Study Group 2


MJ Springett (C)

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DECEMBER 2019 ROUND

Title:      Crane Attack
 
Goal:     In the fall, I relentlessly pursue the Great Sandhill Cranes as they migrate through our area on their way south. I love to record the various interactions between birds. 

Equipment/Source:    canon 70D with 150-600 mm Tamron Lens at 600 mm, f/8 at 1/500" ISO 800 Aperture Priority on a cloudy day 
 
Technique:    Photographing from a vehicle blind I wait for outside birds to join a flock on the ground, this often leads to confrontations like this one

Processing:    
Cropped, sharpened, dodged and burned in Photoshop CC

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

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



















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NOVEMBER 2019 ROUND
Title:    Eagle Attack
 
   
Goal:   Photograph Eagles Interacting at Roadkill
  

Equipment/Source:     Canon 70D with 150-600mm Tamron Lens at 600mm F/11At 1/1000 ISO 1250

Technique:  Six Eagles were in dispute over a deer carcass that had been roadkill. Waiting in vehicle blind and trying to keep everything in focus

Processing:    Cropped, stabilized with Topaz Sharpen A1, and sharpened

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

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

Review by commentator Dan C.

You did a god job taking advantage of the situation.  You also did an excellent job in isolating two of the six eagles.  It clearly shows the story intended.  The story is enhanced by the eagle on the right being a juvenile, the adult eagle having some feathers in one of its claws, and the adult eagle having blood on its beak.  The story captured is strong as it does show behavior and the interaction between parent and chicks that you were going for.

Technically it appears properly exposed.  Overall the image is adequately sharp though the adult eagle’s claws are bit soft.  This could be attributed to the action and actually helps the story of the fight.

Pictorially the composition works very well.  Your cropping has apparently paid off.  If used in an exhibition I would expect this image to garner a good share of acceptances.

N3, T3, P3, E0, Total 9


Review by Adrian B

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Clear and good story. The attacking bird on the left is clear, but unfortunately the head of the right bird is hidden and that affects my enjoyment of the situation as captured for me. Good story though.

SCORE N (Nature) 3-nature story strong

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
1/1000 seems to have captured the action well and the 1/11 setting on your 7D has enough DOF. All fine for me. Well done.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The left bird is well taken in a clear position. The fact that the right bird is partially hidden just stops me giving this a perfect score of 10.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 9


Review by Linda C

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Good capture of eagles.

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Color, clarity of action shot great. Would have liked to see front of 2nd eagle and more of object they are fighting over.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Fairly interesting.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 7


Review by Todd G

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
You have captured a nice shot of eagles fighting over a carcass. Overall, it feels lacking of the story and it really feels more like a "here I am shot"

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
ISO - 1250, exposure value 1/1000 and aperture of f/11 appear to have allowed an overall good quality with colors and tone and still shot of the eagles. Overall, the image is blurry throughout. The edges are blurred as well as the center of the frame. Your one strong focal point is under the wing of the eagle on the right along the body, and I really like the outstretched wing of the eagle on the left. You have a good depth of field, although you mention there were 6 birds, so adding a couple more would have been nice.

There are ways to combat blur when shooting birds. 1. Increase your ISO maybe to 1600 and then match that with your exposure time to 1/1600. You can then adjust from there by 1 or 2 stops.

2. I wouldn't change your aperture any higher than f/11, I shoot the same lens and have found that f/9 - f/10 tend to be the sweet spot.

3. I assume you were hand holding this, so you may want to try using a bean bag to stablize the lens as you are shooting from the car. I alway make sure the car is off as well as any vibration can cause camera shake as well.

I am not well versed in topaz so I don't know all the bells and whistles. I prefer Lightroom, but that is my preference. In lightroom, you can utilize either a linear or radial mask and isolate what you want to change. The photo could use a little more sharpening all the way around. The upper right hand side of the photo is very distracting with the motion blur. Based on the shadow of the eagles on the ground, I can tell the sun was off to right or what there was of it. It does appear a bit "cloudy" as far as weather goes.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
You have definitely hit the impact of this image beautifully with the action of the eagles in a spat. Compositionally, it doesn't do much for me. It appears your are shooting down toward the eagles. It may have a better feel if you were able to get a little lower along their same plain, closer to the ground. One thing I have learned when able is to exhaust all your possibilities when shooting. Look for differnt angles, lighting, exposure time, ISO, depth of field, zoomed versus wide angle.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 4


Review by Larry T

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Obtaining an outstanding Nature image is not an easy task. That is why, a great image holds the attention of the view, because in a great image the photographer simply got it all right. In this image there are the makings of a fine story, but in the image shown the story does not materialize. While the left hand eagle is clearly in an attack position, the bird on the right ends up as a feathery butt shot. The deer carcass you mention is not discernable nor it the head of the second bird. This is the type of scene you have to shoot and shoot, burst after burst and hope that something materializes. If not, it is a scene you will always remember simply because you were there.

