Study Group 2


Dennis Hill, QPSA (B)

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OCTOBER 2019 ROUND
Title:     Topi
   

Goal: To photograph Topi in the Masai Mara Kenya   

Equipment/Source:    Nikon D7100 Lens 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 VR Digital Raw File @98mm f/6.3 ISO 320 1/250sec WB Auto Matrix Metering

Technique:   Taken late morning from safari vehicle. Waited until Topi exhibited some unusual behaviour. Topis can sometimes be found standing on mounds looking for predators. They are very fleet of foot.
Hand held. 

Processing:    File adjusted in Camera Raw. Image cropped and adjusted in LR Tone curve adjustments. P.S. Layers for Dodging and Burning. Luminosity layer for sharpening. 

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

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




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SEPTEMBER 2019 ROUND

Title:   Cautious Gentoo
 
 
Goal:    To photograph Gentoo Penguins at Danco Island Antarctica

Equipment/Source:    Nikon D300 Lens Nikon 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 V.R. Digital Raw File @ 80mm f/5.6 ISO 200 1/1000 sec W.B Auto Matrix Metering

Technique:  Image taken midmorning. Gentoo penguins come to this island to breed. There was quite a lot of penguin activity. Took lots of images, thought this one was interesting as the penguin was fairly cautious before jumping. Hand held. 
 
Processing:    
File adjusted in Camera Raw. Image cropped and adjusted in L.R. Tone Curve adjustments. P.S. Layers for dodging and burning. Luminosity layer for sharpening. 
  

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 present and reasonably clear to the typical viewer. Having the water in the frame would strengthen that, but the melted snow mass does help convey the Penguin is at the edge of something and likely preparing to jump. The presence of the second Gentoo is a plus. Lacking a stronger behavioral element (such as being in mid jump), I feel that, for me, the story value is a 2 as a stronger environmental portrait.

The technical elements seem to be handled well from what I can see. Primary focus looks good and depth of field is appropriate. The exposure also looks reasonable for the lighting and conditions you had. Our lead character and his perch are sharp. I have no issue with the fall off going back to the second Gentoo. I am rating the technical quality as a 3. I did note that you left the image in the Adobe RGB color space. Remember that all internet viewing is in sRGB and so subtle colors and even some tonality may be lost by failing to convert down to sRGB.

I feel the composition is effective as you have shown it. I like the added space for the Penguin to move into given the posture that implies and impending jump. I am comfortable that it justifies what some may feel as a central placement of the dominant subject. I also think the crop to a amore square format is a good choice here. I do feel there is room to continue to adjust the tonality more to help set the star of the image up even more strongly. In particular, the rocks can be darkened a fair amount without looking unnatural given the direction of the lighting. I am sending along an adjusted version. Check out the article in the new Nature Rules Tips section to get a feel for how it can be done. I am still rating the pictorial quality as a 3 even though I do feel it can be strengthened further.

N-2, T-3, P-3 = 8


Review by Larry T

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
In order to have a strong nature story line there has to be some sort of significant behavior or action. A deer walking won’t make it. In this case you have a penguin perched on a rock and apparently thinking about diving. That is the problem. While you state he is being “cautious” the viewer just sees him perched there. Perhaps if you caught the penguin diving you would have a move dynamic nature storyline.

SCORE N (Nature) 1-Nature story minimal or contains unrelated hand of man

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The settings you selected were adequate for the capture as the subject is sharp and the exposure looks good. As the photo is shone the upper most penguin is out of focus, but not enough to keep him from being a distraction. Since you note you were shooting at only 80mm you were really close. Only a few steps to the left and you could have framed this image and subject and eliminated the upper penguin.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The composition of this image begins to fall apart based on the upper penguin. I downloaded this image and was carefully able to crop it right at the edge of the upper penguin’s feet. This is a tight fit, because it does not leave a great deal of space above the head of the “cautious” penguin but that crop does improve the image.

Your camera setting as such that when this bird dives you would have been able to catch him in mid dive and without any blur. I hope that you have more images of this bird and that you got the dive. Wildlife photography is about having great patience, you were in the right location at the right time---just wait…

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 5


Review by Andy H

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
There is a clear story here but could have been stronger

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Subject is sharp, well exposed and has good tones

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Image fairly well exposed. I not sure that the OOF bird in background adds anything and could be cropped. Lacks impact.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 7


Review by Natalie M

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
It's a nice environmental portrait, however not enough action to get the extra point for a story.

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The exposure looks well handled, given the high contrast environment.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Some will prefer a tighter crop, but I like that you have left room for the penguin to look towards the bottom right corner.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 7


Review by Martin P

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Interesting creature shown in its natural habitat. I do wonder if we had the water if the behaviour would be clearer

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Well exposed, good sharpness / use of depth of field. Good detail in the snow and feathers especially in the whites.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Whilst I enjoy seeing the bird in its natural environment, I am finding the 2nd bird slightly distracting

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 7


Review by Louis P

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
wonderful nature image; very good story

SCORE N (Nature) 3-nature story strong

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
color and sharpness etc are very good; however, the subject is centered; it might have been stronger if the second bird was cropped out.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
very strong story and impact; birds have plenty of room in front of their faces; only drawback is subject is centered.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 8


Review by Bruce F

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
: The positioning of the Gentoo Penguin’s body as it leans forward and looks down at the imagined water below is key for showing the nature story. Without this attitude or gesture, the image would lack drama. You can feel this penguin thinking and deciding whether to jump. The decisive moment of capturing this behavior adds to the nature story and separates it from other images where the penguin is just standing there.

SCORE N (Nature) 3-nature story strong

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The overall sharpness of the birds’ feathers is very good in the penguin pondering to jump. The other one in the background appears soft. Soft subjects draw the eye, and my preference would to have this second bird sharp too. Thus, I would have used a much higher ISO so I could increase the depth of field by using an aperture like f16 or f22. Being that your D300 was released on November 2007, I would have only gone up to 800 or 1000 ISO setting, the maximum without increasing the noise beyond a problematic state.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The placement of subjects, the arrange of rocks, and the vertical composition are all good. The second penguin placement does help balance the placement down in the frame of the one preparing to jump. This is why this other penguin needs to be sharp, for its lack of sharpness focuses the mind on its blurriness. Here a technical element is affecting the overall pictorial aspects of the image.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 7


I live in Templestowe, a suburb north-east of Melbourne, Australia. I have been interested in photography for many years but only became serious when I joined a local camera club 8 years ago.

My main interests in photography are nature and travel. I use Nikon equipment D7200 and a number of lenses from 16mm-400mm.

My other interests are travel, motor sport and gardening. My goal in joining the nature group is to improve my photography and learn new skills.