Study Group 2


Natalie Murray (B)

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NOVEMBER 2019 ROUND

Title:     Luminous Fungi
  
Goal:   Photographing this scene was one of the most amazing things I have experienced. A group of five of us sat around a magical tree almost covered in these at around 930pm with the sounds of the rainforest for company. After a few attempts we got these shots with 7 minute exposures. It really was something special.To the naked eye the colour is barely visible. It is the long exposure photograph that brings out the colour, much like photographing auroras. I have upgraded my equipment since this shot was taken, and I look forward to returning for another attempt.  

Equipment/Source:    Canon 70D, Sigma 150mm macro lens @f16, ISO 100, 427seconds.

Technique:   Advice from national park ranger before scouting location in the daylight. Returned after dark with camera gear, tripod, and cable release. Much experimentation with different long exposures to get a decent image without too much digital noise. 

Processing: 
 Crop, tone, contrast, noise reduction and sharpening in Lightroom CC.


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

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

Review by commentator Tom S.

Wow, your image is really different.  I have never heard of luminous fungi, but it would seem to be a good nature story.  My main concern is the lack of sharpness. The bottom seems to be sharp enough but it gets softer in the middle and on up to the top part of the image.  It looks like you focused on the outer edges of the petals near the bottom so the insides are out of the depth of field.  Macro shots have a small depth of field, even at f16. Seems like a good opportunity for focus stacking, but at 7 minutes per shot, it would take a long time.  There is some excess blank space on the bottom you might crop off.  Also, the top of the fungus is cut off or just disappears into the dark.  You appear to be a little too close to get the whole thing in the frame.

 N3, T2, P2   Total = 7


Review by Larry T

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
I will be interested to what others say but I am going to suggest that there is a storyline in just the fact that this type of fungus exists and the since this is not visible to the naked eye you managed to capture it. If you do not make this capture, simply no one will ever see this. If photographers are expected to capture the world in a way that others do not see it---then you did.

SCORE N (Nature) 3-nature story strong

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Clearly your settings were able to achieve this capture. So that does make them adequate. I’m left wondering if an even longer exposure would have made this image better. I say this because in the expanded view the fungi appear a bit soft. Since there is nothing in the image to show scale I do not know how large these fungi are. I would assume that at f16 you would have enough DOF. If the image were a bit brighter you might be able to increase contrast sharpness even more than you did.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The overall composition appears to work for this image and the fade off into shadow around the upper images adds a bit of drama and tension to the image. As noted previously I would like to see this a bit brighter.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 7

IF APPLICABLE, WHY DESERVING OF EXTRA POINT FOR EXCELLENCE
I will assume you used long exposure noise reduction applied in camera when you took this image so I do laud your efforts to capture this with total time for exposure lasting nearly 15 minutes for each image. I will award the extra point for effort and persistence in acquiring this image.

SCORE E (Exceptional) 1

GRAND TOTAL WITH EXTRA POINT 8


Review by Janice R

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
I have never seen mushrooms glow like this, this image makes me want to go see them. I love how they glow brightest from the center and fade into the blackness. The arrangements of the fungus is also pleasing. I image it must have taken a few attempts to find an angle when they were growing in a pleasing array.

SCORE N (Nature) 3-nature story strong

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Although you didn't mention it, I assume with an exposure that long you were using a tripod. However, on my monitor, some of the edges and ridges aren't sharp. I wonder if that was a function of the tripod, breeze moving fungus or just an artifact of the light. As I said above, your composition and choice of having them fade to blackness made the image stronger.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
A gorgeous, interesting image that draws you in.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 8


Review by Gang Z

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
It's very difficult to photograph fungi at night. The color sense of the picture is good. But I don't see the story.

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

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 8


Review by Ken W

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Although this is a portraight, I think this has a strog nature story due to the luminous color

SCORE N (Nature) 3-nature story strong

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Good focus, Very nice exposure

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Nicely composed photo. It would have been nice to see a branch or something to give ths a base to to the fungi.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 8


Review by Sylvia W

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
I like that you managed to get a great shot. I like the section you photographed as there is nice layering within the image. Second time around the fungi was mostly dead - third times the charm!

SCORE N (Nature) 3-nature story strong

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
As a small picture this works but when I zoom in it appears soft all over. Maybe this is just due to the smaller image upload size?

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Overall I like the image - I would possibly see what a slightly tighter crop would do to this image - bottom and right side black areas.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 8


Review by MJ S

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Wow who knew, great work

SCORE N (Nature) 3-nature story strong

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Great work with a very looooong exposure

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Striking image

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 9

IF APPLICABLE, WHY DESERVING OF EXTRA POINT FOR EXCELLENCE
A point for patience and perseverance

SCORE E (Exceptional) 1

GRAND TOTAL WITH EXTRA POINT 10


Review by Charlie Y

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
wonder image to share, thank you, would you mind share the NP that has this?

SCORE N (Nature) 3-nature story strong

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
very interesting image and way of capture it with long exposure, wonder if even longer will show different impact, would love to see some more. :)

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
love it, unique presentation. perhaps to crop in a little tighter on right, and bottom, to further enhance the focus of subject. well done

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 8

IF APPLICABLE, WHY DESERVING OF EXTRA POINT FOR EXCELLENCE
night time, long exposure always harder than normal.

