Study Group 2

Martin Patten (B)

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Title:  3 Brothers
Goal:  On a recent visit to a local zoo we were being entertained by these 3 young tigers playing in the water. I took a series of shots to show how comfortable this species is in water as most people think all cats avoid it.. I was enjoying the water splashes surrounding the brothers.

Equipment/Source:   Canon 1dxII with 100-400 Mk I  

Technique:   1/800 F8 400 ISO. The light was varying dramatically but I wanted to capture the water movement so selected 1/800 trying to keep the iso down. I selected F8 to try to keep the depth of field reasonable 

Processing:  Lens correction, Curves / levels and sharpening

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

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

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Title:   Dalmatian Pelican Landing

Goal:   I was trying to capture the Dalmation Pelicans landing on the water. I was trying to use the backlighting to highlight the birds amazing wings. 

Equipment/Source:   Canon 1dxII with 70-200 F2.8 
Technique:   Shot in Manual using back button focus and ai Servo to track the birds flight path

Crop, straighten, remove some water/dust marks, basic dynamic range adjustments

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

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

Review by commentator Dan C.

Your lighting is excellent though you do have a slightly burned out spot on the back of the pelican.  The pelican and its reflection works well together. The head, bill and sac are very sharp and I do not mind the softness in the wings.  They add to the story.

The trailing water makes me wonder whether this is not a take off instead of a landing.  That apparent discrepancy between image and title could cost you if the judges know the title of an image during judging.

I think this would be slightly stronger if paneled.  Leave just enough of the background hillside to show the is probably a winter shot since it adds to the story.  That will place more emphasis on the pelican.

N3, T3, P2, E0, Total 8

Review by Robert D.
Great image with backlighting bring the wings to the fore. Exposure very well handled so that there is detail in the Pelican’s body but I think that bringing out these details a little more will give the photo more oomph. The reflection and the lower part of the mirror-like water are just great. The horizontal bluish shoreline is very distracting. Remember that the viewer’s eye goes straight to the brightest part of the image even though that is not the focal point. I suggest either cropping that out but perhaps it would be better to simply paint it out. Composition is great but I suggest flipping the image horizontally, you may like it better.
N-2, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-6

Review by Andy H.
Welcome to the group Martin.
Beautiful clear, clean image caught with great light.
In future submissions can you give us your settings as it helps to see how you achieve your shot. Technically very little wrong, that I can see. I think the shutter speed could have been a little faster to sharpen up the image. Good angle but perhaps some of the top background could have been cropped. Tone down some of the small highlights in the background.
N-3, T-3, P-3, E-0, Total-9

Review by Rich F.
Stellar image. Great action shot, well exposed, very nice composition, processing serves the image. The bird is well processed, especially since we are seeing the back shadow side.

A couple of thoughts - did you try to crop off some the top (does not add to the image), you said removed some water and dust marks. Dust marks are okay to remove, what type of water marks? On the lens or in the image. If the latter I think nature rules forbid that type of "cloning".
N-3, T-3, P-3, E-1, Total-10

Review by MJ Springett
I think the backlight is what sets this image apart from a normal image of pelican flight. I like the background softness and the splash in the water. Great patience to wait for the moment.
N-2, T-3, P-3, E-0, Total-8

Review by Dennis H.
Good capture of landing pelican with backlit outstretched wing. Nice colour and detail on wings and bill. Interesting reflection showing bird's underbody.
N-3, T-2, P-3, E-0, Total-8

Review by Natalie M.
The golden hour lighting and backlit feathers have created a beautiful image. The reflection is just the icing on the cake. There is nice separation of layers, and the fast shutter speed has frozen both the bird and the trailing water drops. This shot has a wow factor and therefore gets an exceptional point from me.
N-3, T-3, P-3, E-1, Total-10

Review by Omar P.
Love the backlight on the pelican and the position of the wings really give impact and movement. Framing looks very good. Great shot overall.
N-3, T-3, P-3, E-1, Total-10

