground is creating a barrier to me walking into the image and feels a little dominating. I am wondering if a better POV would have been had closer to the water to create a simpler composition and might have been more effective. I am also wondering if removing some of the sky as the top blue band feels like it is not adding anything to the image for me personally.
N-2, T-2j, P-2, E-0, Total-6
Review by Andy H.
Welcome Janice. Im not the best person to critique landscape as I do very little, but it is a very nice well composed image.
Can you include your camera settings in future submissions it helps us to understand and comment more. The image, on my system seems very small did you up load 1040 pix at 120 ppi? If I blow it p it becomes quite soft. The image, for me, has impact which I look for in an image. You have foreground, middle and distant interest. Colours are over saturated.
N-3, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-7
Review by Robert D.
Nice pleasing image with a pretty sky, mountains and a lake with the rising sun’s reflection. The image is too small to evaluate the shadow detail and sharpness. The irregular lighting is distracting.
N-2, T-1, P-1, E-0, Total-4
Review by MJ Springett
This is a nice moment and worth getting up early. The horizon is in the middle of the image and not sure of the emphasis.  
N-2, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-6
Review by Rich F.
This is a strong image of a moonset. The composition is strong and processing is done well. The one question I wonder about is the size of the image. It appears to be too small making it hard to review.
N-2, T-3, P-3, E-0, Total-8
Review by Dennis H.
Your image shows the importance of catching the early light. Difficult to make a detailed assessment of image with the small size presented.
N-2, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-6
Review by Natalie M.
Hello Janice. I've had trouble reviewing your image because of either poor resolution, a small file size, or both. I can see its a lovely landscape shot with the moon and its reflection creating a point of focus. I can't comment on sharpness or adequacy of depth of field because of the image quality. The image looks well composed with regards to having foreground, middle, and background interest, as well as the placement of the moon on the 1/3 line of the frame.
N-2, T-1, P-2, E-0, Total-5
Review by Omar P.
I am not sure if the uploaded image resolution is too small for I was not able to enlarge and view image detail.I can not see or determine what is in focus therefore the reason for my scores of 2 for N/T/P. From the thumbnail size of the image the composition looks good and well balanced.
N-2, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-6
Review by Bogdan B.
The photo is attractive at first sight. Composition is good. I can't score technical quality, because the image is so small. It covers just 10% of the screen. I don't know: is it the error of webmaster or you didn't loaded enough pixels.
N-2, T-1, P-3, E-0, Total-6
Review by Valentin D.
Very nice capture. I believe you forgot to remove couple of sensor dusts in the upper right corner. Good composition. It appears to be a little bit out of focus, I cannot tell for sure. It might be because of the resizing. I would recommend to write in the comments the camera settings as well and the lens you have used.
N-3, T-1, P-2, E-0, Total-6
Review by Prasad D.
The image is captured with great effort...However the EXIF needs to be mentioned. It seems a highly processed image to me. The reflection seems unreal to me. The saturation seems too high to me.
N-2, T-3, P-1, E-0 Total 6
Review by Suman B.
Hi Janice....welcome to the nature group. Good picture to start with. Appreciate your creative eye the way you handled the highlight of the Sun in the image is what I find enterprising. At best I can guess what you intended to capture. There in the below-right corner I find a soft focussed rock which is absolutely a no-no for this kind of landscape photography. Your metering was probably of matrix as I found from the overall tones. I hope we will learn from our mistakes and that’s why we are in this group. Using a sturdy tripod with a shutter release is another advise I would make if you are intending on continuing landscape photography in future.
N-2, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-6

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.