Study Group 2


Janice Rosner (D)

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JUNE 2020 ROUND
Title:    Wildebeest Stampede 2
  
 
Goal:    I spent a bit of time making intentional blurs of the moving animals. My goal was to convey the sense of motion and form but not to "stop the action" 
  

Equipment/Source:    Sony a9 200-600 lens at 407mm, 1/40s f6.3 ISO 50

Technique:  Low ISO was chosen primarily to enable the slower shutter speed. Focal length was determined by distance between the wildebeest and myself and what was reasonable to capture the animals. I was experimenting with shutter speeds between 1/20 and 1/40. This image was made at 1/40. I was standing in the truck and panning at the rate of the animals running. I looked for animals that were compositionally in pleasing groups without distracting mergers.

Processing:   processed in acr with adjustments to highlights and contrast. cropped in PS

Score this Image: YES

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

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

Review by commentator J.D.
Hi Janice. As a photographer who done a lot of “panning” when shooting motorcycle races, I really appreciate your photo and the excellent job you did “panning”. Bravo! High quality panning brings a lot of attention to the subject and presents a lot of drama to a photograph.
Your camera settings were spot on for “panning”. And…. your panning technique is first class so keep it up. Keep doing what your doing and you will only improve on something your doing very well.
The one thing I found lacking, is your cropping was “too open”. I made a copy and tightened it up a bit and had the young animal at the bottom in the front flying off the page. It made it appear that something was chasing them and they were in top flight to escape. Avoid the “power crop” in this photo. Simply tighten it up a bit and get rid of the dark green line at the top right. Also, do a light “burn” on the light area at the bottom left.
All in all this is wonderful photography. Bravo!

Score: 8


Review by Larry T

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
I feel that there is a viable nature story displayed in the image. One of my visions of Africa is of the grazing animals fleeing from the pursuing predators. While the predators are not visible their impact is and that is what makes the image work.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I applaud your efforts to make this kind of capture. Outstanding panning shots are extremely difficult to obtain. Ideally, if your technique is perfect you will manage to get at least one of the moving part in sharp focus. With this type of animal it would probably be the head. This requires that your panning motion MUST EXACTLY math the speed of your subject. This is something that takes a great deal of practice. With the little wildebeest in the foreground you came close. Had you caught the head and the rest of the animal been blurred this would have been a truly amazing shot. You came quite close----I hope you keep practicing. Your technical set up worked quite well all things considered.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I would suggest cropping this image into the same format as you image from last month. Such a format would remove the darker parts of the background near the top and accen tuate th e feeling of speed. The existing top of the background is just visually distracting.

SCORE 8


Review by Haru N.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
I admire your challenge.
In term of nature story, it does not present "the story" of nature so much, I am afraid.


TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I like the lighting, hitting on the beasts. Also well-captured the texture of fur coat with motion blurs nicely. I wish more sharpness on the middle beast.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I understand it is challenging to develop fine composition in such situation. However, I am not sure why you left upper spaces for nearly 1/3 of the image. on the other hand, I like the space in right hand side. I would crop top side, left side a bit, and leave right hand side space. That way motion blur of beasts gets center of attention.

SCORE 6


Review by Louis P

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
certainly a moving nature image. - 3

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I believe that the animals, certainly the closest one, should have been quite sharp. I am guessing because I have not done this successfully yet, but if you were panning at the rate of the animals, it seems like they should have been sharp, but at the same time one would see the grasses flowing due to the panning. -1

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
very moving and exciting - 3

SCORE 7


Review by MJ S

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Good story with lots of motion

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Intentionally blurred but shapes are recognizable

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Not my cup of tea

SCORE 8


Review by Charlie Y

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
if the image was shot/captured properly, it would convey the 'motion', but given the image has not deliver any sharp, for example, beast' eye. It is not good.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
panning shot is difficult, require practice to get it close. though it's admirable attempt. This image just did not deliver the 'goal'. would suggest more practice at home to attend better proficiency, then try it out on the field.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
image composition leave a lot of room blank on the top, which does not add values to the image, thus less impact t o viewer.

