Study Group 2


Robert Davis, QPSA (A)

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JUNE 2019 ROUND

Title:     Feeding Flamingos

Goal:    On a tour of the Galapagos Islands we encountered these beautiful Flamingos feeding with a side to side head motion. They are very pink because of their crustacean diet.

Equipment/Source:   Canon 5D. 100-400 zoom

Technique:   One has to stick strictly to designated paths so it was difficult to frame the shots but sometimes one gets lucky. Handheld Therefore 1/1000. f 11, ISO 500. Pattern metering.

Processing: 
 Standard PS. Slight increase in saturation 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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MAY 2019 ROUND
Title:    Mexican squirrel
 
   
Goal:   I was on a South Texas ranch at a small waterhole looking out for birds when this beautifully textures unique Mexican Squirrel showed up. He was eating the plentiful seeds on the ground. I took several images before he ran off.
  

Equipment/Source:  Canon 7D Mk2,500mm f4. 1/640 sec. f6.3. ISO 400. Wimberly head.Tripod. Spot metering.   

Technique:   Camera was suspended and balance on the Wimberly head and tripod. I was sitting on a portable canvas chair. Auto focus and exposure worked well here where there was no time to think about it. The relatively wide aperture made the squirrel really stand out from the background. 

Processing:   Photoshop CC, Slight increase in contrast and brightening. 

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

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

Review by commentator Rick C.

While there is a feeding story here, I do not feel it is strong enough to lift the image above a strong environmental portrait and would place it at the 2 level.

All technical aspects appear to be handled well to me. The sharpness is excellent in the area of the face and eye. There is a warm cast here, likely partially due from the lighting and partially due to the light reflecting off the reddish ground. I feel that at this level it is excessive and has enough impact on the pictorial quality to provide a strong reason to correct it.

The image has excellent impact and solid interest value. The composition is effective as shown. At this angle of view, we lose the legs, which is unfortunate. Normally I might suggest adding a small amount back at the bottom to allow for the unseen legs but given the out of focus condition I don’t feel that is appropriate here. The crop into the tail is defined enough that it does not bother me. The rocks (or large seeds) past the squirrel on the right side are a mild distraction, but I feel the squirrel is strong enough to weather it pictorially.

N-2, T-3, P-3 = 8 (The issue with the image is that the color cast, while likely natural, negatively impacts the image This may well be something that another viewer has no issue with, and so I did not penalize the score beyond not awarding the E point which something this nice would normally get. See the adjusted version with the cast partially offset.)


Review by Rich F.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Great story of the squirrel "stealing" seeds for the birds.

SCORE N (Nature) 3-positive nature story

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Excellent exposure and use of shallow DOF. The squirrel real pops off the background.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Wonderful composition - just wondering if you tried flipping the image left/right. Since most poeple in the western world read left to right the first thing you would see the eye.

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

IF APPLICABLE, WHY DESERVING OF EXTRA POINT FOR EXCELLENCE
I would like to see the entire tail. That would make the image more of a "pan" but that would work for me. With the tail cut off, I can not give the exceptional point,

SCORE E (Exceptional) 0

Total: 9


Review by Larry T.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
According to the description in the scoring guidelines in order for an image to score well in the nature category the image must show behavior that is “generally something more revealing than browsing or grazing” which is all this squirrel is doing. Thus the image has an extremely weak story line.

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The camera angle and the setting used appear adequate to capture a pleasing image. The f6.3 was a good choice in that it provided enough DOF to save the entire squirrel completely sharp.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The overall composition is quite pleasing. The completely neutral background makes the squirrel pop out of the background and draw the eye of the viewer.

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

Total: 8


Review by Janice R.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Although this isn't an "exciting" nature story, it does show the squirrel in a typical behavior.

SCORE N (Nature) 3-positive nature story

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Gorgeous tones in this image. Focus is great on the head of the squirrel. The blurred background with the seeds visible but not competing with the squirrel is well done. Color balance is nice.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Everything about this composition is pleasing except the squirrels tail being cut off. The detail and the color in the image give it impact and show the beauty of the squirrel quite nicely.

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

Total: 8


Review by Andy H.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Squirrel feeding, it is a story but could be better still.

SCORE N (Nature) 3-positive nature story

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Technically it all looks spot on to me, lovely detail. .Dont know the animal myself be the colours look realistic.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The image fills the frame which along with the DOF gives it impact.Theres just enough foreground and good out of focus background help make the squirrel stand out from the similar coloured background.
It has impact. Composition, cutting off the tail, not sure.Still give it max score!

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

Total-9


Review by Natalie M.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
The story is there because along with the hand position, I can see part of a seed that is being held.

SCORE N (Nature) 3-positive nature story

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
This looks really sharp, Robert, even on my antique iPad. Lovely capture, the eye is fantastic.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The low angle and shallow depth of field has worked beautifully here. The only reason I have scored you a 2 is because the tail has been chopped off. This was a tough call because the composition is stronger because you have cropped close.

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

Total-8


Review by Martin P.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Lovely little creature captured well munching away.

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Nice colours, looks sharp enough (I do wonder if these small images are robbing us of overall sharpness somewhere) Exposure has been well handled and works very well

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
A very warm image that makes me feel like I am watching the creature in his native habitat. I am enjoying the texture of the fur but am wondering if we are missing out on the tail as it has been missed out. I did google this and the only thing I could find was a Mexican ground squirrel but the colours don’t look right?

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

Total-6


Bob Davis was born in Johannesburg South Africa and educated there and in London, Edinburgh and New York. He has retired from being a surgeon in Houston Texas for many years. After the busy years of hard work, he joined the Houston Photographic Society and is now its President. He is fascinated by all forms of photography especially nature. He mainly utilizes Canon equipment and is trying hard to keep up with recent software advances.