Study Group 2


Ken Warning· (C)

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AUGUST 2019 ROUND
Title:   Limpkin Feeding on Snail

Goal:   I was photographing birds in flight when I noticed 2 limpkins by the shore. I started photographing the limpkins and was able to capture one with a snail.

 
Equipment/Source:   Nikon D500 on a tripod, Nikon lens 200-500mm  
  
Technique:   I was setup for birds in flight and forget to change settings ISO 400, 1/2000 sec at F5.6

Processing:   Tone adjustments LR, Smart sharpening in PS

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:     Snowy Egret With Stick
   
Goal:    To capture a snowy egret as it was bringing sticks back to its nest. I had several shots that I liked but I choose this one over the water.
 
Equipment/Source:   Nikon D500, Lens 200-500 
 
Technique:   lens at 250mm, F9, 1/1600, ISO 400, handheld

Processing:  
Tonal Adjustments LR, Sharpening PS, Darkened bright area in water PS

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

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

Review by commentator Rick C.
A nature story showing behavior is present, however I feel that the near tonal merger between the darker water and the tones of the stick and bill actually keep it from showing optimally. The flight aspect is a plus as is the wing position. For me, the lack of a clean separation on two key elements of the story holds this one back to a 2 level.

From a technical perspective I feel that primary focus is on the money and that the main subject shows good sharpness while the BG is reasonably soft in terms of detail.

The composition works well and allows sufficient room on front of the subject to allow for the implicit movement. I might crop up slightly from the bottom, but I do not feel this is needed for the composition to work more effectively. The tonality and patterning of the background is a problem in the area of the subject’s bill. It is unfortunate that it happened to have those elements just over patches where the tones were so similar. We can see the lighter brown of the leaves or bark on the upper portion of the bill, but it drops of markedly on the lower side. I do not think there is an effective fix that would remain natural looking. Interestingly, you have to look more than once to realize that it is the shadow of the stick projecting above the bill that we see on the egret’s neck and not something that is extending below the bill or back toward the body.

N-2, T-3, P-3 = 8 (N-2 a decrease in the strength of the nature story shown due to the tonal issues in a key area of the story elements. While this is also a pictorial issue, I did not feel it was something that should be graded lower in two areas.)


Review by Janice R.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Very nice image of the gathering part of the nest building behavior.

SCORE N (Nature) 3-positive nature story

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Very nice light and DoF with the entire bird in focus. The background is nicely blurred and adds a sense of place to the image without competing with the subject. Only suggestion I would have is to decrease the brightness on the white spot in front of the bird. This is a small thing, though.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Really nice, well composed image that nicely illustrates the nest building effort.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 9


Review by Andy H.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Another lovely egret shot. The stick helps with the story.

SCORE N (Nature) 3-positive nature story

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I see nothing wrong with your settings and it has produced a clean sharp image. I might have used a slightly lower f stop, 7.1, to defuse the water a little more.The eye is sharp for me and the colours are fine. I sometimes mask the background and tone it down a little to help the subject stand out.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
It's a good side on view well tracked. Do you need all the image below the bird? Have you tried panning with a slow shutter speed to put some movement into the background and the bird.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 9


Review by William S.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
I think that you met your nature goal with this photo.
It shows the action of traveling with nest building material.


SCORE N (Nature) 3-positive nature story

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The image is well exposed. I would suggest lightening the shadow areas around the egret’s beak and the sticks to show more detail and possibly reducing the highlights to show more detail in the feathers. There is good separation between the subject and the background.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
More detail in the sticks and feathers would the visual impact.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 7


Review by Isabella Z.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
I think I can vividly tell this bird is trying to build his/her house. The story in this picture is strong

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 make a flying bird sharp in the photo. he captured a great moment.

SCORE E (Exceptional) 1

GRAND TOTAL WITH EXTRA POINT 10


Review by Natalie M.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
You have captured a bird in flight with nesting material. Good nature story.

