Study Group 2


Sylvia Wallis (C)

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JULY 2019 ROUND
Title:    Fly with prey
 
   
Goal:    I went out with a friend one day with only a macro lens as an exercise in attempting macro shots - something which I always struggle with - maybe a lack of patience on my behalf. As you start focusing in on the smaller aspects of life, you start noticing many interesting things. I initially was drawn to this fly due to its colour, however when I was taking the photos I noticed that it had some sort of prey and was rolling it around and wrapping it up. A very fun day was had with frogs, bees, flies, plants and flowers. 
  
Equipment/Source:    Olympus OMD-EM1 Mkii
Olympus m.60 f/2.8 macro lens@ 60mm
ISO 200 @ f/8.0 - 1/100s
Handheld

Technique:   I focused using back button focusing and then waited for the fly to stop moving before taking the shot. I used the burst mode on my camera to take a series of images. 

Processing:    Cropping and small exposure adjustments

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:     Wasps
 

Goal:   To photograph wasps building nests and to show the different stages of development with the larvae in several of the spaces. In doing so I learnt a valuable lesson when I went that one step too close - the wasp which is staring me down did a lightning speed attack and got me on the finger. It was back at its’ lookout perch before I could blink. 

Equipment/Source:    Olympus OMD-EM1
Panasonice 100-400mm f/4-6.3 lens @ 400mm
ISO 200 @ 1/40sec
Handheld

Technique:  One step at a time close to the subject which was about 5m away. Focus point was on the wasp located along the middle of the palm leaf which is staring me down. I liked this point of view as it showed several specimens going about the business of building the nest, one in profile and two looking directly at me whilst also showing the larvae in two of the spaces.  

Processing:   
Cropping, exposure and colour balance (to remove yellow)

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

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

Review by commentator Rick C.

I feel the nature story is clear and shows sufficient behavioral aspects to be at the 3 level. The inclusion of the wasps and nest would not normally be sufficient. However, two are positioned on the actual nest structure in a way that is indicative that they are working on the nest cells. In addition, you captured an angle of view that shows the egg / larva with in the cell and that adds significantly to the story value. 

The exposure looks reasonable for the lighting present. The downside is the bright stripe on the background leaf, but the effect of that is more a pictorial aspect. Primary focus looks good to me and sharpness and depth of field both look reasonable to me. Ideally, I would like the left nest strata to be sharper, but I do not feel this is a significant issue as it is.

Pictorially your composition is a bit on the tight side. A little more room above the wasp upper left and to the side of the one lower right would make the image feel less restricted. I appreciate that you were likely trying to control the background as much as possible. As I noted in the technical comments, the background is the main issue with the image. That bright stripe is strong enough that it just pulls the eye away from the primary subject. There is not a lot we can do under the nature rules to deal with it. You could do a “pictorial use only” version of the image and eliminate it in that version. I do like the positioning of the main wasps as we see different physical information in each position. I would dodge the two cells with the eggs so that they are more readily seen and that aspect of the story comes across more clearly. I am sending along an adjusted version to give you some feel for where you might be able to take the image. I am not happy with it as I feel that burning in the stripe makes it look adjusted no matter what you try, but dropping the saturation and contrast on the area does help to some degree. I’ve also dodged the cells with the eggs and done a little on the four key wasps as well.

Sorry to hear you got stung in pursuit of the image. Always keep in mind that, unlike bees, wasps do not lose their stinger. That wasp could have stayed on your finger and stung repeatedly, so it would seem that it was in fact telling you that you had come too close and were being warned to back off.

N-3, T-3, P-2 = 8 (P-2 The background remains a visual weakness. Some modification is possible, but it would be unlikely to cure the issue entirely.)


Review by Larry T.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
If I could, I would award points for either your bravery or recklessness—I’m not sure which. You do earn the Purple Heart for being injured in the line of duty.

As you note you have captures several specimens doing wasp things, such as being on guard and working on the nest. The addition of the larvae simply seals the deal. You have a unique nature story line.


SCORE N (Nature) 3-positive nature story

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The appearance of this photo falls in to that category of almost macro work. The downside of this is that the hive cells on the left are very much out of focus and this fact is clearly visible and detracts from the image. You do have sharp specimens so your shutter, although slow, did the job. First I assume the camera was on a tripod do to the slow shutter, that your you really have steady hands. The ISO is quite low and I feel raising it to somewhere between 400 and 800 would allow you to use a higher fstop and thus obtain greater depth of field and perhaps save those hive cells on the left.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The processing and composition work well with this image. You state you removed yellow, thus enhancing blue. The only wasps I know of are a bit on the brown side with yours are a bit purple/blue. I do not know if the wasps in your locale actually are this color or if it a product of your processing. So for the purpose of this critique, I will not deduct from your score.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 7


Review by Ken W.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Nice story of wasp and nest

SCORE N (Nature) 3-positive nature story

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
not all of the wasps were in focus, this could have been due to the slow shutter speed of 1/40sec, you didn't include the F stop that the photo was taken in, but the iso could have been increased to get a faster shutter speed.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The portions of the photo that did not include a leaf were bright, leading your eye away from main subject. There could have been more detail in the wasps.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 7


Review by William S.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Good nature shot showing the wasp working and guarding their territory. It looks like they are building it on a small tree limb.

SCORE N (Nature) 3-positive nature story

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The backlight exposure is good and the image is reasonably sharp on the right side leaving the left side a little soft. After reading your processing statement I added some yellow and a little red to the image and thought that it was an improvement. The wasp and the hive became brown and tan. I know that some nests appear gray because of the materials used but the insects are usually some shade of brown.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I like the line angle in the composition but think that the cool color balance reduces the impact it could have.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 7


Review by Hattie S.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Very nice nature capture. Sorry about your finger.

SCORE N (Nature) 3-positive nature story

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
You have a very steady hands. 1/40 is a bit risky for 400mm. Personally I would feel safer to faster shutter but you pulled it off. Could use more sharpness. Cannot tell what aperture you used. The left bottom corner is a bit too blurry which catching more eyeballs than needed.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE


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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 8


Review by MJ Springett
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Story is there for those who know the natural history

SCORE N (Nature) 3-positive nature story

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I feel that the lighting is uneven and detracts from the story

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
This is a mishmash of elements with no clear uniting feature

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 7

IF APPLICABLE, WHY DESERVING OF EXTRA POINT FOR EXCELLENCE
This point for being stung in the process

SCORE E (Exceptional) 1

GRAND TOTAL WITH EXTRA POINT: 8














Hi, new member Sylvia here. Photography is my creative outlet and I enjoy many aspects of this discipline including landscape, street, travel and nature - especially chasing down our feathered friends. I am looking to learn, enhance and improve my thought processes on what it takes to take a great nature shot through this group.