Study Group 2


Dennis Argo - A

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NOVEMBER 2019 ROUND
Title:    Rains over Canyonlands NP
     
Goal:    To capture rain showers over Canyonlands NP. 

Equipment/Source:   Canon 6D, ISO 200, f/6.7, 1/250sec, lens 24-105mm (@24mm)

Technique:    Saw this as we were flying over Canyonlands NP after a rafting trip. Bumped the shutter speed up to eliminate vibration of the small plane.

Processing:    Normal processing for sharpness and clarity using Lightroom and PS


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

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

Review by commentator Rick C.
There is definitely a nature story present both in the geology and in the weather, which to some degree ties in with the effects of weather and erosion on the visible geology even if over millions of years. That said, it is unlikely to keep the typical viewer engaged as well as the behavioral images of animate subjects do. I’m rating this a 2 for nature story because of the dual geology / weather elements, but don’t be surprised if there are several ratings at the 1 (minimal) level.

Primary focus looks to be good. There is a slight softness and a slight color cast, both of which I would suspect are due to shooting through a plastic plane window. The color cast is fairly easy to correct. The sharpening aspect comes down to how much of the diffusion effect of the window you want to try to compensate for. I feel your exposure is well handled for the conditions you were shooting under. There may be some minor clipping in the brightest sections of the sky, but I don’t find those to be a significant issue. I’m rating the technical quality as a 3, but the uncorrected color cast and slight softness do have a derivative impact on the pictorial quality.

You have an excellent eye. I feel your composition is well conceived and executed, particularly where you are shooting from a moving plane. As noted, the slight color cast and softness are negatives in a pictorial sense. In addition, the strong contrast can keep the viewer from getting into the details of the image. I would recommend exploring the idea of tone mapping the image (yes, single image tone mapping falls under the allowed HDR rules) and then adding some of the contrast lost in the sky back. Watch the upper left as it has a tendency to get to Brownish. My pictorial rating is 2.

N-2, T-3, P-2 = 7 (see my adjusted version for an idea of what simple tone mapping might bring to play.)


Review by Andy H

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
I always find nature landscapes hard to critique as Im looking for the all important story element. The rain storm certainly helped.

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Settings look fine with the exception of the aperture, I would have tried a smaller aperture and sacrificed the ISO, to achieve a greater DOF. Exposure is fine with adequate sharpness. I don't know the area so not sure of the colour balance.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The nature of the image gives it impact and I think the composition is as good as you could get without getting the pilot to change course, I'm assuming you're not the pilot.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 6


Review by Louis P

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
WOW! Wonderful nature shot

SCORE N (Nature) 3-nature story strong

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
only wish I could take such a sharp, well lighted shot from a plane as this is

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
wonderful composition with tremendous impact

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 9

IF APPLICABLE, WHY DESERVING OF EXTRA POINT FOR EXCELLENCE
only wish I had taken this wonderful photo

SCORE E (Exceptional) 1

GRAND TOTAL WITH EXTRA POINT 10


Review by Larry T

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
While I can identify a nature story to this image, erosion caused by running water, I do not feel this images carries that theme in a powerful manner. I do think the stormy sky creates a powerful image, just not a strong nature story. Perhaps if this actually showed the playoff the water on the rock it would be more in line with the demands of the category.

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The image is dramatic and I do like the storm clouds and rain but this image lacks sharpness throughout the rocks in the foreground. That coupled with the necessary softness of the storm leaves nothing really sharp in the image and thus weakens the over all feeling.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I feel in this image the processing used weakens or at least does not help the final result. As noted, sharpness is lacking throughout the image but additionally there are far too many similar tones. Therefore an increase in contrast many help to create some separation in the tones and add interest. While you have used strong leading lines (the gullies) the lack of contrast makes them hard to see and they are over powered by the bright rocks in the foreground. My eye keeps being pulled to those bright rocks and I have a difficult time moving into the image.

Note: I like the

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 6


Review by Dennis H

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Nice aerial view of Canyonlands showing rain in distance enhancing nature story.

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I believe image could have been enhanced by increasing the depth of field by using f/11-f/16.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I feel image could be improved by cropping some of the foreground..

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 6


Review by Natalie M

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
I feel this is a nice landscape with a strong story, featuring both the rain and millions of years of erosion.

