Study Group 2

Dennis Hill, QPSA (B)

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Upload Next Month's Image and Description
Title:    Hamadryas Baboon Wrestle

Goal:   To photograph Hamadryas Baboons at Melbourne Zoo

Equipment/Source:   Nikon D7200 Lens Nikon 200-400mm f/4 VR Digital Raw File @400mm f/7.1 ISO 640 1/500sec WB Auto Matrix Metering  

Technique:    Taken mid morning, had trouble with harsh side lighting. Waited till Baboons became active. There are about 30 in the exhibit. Two of this small group decided to wrestle in the dust. Took lots of images. Monopod used.

Processing:    File adjusted in Camera raw. Image cropped and adjusted in LR. Curves to tone down harsh lighting. PS 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)

Upload Next Month's Image and Description

Title:  Little Pied Cormorant   
Goal:   To photograph birds at Black Rock Port Phillip Bay Melbourne   Equipment/Source:    Nikon D7100 Lens Nikon 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 VR Digital Raw File @400mm f/8 ISO 250 1/800sec WB Auto Matrix Metering. 

Technique:    Taken late morning, being careful not to be marooned by incoming tide. Took lots of images of different bird species. Liked this image of Cormorant as it prepared to take flight. Hand held. 
File adjusted in Camera Raw. Image cropped and adjusted in Lightroom. 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 Dan C.

You caught nice action with this shot. The open wings and uplifted foot makes the story a success.    I do find the story a bit stronger if you flip it horizontal so the viewer is confronting the bird.  I also find flipping enhances it pictorially as well.

You can also enhance it pictorially and make the cormorant even more dominant by cropping and resizing to the same width.

Technically your image is nicely sharp but you need to expand the dynamic range by dodging the whites to bring out more feather texture and opening the shadows on the underside of the open wing to bring out feather details in that area.  Dodging the whites will be more effective on your raw version since you will have more pixels to play with.

N3, T2, P2, E0, Total 7

Review by Prasad D
The Little Pied Cormorant seems just flapping his wings.  Frown on the face is interesting. Exposure seem a bit over the line. The composition is good. In shooting birds of this size, the metering should have been spot, or center weighted. In the Post processing PS Selective Color option try to increase the Black in Grey and increase the black in Whites. That should take care of the details in the highlight.

N-1, T-1, P-2, E-0 Total = 04.
Review by Larry T.
By your own admission the nature storyline seems to be just a bird preparing for take off. This is something that birds do constantly and as such is not a particularly strong story line. While the image is interesting (open wings and raised foot) I do not find it compelling.

It would appear that you had a bright enough day to make capturing this image relatively easy. The bird appears to be sharp, as the wings, eye and bill all look clean. There is drama in the raised wings and the raised foot which create interest. Your angle of view isolates the bird nicely against the water which coupled with the white breast makes the bird pop out of the image and grab the attention of the viewer. I do feel the image might be improved if your angle of view was lower although that might have resulted in you getting a bit wet.

As a side note: the two colors that most often appear in winning photographs are blue and yellow and you have both in the image.

Pictorially, at least for me, the image lacks a “wow” factor. It is just a bird taking off. The composition is well chosen with the bird having space to move into the image and the subject being placed on the left side fixation points honoring the rule of thirds. I appreciate the clean background as well.

Note: I’m from south Florida and we have cormorants and alligators. When I first opened this image and saw the bird about to take off and the dark line in the water above and to the right of the rock I immediately zoomed in because I thought there was an alligator (in your case a crocodile) swimming toward the bird on the rock. That would have been a real powerful storyline.
N-2, T-3, P-2, E-0, Total-7
Review by Robert D.
Nice nature capture. Good exposure and focus for hand-held. The image is unbalanced by the large expanse of water. I suggest a significant crop of most of the water on the right hand side. The image will be better served by filling the space with the subject yet leaving a little space for it to fly into.
N-3, T-1, P-1, E-0, Total-5
Review by Bruce F.
I like the action with the webbed foot raised and wings back. The bird has more room in front to move into, and positioning of the subject implies where its going.
The framing and composition are good. However, I might have cropped a little of the top, and used a 16x9 frame, this would have increased the implied movement forward.
My other suggestion is that I might work a little bit with the eye, brightening and lightening a bit.
Otherwise, a strong nature image. 
N-3, T-3, P-2, E-0, Total-8
Review by Bogdan B.
The bird is pretty, catched in a jump. But anyway it doesn't seem to be more then a portrait.
Image is sharp and good exposed.
Composition is a little bit aside. I would crop it on the right and a little ibt up and down.
N-2, T-3, P-2, E-0, Total-7
Review by Omar P.
Good job freezing the Cormorant. Technically the subject looks to be in focus and has good light. To provide more focus (attention) to the Cormorant, I suggest a tighter crop. 
N-3, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-7
Review by Adrian B.
Dennis, you have captured the shot just as the bird is starting to move, with its right leg nicely off the rock and wings open. This creates more interest than a stationary subject. I like the position of the rock and bird in the frame - on the left third. The lighting is pleasant on the rock and I like the reflection. The area under its wing is very dark - inevitably - and you might be able to lighten the shadows there in Lightroom, without making it look strange.

A nice image, without it being a Wow picture.
N-3, T-2, P-3, E-0, Total-8
Review by Suman B.
If only that tip of the black spot in front would have been an alligator would have made your day. technically you need to open up the shadows and whites need more details and feathery textures. good action shot but could have been better with the tip of the nose raised. nature story line except the alligator isn't strong enough. but your cormorant is sharp and for which I liked it.
N-2, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-6

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.