Study Group 2


Charlie Yang (C)

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SEPTEMBER 2019 ROUND
Title:   The Flowering Spurge and its seeds pod  
 
Goal:    After notice flowering spurge on wild flowers on scene and read more about it, try to take a photo of its male/female flowers on the same plant, and its seeds reproduction mechanism. Notice the greenish glob on some of the flowers, that's female, 3-celled capsules of seeds. 
 

Equipment/Source:   NIKON D500, 28-300mm @82mm, f/16, 1/200, ISO 1600.
  
Technique:    walk around vast state park looking for a suitable plant, mature enough will have what I looking for. handheld,

Processing:   LR crop to focus on objects, noise reduction, sharpen a bit,  


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

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

Review by commentator Tom S.
The plant is well positioned in the frame, but the plant is simply not sharp. You didn’t mention what lens setting you used so if it were 300mm then 1/200 isn’t fast enough to get sharp images when hand held. The less than sharp spurge doesn’t stand out from the out of focus background as much as it should. I tried sharpening it, but couldn’t do it enough to make it acceptable. The light appears to be pretty dull so the spurge could stand more contrast, but be careful to not increase contrast on the background which would be a big distraction.
N-2, T-1, P-2 Total = 5
Review by Larry T

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Evaluating an image like this present several difficulties beginning with the Nature storyline required by this forum. While you describe a viable storyline, when looking at the image it is not something that is immediately visible. Thus this image takes on the feeling of merely a photo of a clump of flowers. I do not feel that it presents a strong nature story and I struggle to rate it even a 2. I would not be surprised if several raters awarded only a one.

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
When looking at the image the entire photo generally appears to be soft. I am going to attribute most of this to the high ISO of 1600. Since this image features a subject that is not going anywhere in the immediate future I feel that a better image could have been obtained by waiting for better light. For example, if this was early morning waiting for the sun to rise a bit more would brighten the light and you could therefore have been able to lower the ISO thus sharpening the image. I also question the need for F16. You are already shooting with limited light and a relatively slow shutter of 1/200. Lowering the aperture even a little bit would allow you to increase the shutter speed and most likely sharpen the image. While you are only using the lens at 82mm you are still holding a 300mm lens. There is a general rule that shutter speed should equal the length of the lens. Thus this should be shot at least at 1/300. Additionally, the use of a high aperture helps to keep your background in focus and this gives a feeling of clutter to the total image.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The visual impact of the image is mostly ordinary. While the subject is bright (white flowers) their lack of sharpness hinders their impact. The composition centers the subject making it feel quite static while the relatively visible background provides clutter and weakens the clarity of the subject. The image appears to be quite flat. Perhaps adjusting both the white and black points may give the image a bit more punch.

While I was not there to see the subject up close my general feeling to improve the image might be to try to isolate a single flower and its “greenish glob”. By isolating the flower in this way the viewer might better be able to see exactly what you are trying to show and you would also be able to render the background in a more blurred fashion. Finally, I was not there and it is your image. Thus the choice of how you show the subject is yours. However I do not feel that this image conveys the story you describe in your write up.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 6


Review by Ken W

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Nice portrait of a flower

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Overall average sharpness, good exposure.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Flowers photos look best to me when the flowers are isolated from their backgrounds. The background in this photo was a little busy. I find the flower itself interesting. I would have tried to isolate an individual flower in good condition.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 6


Review by Gang Z

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
don't see a very clear story about this work. Although you described a lot.

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

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

SCORE T (Technical Quality) 2-Average 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) 2-Average composition and impact

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 5


Review by William S

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Interesting nature story about plant reproduction. It is difficult to produce a strong nature story with a plant portrait but I like the idea you present.

SCORE N (Nature) 3-nature story strong

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The image is not sharp which suggests a focusing issue, handheld movement or the wind blowing. Did you use a tripod? The exposure is acceptable. I would suggest cropping to show a close up of the different parts that you describe.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Using a smaller f-stop like f8 and cropping closer would create a little better separation between the background and the subject and place the flower at the center of attention. Moving the subject slightly off center to the right would improve the composition. The softness and un-sharp petals of the flower create a distraction.

SCORE P (Pictorial Quality) 1-Inadequate composition and impact

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 6


Review by MJ S

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Group portrait, story has to be told, not as evident in photo

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
A group of flowers is difficult to isolate against the background, depth of field at f/16 is adequate for most of blooms

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Middle composition and no emphasis on male and female parts, I think maybe two blooms would illustrate your point better

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 6






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AUGUST 2019 ROUND
Title:    Bee at work
 
Goal:   was out looking for native wild flowers, but found flying bees on flowers, figure will give it a try  

Equipment/Source:    NIkon D500, 28-300mm lens @300mm, f/8, 1/300s, ISO 450, burst mode.
   
Technique:  look for a group of flowers that bees have not visited, hand held and prime the focus on one of the flowers, waiting for it to come visit, burst a few shoots. Bees are a lot more active and random on its movement, than butterflies etc. very challenge. any help/tips here will be appreciated.  

