Study Group 2


Andrew Hayes, PPSA, ARPS, EFIAP/b, DPAGB· - (B)

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SEPTEMBER ROUND
Title:    Dipper Fishing

Goal:    I wanted to get an image of this dipper fishing for food of swimming in the water. Would have been nice to get one with food in its beak.
    
Equipment / Source:    Canon 1DX MkII
EF 400 f/2.8
ISO 2000
f/5.6
1/320sec
Tripod
 
Technique: 
  I am lucky to have dippers nesting under a bridge on a small burn by my house. I regularly walk the burn to watch the dipper and look for tell tale signs of fishing locations, usually poop on the stones. I often go out early morning or late evening to see if I can capture an image or two. The light is difficult due to time of day and overhanging tree and shrubs. I often find a known fishing spot and camouflage myself and wait for my subject to appear. Ive considered fill flash to help with the poor light but not tried it yet.

Processing:  
LR The main problem is trying to get the bird to stand out so a lot of localised dodging and burning, Usual sharpening and added texture.

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

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AUGUST 2019 ROUND
Title:  Golden Eagle with Young Chicks
   
Goal:   I was visiting one of my favourite Scottish Estates, Glen Tanar. The team at Glen Tanar value their wildlife and continually try to find new photographic opportunities. The Golden Eagle nest hide is the only one in the UK and has been running since 2013. I've been going there for 5 years so know what to expect and my goal was to capture interaction between the parent eagles and the chick. There are no guarantees with nature. This was the youngest chick that I had the opportunity to photograph. While the image is important to me I am increasingly finding that being there and sharing theses intimate moments with these magnificent birds is far more rewarding. 

Equipment / Source: CANON 1DX MkII
EF f/2.8 L II USM + 1.4Ext
TRIPOD
ISO 1600
560MM
F/5
1/800 sec

Technique:  I'm walking into the hide at 13:00 and set up my equipment. The male bird is on the nest before I realise and I take a few shots and he's off. I've grown to know that his is fairly normal and expect both parents to come in at intervals, deposit some feed, feed the chick and fly off. Not staying for more than 15 secs so you have to be ready. My set up and the enclosure of the hide make the field of view very narrow and it was difficult to assess which way the birds were coming in. The female came a couple of more times about an hour apart with food, left it and departed. She came back at 17:00 and to my astonishment stayed until I left at 18:45. I have never had the experience of being with these magnificent birds for such an extended time. The weather was very changeable and exposure had to be checked constantly. 

Processing:  LRClassic - Auto tone with a few tweaks . Texture and Clarity. Sharpening. Some individual saturation and Luminance adjustments

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 great that you were able to spend a good deal of time watching the eagle family, especially with a very young chick. You wanted to show some interaction between the parents and the chick but this image does not show any interaction. Since the parents were bringing in food, do you have any images that showed the arrival or the actual feeding of the chick? The nature story would be much stronger if the image showed either situation.

I feel the image would be stronger if it were flipped horizontally so the birds were looking to the left. The highlights of the image are slightly too bright. The bright green leaves in front of the nest are distracting. Also, you might try cropping some off the bottom and top to put more emphasis on the birds. Here are my suggested changes applied:

N2, T2, P2, E0 Total = 6


Review by MJ S

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Adults and juveniles always tell the story of extending the species

SCORE N (Nature) 3-nature story strong

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I like the overall feel to this image but feel it could be strong if cropped into the faces, I realize that this change would crop off the tail of the adult bird, but it is hidden in shadows anyway

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I would have cropped tighter to the birds and eliminated some of the distracting leaves and twigs

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 7


Review by Larry T

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
With the adult eagle standing on the nest and the eaglet protectively shown in the background you have created a solid nature story. I feel the pose of the adult contributes to this as it is not just sitting in a perched position.

SCORE N (Nature) 3-nature story strong

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Even when viewed in the expanded mode the image has the feel of being somewhat washed out giving it that slightly overexposed look. This feeling is supported when viewing the eaglet whose head and chest area seems void of detail and overexposed as well. To me, the sharpest part of the image (in expanded mode) is the pine needles above the adult’s back. Everything else appears to be a bit soft. The camera settings appear adequate, with the shutter speed maybe being a bit slow.
I don’t know for sure, so there is no deduction, but I feel the bird was sitting upright when you focused and then bent forward as you took the shot.


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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
To me the lack of sharpness might be enhanced, but not completely recovered, with adjustments in post. I am certain the washed out look, especially on the green leaves, could be adjusted in post and thus giving the image a more robust appearance. You do not mention of this was cropped or not.

As a side note I fully agree that sometimes just being there to see this type of behavior is more meaningful than the image itself.



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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 7


Review by Gang Z

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
The bird's manner is very unique, as if there are prey in front, immediately to attack.

SCORE N (Nature) 3-nature story strong

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The foreground and the trees on both sides play a good role in the framework. The composition is perfect.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
For some reason, it seems to me that the quality of the bird as the main body is not very clear. But seeing the technical parameters you provided, it's fine.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 8


Review by Charlie Y

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Such rare incident and image, thanks for sharing. That said, the bird(s) seems to be sharp around head, a nice family portrait, bit lack of nature feeding or interaction, may be you have other photos with more of those, but wasn't shown here.

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
images seems sharp in the middle, not sure if up the f-stop will get more of dof to get a little bit more sharper of surrounding.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
would suggest darken a bit of upper half empty sky, or crop out. just not adding much to the subject.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 6


Review by Hattie S

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
That's very patient of you waited such a long time. Nice to have experience knowing their behaviors. I don't know them much, couldn't read much what they are doing. The story is a bit weak but could be just me lacking of knowledge of what I'm looking at.

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The little branch at the foreground is quite distracting, making the entire image seems massy. I would crop that branch out, and crop from the top to get a desired ratio. The arched tree trunck on the right looks very nice to frame the image.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The birds are nice and sharp.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 7


Review by Ken W

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
nice story of adult eagle with chick, Not a strong nature story due to lack of interaction between the two.

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Both birds were nicely exposed and sharp.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Nice potrait image of an adult eagle with chick.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 7



Biography

I was born in Prestwick, Scotland and travelled to many parts of the world with my father who was in the Royal Air Force. Now living in historic village of Fettercairn in Kincardineshire, Scotland with my wife Hilary and 'Smokey' the cat. Semi retired construction industry owner and business consultant. Grampian representative of the Royal Photographic Society, member of Brechin Photographic Society. (Est 1888), Dundee Photographic Society, a Scottish Photographic Federation Judge & Speaker and PSA Scottish Liaison Officer and Membership Director. Much of my photography was aviation photography but about 15 years ago I returned to Wildlife photography, mostly in Scotland, but with annual trips to Kenya and India.