SCORE 4


Review by Natalie M

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Good action shot, but it's common behaviour, so 2 points.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Technique used seems appropriate for the task, exposure and colour are good. 3 points.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I don't think it is as good as the one you posted last month, I liked the arty component there. This one loses a little of that impact because of the head being obstructed by grass. 2 points.

SCORE 7


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MAY 2020 ROUND

Title:     Wildebeest Stampede
   
Goal:     To make a blur of the running wildebeest in order to emphasize their form and motion

Equipment/Source:    Sony a9, 200-600 lens at 200mm F18, 1/20 s, ISO 100 

Technique:    Stood in truck and looked for groups of running wildebeest without mergers. Panned at the running speed. 

Processing:     
ACR basic exposure adjustments, crop


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

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

Review by commentator Dan C.

I have mixed emotions with this image.  My opinion of this image as a nature image is in conflict with my opinion of this as a competitive nature image.  You accomplished your goal of portraying the motion you were going for and in doing so you created a strong and valid nature story in a manner other than the normal freezing of motion.  In my opinion it is the zoological equivalent of a slow shutter speed common for waterfalls.  Unfortunately most judges would consider the blur on this type of subject a creative technique that does not pass the “does it look natural” test.  In their minds, blurred moving water looks natural; blurred moving animals does not look natural.

Effective panning is not an easy technique.  Yours worked very well.  Your exposure is excellent. I see no reason not to assign a 3 for technical.

Pictorially the image very strong and agree with your cropping into a panel.  I find the blur aesthetically pleasing.  I would not hesitate to use this in a pictorial competition but in spite of the high total, would hesitate to use it in a nature competition.

N3, T3, P3, E0, Total 9


Review by Robert D

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
You really captured the motion of the running wildebeest.

SCORE N (Nature) 2-Nature story of average strength (portrait

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Panning conveys movement but it should be more refined in that the objective is to keep some of the subject or all of it in some focus while the rest shows motion blur. To do this, one has to pan at the same speed and direction that the animals are going. If not the whole scene is blurred and not as attractive as it could be. The very tight crop is distracting.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Not quite average.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 5


Review by Adrian B

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Helo Janice. Judging by the camera settings, you planning this blurred output before taking the show which I commend you for. This is a "marmite" picture - some will love, others hate.
I have no idea how this might be thought of in the world of Nature competitions - but as to whether it demonstrates a story, yes, to me you have shown a clear story of speeding wildebeest.

SCORE N (Nature) 3-nature story strong

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I find the fact there is zero sharp difficult to accept. I would like something to leave my eye on rather it all blurred - whilst accepting fully that there is no right or wrong here. Just my preference. So I would have taken this (assuming I had the artistic thought ahead!) of using a speed perhaps of 1/100. I also don't like your name etc left on the image.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Ignoring all of the above, I find it unfortunate that the from wildebeest has bucked and thus its shape and head is hidden within a bass of dark. That takes away my enjo yment of your art.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 7


Review by Prasad D

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Very creative attempt to capture and depict the Wildebeests on the run.

SCORE N (Nature) 3-nature story strong

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Panning is a skill and generally should have been with 1/30-1/40 sec with a Drive mode to Continuous/Al Servo. That would probably have got the better picture of the Wildebeests.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Lovely image and composition.

SCORE P (Pictorial Quality) 3- Excellen t composition and impact

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 8


Review by Bogdan B

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Running of two animals is not enough for strong natural story.

SCORE N (Nature) 2-Nature story of average strength (portrait

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The image is too abstract for natural group but also for PID.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Due to weak panning also the shapes are not good seen.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 4


Review by Saswati C

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Lovely panning, motion blur well executed, perfectly encapsulating their form and the essence of panic and motion. Overall it’s a Strong Nature Story.

