Study Group 2

Sylvia Wallis (C)

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Title:    Eye Spy

Goal:   To capture the moment when this Gecko licked its eye. They do this to keep their eyes moist and clean.

Equipment/Source:    Olympus OMD-EMI Mkii
Olympus M.60mm F2.8 macro lens
1/400s @ f4.5
No flash, handheld
High speed continuous mode

Technique:    This was taken in a controlled setting. I sat patiently in front of the gecko as it settled under the log and waited for it to start cleaning its face. As soon as I noticed it starting to open its mouth I hit the shutter button firing continuously. Many, many shots later I decided enough was enough

In lightroom I cropped, selected exposure, tone curve and sharpening adjustments. I also added a small vignette to tone down some brighter spots on the log above the gecko's head 

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

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

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Title:   Lunchtime
Goal:   Over a period of several weeks I watch this pair of Magpie Larks build a nest and then the waiting began to see if anything further happened. It was my lucky day when I finally spied this young one. I then had to visit on a few more occasions to get a picture of lunch being delivered. I have many pictures of these grubs being shoved down the young ones throat, but thought overall this one showed the story better.

Equipment/Source:    Camera : Olympus OMD EMI
Lens : Panasonic Leica 100-400mm f4-6.3mm @ 400mm

Technique:    From one side of the dam I waited patiently for the parent to stop at the nest before feeding - many times the were there and gone before I had a chance to take a picture. 

Processing:   Cropping of distracting branches, tone and contrast adjustments with a little sharpening at the final stage.

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 think you have a good nature story in this capture. You indicate you have more where the feeding behavior sounds more connected (i.e., where the parent is in the process of placing the food in the chick’s mouth. This would be an even stronger story because of that direct, rather than implied connection. Primary focus looks good to me. I do feel you can improve impact and interest with some additional sharpening of the adult and chick. The exposure looks good to me. The background leaves are a little strong. I would suggest selecting the greens and yellows and desaturating them (and possibly even darkening them) slightly. Mask that to just that area if needed. Placement of the parent looks to be right on the left third line. While optimal in a theoretical sense, I feel the composition is stronger if you crop in from the right to eliminate that lit branch stub.

N-3, T-3, P-2 = 8 (P-2 Greens a little strong, suggest desaturating and darkening slightly. Crop from right to eliminate lit branch stub.)

Review by Larry T.
I feel with lunch in beak, and the little one reaching up for the promised meal that you have created a valid story line that contains both drama and interest. This meets the Nature Category criteria.

I feel under the circumstances that you have managed the background quite well. It is hard to always get a truly clean background when considering the busy and cluttered world these birds live in. However the bird and nest all seem to be a little on the soft side. I also see a burned spot on the upper shoulder of the bird. Since you do not indicate the shutter speed and fstop used I can only offer that one or the other should have been adjusted to prevent this burn.

In my opinion there is simply too much unnecessary space on the right side of the image. There is no rule that demands that the image be rectangular in shape and thus I feel that a more square format would help this image. Perhaps a crop in the gap between the lowest hanging green leaves on the right and the dark shadow of additional leaves just to the left would create a better balance to the image.

You do however have an interesting image.
N-3, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-7

Review by Janice R.
Great catch with the parent feeding the open mouthed chick. It takes a lot of diligence to watch the nest enough to "catch this". Good job in getting the both the parent and chicken focus. The one things about the image that doesn't work on my monitor is the brightness of the green branch in the background. It competes with the birds and my eye keeps wanting to go to that bight area.
N=3, T=2, P=3, Total= 8

Review by Charlie Y.
nice and sharp on mother bird, good capture. light is good. would suggest: crop off more on the right, the empty space, to strengthen the subject, also darken the leaves on the right so that it's not distraction from main focus. 
N-2, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-6

Review by MJ Springett
N=a story nicely told
T= I feel like the image is heavily weighted to the left, moving the nest closer to the middle might be helpful
P= the colors are a little drab and are diminished by the green on the right. Just my opinion.
N-3, T-2, P-2, E-1, Total-8

Review by William S.
Excellent nature story in this image. That is a terrific lens.

The eyes of the juvenile and the parent are sharp as well as the food. The overall processing of the image is good. I would consider using luminosity curves to lower the highlights on the edges of the nest.
N-3, T-3, P-3, E-1, Total-10

Review by Martin P.
A wonderful moment captured between a parent and offspring. The exposure looks reasonable overall, but I am a little suspect of the white area just to our left of the head lacking some detail. The background greens are a little bright and I wonder if a little dodging/burning would help to reduce the distraction. Overall, I don’t feel that this image is critically sharp enough overall. Compositionally I like the position of the nest and enjoy the space given on the right.
N-3, T-1, P-1, E-0, Total-5

Review by Ken W.
Nice nature story of adult getting ready to feed chick, nice eye detail on adult, good sharpness, blurred background, nice composition, you may want to lighten the shadows a little bit on the adult and nest.
N-3, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-8

Review by Prasad D.

Lovely Story telling picture. Except for the over exposure near the nest, everything seems perfect. The efforts and the technique is good. Kindly suggest to subdue the exposure near the nest. The Baby Lark and the expressions on the Lady Magpie Lark seems to steel the Show.
N-3, T-2, P-3, E-1 Total: 9.

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.