Study Group 2

Janice Rosner (B)

Click image to enlarge

Upload Next Round's Image and Description
Title:   American Dipper with Catch
Goal:   To capture American Dippers in flight while they were hunting for food.

Equipment/Source:   Canon 7D mark II, Canon 100-400 at 400mm,

Technique:   I walked out close to the creek where the birds were and sat and watched them fly back and forth from the shore and dive into the creek. While they were flying and diving, I tracked them through the lens.

Processing:   ACR, enabled profile corrections and cropped.

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

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

Upload Next Round's Image and Description

Title:   Yellowstone cottonwoods in fog

Goal: I was out in the Lamar Valley at sunrise around the time of the Polar Vortex. This was one of the "warmer days" as there was cloud cover. Despite the clouds, the light was nice. I saw the low fog down by the Lamar River near the cottonwoods and wanted to see if I could get some interesting images of the cottonwoods in the mist. The snow was deep and I had to snowshoe out to the river.    

Equipment/Source:   Canon 5dsr, 24-70 lens at 40mm. tripod
Technique:  I snowshoed out to the river and around the cottonwoods, being careful not to leave tracks in view of where I potentially wanted to shoot from. I found this view and liked the simplicity and outline of the trees agains the foggy background. 

auto wb in camera. The following adjustments were made in ACR: increase whites, slight decrease of blacks to increase contrast of trunks against light background, decrease clarity, increase vibrance, remove chromatic aberration, enable profile correction. 

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 is nicely done and does have a nice story.  The snow, the bare trees, and the dark shapes in the background all contribute to the story.  Those dark shapes are actually key to the story you captured.

This image takes time to appreciate and enjoy so a lot will depend on how you present it to others.  Most digital competitions do not give the judges time to appreciate this image so the subtlety may hurt you there.  Presented as a print on velvet paper this should sing.

Pictorially it is extremely pleasing and well lain out but I do feel you can reduce the amount of space in the foreground and at the top.  This will focus the viewer on the trees and bring the dark shapes more strongly into play.

Technically your exposure and sharpness are well handled for the story you are trying to present.

N2, T3, P2, E0, Total 7

Review by Prasad D.

Serene image. Have achieved what was expected. 
N-3, T-4, P-3, E-1 Total =11.
Review by Larry T.
First let me state that I really enjoy the minimalistic nature of this image. The very stark appearance has quite a dramatic feel to it.

In terms of creating a dramatic nature storyline I do not feel this image makes the grade. While I like the image the only storyline I see bare trees in winter---a fairly common scene during the winter.

Applaud your thoughtfulness of moving around the scene and not leaving footprints in the area you wanted to photograph as do I recognize you efforts in snowshoeing out into the Lamar Valley. When viewed in the expanded version the trees appear to be a bit soft lacking the sharp definition I would like to see in the winter trees. However, I will dismiss that as a fault since you indicate that there is a mist. Heavy mist may contribute to making the trees look soft.

I feel you did well by moving the true horizon down to below the mid mark of the frame. I also like the composition you selected with the spacing of the trees. You left enough room on the right and I personally like the separated lone tree on the left as I feel separated as it is it adds to the bleakness of the overall image. The thing that bothers me with the overall image is what I feel is a strange color cast that shifts to the warm side. I would suggest lowering the temperature of the image and bringing out more white.

Regardless of the score, I do like the image. It is one of the better overall images that I have seen portraying this last winter’s extreme cold spells.
N-2, T-3, P-2, E-0, Total-7
Review by Bruce F.
I am not sure why you lighted the cottonwoods, for some appear brown. I think you would want them black to really stand out against the snow and fog—making the contrast greater.

By including lots of the fog and the surrounding area, this image is a landscape rendition rather than nature one. Changing the title and including the weather, time of year (winter), cottonwoods bare in winter, would help the nature story here. Especially, if present in a camera club competition.
For the composition, I would consider a 16 x 9 format, I don’t believe including so much snow in the foreground and sky in the background is adding to the impact of the stark tree trunks in this wintery environment. Cropping just above the sun that’s trying to peek through the fog, and half of the snow in the foreground would strengthen the visual impact of this image. 
N-2, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-6
Review by Robert D.
Beautiful soft snow image taken in cold weather, Great composition and exposure. For my taste in post-production, I would like to create a very white predominant image - high-key and then make the trees stand out by increasing the blacks. This would tone t=down the dark grey behind the trees which is a little distracting.
N-3, T-2, P-3, E-0, Total-8
Review by Bogdan B.
The fog is interesting for photos, but landscape is not easy accepted on ND exhibitions.
Here it seems, that an edge covers the bottoms of the trees. I don't like that.
WB seems too brown to me. For snow it's better to be slightly in blue or clear white.
I would crop the photo from the top a little bit. And I miss some more sharpness.
N-2, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-6
Review by Omar P.
I like the simplicity of the image. Good job making the image look clean in terms of not having distracting elements. To make it stronger with regards to competitions, I suggest taking the time to remove some of the spots in the image. Not sure if they are blurred features in the setting or a dirty lens/sensor. There also seems to be an out of focus or blurred feature on the left side of the second tree from the left. To me it is a distraction given that the rest of the line of trees are in focus. 
N-3, T-3, P-2, E-0, Total-8
Review by Adrian B.
Janice, I loved Yellowstone when we went in winter a few years ago! So many photographic opportunities!I love the simplicity here and is really moody.

I have some doubts though. It has a very brown feel, which may have been the real life experience, but it asks questions about White Balance etc. I would be inclined to try B&W - I am sure it would be much stronger as a result. I would also make it a letterbox 16/9 shape or narrower, loosing the top 1/3 which is mostly bright and isn't helpful.

This is my first month in this Group and I haven't worked out how to attach an image - otherwise, I would have filed an example of what such a B&W shot would look like.

I am sure you have the basis of a lovely image, but as presented, it doesn't do it for me.
N-2, T-2, P-2, E-0,Total-6
Review by Suman B.
a little cut in the baseline is what I would recommend. the shadowy light & shade play on the background with the fog playing in and the sharp cottonwoods lines making repetitions gives a beautiful impact. Would love to see the print on fine textured paper as that would bring the best out of it. the rawness of the winter makes a beautiful nature story line. a more panoramic approach fits the image.
N-3, T-3, P-3, E-0, Total-9

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.