Review by Bogdan B.
A beautiful capture of bird in flight. I like the light comming through the wings. Very sharp image. Just on the right side the bottom of neck, I think, is overexposed.
About composition the main part of upper grey is unnecessary. Just a little would be enough to see the enviroment. But on the bottom side the reflex of head is very close to the edge of image. I would cut the image central.
What did you mean with water dust marks? If that water would be on the lens, it is acceptable by nature rules. But if dust was on the surface of water, you must not remove in ND.
N-3, T-2, P-2, e-0, total-7

Review by Valentin D.
Not a whole lot to say about this shot. I think you pressed the shutter at the right time. Very nice, clean image.
N-3, T-3, P-3, E-1, Total-10

Response to critiques from Martin Patten:

 General Feedback

I just wanted to say thanks to everybody for taking their time to provide critique on my image. Lots of great ideas and suggestions which will help me improve this and other images as I have quite a few Pelicans from this trip.

Dan C 

The bird is landing , they just touch down a few times with their feet then lift them again sometimes before finally landing, but I agree it could easily be misinterpreted.  When you say panelled I would say letterbox I think (narrower top to bottom in this case (US v UK english 🙂)), I had left the head on a third but the crop is more powerful cropped letterbox.

Robert D

Thank you for the critique.  I included the shoreline to give context to the bird, I felt it was muted enough that the bird was still the most contrasted area of the image.  I could crop it out but then I felt the bird felt very constricted within the frame, painting it out would then make it illegal as per the definition of Nature.  In hindsight removing some of the top would be more powerful but still leave context for the image

Andy H

1/1250 @5.6 ISO 800 as the light was dropping and I was trying to keep the ISO down.

Rich F

I agree in hindsight, removing a little off the top and making the image letterbox is more powerful.

The water mark was from a splash on the lens as I am aware of the rules 😊 The PAGB in the UK just changed its rules to allow cloning of distractions and minor defects if “the nature of the story” is not changed which is an interesting development.

Bogdan B

The image as presented was almost full frame, I have no space below the reflection which I would have liked myself to give a little more space.   I agree in hindsight, removing a little off the top and making the image letterbox is more powerful.

The water mark was from a splash on the lens as I am aware of the rules 😊 The PAGB in the UK just changed its rules to allow cloning of distractions and minor defects if “the nature of the story” is not changed.

Review by Prasad D.
Its a wonderful  image caught with great light falling on the wings. I felt that the horizon line highlight is a bit disturbing the image. Suggest you tone it down a bit. Would appreciate if you can give the EXIF parameters. Though a good effort.

N-3, T-3, P-2, E-0, Total-8

Review by Suman B.
You have captured the largest bird of the shore so delicately that I am becoming a fan of your photographic skills. This picture is a classic example of recording a nature story with the beauty of the nature pictorially shown. Magnifique work. Nature story well captured, action recorded, technically superb and yet pictorially beautiful. With the ice covered shoreline adds a perspective to the image however I find a slight tilt in the shoreline which I hope you noticed too. It is so very problematic in a back lighted situation to keep focus on the eye but then also you have hit the mark well. A perfect 10. 
N-3, T-3, P-3, E-1, Total-10

I started out with my photography as a teenager. I studied photography at school shooting with a fully manual camera and doing all my own processing of my B&W images in my school dark room.   Once I left school I only dabbled in photography as I had lost access to the dark room so my photography took a back seat whilst work took over.

In 2009 my Daughter went to University and when inquiring what I was going to do with all my spare time I was told "Get a hobby Dad" so I went out and bought my first digital SLR.  From the first time i looked at my images on the back of my camera I was hooked.

I am a get it right in camera kinda guy who shoots all types of images from wildlife to landscape and street to portraiture trying to deliver quality natural images with very little editing.

I live close to London which makes it difficult to get access to exotic wildlife, but I do my best in the country I live in.

As a photographer I felt I wanted some goals to aim for so completed my LRPS. my CPAGB and started entering the British Photographic Exhibitions and have recently achieved my BPE2* (50 accepted entries) and am well on the way to achieving my BPE3 (100 Accepted)

I recently (November 2018) started my FIAP and PSA journey and am very pleased with my progress so far having already won various medals and my proudest moment winning the FIAP blue badge for 23/24 acceptances in a recent salon.