Study Group 2


Robert Davis, QPSA (A)

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NOVEMBER 2019 ROUND
Title:    Gathering pollen
 
   
Goal:   While looking for flower subjects, I encountered to find this bee for a second
  

Equipment/Source:    SONYA7R3, 90mm,1/250 sec f5.6 ISO 2500 Aperture priority.

Technique:  Handheld. Just started with new camera and shooting with the macro lens. It was very overcast and I was not familiar with the performance of my equipment, so I started with aperture priority 5.6 mainly because the circumstances did not allow use of a tripod and I di not want to use a slow speed. I set the lens at 1-1 and moved in and out exposing as soon as the bee snapped into focus. This is difficult stuff but the image underscores shooting at high ISO with Sony mirrorless cameras.

Processing:   Slight crop about 15% off original. Mild sharpening and increased contrast 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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OCTOBER 2019 ROUND

Title:   Spoonbill walking 

Goal:  Studying the behavior of shorebirds at High Island Texas. This Spoonbill was walking along a tree branch using its extended wings to balance.  

Equipment/Source:   Canon 5D3. 500 mm f4 + 1.4 extended. Wimberly head. Gitzo tripod. 1/500.f8.ISO 800

Technique:   The birds nest on an island. I set up my equipment on a viewing stand and observed the scene for a long time until this bird came along. There are many Egrets and spoonbills around so it is hard to cath one isolated image. 

Processing: 
 PS CC 18. Texture and contrast. 

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

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

Review by commentator Dan C.

The nature story is good here.  The wings being open to give the spoonbill balance while walking on a branch brings it well above just a here I am shot.  You definitely did a good job of isolating one spoonbill.  While your story is good, it could lose out to an image with a stronger story if involved in a tie-break during a competition even if that other image was slightly weaker pictorially.

Pictorially the image is well laid out with nice lines of direction and interaction with the viewer.  You can determine the background is foliage but it is soft enough not to be intrusive or compete with the main subject.

Technically your image is properly exposed and sharp where it needs to be.  You did a nice job of enhancing details in the feathers.  The image is definitely worthy of use in a competition

N3, T3, P3, E0, Total 9


Review by Larry T

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
To have a strong nature storyline the image must show demonstrate more than ordinary behavior. The fact that the spoonbill is walking on a branch is nothing out of the ordinary and thus does not show a positive nature story. The open wings prevent this from being a 1 in that they show some activity.

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
While you have all the right gear to capture this image I feel that you have greatly overshot the range of your lens. The final image show a degree of pixilation that indicates a very heavy crop. While the image looks moderately acceptable in the thumbnail version it quickly falls apart when enlarged.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
You have achieved an excellent background due to the fact that the foliage is quite a distance behind the bird and limb allowing for the diffusion to occur. You have placed the bird in an advantageous position in the frame and the posture of the bird from the low bill to the raised wings form a nice diagonal line which adds tension to the scene. I feel the image may be over processed. If you look closely at the bird there is a black line of pixels that outline the edge of the bird. This often appears when over processing is done. In this case, probably the increase in contrast.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 6


Review by Gang Z

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
The dynamic shooting of spoonbills is very clear, but the story is not strong.

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 Martin P

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
A lovely image of a beautiful bird. I am not sure how much branch walking these creature perform, but do wonder if we needed an additional element of behaviour to lift the image to the next level. The cloning means this does not fit the Nature theme , I wanted to give zero but the form only allows me to give a 1

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The image looks reasonably sharp and well exposed both on the main subject and the background. I am wondering what the small dot in the sky in the upper left quadrant is as it looks like a sensor spot. I lso notice when clicking on the image below the line I can get a full screen version which immediately highlights a very suspect area just above the branch on the left which looks like an obvious clone mark which for me disqualifies this image completely as a nature image

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The bird appears to be colourful and in an attractive pose against the diffuse background which all works. I am obviously not sure what has been done to this image which makes me doubt it. Composition is strong with the creature given space to move into. Obvious clone marks spoil the image for me

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 5


Review by Dennis A.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Nice picture of a spoonbill. However, I cannot detect a strong story.