Processing:  only post proc in LR, crop and minor adjustment on light, contrast, and burn/dodge some bright areas around bee. 

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

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

 Review by commentator Dan C.

You successfully captured a common nature story. Commonly seen but difficult to capture without a lot of patience. It could have been stronger if the bee had more pollen in its pollen sacs but that lack can also be part of the story showing the bee is early in its current foraging sortie.

Technically the image is well handled, with good sharpness and good exposure.  Yellows are almost as difficult to get right as whites and you retained good detail in the petals.  Point of focus appears good but the depth of field seems a bit shallow.  The soft background does not bother me but the soft wing tips do.  You might be able to selectively sharpen those tips.

Pictorially the composition is very strong.  As mentioned in the technical discussion, I am not bothered by the soft background flowers.  That softness helps focus attention on the main subject.   While there is not much you could do about it, that red stem across the bottom is a distraction.

N3, T2, P2, E0, Total 7



Review by Bogdan B

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Macro portrait.

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The image is not sharp enough. Perhaps it is shaked. By my experience shutter for such long focus should be at least 1/400 or 1/500s or less. On such small flowers bee doesn't have enough to work, so it flies to a
mother soon.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Too bussy background. You can crop a lot of it.

SCORE P (Pictorial Quality) 1-Inadequate composition and impact

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 4


Review by Robert D

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Nice bee shot. Obviously doing its thing on the flower
It is technically good considering the lens you used but it is not as sharp as a macro lens.

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
In order to get sharper and more depth of field I would use a smaller f stop and flash – preferably a ring flash or do a stacking series if the fly will stay still enough. Yes it is difficult but worth it. I would also crop out most of the lower imagew and some off the flower on the right. This will emphasize the bee which is your subject. Do not worry about the flower its only a distraction.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Average picture

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 6


Review by Linda C

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Fairly common image.

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Nice color and sharpness. Background interferes with seeing Bee as it is the same color and blends in. Would have liked to see blurred.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Blending of color distracts from story.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 6


Review by Adrian B

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Charlie - A nice capture of a bee, but we can't see what it is doing as it is taken from above. May be a bit hard, but it's just a bee on a flower. I suggest you try looking for different angles to show more interest.

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Your bee is sharp. But the bottom half of the image doesn't add anything. A square image would be better, with the wings close to the bottom left corner.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The bee is not prominent enough in the frame.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 6


Review by Dennis A.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Nice pic of a bumble bee. However, not sure what the story is

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Very sharp. Good tonal range, nothing blown out or clippled. Color looks good.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
For me it would have been a stronger photo if it had a smaller DOF and there seems to be a little too much dead space at the bottom. Flipping it so that the bee is not upside down would have helped or to have the angle such that you are looking at the eyes.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 7


Review by Suman B.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
too many elements present. need segregation between subject and background. can't find the bee is dead or alive at that angle. either shoot low parallel to the bee or try to highlight the action it is engrossed in.

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
although you are using good equipment still picture is a bit soft! Why? to my mind the answer lies in your choice of shutter speeds. you are using a 28-300 mm at the maximum focal length and that too @ 1/300 parts of a sec without tripod! this is not advisable.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
please make a differential between the subject and the background. it will help believe me.

SCORE P (Pictorial Quality) 1-Inadequate composition and impact

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 4


Review by Bruce F

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Strong nature story by showing the bee pollinating a flower as well as obtaining nectar for itself and its colony.

SCORE N (Nature) 3-nature story strong

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I don’t feel that this image is tack sharp, especially the right-wing which is blurry. I believe this is 300 of second shutter speed is too slow to render this insect tack sharp. I would have raised the ISO to 1600 at least; this would have given me a couple more stops and a faster shutter speed close to 1000 of a second, necessary for rendering hand-held images sharp. Or preferable, I would have used a tripod, sitting down near the flower and waiting in the same manner. Then, I would only need to worry about subject movement. Also, I would change the angle of view, looking for a side-on profile of the bee, so the mouth and eyes would be shown, adding to the pictorial and nature story values.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
A side view as well, might have reduced the clutter of the flower parts, simplifying the composition, adding impact and drama to the capture. Diffuse light is a good shooting time choice to saturate the yellow flowers and the colors of the bee itself. Vertical framing also a good decision based on the position of the bee and the flower. Finding the right flower, alone and isolated from the mass of others is key to increasing the pictorial values and simplifying a cluttered background.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 7



I love to travel, and travels bring back pictures and memories, that’s one of the reasons I join PSA, to take better pictures and learn what to adjust afterwards. Just start to learn the capabilities of LR and PS, and things some of my club friends can do with them just simply amaze me. 

Nikon D5300, D810 are my main camera, and still learning what they can do, and it's fun to walk around to take different pictures at different time and under different light. 

My other pastime is golf. Hope to play out 50 states PGA courses. 

I live in Schaumburg, Chicago suburb, looking forward to get some fun experiences with Nature.