Study Group 2


Adrian Binney, QPSA, LRPS

Click image to enlarge


Upload Next Round's Image and Description
JUNE 2020 ROUND

Title:    Which way is down  
   
Goal:   Which way is down was taken just before we went into lockdown on a wildlife shooting session, organised by my camera club. My goal, was to end up with an image which provided amusement whist still hopefully telling a story   
 
Equipment/Source:     Olympus equipment - EM1X with 12-100mm f4 lens and provided flash units
 
Technique:   61mm (so FF 122) ISO200 f8 1/60. Situations like this is all about being patient and timing the shot. Inevitably many were taken to end up with this. I deliberately under-exposed the image at capture, to take away highlight risk.  

Processing: 
 Lighten selectively and add texture through Lightroom. Minor cropping.

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 Dan C.

This is a cute image that makes the shooting session by your club a worthwhile session.  Unfortunately, placing two mice on a teasel created an unrealistic situation that is not a real nature story.  Shoots like these can be fun but for good nature images try to have the handlers create realistic situations as well as these pictorial situations.  I feel I can only assign this a 1 for nature but strongly endorse its use in a pictorial competition.

Technically the image is excellent.  Your exposure is spot on. Your sharpness is also excellent with an appropriate depth of field.  It is very easy to award this a 3 for technical.

Pictorially the image is also very strong.  The background compliments the subject and helps the subject stand out very well. While the unrealistic setup has hurt it as a nature image, there is nothing wrong with this image either technically or pictorially.  I award this a 3 for pictorial.

N1, T3, P3, E0, Total 7


Review by Maitham A

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
the moment was great to be captures while the mouses been on the plant both and very nice postion

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
very sharp and awesome combinition

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
subject angel is not clear to be which I hoped it to be within the golden ration as there were 3 elements for the veiwer

SCORE 7


Review by LC B.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
I like this image of the rodents as it definitely tells a story about not just what but how they forage for food. 3

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I think you have just right amount of contrast and saturation and your focus/depth of field is spot on. 3


PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I think that this framing is very good. One small way to improve it might be to not crop so tightly to heighten the sense of precariousness (ie including a bit more of the thistle’s stem.) 3


SCORE 9


Review by Nirmalya B.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
The photograph provides a detail information of Harvest Mice on its body structure, habits and inquisitiveness.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
. It has been taken with adequate sharpness, beautiful depth of field and exposure.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Pictorial quality of the photograph is also very good with over all nice balanced frame and good processing. I would love consider for additional 1 for this photograph provided the frame was slightly tilted towards right side.

SCORE 9


Review by Suman B.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
my first reaction is why they are there as that thorny area is not food to them as they are not found chewing it. So nature story wise I find this one pulling a 1 (rather
a portrait)

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
image is sharp, well lighted and both shadows as well as highlights are handled well. your choice to under expose the image helped to control highlights and you managed well. Technique wise a sharp 3.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
pictorially backgrounds are nicely blurred makes it a good choice for 3.

SCORE 7


Review by Bogdan B

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
This is not a simple double portrait. Hard to explain, why both mice have gone to the same flower.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Interesting blured background. Hair is a little bit unsharp due to long shutter.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I would prefer a little bit more space on the top.

SCORE 8


Upload Next Round's Image and Description
MAY 2020 ROUND
Title:    Tanager enjoying berries
     
Goal:   To capture colourful birds feeding in Costa Rica 

Equipment/Source:    Olympus E-M1X + f4 300mm lens and 1.4 converter (so FF equivalent of 840)

Technique:    Handheld 1/400 f5.6 ISO200 trying to time the shot when the bird was materially still (body/lens has 7 stops of IS, so low speed not a problem handholding).

Processing:    Very small crop, add a small amount of punch in Lightroom


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

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

Review by commentator Rick C.
Well handled. The fact that we have a berry in the mouth raises the story from being implicit by being near food, to being explicit and clear that it is feeding. That is a significant difference as it raises the value from an environmental portrait to true feeding behavior. The nature rating is 3.

All fundamental technical elements look to be handled well. The tonal range looks complete and we retain detail in all of the feathers. The technical rating is 3.

I feel the composition is effective as shown. It is unfortunate that there is an intervening leaf in the lower right that is obscuring much of the tail. The is little you could do about that. I would be inclined to drop the crop from the top a bit more to eliminate the partial berry and leaf that are hanging in space. Yes, that will drop it into the other berry group, but for me, that is the lesser of two evils. I would also be inclined to burn in the lower left corner a bit more. Don’t forget to drop the saturation and contrast there if you do. I am still willing to give a 3 for the pictorial quality but the various nits will cost you the added E point.

N-3, T-3, P-3 = 9


Review by Rich F

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
This is a strong image showing a tanager eating a berry. While interesting, I don't think this rises to the point of a strong nature story.

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The color and exposure are very good. While the sharpness is good, I think the images would have benefitted from stopping down to F8. ISO400 should work well on your camera.

A few processing tips. reduce (slightly) the bright areas on the branch and area below the wing on the bird, also brighten the eye.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The bird is a bit low in the frame. the tail is obscured by the leaf (lower right) but it is cut off. Raising the image in the frame would have corrected this.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 6

IF APPLICABLE, WHY DESERVING OF EXTRA POINT FOR EXCELLENCE
this is not for excellence but I think this image deserves a 7 not 6. I could not justify raising either pictorial or technical.

