Study Group 2


Natalie Murray (C)

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JUNE 2020 ROUND
Title:     Golden Whistler with Praying Mantis

Goal:   A walk in a nature reserve with a fellow photographer. This was the first time I had seen this bird at this location, so it was a nice surprise.
  

Equipment/Source:    Canon 6D2, 100-400mm ii lens with 1.4x teleconverter @ 560mm f8, 1/1250 sec, ISO 3200 (auto).

Technique:   This bird was in shadows with a bright background. I have my max ISO set to 3200, but I still ended up about 1 stop underexposed.

Processing:   Topaz DeNoise, then cropping and exposure adjustments in Lightroom. I even dropped the yellow saturation down a bit, but this bird really is quite a vibrant yellow.

Review 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. 
Getting a great nature story photograph is very difficult at best. There are so many things that can go wrong from the angle the shot is coming from in relation to the light, the light itself, etc. This photograph is spot on. Congratulations Natalie for being so fortunate.
Had you reduced the aperture to f5.6, reduced the shutter speed to 400, your ISO wouldn’t have had to be so high. That brings up these two questions: Were you using a tripod and do you have a gimbal head? With the vibration control on modern cameras, it’s possible to use much lower shutter speeds if your using a tripod/gimbal head combination which in return lets you make better use of Auto-ISO. Making Auto-ISO your new best friend when doing bird photography will result in the exposure being at a much high level.
The one item that hurts this photo the most is the bottom 1/3 of the photograph. Crop your photo again and take out everything below the birds right foot (looking directly at the photo). Then tighten the crop overall. I refer to this as a “power crop”.
Rather than over criticize a photo like this that can use a bit of help overall, it is still a wonderful photograph. If it were mine, I would print it very small (5x7) and put it on my wall. Don’t forget it’s an art to know what size to make your print. Regardless, this is a really special photograph!

Score: 7


Review by Pamela L.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
great nature story

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Excellent photo skill

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
excellent composition

SCORE 10


Review by Andy H

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
There is a story with the bird holding the food.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Your setting are fine but I would be inclined to lower the shutter speed to improve the ISO and help with the noise. You've handled the backlighting very well but some detail has n=bee lost in the processing and the image is soft.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Strong image with some impact. Composition is what it is and I think you have cropped well.

SCORE 7


Review by Tom K

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Good nature story with the bug being eaten by the bird.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Bird and bug are in focus. The background does not allow for good separation of the bird and the trees. The foreground is distracting.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Pleasing subject. The foreground is very distracting.

SCORE 7


Review by Janice R

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
I quite like the pose that you were able to capture here. While eating isn't an unusual behavior, the fact that you were able to capture this just as the bird was about to gulp makes it a strong nature image. Nature score 3

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Technically this was a difficult situation with the brighter background but in my opinion you handled it well. You used sufficient DoF and shutter speed to capture the bird but to nicely blur the background. I also think. you did a good job of not allowing the bright background to overpower the bird. My only criticism is that the fea ther detail isn't as much as it good be, I believe because of the high ISO you used. It may also be due to the teleconverter. I know that I have had similar difficulty when using the converter. In any case, these are small things and overall I think this was a technical challenge and you executed it well. technical score 3

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I think that this is a visually pleasing and informative image. It is impacted by the effects of the high ISO. pictorial score 2

SCORE 8


Review by Haru N.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Captured the moment of whistler catches mantis, which demonstrates a good nature story. I would like to understand the goal you wish to achieve through this image, nothing is mentioned here.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Sharpness in the bird and mantis is reasonably well. Detail and texture of bird's fur is well presented. The yellow color is vividly maintained due to good lighting.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I like the way placing the branch from lower right to upper left. It is a bit distracting by the branch in backgr ound but it is at least good that nothing distracting bird's bill and mantis, which is the main center of attention. Personally I am not bothered by bright background so much but you could reduce the brightness in editing process. Also you could burn the lower corner (right and left) to reduce attention on foreground.

SCORE 6


Review by MJ S

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
The food for the bird is the story

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I like the eye highlight, but tail is not clear, feathers appear sharp

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
While showing behavior, not striking image

SCORE 6


Review by MJ S

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Nice story of bird with prey

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Sharp on front feathers, but tail is not clear

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
lovely bird but branch behind is a bit distracting

SCORE 7


Review by Charlie Y

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
very nice golden whistler having meal!
I have to look it up, as I have never seen it before, not sure about its size though, somehow, all the reading I found has not mention the size. Anyway, caught it enjoy a meal, nice capture. Image is sharp where it counts. Again, congrat.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
exposure look ok overall, bird is a bit dark. As I suspect, it might be shot with hybrid or matrix meter, instead of spot metering. However, that's personal choice and as long as you can adjust it properly.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
image is a pleasant to view. If anything I'd darken down the left lower corner, as it blur and not important to the main focus of the image.

SCORE 7




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MAY 2020 ROUND

Title:  Sibling Rivalry
   

Goal:   To capture a nature story while exploring my local wetlands.

Equipment/Source:    Canon 6D2, 100-400mmii lens@400mm, with 1.4x teleconverter, f8, 1/2000sec, ISO 1000. Tripod.

Technique:  After discovering the juvenile wood swallows a few days earlier I came back again for a second attempt. There was plenty of light so I opted for a teleconverter and set the tripod up to help with the equipment wait, and allow better peripheral vision for spotting the parent birds coming in for feeding. The birds were further away this time, so image substantially cropped again.

