Study Group 2


Ken Warning· (C)

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JUNE 2019 ROUND
Title:  Great Egret Feeding Chick
  
Goal:   Capture Great Egret behavior at nest in Florida. 
 
Equipment/Source:   Nikon D500, Lens Nikon 200-500, tripod
  
Technique:   Photo taken at F5.6, 1/500sec, ISO 500

Processing:   Photo Cropped, tonal adjustments in LR, darkened highlights in Egrets head, and some background light areas.

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 clear and shows sufficient behavioral elements to warrant the 3 level. The main action, of course, is the chick preparing to tug the adult’s bill in order to initiate the regurgitation of food to the young. The chick’s somewhat bedraggled feathers add information on skin coloration, etc. The younger chick almost in a preening posture provides a secondary, balancing, element and additional behavioral information.

Primary focus looks good to me. I do feel there is room for some additional sharpening on the egrets, but it would be a case where you would need to invert the layer mask (black It out) and then paint the sharpening in only where you wanted it. That is more of a finishing touch than a technical defect. The exposure looks reasonable for the lighting. You mention dropping the luminosity of the highlights on the egrets. I might actually consider tone mapping the image to bring out a bit more of the feather structure and then balancing that adjustment (which will drop the overall luminosity of the highlights) with a modest boost to values between 180 and 240 (which can be controlled using the Blend If functions in Photoshop). Again, I see this as a finishing tough to optimize the image rather than a technical defect in the image as presented.

Pictorially, I find the composition on the tight side, but I also understand the desire to eliminate as much of a cluttered surrounding environment as possible. I feel there is a nice degree of visual tension in the arrangement and positions of the three main elements and that enhances the overall level of interest in the image. I do not find the branch projecting in from the lower right to be a significant visual distraction. Yes, you see it, but quickly dismiss it due to the visual strength of the lighter subjects.

N-3,T-3, P-3 = 9


Review by Larry T.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
This well done image of a Great Egret “dealing” with parenthood issues caused by two juveniles who are certainly being “brats” creates for me a strong story line.



SCORE N (Nature) 3-positive nature story

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Camera gear and settings made this capture look easy. I am pleased to note that you used a tripod. It would appear that you handled the highlights quite well on these hard to shoot white birds.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
These birds nest in a very busy environment yet your image of these white birds appears to minimalize these distractions. Perhaps it is the nature of the white birds that draw the eye and the fact that you darkened some background areas, but what ever you did certainly works.

It may not be your doing, but the very ratty appearance of the juveniles adds greatly to the final image. I only have one suggestion to offer and it is minor. The eye of the juvenile on the right, while sharp, is a bit dull. I would suggest using a brush to lighten the eye and also to had some yellow to it thus making it more visible.

It might not be a contest winner, but I fell you have an excellent image with a bit of humor. Well done.


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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 9


Review by William S.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
I think that you met your nature goal in this image. There is a lot of action focused on the middle bird.

SCORE N (Nature) 3-positive nature story

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The image seems sharp and the colors are good.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I starred at this photo for a long period trying to understand what seemed to be lacking and finally concluded that it was lacking in contrast after making some trial adjustments in Photoshop. This made the egrets stand out more from the background.
Adding contrast to the image will give it a greater visual impact. This is a very good shot.


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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 8


Review by Hattie S.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Great nature story

SCORE N (Nature) 3-positive nature story

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
There are unavoidable distraction in the foreground and background.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE


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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 9


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MAY 2019 ROUND

Title:     Bison In Snow
   
Goal:    Had opportunity to photograph Bison in Winter in Yellowstone. They move their heads back and forth to clear snow so that they can feed on grass. They get a snowy face which is what I was interested in photographing. This bison had some snow on his face, there was a second bison right next to this one.
 
Equipment/Source:    Nikon D500, Nikon 200-500 at 400mm/600, tripod  
 
Technique:   1/250sec, at F8, Iso 400 

Processing:   
toning in LR, Sharpening in PS

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

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

Review by commentator Dan C.

It is not often that a portrait provides and effective story for a common subject but in this case it does thanks to the snow.  The story is good enough to assign a 3 but would be better for a less informed person if it showed more of the removed snow to reveal the forage below.

Pictorially the composition is good.  As usual for me, I did look at it reversed horizontal but decided against recommending that change.  I liked the bison’s head better but was not happy with having the bright area at the bottom left because it retarded my entrance into the rest of the image.