SCORE E (Exceptional) 1

GRAND TOTAL WITH EXTRA POINT 7


Review by Kim H.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Good story.

SCORE N (Nature) 3-nature story strong

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Good color saturation and appropriate depth of field.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Good framing.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 9


Review by Tom K

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
I think this does a good job of telling a food foraging story.

SCORE N (Nature) 3-nature story strong

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
This is well exposed with good dynamic range and nice bokeh.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The out of focus green leaf in the lower right is a major distraction to an otherwise excellent photo.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 8


Review by Andy H

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Good image with a story. The bird eating the berries was the right time to take the image.

SCORE N (Nature) 3-nature story strong

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Technically sound and settings suit this set up and camera. Might have lifted the ISO and shutter speed to mitigate any bird movement but you timed the shot well. Good light and nice DOF. Pity about the shadow across the wing and the out of focus vegetation in the bottom right.

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

PICTORIA L REVIEW OF IMAGE
Strong image and good composition. Full of impact due to the light and the colours.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 9


Review by Larry T

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
I feel that the little glutton stuffing himself on berries demonstrates a solid nature storyline. I like blackberries and he does not seem willing to leave any for me.

SCORE N (Nature) 3-nature story strong

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The camera techniques appear to be adequate for the shot. The image is sharp and color saturation is appropriate. The background is suitably softened and out of focus so as to allow the subject to stand out.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The overall co mpositio n is pleasing and the berries o n the left and the leaves on the right make an interesting frame. Although the bird is centered his dominate red color make the center weighted format work. I would have lowered the top edge just enough to remove the partial berry and the partial leaf that appear along the edge. They are the reason I did not make this a 10



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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 9


Review by Dennis H

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Good nature capture of feeding tanager.

SCORE N (Nature) 3-nature story strong

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Nice colour and feather detail on bird's head and upper body. Eye clear with catchlight.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Bird has good impact but righthand lower corner detracts from the image.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 7


Review by Malena K

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Good story showing the bird enjoying the berries.

SCORE N (Nature) 3-nature story strong

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Color is good, enjoy the extra punch. Sharpness is good for handheld.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Composition is excellent and enjoy the depth of field.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 8


Review by Todd G

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Beautiful capture of the tangier in its natural environment. All animals have to eat, but you have captured something different here in this image. The bird is totally focused on finishing the berry. I really like this image as it tells a story of survival, plus you have captured the fruit in various stages of ripening as well

SCORE N (Nature) 3-nature story strong

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
You have captured this image well with your settings. I feel you hit the sweet spot with exposure, lighting, DOF and POV, with tonal range. There are two areas of distra ction: ( 1) The leaf just above the back of the bird is blurred, and at f/5.6 I can see why. Using another stop down f/8 or even squeezing in f/11, have made the image just a bit more sharp. (2). The blurred leaf covering the tail feather in the bottom right. This also seems to “cut” the tail off. I can still see it, although it would be nice to see the entire bird. Your post-production changes are well done. The deep green in the leaves and the oranges and blacks in the birds and reds and deep purples of the berries are so enhanced. Nicely done. The background is well balanced with the bokah effect and with another stop down, it could be a little more blurred as well.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
This is a very nice composition in pictorial quality. The absence of the hand of man makes a strong impact to me as well and it is well demonstrated here.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 8


Review by Pamela L.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
The story is great

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
is is a great photo with hand holding, nice quality and sharpness

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Excellent composition and impact

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 8


Review by Bruce F

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
The story of the tanager feeding on berries is a strong one. The image shows this species eating certain berries within a forest environment. These factors contribute to a strong nature story. The berries up on the left side appear growing on the tree. This tells me it is a natural environment rather than a setup that’s common in Costa Rica. Also, you might want to tells the species name… Educate us. It’s a Male Flame-colored Tanager.

SCORE N (Nature) 3-nature story strong

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Technical factor s of sha rpness and noise are acceptable. Sharpness handled well for a small crop.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Here is where I have a few issues. The tail is hidden behind a blurry leaf, but there isn’t enough room on the bottom of the frame to contain the whole tail. The mind imagines that it is cut off because of the lack of room. This also throws the subject to the bottom of the frame, making it visually bottom heavy. If you have room on the bottom of your original image, I would add some back in. Maybe, making this a square format, because you do want to include the berries up in the top left corner.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 7

I am retired (64 as at 2018) and keen to devote more time to photography and travelling. My photography started 40 years ago with a home darkroom and like many, was kickstarted again with digital SLR’s becoming affordable.
I was a Canon man - 5 and 7 bodies, with many L series lenses, but sold the whole lot in 2015 due to weight issues. I now use an Olympus EM1 Mkii with many of their Pro series lenses and don’t regret the move. My core wildlife lens is a 300 f4 prime, which is razor sharp. Used with a 1.4 converter gives a Full Frame equivalent of 840mm - in a recent trip to Costa Rica 80% of my shots were at this reach (birds there are small and other wildlife are very high in the canopy!).
When at home in the UK, I enjoy visiting zoos and bird protection areas, as well as trying to photograph insects in gardens etc. I also travel abroad to enjoy wildlife experiences - Africa and Costa Rica mostly.
I am Secretary and Committee Member at a large Camera Club (Winchester, Hampshire) and enjoy helping to run a large club (200 members). I continue learning a lot from the many excellent photographers (particularly in use of Lightroom and what makes a good image). I don’t use Photoshop. In December I was awarded LRPS - the first distinction level of three awarded by The Royal Photographic Society.