Processing: 
 Lightroom for exposure and shadow tweaking, Topaz DeNoise, and Photoshop for curves adjustment.


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

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

Review by commentator Dan C.

Your nature story is strong with this image. The second chick adds additional story value that you did not have last month and this time the birds cooperated to give you a clear view.  The nature story is a 3.

Technically your histogram is still stacked up too much to the right.  You need to adjust the brightness some to shift the right side a bit further from the edge.  That is still not enough to deduct a point for technique.

Pictorially that sky is a killer.  It is within the range that can be adjusted so it does not compete with the birds.  This time I am only deducting 1 point for the distraction. In the attached adjusted version I used multiple control points in Viveza to select the sky area without including the birds’ bodies and reduced the brightness. This reduction also brought in a faint blue tint that helps.  I also cropped even tighter to reduce the distracting sky area.

N3, T3, P2, E0, Total 8


Review by Robert D

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Now this is a much better image than last time. Firstly a good nature study. The subject clearly dominant.

SCORE N (Nature) 3-nature story strong

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Central composition but the subject fits it. The focus on the b birds is soft and I wish that you could have got more in the sky

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Interesting moment. Mot a wall hanger

SCORE P (Pictorial Quality) 2-Average composition and impa ct
TOTAL BASIC SCORE 7


Review by Adrian B

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Hello Natalie. You take very nice bird pictures! You seem to be patient and time the shots well. This has a very clear and clean story.

SCORE N (Nature) 3-nature story strong

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
No branch in the way this month! My query is whether all birds are sharp enough. The right chick looks to me to be the most questionable one, but I think you may well have cropped it beyond the pixels available (even though you have a FF camera). I assume you shoot in Raw. Do you use the texture slider to its full extent - 100% - locally on the birds?
F8 should have been wide enough DOF to cover the birds front to back - sense my assumption of over-cropping.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
A very pleasing image pictorially - frustrating about the lack of sharpness

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 8


Review by Prasad D

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
A lovely habitat shot of the swallows feeding its Juvenile.

SCORE N (Nature) 3-nature story strong

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The exposure could have been lowered. This the sky would have been rendered and the overexposed branches could have shown some details sharpening the images at the same time.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
A lovely moment and expressions captured.

SCORE P (Pictori al Quali ty) 3-Excellent composition and impact

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 8


Review by Bogdan B

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Feeding of chicks is always good nature story. These orange beaks are interesting pictorially also.

SCORE N (Nature) 3-nature story strong

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The only eye, which is clearly seen is not sharp enough. There could be two reasons. The point of sharpening was not on this eye or high ISO. Capturing on tripod you really didn't need to use 1/2000s with ISO 1000. 1/1000 and ISO 500 would be far enough.

Some parts of branches on the lover side are overexposed, but right side of the left chick is too too dark.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Good composition. You could crop more on the right side and bottom to move the birds off center.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 8


Review by Saswati C
The Mother is feeding the siblings, and the rivalry well establishes the title given to the piece.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
The rivalry is very well established as the siblings are competing over one insect brought by their Mother during feeding time, which contributes to a good Nature Story. The picture is well balanced, the only distraction being the branch in the background.

SCORE N (Nature) 3-nature story strong

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
To me the picture seemed overexposed, especially the highlights in the branches, though the catch light in the eyes, the sharpness in the beaks, are impressi ve, but the feathers are lacking such detail.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The body posture of the siblings perfectly encapsulate their rivalry, albeit the branches in the background and right corner prove to be a distraction hard to avoid, from a pictorial standpoint.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 7


Review by Suman B.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
you seem to have learnt from your mistakes and adjusted pretty well this time. the feeding behaviour of the birds does warrant a nature story yet the absence of the food in its beaks reduces its value.

SCORE N (Nature) common behavior

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
although you have reduced your shutter speed from previous uploaded picture as well as introduced a tripod & a 1.4 TC your image now looks pretty sharp (tripod effect!). What I can not understand that you switched from f5.6 to f8 i.e. 4 stop low light. Add with that ISO 1000 from previous 1250 i.e. another stop of light not coming in. using a slightly low shutter speed from 1/2000 from previous 1/2500 i.e. allowing one stop of light. using a 1.4 TC would make one stop of low light filtering. So in total 5 stop low light. which in effect would create a darker image alltogether but it is not in reality. May be I am missing on the metering mode which is not mentioned.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Although light condition have been improved still I am not satisfied with the blinding whites. choosing a darker background to me seems to be the better option.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 6


Review by Nirmalya B.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Nature story of moderate value as the photograph reflects a general phenomenon of feeding.

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Technically the photograph appears to me reasonably sharp at beaks and eye of the birds while feather details are relatively gross and little over exposed.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
. From pictorial perspective, I find the composit ion, wel l balanced. The branch at right corner of the frame appears to me as distraction as well the central trunk is interfering with the main subjects which could have been perhaps avoided by changing position of the photographer.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 6




















Hello.  I'm Natalie. I live in Brisbane, Australia and have been interested in nature photography for approx 8 years.

Last year I joined my local camera club.  They are a very supportive bunch and I was immediately encouraged to enter club, national, and international competitions.  I am lucky to have a diverse range of birds that live locally or a short drive away, and I also enjoy looking out for the smaller creatures in our botanic gardens.  I shoot primarily with a Canon 6D2 and 100-400mm zoom or 100mm macro lens and edit in Adobe Lightroom.