SCORE N (Nature) 3-nature story strong

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Technical Aspect of this picture is successfully well executed, probably the most effective setting for the desired outcome.

SCORE T (Technical Quality) 3-Excellent exposure color balance and sharpness

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
A Flawless picture perfectl y capturing their form in motion. Interesting framing which also emphasizes the flow.

SCORE P (Pictorial Quality) 3-Excellent composition and impact

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 9


Review by Suman B.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
while you captured the nature story perfectly with the two wilder beasts running. To me its a dramatic effect reminding me of the Paleolithic Cave Art of Northern Spain famously nicknamed the Altamira Cave paintings.

SCORE N (Nature) 3-nature story strong

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
while shooting Pan shots it is required for you to shoot at 1/30 ths or below. If not careful it would convert into a whip pan where subjects are reduced to streaks of blur. And since the camera fitted with a long telephoto is being panned there is high chance of shake for which you need to turn off the VR of your lens. these are some of the basics you may keep in mind while shooting pan. Also there is luck which was kind to you as you got two animals in single frame running parallel. But your image looks soft as you compromised on DOF with low ISO.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
pictorially motion is good with two subjects going one after another. good movement captured. May be you could have listened to Tom's commentary on my image and tried the flipping which in this case is more appropriate.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 6

IF APPLICABLE, WHY DESERVING OF EXTRA POINT FOR EXCELLENCE
getting two animals in a single frame

SCORE E (Exceptional) 1

GRAND TOTAL WITH EXTRA POINT: 7


Review by Nirmalya B.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
The photograph is a beautiful display article but of moderate nature story.

SCORE N (Nature) 2-Nature story of average strength (portrait

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Panning appears to me very natural and smooth at appropriate camera setting for panning shot. If there would be more than two animals, I guess this would be a fantastic and artistic capture. But again, that is luck factor.

SCORE T (Technical Quality) 3-Excellent exposure color balance and sharpness

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
From pictorial point of view, I would love to see a larger frame because the vastness of the background would have added aesthetic value of the shot in my opinion.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE
7
Review by Rick D.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Hi Janice. There are probably two thoughts on an image like this. One either likes the concept of Intentional Camera Movement or one does not. I like it when it is done well. Some critics would not like it in any manner. Some would insist that the head must be somewhat in focus.
But you stepped up the difficulty by photographing 2 running wildebeests! To me, that rates a high score.


SCORE N (Nature) 3-nature story strong

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
To me, your technique worked very well. I like the crop you did by leaving a little more “running room” in the direction they were heading. Your panning effort looks good to me.

SCORE T (Technical Quality) 3-Excellent exposure color balance and sharpness

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
To me, your technique worked very well. I like the crop you did by leaving a little more “running room” in the direction they were heading. Your panning effort looks good to me. When shooting nature, sometimes the so called rules really do not hold water. As we know, we can capture only what nature gives us. I feel that the green of the grass (cool) works well with the earth tones (warm) of the animals. I believe that ICM is gaining in popularity as our gear improves and I feel it took a bit of courage to po st this image for critical review by your peers. Good for you!

SCORE P (Pictorial Quality) 3-Excellent composition and impact

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 9
RESPONSE TO CRITIQUES BY JANICE:

1. To Dan C, commentator.  Thank you for your explanation of the criteria for judging between the nature and pictorial categories.  I actually had no idea.  Nature is my preferred subject but I do like to do creative interpretations in an attempt to convey more of a mood or energy of an event.  I wonder if I’m in the wrong group?  

2. Response to Prasad D. Thanks for your technical input.   I did use both 1/30 and 1/40 & camera was in continuous/AI Servo.  I just personally preferred the image I got at 1/20.  

3. Response to Suman B. Thank you for your input.  This image was shot at 1/20.  VR was off and DoF was 18.  




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.