Study Group 2

Dennis Hill, QPSA (B)

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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)


Upload Next Month's Image and Description
Title:   Young Elephant 

Goal:   To photograph young elephant at Melbourne zoo.

Equipment/Source:    Nikon D300 Lens Nikon 200-400mm f/4 VR Digital Raw File @200mm f/5.6 ISO 200 1/320 sec WB Auto Matrix metering Aperture Priority 

Technique:   Taken mid morning, trying to present a different type of image showing calf following mother. Monopod used.

Processing:   File adjusted in Camera Raw. Image cropped and adjusted in LR. 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)

Review by commentator Dan C.

I do like your approach to this Asian Elephant calf but have to admit some people may not care for your cropping the adult.  I think your approach adds story value by concentrating on the calf but letting the viewer know mom is close by.  Your approach also shows the hairs on the calf to good advantage.  They are not quite so noticeable on an African Elephant calf. 

The color tone seems a bit too warm and not quite as grey as expected.  Admittedly that could be due to the colors of the dirt in the zoo enclosure from the elephants giving themselves dust baths.  That is the same reason that elephants in Tsavo NP in Kenya tend to be more reddish than grey.  You may still want to try using auto color and working from there.

N2, T2, P3, E0, Total 7

Review by Robert D.
Good record shot but not very interesting. Following the mother is a story but the hind leg and tail of the mother are distracting rather than contributing to the story. The lighting is very contrasty and much of the baby is in shadow with significant loss of detail in the shadows.
N-1, T-1, P-2, E-0, Total-4

Review by Larry T.
It would appear that your required Nature story line is the baby elephant following its mother. However, with so much of the mother cropped off I feel the image is weak and thus ruins the story line.

You have a really fine long lens (I have one of my own) but in this case it would appear that you have too much lens for the subject as you cut of to much of the cow. The lens did an excellent job of capturing the calf clear and sharp. The use of a monopod was a good choice. (Do you have a gimbal head for the tripod?)

As noted previously the composition would be much stronger if you had a full I mage of the cow leading the calf. Perhaps been better would have been a composition of mother and calf cuddling together as this might have been more compact and better filled a frame. Post work on the image is well done. How much did you crop off?
N-2, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-6

Review by Andy H.
Well done getting the image without the HOM. Looks like it was taken in strong sunlight which makes exposure difficult, saying that you did well. There is a story which could be improved with showing more of the mother. Technically, given the conditions, you did a good job. Recovery of shadows is good. Toning down the background might help. You caught the eye which gives the image more meaning. There's something down the hind leg, is it the shadow of the calfs tail?
N-3, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-7

Review by Natalie M.
You've done well to get the zoo shot without showing man made structures. Unfortunately the harsh lighting has let you down here. If only we were allowed in around dawn and dusk. Although I'm not familiar with the environment you had to work with, perhaps a more interesting composition could have been a panorama-type crop showing mum's four legs plus the trunk, with the baby following behind.
N-2, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-6

Review by Bogdan B.
You have found such good place, that you can't know it's a zoo. Elephant is sharp, but the background is too sharp too. It's nice to see the leg of mother elephant.
N-3, T-3, P-2, E-0, Total-8

Review by Suman B.
capturing the baby elephant so crisp makes your initial job done but baby elephants have nice behavioral gestures which upon recording makes good picture element. they tend to play with their mom, walk grasping the mom's tail, cuddle under her et. al. with the sharp Nikon 200-400 f4 you will soon be able to capture very good behavioral shots like those as you have access to the zoo and they are there! Technically you are using good usage of the monopod and the matrix metering. showing the hind legs doesn't work here and seeing that you have shot at 200 mm implies you had little space in between. your image is too bright which according to me is due to the playing with the luminosity layer in this case. keep practicing so that you get good shots afterwards
N-1, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-5

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.