SCORE E (Exceptional) 1

GRAND TOTAL WITH EXTRA POINT 9



















Upload Next Round's Image and Description
OCTOBER 2019 ROUND
Title:    White-faced heron shakes off rain.

Goal:  I went out withe intent to shoot water birds fishing in a shallow part of river. I was experimenting with slow shutter speed to get shots of rain during a shower when this heron suddenly shook all its feathers. I think I have captured a slightly unusual portrait, with hair styling inspired by Tina Turner.
  

Equipment/Source:   Canon 6D2, Canon 100-400mm ii lens @ 400mm, ISO 200, f7.1, 1/100 sec.

Technique: These birds are used to people being around so I was able to sit quietly while they moved around me within a few metres. Camera attached to tripod with loose ball head to allow quick repositioning. No time to adjust settings, just fired off a few shots from high speed continuous drive.

Processing:  Crop, tonal adjustments, sharpening, plus lightened area in and around eye. Converted to black and white to reduce background distractions and increase impact. All processing done in Lightroom.


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 capture a nice action shot of the heron shaking off the rain.  While they probably not be picked up during an on the spot judging, the streaking from the raindrops adds to the story.  That mythical knowledgeable person would still realize it is raining due to the small circles caused by the rain in the water and by the wet rocks.

Pictorially your composition and sharpness are good but the composition is even stronger reversed as shown in the attached adjustment. The streaking becomes more obvious and the bill becomes a leading line to the face. The conversion to greyscale does work.

Technically you did manage to maintain details in the whites in the conversion, now always easy to do with white feathers. A snap judgment would lead a person to feel the image is a bit soft and they would be correct.  What might slip through their minds is that softness is appropriate to the story and action.  The head where there is less action is adequately sharp.

N3, T3, P3, E0, Total 9


Review by Prasad D

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
good attempt of a portrait of a Heron. Tina Turner :D :)

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The Slow shutter speed has made the image slightly soft.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Good tight composition.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 6


Review by Larry T

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
It would appear that you have captured a heron in breed plumage on a rainy day. I bird displaying breeding plumage is indeed part of a nature story albeit not a particularly strong story. However this image may have the potential to make the story more powerful (see below)

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
You stated that you wanted to get some of the rain drops to show and there are several streaks in the image that are testimony to your efforts. Your increased (f7.1) allowed for the entire bird to appear sharp although the legs do look a bit soft. However your intent was to add rain to the image so I will overlook. I do applaud your creativity and the fact that you tried something new. Additionally you had enough space between your subject and background to keep the background soft.
You state that your camera (with the longer lens) was on a loose ball head. May I suggest that you look into a gimbal style head for your tripod when using your long lens. It will make it much easier to handle and provide a more stable platform from which to work.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE

My biggest issue that that the image seems to lack impact. While the subject is interesting I feel the conversion to B/W reduced punch and lowered impact. As the image appears on my monitor the entire thing feel light 30 shades of grey. Generally good B/W images will have true blacks and true whites and it is the contrast between the two that makes the image come alive. If you are going to be doing a lot of B/W images you might look at the program Nik silver Efex. There is a short learning curve but it will make your B/W more impactful.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 7


Review by Dennis A.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Good nature pic. I don’t feel the story is very strong though.

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Good DOF. However, a lot of the image looks blurry. There is also missing feather detail around the eye.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I like that it is BW and the cropping/framing looks good to me. There is impact, but not strong.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 5

IF APPLICABLE, WHY DESERVING OF EXTRA POINT FOR EXCELLENCE

SCORE E (Exceptional)

GRAND TOTAL WITH EXTRA POINT 5


Review by Linda C

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Beautiful detailed B&W shot.

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
B&W really brings out the detail in the bird feathers. Dark background accentuates shot; sharpness good.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I found this shot exhibited great impact.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 8

IF APPLICABLE, WHY DESERVING OF EXTRA POINT FOR EXCELLENCE
1

SCORE E (Exceptional) 1

GRAND TOTAL WITH EXTRA POINT 9


Review by Bogdan B

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Yes, it's for me unusual behaviour of heron to have such hair.

SCORE N (Nature) 3-nature story strong

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Usually I prefer ND photos in color, but I like this one.

Eye is really sharp. I miss some more DOF to see also hair sharp.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Such up-down sight is not very natural, but it helps to clean the background.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 8


Review by Adrian B

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Natalie - I think this works in B&W. To me there is just one thing that affects the image to me - I don't think enough is sharp. 1/100 speed wasn't enough. I don't think it is obvious from the image what is going on. You can see water falling on the river, but this is only when you really start looking at the detail within the image.So I agree with you about the unusual look (Tina T), but not an obvious story for me.

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
You have caught the eye sharp, despite the slow speed, but its a question whether the viewer understands that the bird is shaking itself and that this is the whole purpose of the image. Without this, one just sees a lot of unsharp feathers and then asks why. You have positioned it well in the frame I believe, with river/background to its right.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
An unusual picture which is a positive. My doubts over understanding what is going on and the large amount of unsharp areas above affect my score Im afraid.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 6


Review by Suman B.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
nature story is hard to find except the story you tell us.

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
tad soft in nature. need to get crispy sharpness in your nature images.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
good sharp image. monochrome being an excellent way to emphasize the texture of an object. The play of light and tone in a monochrome image is often an excellent way to communicate the texture of a subject.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 8



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.