AUGUST 2019 ROUND
Title: Male Western Bluebird Warms And Dries His Feather In The Sunshine
Goal: To capture a Western Bluebird with wet feathers after a bath.
Equipment / Source: 7D Mark II Camera Body, with a 600 mm IS f4.0 lens at 1/2000 sec f8.0, ISO 1250, Aperture Priority, Evaluative Metering.
Technique: Photographing from a bird blind, twenty to thirty feet from a small pond, a water source to attract birds. My bird photography philosophy is to have birds come to you, rather than trying to stalk them with a camera, as a hunter would. The success rate is much greater, and you’re able to control backgrounds much better too.
Processing: I worked on the background, darkening really light areas and lightening some of the dark areas, with control points in Nik Viveza. I also reduced the contrast of the entire photo, since the bright light was a bit strong and harsh. Noise reduction with a mask using Nik Dfine software. A slight crop in order to make the bird a bit bigger in the frame.
Comments/Scores (N,T,P,E, Total)Critique Image (only members of Study Group Two may critique this image)
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JULY 2019 ROUND
Title: Black-bellied Bustard Sings Out Its Call
Goal: To Capture A Male Bustard Singing its Mating Call
Equipment / Source: 7D Mark II camera body, 600 mm IS f4.0 lens, 1/3200 sec at f7.1, ISO 1250, Aperture Priority, Evaluative Metering
Technique: Taken on the Top of a Land Rover on a Bean Bag while on Safari in the famous Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania, East Africa
Processing: Slight crop for better composition, targeted noise reduction using Nik Define 2, as well as some pre raw sharpening with the Nik sharpening tool. A technique to create mid-tone contrast and a slight lightening of the overall image with a general levels adjustment, for this mid-tone contrast technique has a tendency to darken backgrounds a little too much. All adjustments very subtle. Diffuse light and capture already very good.
Comments/Scores (N,T,P,E,Total)Critique Image (only members of Study Group Two may critique this image)
Review by commentator Tom S.
Technical – The bird is sharp and the background and foreground are not distractions. The light is flat so he is a little dull. Brighten him up a little to make him stand out more, but be careful to not blow out the white on his shoulder and neck. T-2
Pictorial Quality – Crop up from the bottom about half way to the bird to get rid of some of the grass, and flip him so he is facing to the left. When we come into the image from the left, we see his back first. Better to see his head and neck first. P-2
N3, T2, P2 = 7
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I am a wildlife, nature, and scenic photographer. I now live in San Mateo, after spending most of my adult life in Millbrae. I previously worked full-time for Applied Biosystems and Life Technologies as a senior business analyst. I left this position a few years ago to concentrate on my true passion of nature photography. My Dad was a deer hunter and bought some property in Monterey County, so he could have a place of his own to go deer hunting. We have owned this property since 1946. I grew up spending my summers down there, following in my father's footsteps, hunting quail, dove, and black tailed deer--using a b-b gun, graduating up to a powerful hunting rifle. When I was eighteen I had to kill a black-tailed buck up close shooting him in the neck, since my first shot from afar had only wounded him. I saw death up close and personal, deciding from that moment on I didn't not want to be part of death, but to cherish life instead.
My friends and I do a lot of bird photography at my ranch in rural Monterey County, using photo blinds extensively; and recently we have built a few permanent ponds to attract wildlife.
I was a Minolta user, but switched to Canon in 2001. I used to shoot extensively with slide film; now I strictly use digital camera bodies, specifically the Canon 7D and 40D bodies, previously the Canon D1 Mark II and as backup the Canon 20D. I primarily use RAW capture, and process the images in Photoshop. I recently upgraded to CS5, and also have many external hard drives to store my raw files.