Study Group 2


Hattie Stamer (C)

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AUGUST 2019 ROUND
Title:     I got your back
 
   
Goal:   In a zoo watching penguins. Saw two turned their back to me and one put its hand around the other. I want to capture this moment which showing their behavior, like what human would do too  
 

Equipment/Source:   D850 300mm 1/5.6. 1/800. ISO 1400

Technique:    Handheld

Processing:    Lightroom basic adjustment, Dodge and burn. The ground and surrounding was very bright, not sure how much burn I can do so it won't look too unnatural

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:    Alone 
   
Goal:     Spot he stayed in between tree branches just observing others playing/chasing/fighting. Want to capture his mood

Equipment/Source:    Nikon D80 f/4.5 1/1000, ISO 25600, 300mm
 
Technique:    Need to keep shallower DOF because the lighting, to avoid too much noise

Processing:  
Lightroom basic adjustment, noise reduction, Nik convert to B/W, add some structure, burning/dodging.

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

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

Review by commentator Rick C.

As a nature image I would consider this to be in the portrait category. Some may find it static enough that it would only warrant a score of 1, but I feel there is enough story in the posture and position of this close cousin, that one can read more into it relative to behavior. On that basis I feel it warrants a 2.

From a technical perspective I feel that while primary focus and DOF look good, the facial area seems to lack the critical sharpness that I would expect in a portrait of this type. The exposure seems reasonable for the lighting present, but it is difficult to assess it fully due to the potential tonal shifts made during the BW conversion process.

The bulk of the tones are in the mid to lower tonal regions. Given the subject, that is not surprising, but it does make it more difficult to get a dark subject to separate from its surroundings when the surroundings have almost as much structure as the subject itself. Initial impact is good but the close proximity of the tones weakens the staying power (longer term interest value) of the image for me. The natural tendency would be to burn in the edges, but I am not sure that is necessarily the best play in this case as it could quickly become either obvious or no longer realistic in appearance. My suggestion at this point would be to add some sharpening in the gorilla and hold it back or even reduce it slightly on the surroundings. The primary composition is centered and static, but that plays to the pose of the subject. I feel the facial area is enough out of center that, with the way the subject is framed by the supporting elements, the composition works for the way the subject is positioned. 

N-2, T-2, P-3 = 7 (N-2 portrait and lacks stronger behavioral elements. T-2 Slight softness in facial area. P-2 Lack of distinct stronger tonal separation from surroundings lowers longer term interest value.) See adjusted version with added sharpening in face, slight boost in contrast and drop in sharpness of surroundings.


Review by Janice R.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
While this image doesn't depict an overt, active behavior such as playing or seeking food, because of his facial expression it seems to depict a contemplative behavior.

SCORE N (Nature) 3-positive nature story

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I like the black and white choice but, on my monitor at least, this looks like a pencil sketch and thus seems to have too much structure. The exposure and focus are good and DoF captures all of the subject.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
This image does a nice job of communicating the subjects contemplative nature.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 7


Review by Andy H.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
While he is just sitting there I do get a feeling that there is a story, hence 3

SCORE N (Nature) 3-positive nature story

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Given the settings I think you have captured a good image.
I would have reduced the shutter speed, he wasn't going anywhere, and it would have helped reduce the ISO considerably. Could you have lightened the tree and background to make him stand out more? Crop a little more off the top. If only his eyes could have been stronger

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I like the capture and the composition. There image suits mono.
Well seen and well captured.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 8


Review by Natalie M.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
This is a bit tricky for me....While you have certainly captured a forlorn expression, I'm not sure if this takes the image above an environmental portrait. If the viewer could see what he was looking at I would have awarded the extra point.

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I'm impressed that you got such a good image with that high ISO, but I wonder if a slower shutter speed could have been used to bring down the ISO if he was not really active.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I think the composition is nice, and the subject good for black and white. I just wonder if a subtle vignette and some lightening on the face would create more impact.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 7


Review by William S.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
I think that this is a wonderful portrait. it seems that the gorilla was posing for you. My past experiences posting to this forum suggests that this not sufficient to rate higher than 2. This type resting is what they often do so I am going to rate it as a nature action.

SCORE N (Nature) 3-positive nature story

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
You managed to keep the subject in focus but I would have stopped down to f8 as the faster shutter speed is not needed. Converting to black and white was a good idea to reduce possible background distractions. The range from black to white seems good. However on my monitor I would have adjusted the exposure a little darker with a very slight increase in contrast.


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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I really like the composition in terms of the line angle moving upward, the direction that the subject is facing and the way the tree frames the subject.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 9


Review by Isabella Z.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
I think this picture showed the mood of the animal well.

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
I believe it's hard to capture the mood of a wild animal.

SCORE E (Exceptional) 1

GRAND TOTAL WITH EXTRA POINT 10


Review by Louis P.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
applies well

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
beautifully captured, sharp, B&W is a great choice; catching the eyes open and with a catch-light is outstanding

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
image does show some story; had only moderate impact on me

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 8


Review by Dennis H.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Nice nature image of resting animal watching others at play.

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
You ISO showing a reading of 25,600 doesn't sound correct as it would produce a very noisy image. Parts of the animal need a little dodging to bring out more detail.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The image presents well in B/W. I think the image could be improved by cropping the top to enhance the animal.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 6


Review by Larry T.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
This photo of an ape resting in a tree has a powerful tug on the heart strings and creates an emotional appeal. However, in the nature category a story line that shows something out of the ordinary is required. I do not feel the resting ape satisfies this requirement.

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Apparently the conditions under which this was take had pretty dim light. An ISO of 25600 seems awfully high. Since the ape was resting, perhaps not moving much based on your description a slightly lower ISO and shutter speed may have worked out for you. As presented the background (as seen behind the ape) is rendered soft and out of focus. Your image does not display much noise at all

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Your overall processing has presented a beautiful image with a strong emotional appeal. Pictorially I fell this is a strong image and the choice of B&W was a good one.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 8


Review by Martin P.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
I am not seeing a strong behaviour or nature story in this image.

SCORE N (Nature) 1-Nature story minimal or contains unrelated hand of man

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I feel that the image appears well exposed and sharp. I do wonder, given the relatively static image if you might have been able to drop the shutter speed to allow a lower ISO.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I am enjoying the use of monochrome in this image, I feel that your mono conversion has worked well. The creatures pose and expression appeal to me and draw me in.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 5












I fell in love photography when I was probably 7, but never had a chance to learn or get my hands on a camera. I got my very first film SLR camera back in 2004, had some great time with it for a little while, then life took over.  Recently (late last year) I decided to devote more time and get serious about photography because it's my passion and I owe it to myself. 

Started self learning by surfing the web, read books, participate seminars, looking at others' work, etc.  Just joined PSA and believe it can help me grow.  My photography interests are pretty wide ranging but mostly shoot whatever I have access to (two young kids and pets keep me very busy).  My current editing tool is mainly Lightroom with Nik and trying to learn Photoshop. You can tell I'm way behind and have lots to catch up.

I'm looking forward to participate and learn from you all.