JUNE 2019 ROUND
Title: Rufous-tailed Hummingbird Sips Water and Nectar From A Heliconias Blossom
Goal: During my first trip to Costa Rica, I had a chance to photograph many new species hummingbirds. Costa Rica is an interesting country and more mountainous than you would think of Central America. I went on a week-long workshop, run by a former president of NANPA that I have known for quite a while.
One of the places we visited was Dave and Dave's Nature Park - Eco-Observatory, in the Caribbean lowlands in the northern part of the country. They had a feeder up along the backside of a building, which attracted many White-necked Jacobins and Rufous-tailed Hummingbirds. I used my Canon 600 mm lens, in a restrictive space and had to use an extension tube to focus closer than the minimum 18 feet focal distance for this lens. This was the first place I saw new non-US hummingbirds, like this Rufous-tailed Hummingbird. In fact, I kind of went crazy photographing all the different hummingbirds on this trip.
Equipment / Source: 7D Mark II Camera Body, 600 mm f4.0 IS lens, 1/800 sec at f5.6, Aperture Priority, Evaluative Metering.
Technique: Gitzo Tripod with a Wimberley gimbal type head, waiting and watching the hummingbird land and waiting for some behavior like sticking its tongue out, or even preening, sipping nectar, fluttering wings, to separate the capture beyond just a portrait.
Processing: Used Viveza to even out the contrast in the background, darkening certain areas, and lightening and desaturating other areas. All with the thought of subtly creating tension to draw the viewer to the subject. I also used Nik’s Difine 2 noise reduction on the background, Pre Raw Sharpener for the subject, as local targeted adjustments.
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MAY 2019 ROUND
Title: A Perched Male Crowned Woodnymph Sticks Out Its White Tongue
Goal: During my first trip to Costa Rica, I had a chance to photograph many new species hummingbirds. Costa Rica is an interesting country and more mountainous than you would think of Central America. I went on a week-long workshop, run by a former president of NANPA that I have known for quite a while. One of the lodges we visited was Rancho Naturalista, in the Caribbean foothills/highlands in the southern part of the country. They had many feeders up along their second-story balcony attracting many species of hummingbirds. This Male Crowned Woodnymph hummingbird seems to favor this perch. I used my new Canon 100–400 mm II lens, with fill flash to capture this brilliant and colorful hummingbird. In fact, I kind of went crazy photographing all the different hummingbirds on this trip.
Equipment / Source: Canon 7D Mark II body, EF100--400mm f4.5-f5.6 IS Mark II lens, at ISO 1000, 1/80 of sec, at f/8 aperture, Evaluative metering,
Technique: Gitzo Tripod with a Wimberley gimbal type head, waiting and watching the hummingbird land and waiting for some behavior like sticking its tongue out, or even preening, to separate the capture for just a portrait. Using the flash to freeze motion or action.
Processing: I cropped the image from the top and right slightly. I used Nik Dfine 2 on the green background to remove noise, and Viveza on the hummingbird's body to brighten that area up a bit. Targeted sharpening only the hummingbird with Nik Raw Sharpener
Comments/Scores (N,T,P,E,Total)Critique Image (only members of Study Group Two may critique this image)
Review by commentator Rick C.
A nice, solid capture. While there is behavior in the extended tongue, I do not feel it is enough to raise the image above the 2 level of a strong environmental portrait.
The core technical elements look good to me. I feel there is adequate sharpness in the face and eye. The background is pleasing and non-competitive. The exposure is reasonable for the lighting present. I’d feel there is room to adjust the relative tonal values of the hummer, background and branch in post processing to bring out the hummer a bit better. This is optional in my opinion.
The use of the branch as a blocking diagonal redirecting the viewer to the subject is a good compositional tactic. I do feel that, despite, the nice little fronds on the branch, a good portion of the area behind the hummer could be cropped to move it further out of the center and improve the visual tension in the image.
N-2, T-3, P-2, E-1 = 8 (The optional E point for having good impact and solid viewer interest values that are not adversely affected by anything else in the image.)
Review by Larry T.
Review by Rich F.
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Review by Martin P.
I am a wildlife, nature, and scenic photographer. I now live in San Mateo, after spending most of my adult life in Millbrae. I previously worked full-time for Applied Biosystems and Life Technologies as a senior business analyst. I left this position a few years ago to concentrate on my true passion of nature photography. My Dad was a deer hunter and bought some property in Monterey County, so he could have a place of his own to go deer hunting. We have owned this property since 1946. I grew up spending my summers down there, following in my father's footsteps, hunting quail, dove, and black tailed deer--using a b-b gun, graduating up to a powerful hunting rifle. When I was eighteen I had to kill a black-tailed buck up close shooting him in the neck, since my first shot from afar had only wounded him. I saw death up close and personal, deciding from that moment on I didn't not want to be part of death, but to cherish life instead.
My friends and I do a lot of bird photography at my ranch in rural Monterey County, using photo blinds extensively; and recently we have built a few permanent ponds to attract wildlife.
I was a Minolta user, but switched to Canon in 2001. I used to shoot extensively with slide film; now I strictly use digital camera bodies, specifically the Canon 7D and 40D bodies, previously the Canon D1 Mark II and as backup the Canon 20D. I primarily use RAW capture, and process the images in Photoshop. I recently upgraded to CS5, and also have many external hard drives to store my raw files.