Study Group 2


Natalie Murray (C)

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AUGUST 2020 ROUND
Title:     Silver Gulls Fight for Breakfast

Goal:   I got up early to meet a friend for an early morning bird shoot at our nearby local shoreline. The goal is always to capture a nature story. On this day we spotted a silver gull trying to steal a freshly caught fish from another bird. This image is a not a photo of a parent feeding an offspring as the mature bird ended up with the fish.
  

Equipment/Source:    Canon 6D2, Canon 100-400mmii + 1.4x teleconverter, f9, 1/1600sec, ISO 1600, Hand-held.

Technique:   Focus on the action, "spray and pray"! I picked this as the best shot as I liked the separation and pose of the birds, as well as the clear shape of the fish.

Processing:   Topaz DeNoise, Minor cropping and exposure adjustments in Lightroom, curves adjustments in Photoshop.

Review this image: YES

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




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JULY 2020 ROUND

Title:  Noisy Friarbird Hunting Insects
   

Goal:  A friend and I were walking through local bushland and came across these birds flying around the treetops.

Equipment/Source:   Canon 6D2 with 100-400mmii lens. 1/2000, f11, ISO 2500.

Technique:  Pre-focused using BBF on area high up in tree and fired off continuous shots as birds emerged from branches. There was plenty of light so I chose a fast shutter speed and f11 to increase my chances of sharp capture within a deep focal plane.

Processing: 
Topaz DeNoise and Lightroom for cropping, minor exposure adjustments and sharpening.

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 Rick C.
We can see the bird is in flight along with some habitat and with insects also in the air in the vicinity. While the behavior is implied, it is not explicit and for that reason the story is not as strong as might initially be thought. I would rate this as a 2 for the strength of the story present.

Your technical execution looks good. There might be a very slight lack of critical sharpness on the bird’s head, but I doubt the typical viewer would look closely enough to be able to ascertain that. You’ve handled the exposure for the plumage very nicely. Technical quality is deemed a 3.

Pictorially, I think your composition is reasonable with both room for the bird to move into and adequate space and habitat to help the viewer appreciate additional aspect of the story. I do find the compressed wing position to be less than ideal from a pictorial perspective. Even though we can appreciate that it is in mid beat on the wings, it is not as attractive a position as a full wingspread would be relative to viewer interest. You may have frames from the burst that do have a full wing spread and those are more likely to be stronger pictorially. The pictorial rating is 2 for me because of the wing position.

N-2, T-3, P-2 = 7


Review by Rich F

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
this is an unusual wing position of a bird in flight. Perhaps is your position relative to the bird, below it, shooting up and the wings are nearly in a full up position (pardon my thinking outloud).

There is nothing unique about this image to make it a strong nature story though it is very good image.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The exposure is excellent, there is details in the birds white features as well as the darker areas of the bird. Great job. The colors look very natural. The bird's motion has been frozen and its eye is sharp.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The bird is well position in the frame with plenty of room to fly to the right. Just a thought, I would have tried the image with the bird on the right side of the frame flying toward the left. That way when your eye moves toward the bird from the left (the way the western world reads), you would first see the bird's eye. Just a thought. If I could I would give the 2 1/2 points on composition

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

TECHNICAL SCORE 3- Excellent exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 3-Excellent composition and impact

EXTRA POINT 0-No extra point

TOTAL SCORE 8


Review by Robert D

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Capturing birds in flight is very difficult. Pre- focussing does not work very well. While this is a nature moment it is minimal

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
There is very little detail in the bird especially in the dark areas. The focus is b=not sharp. The best way to capture a flying bird is to use the maximal frame rate of your camera with automatic focus. Then press the shutter and get 10fps following the bird from left to right. This pan ought to be suucessful some of the time. O course you need the long lens, fast shutter and wi de open aperture. If your shots are not sharp, then you need to use a tripod with a Wimberly - like head which will help a lot while you removing the camera.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The subject of your image - the bird- only occupies maybe 10-15% of the area. This allows the viewer to wonder around looking at irrelevant stuff. So make the subject the dominant part of the image. Put the sky in the back ground. (it occupies most of th image) and then include a little foliage if you really want to.

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

TECHNICAL SCORE 1-Inadequate exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 1-Inadequate composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 4


Review by Rick D.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Hi Natalie. I am fairly new and believe this is the first time I have had the pleasure of reviewing you work. This is a very sharp capture of the friarbird in flight.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Your photography skill is excellent! The bird and it’s prey are very sharp with good detail, including a strong catch light. Great detail in the feathers!

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Your photography skill is excellent! The bird and it’s prey are very sharp with good detail, includi ng a str ong catch light. Great detail in the feathers!

NATURE SCORE 3-Nature story strong

TECHNICAL SCORE 3-Excellent exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 2-Average composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 8


Review by Dave F.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Nice capture of the bird in flight Score - 2

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Having pre-focused was a good move as you were observing the behavior. The shutter speed was good as you froze the moment. Score - 2

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I can see the insects in the image and the bird is in flight. If the bird has its beak open and you could see that it was trying to capture an insect it would be a better picture otherwise if it wasn’t for the title I wouldn’t really know it was t rying to capture insects. Score - 2

NATURE SCORE

TECHNICAL SCORE

PICTORIAL SCORE

TOTAL SCORE 6


Review by Saswati C

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
The purpose of the Friarbird is not clearly established, making it not a strong nature story.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Technical aspect is on point, everything is crisp and sharp.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Nicely balanced frame with beautiful exposure control.

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

TECHNICAL SCORE 3-Excellent exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 3-Excellent composition and imp act
< br>EXTRA POINT 0-No extra point

TOTAL SCORE 8


Review by Bruce F

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
What an ugly bird. “Beauty is in the eye of the bird”, I should not say that it is ugly. I don’t know this species; it’s a first time for me. I see it’s from Australia. The nature story is a good one especially when you can see some of the small insects or flies buzzing around in the image. They are very small yet add a lot to the visual aspects of the nature story.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Sharpness is Ok. For birds in flight, it’s necessary to us e the fa stest shutter speed available. I would have sacrificed some depth of field, and shot the image at f7.1 so that my shutter speed would have been around 1/4000 or 1/5000 of a second. Then, with the increase in shutter speed, I would have a little more sharpness to freeze the bird in flight. A well-known bird photographer I know now is recommending 1/8000 sec for small birds in flight. Exposure is good.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I would have cropped in more, making the friarbird larger in the frame. I don’t think you need all the green leaves on the bottom of the image. This would make the bird bigger in the frame. As presented, the friarbird is only 1/12 of the frame, approximately. Also, the amount of blue sky on the top isn’t adding to the image, except for having one fly buzzing around up there. I would think about making the frame format 16 x 9. This format would empathize the flight of the bird. The wing position of being tucked in also hel ps strengthen the composition with this type of framing.

NATURE SCORE 3-Nature story strong

TECHNICAL SCORE 2-Average exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 2-Average composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 7





















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.