SCORE N (Nature) 3-nature story strong

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I think you have done well for a shot from an aircraft, I just wonder if some of the colours are a little muted.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Really nice leading line to the rain on the horizon. Great shot.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 8


Review by Todd G

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
You have captured a great landscape shot with your goal in mind. The rain shafts in the distance broken up by the light rays and shadows conveys the nature story well

SCORE N (Nature) 3-nature story strong

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Shooting out of a plane window is always difficult. Several areas of the image are not sharp, especially along the left side. If you look closely, the horizon is not level either and this creates a distraction to the viewer as well. It appears tilted to the left. Increasing the exposure time is a good compensation for this, but shooting through plexiglass causes distortion throughout. Another option would be to bump up the ISO to 400 to help compensate for the vibration as well. Overall, there appear to be more high tones and low tones than middle tones. The capture of the grays and blues of the clouds and rain shafts appear very detailed. There are a multitude of colors in Canyonlands and this almost seems very monotone with little colorations.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The composition is very nice with lots of leading lines and the canyon in the middle allowing for the eye to track from bottom to top, as well as from the side with the diagonal lines. Definitely seeing the landscape from the air has its qualities and provides a truly different point of view

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 6


Review by Malena K

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Good eye to see this while on a plane and attempting to take the picture and ensuring the shutter speed is adjusted to prevent movement from the plane.

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The exposure is proper and you can see the rain in the distance. Color balance is good.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Enjoy the depth of the picture as you can see the canyon in the middle and the ridges throughout.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 8


Review by Rich F

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
This image shows the Canyonland from new viewpoint. The image shows how the river cuts through the ground creating the canyon.

SCORE N (Nature) 3-nature story strong

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The image is well exposed and sharp. There does not appear to be any vibration noticeable in the image. The DOF works for this image, though only F6.7 - the distance to the subject was large enough that a higher f stop was not required.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The image is nice but not spectecutal. With a bit of work the image could sign. As it is now, everything is good but not great.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 8


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OCTOBER 2019 ROUND

Title:    Sea lion happy place   
   
Goal:    To capture the wonders of Alaska.
 
Equipment/Source:     Canon 6D, ISO 100, f/5.6, 1/1000sec, lens 100-400mm (@400mm)
 
Technique:    I’ve submitted 2 photos to this study group: 1 wildlife and 1 landscape. I’ve received excellent comments and feel like I’ve learned a lot already. Keep the comments coming.

We were in a zodiac exploring the Inian Islands (Southeast Alaska). We came upon a large group of Steller Sea Lions. We actually heard them first. I took many photos, but this is one of my favorites. This particular seal lion seemed to have a smile on its face. Makes me think it was in its happy place.

Processing:    
Lightroom CC, lowered the highlights and brought up the shadows. Used PS shake reduction detailed in the tips section.

  

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 head of the sea lion is very sharp.  Good work from a moving boat.  Sleeping on rocks is normal sea lion behavior and not much of a nature story.  But you are attracted by its facial expression, so emphasize that by cropping out the distractions and unnecessary stuff.  Crop from all sides to concentrate on the head.  See my adjusted image.

 The color and exposure are both good.

 N-2, T-3, P-2   Total = 7


Review by Martin P

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
A pleasant image of a seal at rest. It is hard to know how much Seals do this as we only ever see them on wildlife documentaries being active. I am not sure I would say this is strong behavior.

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The image looks well exposed and reasonably sharp. at iso 100 I might have been tempted to up the iso and try for a slightly higher shutter speed. I did wonder about the anti shake as at 1/1000 i would be surprised if you had shake. Learn to use the sharpening tools to make the most of the sharpness

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The colours of the seal work well against the out of focus background. Shame it appears you cut off his left flipper. I might have tried darkening and decontrasting the background a little to reduce its impact on the shot

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 6


Review by Larry T

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
The mandate for the nature aspect requires that the image show animal behavior that is beyond the ordinary. While this is a very pleasing image of a sea lion the behavior is not beyond the ordinary. I’ll grant the smile is interesting but not enough to raise the beyond just a photo of record.

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I really like the angle of view you used in that you are shooting at eye level with your subject. This may have something to do with the zodiac but regardless you were in the right position and that is what counts. Camera settings were more than adequate to capture the shot.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
While placing the subject in the center of the image is not generally the most desirable position, in this case it works. Credit should also be recognized for not over processing this image. While it may not be your fault since you were in a zodiac, the background is distracting to me. The addition of the other two animal parts that show on the left hand edge greatly detract from the symmetry and cleanliness of the background. You might have tried to tone down the brown body to help reduce the brightness of it.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 6


Review by Sylvia W

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Just lying around doing as seals do - it does appear as if the seal if laughing at an inside joke.

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Not enough use of contrast to ensure that the area / subject that you want the viewer to look at pops out of the screen.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Nice use of depth of field to isolate the subject from the background. I find the partial inclusion of the other seal distracting as it is that part of the image that my eye keeps wandering to.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 6


Review by Gang Z

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
The sea lion has a vivid form and a strong story.

SCORE N (Nature) 3-nature story strong

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 9






I think my interest in photography started many years ago when an uncle handed me a Brownie camera.  I was amazed at how it could seamingly capture an instant of time. My first “real” camera was a Konica T3, which I still have. I spent many enjoyable hours in my darkroom developing the negatives and then dodging, burning and playing with different color filters to produce the prints.  I now use Canon cameras and lens, while the darkroom has been replaced with lightroom/photoshop. I enjoy hiking/backpacking, traveling to national parks and photographing nature/landscape/wildlife.