Study Group 2


Linda Chubb - A

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NOVEMBER 2019 ROUND

Title:      Lunchtime on the Beach
   
Goal:   To capture this Heron with the crab he caught in his mouth. I was riding around Galveston trying out my new 50-500 lens when I came upon this young Heron. I took this picture while in the car.  
 
Equipment/Source:    Nikon D750, Sigma 50-500 lens
 
Technique:    Shutter Priority Mode, 1/320 sec., F/7.1, ISO 100, FL 420.0.mm

Processing:   
Lightroom and Corel Paint Shop Pro. I load into Lightroom and then transfer to Corel PSP where I Cropped, used Smart Fix and soft sharpened.
  

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


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

Review by commentator Rick C.
The nature story is clear and solid. This juvenile Night Heron has its prey in beak and the outcome is readily assumed. The Nature story value is rated as 3.

The exposure looks good for the lighting present. Contrast is well handled for the near midday lighting based on the shadow. Primary focus looks good for the crab. While not what we would normally consider optimal, sharpness is holding reasonably well for the head and facial area of the Heron. However, it falls off somewhat strangely on the Heron’s back given that it does not seem to fall off that radically on the ground under the Heron. I am not familiar with Paint Shop Pro’s general editing features or what you term as “soft sharpened”. It may be doing something that may not be optimal for a nature image. Another potential explanation is that there is some camera shake involved given that you were shooting from the car. That too could explain the less than optimal sharpness on the head area. The technical quality is rated as 2 based on the sharpening questions.

While somewhat tight in the frame, the composition is relatively reasonable. As framed, it leaves the image relatively static from a visual perspective. The Heron’s body does form a nice blocking diagonal that helps to keep the viewer in the image and relating to the story. While the relatively contrasty lighting does provide a lot of initial impact, the sharpness issue / question lowers the overall interest value. I realize we are constantly stressing that only the head (eyes and facial area) needs to be sharp, but the fall off on the body in this case leaves the viewer wondering what is going on and in so doing takes the focus off the story and shifts it to a technical consideration. The pictorial quality is rated as 2 as a result.

N-3, T-2, P-2 = 7 (See the adjusted version I did applying the “Shake Reduction” sharpening option found in either Photoshop or Elements.)


Review by Rich F

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
First of all I will ignore the description.

This is an interesting picture of a monarch (at least I think it is a monarch) on a ? flower. I don't recognize the flower so I am not sure of the role the flower plays in the monarch's life. In other words I am not knowledge about these species so it is hard for me to tell if there is a real nature story here or just a nice picture.


The image shows good interaction between the flower and monarch.

SCORE N (Nature) 3-nature story strong

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Image is well exposed and reasonably sharp.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The monarch is well positioned in the frame. The light background in the upper right

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 7


Review by Andy H

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
There is a nature story but I feel it could be stronger.

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I see no problem with your settings other than I would have raised you shutter speed to at least match your focal length. Sacrifice your ISO for more speed.
>From the shadow, and your title, it looks to have been taken in harsh light and that has affected the detail in the feathers. There is also a softness about the eye.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The image is strong but I feel lacks real impact. The composition is what it I, perhaps a little tight on the RHS.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 6


Review by Louis P

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
wonder nature shot

SCORE N (Nature) 3-nature story strong

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
excellent exposure, sharpness and clarity, color; catch-light in heron's eye; perhaps could have added a little contrast to draw our eyes to the bird

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
wonderful composition; bird's head in the perfect location; impact is high

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 9


Review by Dennis H

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Good nature story showing heron with crab.

SCORE N (Nature) 3-nature story strong

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Your camera settings look good although bird appears soft giving muted colours. I feel crab and bird's beak could be lightened to bring out more detail.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Bird on beach has good impact unfortunately shadow detracts a little.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 7


Review by Larry T

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
The crab and the bird clearly show the required elements of a nature storyline.
For the record, the bird is a juvenal Black Crowned Night Heron.

SCORE N (Nature) 3-nature story strong

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
When the expanded view is used the bird is shown to be almost sharp. The camera and lens you indicate are capable of much sharper results. There could be several reasons for this including having a shutter speed that is too slow. I would suggest using a shutter closer to 1/1000 or mounting the camera on a monopod or tripod. You indicate that you are using your “NEW” 50 -500mm lens and there is a learning curve associate with using this large. I would also suggest checking out proper long lens technique. All of these suggestions will aid in improving sharpness.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The ISO you stated you used and the aperture suggest that this was fairly bright day. The sand just behind the bird appears to be a bit over exposed You should be able to make some adjustment to bring this brightness down a bit. I also feel the composition is a bit tight for the bird. While you left enough space in front of the bird the right side is cramped resulting in a more portrait like image.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 7


Review by Natalie M

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Well spotted and good use of you mobile bird hide ;-)

SCORE N (Nature) 3-nature story strong

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Generally the image seems a little soft, with loss of feather detail. I wonder if this was due to some kind of noise reduction in the edit, or maybe a heavy crop.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Nice, uncluttered composition.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 7


Review by Todd G

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Nicely captured moment of the heron finding its catch.