SCORE N (Nature) 3-positive nature story

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Image is sharp and well exposed, fast shutter speed has frozen the action.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I'm probably being a bit tough here, but I'm having trouble with the crop ratio. It's messing with my head because it's somewhere between a square and a rectangle. I'm not sure the amount of space below the bird contributes anything additional to the story and I'm wondering if a 3:2 landscape crop would be better, giving the appearance of more room in front of the bird. Just my personal preference.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 8


Review by Louis P.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
completely meets the category

SCORE N (Nature) 3-positive nature story

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
wow, wish I could do as well; bird is perfectly focused, little catch-light in eyes, twig is clearly cisplayed; I wish the body of egret was not quite as blown out, but I have never done this well myself.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
wonderful and impactful image of such a difficult scene

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 9


Review by Dennis H.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
This is a good nature image depicting egret returning to nest building activities with stick.

SCORE N (Nature) 3-positive nature story

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
You've certainly captured a good image of the bird in flight with your camera settings and also being handheld. Good definition on bird, eye clear and sharp.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The image has impact with a nice background. I think it could be improved by cropping more from the bottom of the image.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 8


Review by Martin P.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
I am enjoying the story of this image, so many birds gathering their nests provide some great opportunities for shots

SCORE N (Nature) 3-nature story strong

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I am enjoying the detail of the feathers on this bird, I think your exposure and sharpness work well and help create a pleasing effect.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I am feeling like the diagonal shape of the bird works well in this image. The freezing of the bird is a tough one, do you freeze or allow some motion in the wings to show the action as sometimes I feel that the frozen effect can feel quite static. The green and mottled background certainly feels natural but can be quite distracting, I wonder if a little bit of reducing the contrast for the background would help tone it down a little. I am really enjoying this image though overall.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 8


Review by Louis P.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
definitely fits ND criteria

SCORE N (Nature) 3-positive nature story

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
egret is very sharp and in high contrast with background; eye and beak is very sharp; bird is very well panned and clear.
Unfortunately the white feathers of the egret are a little blown out, but better than I have been able to do.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
bird is well positioned in photo, leaving room to the bird flying into the image. The fact that image clearly shows the branch, and the background is purposely blurred is excellent.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 8

IF APPLICABLE, WHY DESERVING OF EXTRA POINT FOR EXCELLENCE
photographer did a wonderful job of perfectly catching the bird while blurring the background.

SCORE E (Exceptional) 1

GRAND TOTAL WITH EXTRA POINT 9


Review by Larry T.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
The bird in flight with an approaching angle while carrying a stick (albeit a small one) conveys a positive nature storyline. I personally wish the stick was larger but it is what it is. I would also prefer that it be the stick that shows rather than the shadow that is on the bird’s neck.

SCORE N (Nature) 3-positive nature story

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Your data indicates that you were able to get quite close to the bird (250mm) and this position along with the long lens certain helped create the fine background for this image. On what must have been a bright day (400ISO) you did a fine job of handling the whites of this snowy. Thus your settings were certainly optimal and resulted in perfect color saturation and exposure. The detail in the wing feathers is excellent. This was very well handled.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
In post you again seem to have gotten everything right. I feel the position of the bird to be superb. The lifting angle of flight creates a pleasing diagonal line and the bird is correctly placed on the left fixation points. I also applaud your decision to place the bird in the upper portion of the image magnifying the rising flight angle. Your final touch of darkening the water does help to bring out the bird and make it more visually attractive.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 9

IF APPLICABLE, WHY DESERVING OF EXTRA POINT FOR EXCELLENCE
I’ll award the extra point simply for the overall image. I feel everything just works in the image. Extremely well done.

SCORE E (Exceptional) 1

GRAND TOTAL WITH EXTRA POINT 10



 

 





I live in Menomonee Falls, WI, and have recently retired. I have been actively photographing for over 12 years.  I started by taking field trips to photograph waterfalls in the upper peninsula of Michigan that was being offered by the University of Wisconsin in Waukesha, WI. I still enjoy photographing waterfalls in Michigan, and along the North Shore of Minnesota.  I also enjoy bird photography.  I live less than 60 miles from Horicon Marsh, which is a popular birding area in Wisconsin.  I also try to get to Florida every other year for bird photography.  I will also do some sports, city, and winter photography.

I am a member of 2 local camera clubs, the PSA Wisconsin Chapter, and a board member of the Wisconsin Area Camera Club Organization.