Study Group 2


Sylvia Wallis (C)

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JUNE 2019 ROUND

Title:     Wasps
 

Goal:   To photograph wasps building nests and to show the different stages of development with the larvae in several of the spaces. In doing so I learnt a valuable lesson when I went that one step too close - the wasp which is staring me down did a lightning speed attack and got me on the finger. It was back at its’ lookout perch before I could blink. 

Equipment/Source:    Olympus OMD-EM1
Panasonice 100-400mm f/4-6.3 lens @ 400mm
ISO 200 @ 1/40sec
Handheld

Technique:  One step at a time close to the subject which was about 5m away. Focus point was on the wasp located along the middle of the palm leaf which is staring me down. I liked this point of view as it showed several specimens going about the business of building the nest, one in profile and two looking directly at me whilst also showing the larvae in two of the spaces.  

Processing:   
Cropping, exposure and colour balance (to remove yellow)

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:   Osprey Feeding 
 
   
Goal:   My friend and I had heard about an Osprey Nest along the foreshore at a nearby town, so we went looking. The nest was easy to spot because it was so big. We could hear the sound of chicks squawking for their dinner, they were well down in the nest so we were unable to see them, just hear them. We hung back a little to see if anything would happen when this adult arrived with dinner. He/she spent their time tearing the fish to pieces, with little bits dropping down around us. It was a particularly hard angle to photograph as branches were protruding into most of the scene - this was the clearest view. I particularly like this picture as I feel it tells the best story of the adult feeding, with the eye of the fish looking right at you as if to say “help”.
  

Equipment/Source:   Olympus OMD - EMI
Leica DG 100-400 f4-6.3 lens @ 280mm
ISO400
1/100s @ f8.0  

Technique:   Handheld - leaning against a tree
Burst Mode and silent selected on camera  

Processing:   Contrast adjustments in Lightroom and selective exposure adjustments to enhance the beautiful afternoon sunlight shining in the picture. Slight detail 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.

Your story is strong with this image.  It not only shows behavior, it shows that the process is further along than we normally see since the adult has taken apart much of the fish’s head so the gills are apparent.  The build up of bird droppings on the branch show that this is a regular stopping point for the adults before going to the nest, adding to the story value of the image.

It is too bad branches prevented you from getting further away and using a longer focal length to reduce the angle of view.  You did pretty well for the conditions you were presented with.

Your processing helped you make the most of the low afternoon lighting but I feel you needed to open up the osprey’s head a bit more so it did not appear to be in shadow.  This cost a point in the Technical score.

Pictorially the background is very busy and draws attention from the osprey.  Not much you can do about that since you cannot deliberately soften the background.  While flipping horizontal puts more emphasis on the fish, it increases the distractions of the background so I do not recommend that.

N3, T2, P2, E0, Total 7


Review by Robert D.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Very good, sharp capture of an osprey with its prey. This is a demanding shot looking up. As a result, there are blown-out highlights and a distracting background. The roof foreground also takes up too much space. A keeper but not a nature acceptance in an exhibition.

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 Bogdan B.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Fine to see the bird and the prey.

SCORE N (Nature) 3-positive nature story

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Good sharpness for such zoom at 1/100. Good blurred background. I would darken the bird and the sky.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Good crop and composition.

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

Total: 8


Review by Adrian B.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
A nice image! You were in a good position and your choice of image shows the Osprey very clearly. Your title helpfully tells what is happening - if there was any doubt. There is a clear story here.

SCORE N (Nature) 3-positive nature story

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Looking directly up to take birds is never easy, with inevitable bright light coming through the canopy. But ones eye always goes to the lightest part of any image - so here, the brightest by far is the bottom part of the bird, followed by the sky close to the fish. I suggest the image would be stronger if this is worked on. In terms of your camera settings, F8 with that camera (I have the mk ii and recommend it!) gives much more DOF than using this exposure on a Full Frame, so it was a good choice. It is the strength of the camera's IS that enabled you get away with just 1/100 setting.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
You don't say whether you cropped this at all - as cropping significantly with that camera doesn't work very well. If you haven't so far cropped it much, I would consider taking a bit off the top - about half of what is above the bird and a small bit on the left, I think this might add to the impact of your image. But I still will award it 3, as it is a song capture.

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

TOTAL SCORE_____ 8


Review by Larry T.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
This image of the osprey and his meal portrays a very solid nature storyline and thus meets the nature requirement. It is the addition of the fish that carries the image.

SCORE N (Nature) 3-positive nature story

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
While you have achieved an interesting image, when it is enlarged it is quite easy to see that the image lacks critical sharpness. From your setting you were quite close to your subject and I imagine that you reacted quite quickly upon seeing this scene transpire before you. The failure is the shutter speed of 1/100 seconds. I do applaud your quick thinking of using the tree to help steady your camera, sadly it was not enough to achieve critical sharpness. I would offer this thought for the future. When walking in the field, especially with a long lens and looking for wildlife opportunities I suggest having the camera pre set to an exposure should one occur. Thus if your shutter speed (critical for wildlife images) had been set near 1/800 or 1/1000 you have a better chance of capturing an image. You might also use Auto-ISO to help make certain you get a proper exposure.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The overall composition works well in drawing the viewer’s attention to the subject. The highlights, to me, appear a bit harsh and I would suggest bringing down a bit. The area on the right were the sunlight is filtering through in bright yellow tones could be toned down a bit as well.

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

total: 7


Review by Suman B.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
beautiful osprey tearing fish to feed its babies. Although I don't see the babies in here yet this picture is a very good example of osprey feeding. the talons and the eye of the fish add to the story. although I find the breast feathers a little burned out (which may be due to the brightness levels of my monitor). Image is sharp and story is good.

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 Bruce F.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
The Osprey really isn’t feeding. It has fed, will feed or paused in feeding, but at the moment of capture, it has the fish in its talons and isn’t actually feeding. Be careful with your nature titles, and only describe what is visually seen within the image, and resist adding or inferring more.
The angle of view is difficult and challenging. Yet, you caught the partially eaten head of the fish just sticking above the nesting platform. The partial fish really adds to the nature story and elevates the image.
The subjects: osprey and fish, sharp and well exposed. I would darken the lower left corner’s yellow tree leaves in the background, and lighten the ones in the upper left corner, balancing the tone and color of the background. In order to reduce the visual distractions, they cause, so your total visual focus is on the bird and the fish. I also in postprocessing would use a little of the new texture slider on the bird’s breast, belly, and undertail feathers to bring out some of the loss detail. I would also even out the blue sky showing in the background, so no area was darker or lighter than the other.
I would also lighten the head and eye, just slightly, to focus and draw the viewer mind to this area.

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) 3-Excellent composition and impact

total: 8


Review by Prasad D.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
A lovely catch and a moment of an Osprey with a fish. Though the nest is not visible. The fish is prominent.

SCORE N (Nature) 3-positive nature story

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
As you mentioned you went very close I suppose the angle for shooting must have been very acute. In my practice I generally take such kind of image from a distance as then I can get an Obtuse angle which is beneficial in such a scenario. The Osprey breast seems to be over exposed which could have been corrected using color correction in PS and reducing the Whites and increasing the Grey.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The Leaves clutter in the background disturbes the picture.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 7

Hi, new member Sylvia here. Photography is my creative outlet and I enjoy many aspects of this discipline including landscape, street, travel and nature - especially chasing down our feathered friends. I am looking to learn, enhance and improve my thought processes on what it takes to take a great nature shot through this group.