Study Group 2


Adrian Binney, LRPS

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AUGUST 2019 ROUND

Title:     Zebras
   
Goal:    To capture an interesting picture of Zebras drinking whilst on a trip to Kenya at the time of the migration - in 2015.
 
Equipment/Source:   Olympus equipment - taken at 300mm (600 Full Frame) - 1/320 f9 ISO250 hand held from a stationary truck. 
 
Technique:    Handheld, focussing on the drinking zebras and timing the shot (on single frame) when their heads had reasonable separation.

Processing: 
 I originally processed this in colour (I rarely tried B&W until 12m ago). After recently deciding to enter mono Salons to force a learning curve, I found this shot and reprocessed it using Lightroom only. Used orange & yellow sliders to darken the grass and played with texture & contrast sliders selectively, to add punch where I thought desirable. I am hoping to use the image in both Nature and Mono Salons  

  

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:   Weaver bird doing the splits
     
Goal:    To capture a Weaver bird doing something amusing while building its nest - whilst visiting our local zoo.

Equipment/Source:  Olympus EM1 Mk2 with 300 F4 lens + 1.4 converter
Settings 1/200 f5.6 ISO800

Technique:   Handheld, using 6x IS capability of body - but judging time of taking shot when bird was materially still - so used single shot setting. The bird was in a shady area. Timing also fixed on when bird had some grass in its mouth, starting its weaving technique.

Processing:   Crop, leaving sufficient area around the bird to tell the story. Add punch to bird, darken greens and add vignette.

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

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

Review by commentator Tom S

Nature Story – very good nature story of the bird building its nest.  It looks like it just started building, since the only part of a nest is a small ball of grass on the left branch.  Having grass attached to the new nest and in its beak really tells the story of the weaving.   N-3  

Technical – While the bird is all in focus, the bright twigs and grass on the left are a distraction.  Burn those down a little.  Also, the grass ball that is the start of the nest is pretty dark and can be lightened a little to see more detail.  T-2

Pictorial Quality – The bird and its work are the center of interest without distractions from the background, but as mentioned in Technical, the bright twigs are a distraction so you could crop a little off the bottom to remove the brightest twig. P-2

N3, T2, P2 = 7


Review by Ken W.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Nice photo of a weaver bird collecting grass and building a nest.

SCORE N (Nature) 3-positive nature story

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Good color balance and very sharp with good eye detail

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Well composed photo, the background is a little busy with all of the branches.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 8


Review by Gang Z.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
It was an interesting picture of a bird on a swing. A cautious expression gives me pleasure.

SCORE N (Nature) 3-positive nature story

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
It was an interesting picture of a bird on a swing. A cautious expression gives me pleasure.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The picture is very good, but the background is a bit messy.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 7


Review by Prasad D.
SCORE N (Nature) 2-basic shot--no 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 BASIC SCORE 6


Review by Larry T.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
The comical nature of the pose and the position of the grass as it loops around the twigs and is held in birds beak demonstrate a viable story line for a “Weaver” bird. I feel that knot like clumps of grass on the poles add to the work ethic of the bird.



SCORE N (Nature) 3-positive nature story

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
While the camera usage seems appropriate (color is good, as is sharpness) I feel the composition suffers from too much clutter. This is a sort of catch 22 issue with this type of subject. These birds thrive in a naturally cluttered environment but the clutter distracts from the image. Thus it is hard to get a clutter free image but if the image is cluttered it become visually unattractive. In some way this background needs to be rendered better. While I understand your lens is an f4 a lens with a 2.8 aperture may soften the background. Perhaps darkening the background some would bring greater attention to the bird and make the clutter less visible. At the least, the bright blade of grass on the left side should be darkened.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Pictorially the leftward tilt of the bird adds drama to the image and the positioning of the bird in the frame on the right fixation points is a plus as is the intensity of the bird’s expression. In the end, I simply can’t get past the excessive clutter and cannot award a higher score as the image lacks eye appeal.



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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 7


Review by Isabella Z.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
I can clearly tell this bird is trying so hard to keep balance while building his house (I assume). Funny and vivid picture

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) 3-Excellent composition and impact

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 9

IF APPLICABLE, WHY DESERVING OF EXTRA POINT FOR EXCELLENCE
It's hard to keep the bird so in focus and sharp while this bird is in motion.

SCORE E (Exceptional) 1

GRAND TOTAL WITH EXTRA POINT 10


Review by Sylvia W.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
I like that you've captured the bird with nesting material and clinging onto two pieces of grass. It shows just how precarious it can be to make a nest and the effort that the bird will go to in order to choose just the spot to do so.

SCORE N (Nature) 3-positive nature story

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The yellow against the green is quite complementary and ensures that the subject stands out against the background. It can be quite tricky to get a picture of a bird with a clean background, however sometimes we just have to take the shot, as they do make life difficult for us photographers.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
With those branches in the background and the shadows of others across the head and body of the bird I find myself distracted and focusing on them. I don't mind that the bird is in the centre of the image and I feel that gives good impact overall.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 7


Review by Hattie S.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
I never seen a bird doing this, thanks for the story.

SCORE N (Nature) 3-positive nature story

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Could burn a bit more on the branches out of focus. The crop is pretty close to square, I would just crop it as 1x1, just personal preferrence.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Could use a bit more sharpening.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 8


Review by Linda C.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Unique action shot

SCORE N (Nature) 3-nature story strong

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Interesting shot; however when I initially looked at it I didn't know what the bird was doing. Number of plant stems a little distracting.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Difficult capture. Awkward position of bird making less of an impact.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 6


Review by Charlie Y.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
interesting capture, didn't know bird can stand this way, almost like monkey on tree.

SCORE N (Nature) 2-Nature story of average strength (portrait

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
would prefer crop some more of left side, but ...

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
though, yellow bird, draw attention, still a lot of spaces left in frame, just my thought.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 6


Review by MJ Springett
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Certainly is a story about building a nest.

SCORE N (Nature) 3-nature story strong

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Back ground is distracting

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Comical pose and good color

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 7

I am retired (64 as at 2018) and keen to devote more time to photography and travelling. My photography started 40 years ago with a home darkroom and like many, was kickstarted again with digital SLR’s becoming affordable.
I was a Canon man - 5 and 7 bodies, with many L series lenses, but sold the whole lot in 2015 due to weight issues. I now use an Olympus EM1 Mkii with many of their Pro series lenses and don’t regret the move. My core wildlife lens is a 300 f4 prime, which is razor sharp. Used with a 1.4 converter gives a Full Frame equivalent of 840mm - in a recent trip to Costa Rica 80% of my shots were at this reach (birds there are small and other wildlife are very high in the canopy!).
When at home in the UK, I enjoy visiting zoos and bird protection areas, as well as trying to photograph insects in gardens etc. I also travel abroad to enjoy wildlife experiences - Africa and Costa Rica mostly.
I am Secretary and Committee Member at a large Camera Club (Winchester, Hampshire) and enjoy helping to run a large club (200 members). I continue learning a lot from the many excellent photographers (particularly in use of Lightroom and what makes a good image). I don’t use Photoshop. In December I was awarded LRPS - the first distinction level of three awarded by The Royal Photographic Society.