Study Group 2


William C. Smiley (B)

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JULY 2019 ROUND
Title:    Antelope Slot Canyon 
 
Goal:    During the spring I visited Antelope Slot Canyon near Page, Arizona. This narrow canyon was formed by the wear of water rushing through rock over hundreds of years creating deep narrow slots. The narrow openings at the top allow streams of light to shine into the canyon highlighting the texture and red color.
My goal was to photograph the bright colors of the rock when the sun peeped through the cracks.  
 

Equipment/Source:    The photograph was shot with a 28-300 Nikkor lens and a Nikon D810 as a RAW file.

Technique:   Camera settings were f 8. 1/10 sec, ISO 320 and 32mm. The camera was mounted on a monopod.

Processing:   Adjustments to highlights, shadows, exposure, noise reduction and sharpness were made in Camera RAW with luminosity adjustments and cropping completed in PhotoShop.

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:   Glen Canyon
   
Goal:   I visited Page, Arizona to photograph the natural beauty of Glen Canyon via the Colorado River.   
 
Equipment/Source:    Nikon D810 handheld, Tamron 24-70mm lens at 26mm, a polarizer filter, ISO 320, f 9, 1/160.
  
Technique:   This photograph was taken from a float on the river at a low angle using the angle of the water line to direct the viewer to the distant bend around the canyon. The moving water in the river was used as the foreground. The composition is based on the triangular shape and diminishing scale around the curve. The light was changing constantly so I was fortunate to catch this scene with an interesting sky.

Processing:    The RAW file was processed in Photoshop CS6 adjusting contrast with luminosity curves and cropped.

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

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

Review by commentator Rick C.

There is definitely a nature story in the rock formations and the implicit erosion that has shaped this majestic scene. Typically, we do not associate behavior (or Level 3 story value) with a landscape, but that is not necessarily true. Situations such as an erupting volcano or geyser may actually rise to that level of story strength. In this instance I would say we are looking at the more common “environmental portrait”. I see enough story to justify the 2 level, but do not be disappointed if others rate it a 1 as it does lack some of the added impact and interest of the sculpted red rock areas of the West.

The exposure was heavily influenced by the dark, shadowed cliff walls in the canyon. By exposing for detail in them you lost the brighter sections in the clouds and have significant detail loss in the clipped areas. I feel this is a situation where a graduated ND filter would have helped. If the boats were moving slow enough to allow for an exposure bracket, doing so and then blending them using HDR techniques would be another alternative. The primary focus looks reasonable to me. I don’t mid the drop off in sharp detail in the distance as that is natural. I do feel the depth of field seems overly shallow for the subject and that the near canyon wall on the right could be a bit sharper.

I feel your composition is entirely reasonable for the subject and the conditions. Given that the near water is not critically sharp, I would explore cropping up from the bottom about half of the water distance on the right as that will shift the emphasis to the cliff walls and sky even more.

N-2, T-2, P-2 = 6 ( N-2 environmental portrait, T-2 exposure issue resulting in clipping in highlights, P-2 Depth of field and sharpness on right cliff face – I’ve put these in pictorial values as they affect the interest value / strength of the image more than being a technical defect.)


Review by Larry T.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
I find this to be a very pleasant scene along the Colorado River however other than erosion of the rock walls over eons of time I do not see a strong nature storyline. Perhaps if the river were more violent or the scene showed the rushing effect of water on the rock it would have more impact. I do like the appearance of the image, there is an interesting sky and the river is beautiful. I just don’t feel the nature storyline is powerful.

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
For capturing this image from a float on the river and hand holding the camera this is an effective image. The use of the polarizer most certainly adds to the visual impact of the image. Using the wider focal length keep the image sharp even at f9 and the shutter speed works.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
My preference would have been to crop a bit more off the bottom of the frame, up to the first major highlight on the right of the river. I also feel that using a brush to darken the white highlights of the river would add to the overall feel. There also appears to be a badly burned section of the clouds at the top right. I do not think you could have saved this area in Photoshop other than by cropping, but this is a most annoying area.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 7


Review by Ken W.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
It is a nice photo of the canyon and river, but it does not have a strong nature story.

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Good focus and exposure. Some of the dark areas on the right side do not show any detail. Black point might be set a little low. You had mentioned using a polarizer, but there are some bright areas in the water. Rather than using the sky to check the polarizer, you may want to check the water. Sometimes a polarizer may not be enough to eliminate all of the bright areas.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
It is a nice photo of the canyon and river.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 6


Review by Hattie S.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
The nature is there, the story is not very strong.

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
It seems the highlight of cloud is a bit blown. I would turn down the highlight a bit, add some more contrast.

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 7


Review by Sylvia W.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
I feel that this is an image that is borderline nature in story. It is more of a pictorial image of the cliffs. There is a story there of the erosion that has been caused by the river and how it has worn the cliffs away.

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Technically this image is flat with little contrast between light and shade. Overall nothing stands out as a point of interest, so I find my eyes wandering all around trying to find something to look at. Your use of a polariser has saved the sky, although there are some blown out areas in the white clouds.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I like the low angle that you have chosen to take this photo. It shows the cliffs off and allows the viewer to feel the sheer size/height of them.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 5


Review by MJ Springett
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Nature story is vague

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Good details in the dark shadowed areas, but some highlights are blown

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Lovely scene to remind one of a great day on the river

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 6

Retired university professor aspiring to become a fine art photographer.  I enjoy a variety of photography styles but tend to photograph birds, landscapes and wildlife.  All critiques that may provide insights for producing better photographs are welcomed.

Equipment used:  CAMERAS-Nikon D4 and Nikon D810

LENS –Nikon 28-300mm, 200-500mm, 50 mm

              Tamron 24-70mm

Tokina  17-35mm, 100mm macro

Rokinon  14mm 

Software:  Photoshop CS6, Topaz Studio, Nil Collection