Study Group 2


Louis Paley - (D)

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JULY 2020 ROUND
Title:   Groundhog with Baby 
     
Goal:   Unable to carry my normal heavy gear anymore, I was out walking with a compact zoom when I came across these beautiful animals. In fact, it wasn't until I displayed this image onto my PC did I even see the baby.

Equipment/Source:   Sony HX-80 hand held.

Technique:   The parent darted in front of me from the golf course and into the weeds. It let me move a little closer to take some images.

Processing:    I did only a little cropping and color adjustment of the jpg image in LR 6

Score this image: YES


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

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

Review by commentator Tom S.

It is nice that the groundhogs let you get close to them.  Too bad the baby isn’t more in the open.  But the big problem is they are just not sharp.  You were using the lens equivalent of 720mm but your shutter speed was only 1/250 sec. and hand held.  With that much magnification, you need at least 1/1000 sec. in order to have a sharp image. Also, it is a little too bright.  The groundhogs are not interacting so not much of a nature story.  It is a nice portrait of a mother and baby.

 T2, P2, N2, E0 = 6


Review by Haru N.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Lucky to encounter this situation and captured the moment. Unfortunately in terms of nature story, it is not so strong according to the description.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Adequate exposure under good lighting. I feel a bit loose in sharpness in the main subject.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Composition is good to put main subject in the center. Grasses in foreground is a bit noisy to get attention away on groundhogs.

NATURE SCORE 2-Nature story of avera ge stren gth (portrait)

TECHNICAL SCORE 2-Average exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 2-Average composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 6


Review by Dennis H

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Interesting nature image of Ground hog with baby in natural setting. Would have given higher mark if there was more interaction between them.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Image appears a little soft, particularly on the adults head resulting in loss of detail and colour on animals.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Image has impact, although small branch L/H side behind Adults head is a bit distracting.

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

TECHNI CAL SCORE 2-Average exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 2-Average composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 6


Review by Natalie M

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
This is a nice environmental portrait of parent and baby, but I'm not sure the story is strong enough to warrant 3 points.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Colours and exposure look to be fairly accurate, however there is a problem with sharpness, particularly around the adult's eye.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Unfortunately lacks impact due to the generally cluttered environment, and unfortunately there is a stick "growing" out of the adult's head.

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

TECHNICAL SCORE 2-Average exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 1-Inadequate composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 5


Review by Andy H

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
There is a story but some interaction would make it stronger

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The image is clear and well exposed. It could be a bit sharper and I would have tried a shallower depth of field to blur the background. Catchlight in both animals eyes helps lift the image.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Image is well composed but lacks impact. You often don't see what's in your viewfinder until you look on the PC/Mac.

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

TECHNICAL SCORE 2-Average exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 2-Average composition and impact

EXTRA POINT 0-No extra point

TOTAL SCORE 6






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JUNE 2020 ROUND

Title:     Tree Stump Cow Head

Goal:    Passed this beautiful stump at least 50 times enroute to shoot bald eagles; finally brought short, faster glass lens sufficient to take this image in relatively dim lighting. My goal was to show the detail, curves, and texture of this "cow head", including the touch of natural lighting near its eye.
 
Equipment/Source:     Sony a6000 with Sony 18-200mm 3.5-6.3 zoom lens, set at 68mm, F7.1, 1/100 sec, Aperture Priority, Multi-segment Metering Mode, EV=0, shot in RAW.
 
Technique:  Hand-held camera while moving to different positions to optimize the detail around its eye and face without getting too many bright spots in the background

Processing: 
 Used LR 6 to crop and adjust sharpness and lighting.

Score this image: YES

  

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


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

Review by commentator J.D.
Hi Louis. What a nature story! Out walking in the wood and come across a fallen tree that looks a cow head. Not only very rare, but a so much fun. I know this had to put a smile on your face.
On the technical side, after spending a lot of time going over this photo, I think a simple “dodge” bump of the entire “tree” would have made the “cow head” have more impact. Using a little localized sharpening on just the “cow head” would have helped to.
Cropping – Cropping – Cropping! This is a very tough photograph to crop. I would suggest that you slight crop it a little larger. Not a lot! Just a little larger. This photograph probably wouldn’t do well in an international competition due to the speed of judging. On the other hand, print it to a 11x14 and put it where there is some good natural light on it during the day. You will have something that will make you smile when you see it in that light.


Review by Haru N.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
You found the nice subject, which shows history of nature. It looks like head of dinosaur for me. You achieved the goal mentioned, texture and detail is well-presented. This is "the history" of nature.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Adequate sharpness and good lighting. I am not sure that actual color of the wood but I feel it's a bit blueish in my view.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Composition wise, it is good and simple to present cow head in main subject as center of attention. I was wondering if you use wide lens side rather than 68mm selected. I assume that way bring more dynamic and stronger impact on the image. 

SCORE 7  


Review by Janice R

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
I have to say, if you hadn't titled this as the cow, I would't have seen it. I too love the curves in the old wood, the black areas on this make me wonder if it was involved in a fire? Other than this being a broken tree stump, I don't see a strong nature story here.
Nature=1

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The image is sharp enough to show the detail in much of the wood which Ilike. However, to me the foreground and background elements are distracting and I wonder if a different larger aperture would have kept the log in focus but decreased the focus on the foliage? color balance is good.
technical score = 2

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
In my opinion this log probably had more impact in person than it does in the picture. For me, it just really doesn't come to life. pictorial score=1

SCORE 4


Review by MJ S

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Not sure of story but if aging wood, then the textures are the telling elements

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Good sharpness and depth of field

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
subject centered

SCORE 6


 Review by Charlie Y

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
interesting image of a stationary tree stump. wish was taken in a different angle, to show the decay or age of the tree stump, thus more of nature story. As it stand, a proper portrait, less of nature impact.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
adequate exposure, contrast, in the woods. texture and lines are interesting,

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
though it's nice composition, comforting to see, I'd darken a bit of the under stump area.
Note: this is a different scoring and review. still getting used to.

SCORE 5


Review by Natalie M

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
It's interesting when you see shapes within objects. However I'm just not sure if there is a story there.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
You have done a good job to get this shot in the high contrast conditions.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Well seen, nicely composed, but lacks impact due to the busy surrounds.

SCORE 5

I am a retired environmental engineer and worked for the US EPA for over 25 years.  For the past eight years my wife and I have lived in a retirement community in Silver Spring, MD, USA.  Upon moving there I took a basic digital photo class and fell in love with photography as a hobby. 

After three years I decided to up my game by purchasing my first DSLR , long lenses, etc. and began concentrating on USA wildlife photography, primarily birds.  I began using Sony mirrorless cameras (a6000 & a6500); multiple zoom lenses including Sigma 100-400 and 150-600s with tripod with gimbal head, etc.  Then my right should gave out and the doctor told me to lighten the load.  I will now shoot with a Sony “bridge” camera, the Cyber-shot RX10 IV (24-600mm zoom). 

I shoot only in RAW format and use Windows PCs with Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 6for editing and cataloguing approximately 8,000 images.