Study Group 2


Louis Paley - B

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AUGUST 2019 ROUND
Title:    Snake in Brookside Gardens
     
Goal:     catch the eye clearly in very dim lighting

Equipment/Source:   Sony a6000 mirrorless APS-C camera with Sony
E18-200mm F3.5-6.3 OSS

Technique:    dropped to ground, cranked up light acceptance in dim light (F6.3, ISO 2000, 1/80 sec, multi-segment Metering; hand-held.

Processing:    cropped, adjusted lighting, sharpness, etc with LR 6.14

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:   Heron Flying Over Pond 
   
Goal:   Attempting to obtain an unusual bird in flight photo 
 
Equipment/Source:   Sony a6000 mirrorless with Sony 18-200mm lens
 
Technique:  settings: F8, 1/1600, ISO=800 & EC=+0.3, Aperture, Priority, spot metering, 114mm equiv focal length

Processing:  
LR 6.2

  

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


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

Review by commentator Dan C.

Unfortunately this does not come across as a nature image.  The building reflections are the sharpest and most dominant feature of this image.  Those buildings do not contribute to any nature story and cannot be considered to be a part of adaptive behavior.  The heron in flight does give it some nature value but not enough to overcome the negative of the human element.

Pictorially, the extreme tilt of the image hurts the image.  The composition does not permit rotating the image to make it level since that would cut off the heron’s legs.  Deliberate tilting is sometimes an effective pictorial technique but is not recommended for nature because it becomes a distortion of reality.

Technically, the heron is extremely out of focus, so far out that any sharping technique would be inadequate and make the image look over-processed.

N1, T2, P2, E0, Total 5


Review by Robert D.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Flying bird in the corner of the image. It seems that the bird competes with the background and only occupies a very small area. Would reverse this.

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The bird is out of focus with almost no detail while there is detail in the reflection of the white structure in the water. The tilted horizon does not work for me.

SCORE T (Technical Quality) 1-Inadequate exposure color balance and sharpness

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Not a striking image

SCORE P (Pictorial Quality) 1-Inadequate composition and impact

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 4


Review by Adrian B.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Welcome Louis!
I can see why you chose this image with its nice colourful reflection, with the bird flying in from the bottom right - all of which are positive. I do not though feel there is enough story being told here.

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I think the focus is on the centre of the image (reflection), so the bird looks soft (and not because of movement as your speed was high.

I am also drawn to the top left and wondering what is straight - ie: I think it needs rotating clockwise.

SCORE T (Technical Quality) 1-Inadequate exposure color balance and sharpness

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
If one ignore the above, its a pleasing colourful image, but let down most by the lack of sharpness in the bird.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 5


Review by Larry T.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
When evaluating a nature image by PSA standards the story line becomes paramount. In this case you simply have a bird flying, something that is quite ordinary for birds. To have a strong story line this bird would have to be carrying a branch for nesting of a fish for dinner, something to bring it out of the ordinary. The Nature category also required the hand of man must not be shown. I am not certain but I feel that the rippled reflection in the water does look something like a building. I am not deducting for the possible hand of man in this image but simply offering this thought as reference for the future.

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The first thing necessary for a successful image is a subject that is in sharp focus. The flying heron is clearly not in focus and thus detracts from the final image. The camera settings are adequate to create the image you are trying to create but you have clearly not focused on the bird.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Pictorially the image has an artsy feel to it but I do not feel the composition works. The diagonal background allows for the inclusion of something bright in the upper left corner which draws the eye away from the central subject and is not necessary. The purple plants in the top of the image are not adding to the composition so I would eliminate them. Thus my choice would be to crop this into more of a pano and eliminate everything at the top of the and just leave the reflection.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 6


Review by Bruce F.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
An out of focus bird flying doesn’t make a nature image. A silhouette potentially could make an exciting subject for an image.

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
What can I say? How can I say it gently? Technically this image has significant issues. The heron isn’t in focus. In most cases, the animal or bird needs to be in focus. Nature photography is about showing the world myriad forms of life and you can’t do that if your subject isn’t sharp. Also, we don’t live in a world where ponds have shorelines that run downhill. There is color noise in the heron, and the light of the heron doesn’t match the rest of the scene. The Sony a6000 is a good camera with plenty of pixels, with a good sensor. Lens issue? The focus point is the scene in the background, not on the bird, again not ideal.

SCORE T (Technical Quality) 1-Inadequate exposure color balance and sharpness

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Look at imagery. If you like bird photography, the check out bird photographers on the Internet. Look and study their work. Take more photography classes, or join a camera club. Practice and practice more. We all at one time were beginners. There is no shame in just starting out, just keep your focus on always learning and improving. Engineers are generally not artistic, so study art.

SCORE P (Pictorial Quality) 1-Inadequate composition and impact

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 4


Review by Bogdan B.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Houses in reflection are not alowed in ND.

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Main subject should be heron, that is quite blured. Sharp is reflection, which is in background and could be unsharp. Your spot metering should be pointed on the heron.
I do not recommend positive EV compansation except of capturing towards light. You could open aperture to get more bright photo with no decreasing of quality.

SCORE T (Technical Quality) 1-Inadequate exposure color balance and sharpness

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Main subject (heron) should be positioned in lower left third not so near the edge of photo.
I'm sorry that I had to give so low scores.

SCORE P (Pictorial Quality) 1-Inadequate composition and impact

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 3


Review by Linda C.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Basic shot

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I do not view this picture with having the proper exposure, color balance and sharpness.

SCORE T (Technical Quality) 1-Inadequate exposure color balance and sharpness

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Bird is not defined by color or characteristics.

SCORE P (Pictorial Quality) 1-Inadequate composition and impact

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 4

I am a retired environmental engineer and worked for the US EPA for over 25 years.  For the past seven years my wife and I have lived in a retirement community in Silver Spring, MD, USA.  Upon moving here 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 now use two 24 megapixel Sony mirrorless cameras (a6000 & a6500); multiple zoom lenses (Sony 18-200; Sigma 18-300 macro, 100-400C & 150-600C); and tripod with gimbal head, etc.  

I shoot only in RAW format and use Windows PCs with Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 6 and Photoshop Elements 10 for editing and cataloguing approximately 8,000 images.