Study Group 2


Natalie Murray (B)

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DECEMBER 2019 ROUND
Title:    Waiting for Breakfast

Goal:  Walked around my local wetlands one morning looking for nature opportunities. In one of the man-made lakes I found trees with up to half a dozen cormorant nests. Here my goal became to capture the story of these young siblings waiting for their parent to arrive with another round of food.
  

Equipment/Source:   Canon 6D2, Canon 100-400mm ii @400mm, 1/2500sec, f5.6, ISO 800. 

Technique:  I had limited areas on the edge of the water to get a clear shot of the birds, but I chose this spot because the the tree branches provided framing. I took dozens of shots as the birds flapped their wings, aiming for both some shape, as well as separation between them. I used +1 exposure compensation to keep detail in the black feathers. I have a 1.4x iii teleconverter, but seem to get better results with a wider aperture and cropping.

Processing:  Lightroom for cropping, noise reduction, sharpening and saturation adjustments. Autocurves in Photoshop. This image is heavily cropped, occupying about 25% of the total file.


Comments/Scores (N, T, P, E, Total)
   Critique Image (only members of Study Group Two may critique this image)




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NOVEMBER 2019 ROUND

Title:     Luminous Fungi
  
Goal:   Photographing this scene was one of the most amazing things I have experienced. A group of five of us sat around a magical tree almost covered in these at around 930pm with the sounds of the rainforest for company. After a few attempts we got these shots with 7 minute exposures. It really was something special.To the naked eye the colour is barely visible. It is the long exposure photograph that brings out the colour, much like photographing auroras. I have upgraded my equipment since this shot was taken, and I look forward to returning for another attempt.  

Equipment/Source:    Canon 70D, Sigma 150mm macro lens @f16, ISO 100, 427seconds.

Technique:   Advice from national park ranger before scouting location in the daylight. Returned after dark with camera gear, tripod, and cable release. Much experimentation with different long exposures to get a decent image without too much digital noise. 

Processing: 
 Crop, tone, contrast, noise reduction and sharpening in Lightroom CC.


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

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

Review by commentator Tom S.

Wow, your image is really different.  I have never heard of luminous fungi, but it would seem to be a good nature story.  My main concern is the lack of sharpness. The bottom seems to be sharp enough but it gets softer in the middle and on up to the top part of the image.  It looks like you focused on the outer edges of the petals near the bottom so the insides are out of the depth of field.  Macro shots have a small depth of field, even at f16. Seems like a good opportunity for focus stacking, but at 7 minutes per shot, it would take a long time.  There is some excess blank space on the bottom you might crop off.  Also, the top of the fungus is cut off or just disappears into the dark.  You appear to be a little too close to get the whole thing in the frame.

 N3, T2, P2   Total = 7


Review by Larry T

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
I will be interested to what others say but I am going to suggest that there is a storyline in just the fact that this type of fungus exists and the since this is not visible to the naked eye you managed to capture it. If you do not make this capture, simply no one will ever see this. If photographers are expected to capture the world in a way that others do not see it---then you did.

SCORE N (Nature) 3-nature story strong

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Clearly your settings were able to achieve this capture. So that does make them adequate. I’m left wondering if an even longer exposure would have made this image better. I say this because in the expanded view the fungi appear a bit soft. Since there is nothing in the image to show scale I do not know how large these fungi are. I would assume that at f16 you would have enough DOF. If the image were a bit brighter you might be able to increase contrast sharpness even more than you did.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The overall composition appears to work for this image and the fade off into shadow around the upper images adds a bit of drama and tension to the image. As noted previously I would like to see this a bit brighter.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 7

IF APPLICABLE, WHY DESERVING OF EXTRA POINT FOR EXCELLENCE
I will assume you used long exposure noise reduction applied in camera when you took this image so I do laud your efforts to capture this with total time for exposure lasting nearly 15 minutes for each image. I will award the extra point for effort and persistence in acquiring this image.

SCORE E (Exceptional) 1

GRAND TOTAL WITH EXTRA POINT 8


Review by Janice R

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
I have never seen mushrooms glow like this, this image makes me want to go see them. I love how they glow brightest from the center and fade into the blackness. The arrangements of the fungus is also pleasing. I image it must have taken a few attempts to find an angle when they were growing in a pleasing array.

SCORE N (Nature) 3-nature story strong

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Although you didn't mention it, I assume with an exposure that long you were using a tripod. However, on my monitor, some of the edges and ridges aren't sharp. I wonder if that was a function of the tripod, breeze moving fungus or just an artifact of the light. As I said above, your composition and choice of having them fade to blackness made the image stronger.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
A gorgeous, interesting image that draws you in.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 8


Review by Gang Z

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
It's very difficult to photograph fungi at night. The color sense of the picture is good. But I don't see the story.

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Exposure normal, focus clear. The depth of field control is reasonable.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The picture is reasonable. The main body is prominent. After the proper handling.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 8


Review by Ken W

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Although this is a portraight, I think this has a strog nature story due to the luminous color

SCORE N (Nature) 3-nature story strong

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Good focus, Very nice exposure

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Nicely composed photo. It would have been nice to see a branch or something to give ths a base to to the fungi.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 8


Review by Sylvia W

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
I like that you managed to get a great shot. I like the section you photographed as there is nice layering within the image. Second time around the fungi was mostly dead - third times the charm!

SCORE N (Nature) 3-nature story strong

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
As a small picture this works but when I zoom in it appears soft all over. Maybe this is just due to the smaller image upload size?

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Overall I like the image - I would possibly see what a slightly tighter crop would do to this image - bottom and right side black areas.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 8


Review by MJ S

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Wow who knew, great work

SCORE N (Nature) 3-nature story strong

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Great work with a very looooong exposure

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Striking image

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 9

IF APPLICABLE, WHY DESERVING OF EXTRA POINT FOR EXCELLENCE
A point for patience and perseverance

SCORE E (Exceptional) 1

GRAND TOTAL WITH EXTRA POINT 10


Review by Charlie Y

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
wonder image to share, thank you, would you mind share the NP that has this?

SCORE N (Nature) 3-nature story strong

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
very interesting image and way of capture it with long exposure, wonder if even longer will show different impact, would love to see some more. :)

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
love it, unique presentation. perhaps to crop in a little tighter on right, and bottom, to further enhance the focus of subject. well done

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 8

IF APPLICABLE, WHY DESERVING OF EXTRA POINT FOR EXCELLENCE
night time, long exposure always harder than normal.

SCORE E (Exceptional) 1

GRAND TOTAL WITH EXTRA POINT 9


Response to critiques by Natalie M.
Hello Charlie. This fungi was found in Lamington National Park, in Queensland, Australia.

Hi Tom, Thanks for your review. I'm not sure that it would be easy to improve the sharpness of this image, purely because the fungi emit masses of spores which is like smoke. I have a feeling that this contributes to the overall softness.

















Hello.  I'm Natalie. I live in Brisbane, Australia and have been interested in nature photography for approx 8 years.

Last year I joined my local camera club.  They are a very supportive bunch and I was immediately encouraged to enter club, national, and international competitions.  I am lucky to have a diverse range of birds that live locally or a short drive away, and I also enjoy looking out for the smaller creatures in our botanic gardens.  I shoot primarily with a Canon 6D2 and 100-400mm zoom or 100mm macro lens and edit in Adobe Lightroom.