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Focus and sharpness are clearly around the eye and it is well defined with nice light and color exposure. The body is soft and would suggest that shooting more toward the center of the bird and tightening up your f-stop, may f/8 to f/10 may have allowed for a sharper image. I see that you were in shutter priority mode and wonder if a bit faster exposure time 1/400 to 1/500 would also have helped. Great use of the noon time light as I can see the sun is behind you allowing for the shadow of the heron on the sand. Your use of low ISO, especially in bright light is excellent.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Very nice composition all around and I think your cropping is spot on as it really focuses on the heron

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 6


Review by Malena K

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
The photo shows the heron capturing a meal which tells a story.

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
exposure good, focus good
suggest using a little texture in LR to bring out the feathers more

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Composition good

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 6


Upload Next Round's Image and Description
OCTOBER 2019 ROUND
Title:     Let's get close 
     
Goal:    To take picture of grasshoppers mating. Stopped by a place along the roadside to take a picture of a barn and it must have been mating day as there were hundreds of grasshoppers in the field. I had never seen Yellow grasshoppers before so this was exciting for me. 

Equipment/Source:    Nikon D80 w/28-300 Lens

Technique:  1/250 Sec., F6.3, ISO 125 

Processing:     Paint Shop Pro; cropped image.

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

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

Review by commentator Tom S.

Sounds like you were in the right place at the right time for a very strong nature story. I have photographed insects many times and know how hard it is to separate them from the plant so they are not hidden or don’t blend in to the foliage. You did a good job finding the grasshoppers away from the foliage, but the light is very flat so the grasshoppers don’t stand out.  Increase contrast with a layer mask so that only the grasshoppers have their contrast increased.  Then use a brush to slightly increase the bright parts of the grasshoppers.  Then slightly sharpen just the insects so they really stand out from the bush they are on.  Finally, flip the image horizontally so the grasshoppers are on the left of the spines on the plant.  That way, when you enter the image from the left, you don’t run into spines first.   Your color and sharpness are good, just flat.  See my adjusted image.

 N-3, T-2, P-2   Total=7 


Review by Martin P

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Perfect timing for the critical moment as it were....

SCORE N (Nature) 3-nature story strong

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The creatures appear sharp and well exposed with adequate depth of field for them to be sharp front to back which works well. I am guessing the background has been darkened which looks well performed. The image does feel like it has a slight yellow cast which maybe due to white balance

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Whilst the creatures are well executed, there are some issues with out of focus branches and leaves covering parts of the creatures. This together with the strange colour cast make me feel a little disappointed with the image overall.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 7


Review by Larry T

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
The mating process of grasshoppers is certain animal behavior beyond the normal range of activity and thus qualifies for this category. Since according to your description you had plenty of subjects to choose from it would appear that you selected a willing pair of exhibitionists!

SCORE N (Nature) 3-nature story strong

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Camera, lens and setting appear to be almost adequate. You indicate an extremely low ISO of 125. When I enlarge the image beyond the thumbnail the heads of the grasshoppers, especially the female appear to be a bit soft. You could have easily raised the ISO to even 400 and been able to increase the aperture to even an f8 and the added DOF would have solved the softness issue. Your main background seems to be far enough away that this should not have brought the distant leaves into sharper focus.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Since you indicate that you cropped the image I would suggest moving the subject slightly to the left so as to get subject out of the direct center of the image. Perhaps you could also increase just slightly the amount of space between the bottom of the grasshopper and the lower edge of the image. It feel a bit crowded . You may also want to provide the image with a bit more “pop” by adjusting the white and black points. The displayed color and contrast make the image feel almost 2 dimensional.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 7


Review by Sylvia W

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Well done on spotting this behaviour which most people would walk straight past.

SCORE N (Nature) 3-nature story strong

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I feel that the focus is more centred on the legs of the front grasshopper rather than on the eye, which appears to be a little soft.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Good use of depth of field to isolate the subject from the background.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 7


Review by Gang Z

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
The picture is vivid and the image is strong.

SCORE N (Nature) 3-nature story strong

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Exposure normal, focus clear. The depth of field control is reasonable.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The picture is reasonable. The main body is prominent. After the proper handling.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 9

 

I’m a retired Legal Secretary who moved back to Austin, Texas, the first of this year.  I’ve been interested in photography going back to trying to take action shots at my son’s soccer games with a Pentax 35mm camera.

When I retired, I moved to Sun City, in Georgetown, Texas, where there was a great Photography Club.  We entered PSA competitions on a Club basis.  We also had Club competitions and critiques on an individual basis.   I have also participated in a few outside competitions.

I later moved to Galveston, Texas, where I lived for two years before returning to Austin.  While living in Galveston, I took two Birding classes and became very interested in my current interest in “Birds.”  Galveston was a wonderful place to see many bird species.

My present goal is to improve my photography and go on some trips with birding/nature groups to places outside of Texas.  I currently use a Nikon D750.  Taking pictures really excites me….I love this hobby!!!!