Technically the image is adequately sharp and you handled the wide dynamic range well.  No additional adjustments are recommended.

N3, T3, P3, E0, Total 9


Review by Larry T.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
This portrait style image of a Bison in the snow is almost the classic capture representing winter in Yellowstone. Clearly this is the only time year this behavior takes place and thus has the effect of creating a strong winter story line.

SCORE N (Nature) 3-positive nature story

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The camera settings and techniques shown were more than adequate to capture this image. I feel that you might have been able to get just slightly lower and meet the Bison more directly eye to eye. Perhaps you might also have been able to move the buffalo slightly to the left in the frame.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
My major issue with the image lies in the composition. I feel the snow frame at the bottom of the image is unnecessary as it just looks awkward. In my opinion this could become a much more intimate portrait it you closed in. Perhaps moving the head to nearly the left edge and the bottom to just under the chin. For me the brown coat at the top just seems out of place. A second alternative might be a more profile type image using the eye as the focal point to add drama.

SCORE P (Pictorial Quality) 1-Inadequate composition and impact

Total: 7


Review by Robert D.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
At first glance it is hard to tell what’s going on. After reading the narrative, yes, it’s a bison with snow on its face. The snow at the bottom of the image is distracting, it draws the eye away from the main subject. Try to crop it out. Good record shot

SCORE N (Nature) 1-does not fit Nature definition

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE

SCORE T (Technical Quality) 1-Inadequate exposure color balance and sharpness

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE

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

Total: 4


Review by Bogdan B.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Portrait in somehow different environment.

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Sharp image with a little bit small DOF on the nose of the animal.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
White unsharp snow on the bottom is a distraction. I would crop the image on the bottom and on the left.

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

total: 6


Review by Adrian B.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
The story is clear, with lots of snow on his face and snow visible to the foot of the image. I do wonder why you have such a tight crop round its head - unless this was to remove distracting elements. Would the story be stronger if one could see more of the surrounding area?

SCORE N (Nature) 3-positive nature story

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
It is sharp and I love the colours and detail of the coat. There is though something that just distracts and I believe it is the fact that the animal is looking to the right of the image and thus I believe, it would be a better composition if the greater part of the animal was on the left side of the image. This is particularly so with such a tight crop round his face (either as taken or cropped in Lightroom.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I remain affected by the tight crop and not enough to the right of the face and these aspects ruin it for me

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

Total: 7


Review by Suman B.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
the yellowstone bison with snow is a good nature portrait. I liked the way you shot. May be you could drift a little bit to the right and take the shot with a low angle which would help you get a good clear headshot of the snowy bison. exposure is okay. sharpness is good. may be with the auto focus finder doing its job based on the contrast ratio focussed on the horns and not on the eyes as it should have been.

SCORE N (Nature) 3-positive nature story

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE

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

Total: 7


Review by Bruce F.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Strong nature image, with a strong nature story. The bison with the snow-covered face tells the story of how they feed and move snow to get at the grass below during harsh winters.
Two aspects, I would consider changing. One, I would lighten both eyes a bit, they don’t show well enough to really speak to the soul of the bison. Secondly, for the composition, I would consider cropping a bit off the left side. For as shown, the bison appears to be looking out of the image, since it has less room in front than behind its head. Left corner leg is heavy and draws the viewer away from the bison’s face.
In the field, I would have considered another angle, and not just a head on view. I like the diagonal tilt to the head but a side view or quarter view position might have been even more dramatic.

SCORE N (Nature) 3-positive nature story

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE


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

Total: 8


Review by Prasad D.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
It is a Portrait of a Bison.

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Too tight a picture. Should have taken a wide shot showing the surrounding.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE


SCORE P (Pictorial Quality) 1-Inadequate composition and impact

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 5

 

 





I live in Menomonee Falls, WI, and have recently retired. I have been actively photographing for over 12 years.  I started by taking field trips to photograph waterfalls in the upper peninsula of Michigan that was being offered by the University of Wisconsin in Waukesha, WI. I still enjoy photographing waterfalls in Michigan, and along the North Shore of Minnesota.  I also enjoy bird photography.  I live less than 60 miles from Horicon Marsh, which is a popular birding area in Wisconsin.  I also try to get to Florida every other year for bird photography.  I will also do some sports, city, and winter photography.

I am a member of 2 local camera clubs, the PSA Wisconsin Chapter, and a board member of the Wisconsin Area Camera Club Organization.