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The Canon 70D has a frame rate of 7 frames per second. In a situation such as this I would hope that you were taking advantage of this speed with multiple bursts. Regardless of the technique it is the result that counts and the lack of prey, or 2 faces (perhaps at least 2 eyes) weakens the image. When enlarged the image lacks critical sharpness which, with this kind of action, may suggest that focus was lost during the shooting (easy to do with this kind of action) or simply that the shutter was not fast enough for the action.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The over all crop is adequate for the scene, and while tight, works to draw attention to this battle. I feel you could have increased contrast and perhaps the white head of the eagle is over exposed.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 6


Review by Dennis A.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Nice picture of 2 eagles arguing over dinner. However, I had a hard time seeing the second eagle since it’s head is hidden by the wing of the other one.

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Looks like some detail is lost in the shadows. Also, some of the feathers of the partially hidden bird does not look sharp.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I know you have to take what nature gives you, but it would be a much stronger image if the head/eye of both eagles was visible.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 6


Review by Bruce F

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
The one eagle on the left is strong because the face and the wings are facing to the viewer. This eagle is clear and superbly render and its landing very visible. The other eagle’s rear and tail feathers are facing the viewer. And this eagle’s head is hidden behind the left eagle’s wing, and this is very unfortunate and creates a serious merger. Thus, I believe that the nature story is diluted, and the dramatic decisive moment was missed. I love the left eagle, and the landing with its talons out is very dramatic. I believe just this eagle alone would present a strong nature story. The merger and the lack of head of the right eagle just confuses the visual message. If my shot, I would just characterize this image as a just missed, and hoped I had captured one before or afterward that with the drama of the left eagle and the separation that would present a clear visual nature story.

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The background has some artifacts that are noticeable and a bit concerning. It appears that the grass blades are over sharpen, and causing them to look unnatural. This is a technical issue and reduces the technical score. I would also personally light the left eagle’s right eye to make it stand out more by using a targeted adjustment tool. Diffused light and otherwise good sharp details on the left eagle are well shown.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
: As said above, the left eagle is beautiful. Subject size within the frame is good. Composition also noted above could be better without the merger and rear view of the right eagle. Nature photography isn’t easy, and sometimes you are not given a chance to make an artistic image that sings with beauty. The angle is wrong, the view positioning includes a distracting background, the behavior isn’t compelling or exciting enough, all these factors make nature photography so challenging. And when all the elements do come together, the result can take one’s breath away.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 6


Review by Bogdan B

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Interesting fight for the carrot.

SCORE N (Nature) 3-nature story strong

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Very sharp image, enough DOF, good lightening.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I would prefere to see the other bird's head.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 8


Review by Prasad D

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Good nature record shot. It is difficult to catch a balanced view even though you used a fast shutter and high ISO

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The focus is soft and there is not much detail in the highlights and shadows. Always a problem with white and dark plumage in the same animal. Perhaps bracketing exposures might help. The speed of action may prevent this.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Good view of the outstretched wing on the left but the bird on the right is not well depicted. This is a good record of this moment but very hard to satisfactory control ,exposure, and composition

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 6


Review by Robert D.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Good nature record shot. It is difficult to catch a balanced view even though you used a fast shutter and high ISO

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The focus is soft and there is not much detail in the highlights and shadows. Always a problem with white and dark plumage in the same animal. Perhaps bracketing exposures might help. The speed of action may prevent this.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Good view of the outstretched wing on the left but the bird on the right is not well depicted. This is a good record of this moment but very hard to satisfactory control ,exposure, and composition

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 6


Review by Suman B.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
strong nature story indeed. only thing I miss is the deer carcass which is hidden behind grass

SCORE N (Nature) 3-nature story strong

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
just beside the spread wings artifacts are showing which are results of over sharpening. need to control those. focus is good and so is shutter speed but the timing is not okay. a head on is preferred.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
head on shots are more impactful. your shot otherwise okay lacks that punch.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 7

Photography has always been my go-to activity when I have had spare time. My work as a cell biologist meant that data was recorded on film, developed and printed in a darkroom, and delivered to a principal research scientist. With the advent of digital photography the darkroom work was replaced by Photoshop but little else changed. Upon retirement, I now have time to pursue wildlife, landscape, and especially birds as my photographic subjects. We moved 100 miles north to be near a wildlife refuge that represents the glacial lakes and pine barrens of Wisconsin. We also enjoy the badlands of North Dakota and Theodore Roosevelt National Park.