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Image looks sharp and has nice DOF with no distractions in the background. To me the spoonbill looks too bright, maybe ½ stop over. This makes a couple areas, e.g. bend of neck, blown out.


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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Good framing. You seem to be at the same level. For me it is missing an impact statement.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 6


Review by Linda C

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
I love this picture, however, I am not seeing a story

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I love the background and the sharpness is very good, however, it is a little oversaturated.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Even though I don't see a story, the composition is very good.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 7

IF APPLICABLE, WHY DESERVING OF EXTRA POINT FOR EXCELLENCE
1

SCORE E (Exceptional) 1

GRAND TOTAL WITH EXTRA POINT 8


Review by Prasad D

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Lovely image with good contrast and balancing act. Amazing to see this radiant Spoonbill.

SCORE N (Nature) 3-nature story strong

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Looks too sharp.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Nice composition. However could have left more space below to show suspended branch and meet the golden rule.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 8
Review by Sylvia W

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Having the wings up adds to the story and shows off that wonderful colour.

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
There are a couple of places where the highlights are blown out. This is quite distracting to the viewer.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Waiting has paid off with the spoonbill isolated from the background due to a great DOF.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 8
Review by Bogdan B

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Interested image, but walking is not enough for N3.

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Perfectly lighted, sharp and blurred background.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Colourful bird is perfect on neutral background. Composition is also fine.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 8
Review by Adrian B

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Robert - A striking image in many respects (which I will come to) - but is there a strong enough a story? I don't think so, which is a pity - arguably its a "bird on a stick". I can see you have timed the shot with its hind led coming off the branch, but the speed that judges have to review images in salons, I question whether they will see and understand this activity. So 1 deducted as not strong story.

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Sharp, punchy image. I like that you are bird height and love the background - good for showing off the lovely bird. You have positioned it well in the cropped (I assume) image.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
As for reasons above, a nice striking image. Good luck if you use this for nature images. You may do better in ones where there is a Bird sub-nature heading.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 8
Review by Suman B.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
portrait of the spoonbill is lovely and overall sharpness and colours are showing great but I couldn't find an ample nature story behind.

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
good DOF bringing the spoonbill separated from its background. only thing I noticed different is the end feather's plastic look which is due to the highlights being shown there.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
compelling portrait I must accept. Indeed the overall impact of the portrait is so good that the elusive 1 is awarded.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 8

IF APPLICABLE, WHY DESERVING OF EXTRA POINT FOR EXCELLENCE


SCORE E (Exceptional) 1

GRAND TOTAL WITH EXTRA POINT 9

Response to critiques by Robert Davis:
To all, Thank you for the high scores. It concerns me when we as a group make harsh and untenable comments. How often do you see a beautiful large bird walking while balancing on a branch. NOT a nature story - come on... Do we really need a microscope to identify dots that you cannot see on the normal view. Criticism should be constructive and not destructive, I feel like I can make these comments because this image has received many awards and medals in International competitions.


Another response - by Suman B.
while I accept that may be our critisism sometimes seems harsh to you but so is life. you said it right and yes it's seldom a large bird tangos on a branch like this one does but if it's an error we must note it! May be it wins many accolades for you but we all are here to learn from our mistakes! aren't we?

So Doc, my request is don't take it personally. We all love our babies more that others do which in this case is our photos.








Bob Davis was born in Johannesburg South Africa and educated there and in London, Edinburgh and New York. He has retired from being a surgeon in Houston Texas for many years. After the busy years of hard work, he joined the Houston Photographic Society and is now its President. He is fascinated by all forms of photography especially nature. He mainly utilizes Canon equipment and is trying hard to keep up with recent software advances.