Study Group 2


Bruce Finocchio

Click image to enlarge


Upload Image and Description


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. 

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

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












Upload Image and Description
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.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
At first I see this image as just another bird sitting on a limb. As such, this would not be a exceptional nature storyline. However, the fact that a rather unusually long tongue is sticking out presents a view that most people would not see. I fell this rather automatically elevates the image toward having a stronger story line.

SCORE N (Nature) 3-positive nature story

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The total gear package, including the Wimberly head to help steady the camera has resulted in a quite sharp image even when shooting at 1/80 of a second. To many photographers will rely on handholding or image stabilization to get the sharper image and you wisely placed the rig on a tripod with clearly stellar results. Additionally you used f8 to increase DOF for additional sharpness and you possess a camera which handles the high ISO flawlessly.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Presenting the image in your horizontal format and with the branch starting from the lower right corner and running diagonally across the image helps to carry the visual “feel’ of the rule of thirds even though the bird itself is nearly, but not quite, in the center. That fact that the branch has the extra foliage make it much more interesting than having just a plain branch. Finally, you have rendered a seamless, distraction free background that helps make the image pop.

For me I feel the bird is slightly crowded near the top of the frame and could use just a little bit more space. I also feel the body feathers of the bird could be a bit sharper. While this may be a product of the

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

Total: 8


Review by Rich F.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Nice capture of the woodnymph on a branch. The image shows the woodnymph in its nature habitat, sitting on a stick. I had a hard time assigning a score for the nature portion of the image evaluation. The image shows a bird on a stick but that is how the lives. If I could have assigned 2 1/2 points I would have.

SCORE N (Nature) 3-positive nature story

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
the image is strong - the exposure is good and there is a catch light in the eye. Unfortunately the entire stick is not in focus, this could be have been accomplished by moving slightly or a tight crop might have eliminated part of the stick that is soft.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The composition works for this image though tighter crop would have helped this image. Again I am torn between 2 and 3, and would like to assign 2 1/2 points.

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

Total: 7


Review by Janice R.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Nice capture of the the hummer sticking out it's tongue. I've been to Rancho so I know the variety of birds and what a challenge it is to get hummer behavior.

SCORE N (Nature) 3-positive nature story

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Good color balance and feather detail. Eye of the bird is sharp. It appears that your camera settings were right on.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Composition is good with the diagonal. While the tongue is difficult to capture, I don't know that it has a lot of impact.

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

Total: 7


Review by Andy H.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
The nature story is there, just, I would have liked to have seen one of the preening shots.

SCORE N (Nature) 3-positive nature story

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Technically I see little wrong with the image. sharp, well exposed and good DOF. I might have given it a little more DOF to sharpen the tail.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Lovely image, looks natural. Full of impact, difficult not to be with these striking birds. Composition I would have cropped a little more off the RHS to take the branch into the corner, and possibly the LHS to make it portrait.

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

total-9


Review by Natalie M.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Great capture of behaviour.

SCORE N (Nature) 3-positive nature story

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Pin sharp, great use of the flash to make the colours really pop.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Great composition. Colour and soft background create the impact.

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

Total: 9


Review by Martin P.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Delightful portrait of a very characterful bird. The tongue is a bonus element for sure

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Image looks sharp and well exposed and the flash may well have helped bring out the iridescent feathers.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
A bird on a stick but delightfully delivered, lovely clean background, wonderful colours, a very pleasing image. . I do wonder if we need quite so much perch though and maybe a little additional space above would improve the composition

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

Total: 8

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.


Check out Bruce's nature blog at www.brucefinocchio.wordpress.com and his website at www.dreamcatcherimages.net