Study Group 2


Natalie Murray (B)

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JULY 2019 ROUND

Title:   White-faced heron preening.
  
Goal:   I was trying to stalk water birds in the late afternoon with the hope of getting some nice shots in the afternoon light. This heron flew up on to a dead tree branch. I was able to get an action shot with nice rim lighting around the feathers.

Equipment/Source:   Canon 6D2, 100-400mm lens@400mm, f6.3, 1/500sec, ISO 4000.

Technique:  This was taken just before sunset.
Position to optimise light and background. Manual mode with auto ISO, tripod with loose ball head.

Processing:   
Lightroom for cropping, tone adjustments, saturation, sharpening, and selective noise reduction. For the noise reduction I used a graduated filter over the whole image and then "painted" the noise back in over the bird to try to keep feather detail.  

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

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
















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JUNE 2019 ROUND
Title:   Musk Lorikeet feeding on Eucalypt flowers
    
Goal:   In Australia we are blessed with an abundance of brightly coloured parrots, lorikeets and rosellas. And I always get excited when I spot one I haven't seen before. The aim here was to captiue the bird feeding on the flowers in early light.  
  

Equipment/Source:   Canon 6D2, 100-400mm lens@400mm, f6.3, 1/1250, ISO 1250(auto).

Technique:  Hand-held. Spot focus and spot metering. Difficult conditions with shadows and speedy bird movement. 

Processing:  Basic lightroom processing including cropping, highlights, shadows, saturation, and local exposure adjustments to minimize bright areas.

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 not overly clear, but I feel that the subject’s pose, and posture coupled with the flowers of the tree are enough to warrant the full level 3 behavioral rating. One plus factor in this is that the lighting is hitting the Lorikeet’s eye helping it to be readily visible. A negative is that the exposure has allowed the flowers to clip slightly.

As noted above, the flowers are showing evidence of some clipping. Pulling back on the Highlights slider even more may improve the tonal control in that area.  Remember too that you are allowed to double process a single image and blend the result. This is effectively what an HDR bracket blend is doing.  Primary focus looks good. I wouldn’t object to a bit more localized sharpening on the eye. I feel the general exposure is fine if we can control the flowers. The background has some bright spots, but I don’t find them overly objectionable.

The basic composition is reasonable with the exception that we are clipping the subject’s tail (top left). If you have that, I would add it back in. While I understand the space at the bottom to allow for that dark leaf to be complete, I feel the image would be stronger cropped up from the bottom to eliminate the leaf and the lighter flowers in the background. I realize this places the eye well below the traditional crash point, but feel the visual strength of the image is improved sufficiently to warrant that.

N-3, T-2, P-2 = 7 (T- 2 Clipping in flowers. P-2 Tail clipped at top, slight adjustment to composition would improve visual strength.)


Review by Prasad D.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Colourfull picture of a Musk Lorikeet feeding on Eculyptus tree.

SCORE N (Nature) 2-basic shot--no nature story

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The subject seems over exposed. You could have reduced the exposure compensation by one stop to get a well exposed image (Considering you were using the Aperture Priority mode) also could have achieved a better image with a shallower DOF by reducing the f stop to f/4 instead of f/6.3, The ISO value would have reduced upon using the shallower DOF.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
A diagonal composition would have included the Tail of the bird.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 4


Review by Andy H.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
With the beak open and the bird at the flowers I see a positive story.

SCORE N (Nature) 3-positive nature story

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Your settings all look good. Interesting spot metering for exposure, it's a setting I hardly use. I shoot manually and sort my exposure in LR later. Strong light and shadows made this a difficult image to hold together. The OOF leaf across the head is a pity and cutting off the tail. The image, for me, lacks detail and contrast. Resulting in a softness of the bird. Given the conditions you did well.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Composition is good but either include the tail of go in closer to the head. For me it lacks impact.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 7


Review by Rich F.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Interesting feeding behaviour. I did not know that a Lorikeet ate upside down.

SCORE N (Nature) 3-positive nature story

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The image is well exposure but in some areas, such as the pink flowers it is a bit over exposured (not blown out, just hot).Also the lorikeet seems a bit soft, perhaps due to lack of critical focus - you may have focussed on the flowers. Your shutter speed was sufficient to freeze the action.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
For the most part the image works, though there are some problem areas. First the tail is cut off. secondly, and this is hard to deal with in a nature image, are the leaves in front of the bird.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 7


Review by Dennis H.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Good nature story of lorikeet feeding on eucalyptus flowers.

SCORE N (Nature) 3-positive nature story

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Colours (red) on bird's head a little blotchy and lacking detail. Maybe too much saturation. Image a little soft.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Bird loses impact with surrounding foliage. Would crop more on bottom which would also remove highlight areas. Nice try.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 7


NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
This is a colorful image. I assume the parrot is looking for food but the behavior is not clear.

SCORE N (Nature) 2-basic shot--no nature story

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
For me, this image is a little busy. The pink flowers in front are very bright and compete with the bird as the subject. On my monitor, the parrot is not as sharp as it should be though his eye is lear. I'm assuming the focus point was on the eye. Also, the bird is a bit contrasty.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I have to say when I first looked at this image, my eye went right to the bright flower and then I noticed the parrot.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 5

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.