Study Group 2


Richard Fisher· (B)

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JUNE 2019 ROUND
Title:    Great Horned Owl Landing
 
   
Goal:  i wanted to capture a Great-horned Owl as it lands on post at night
  

Equipment/Source:   Nikon D850 with 180-400 lens.   

Technique:  The owl was trained to fly toward food. As it crossed the beam, a series of flashes went off. As soon as the food was placed, I opened my shutter (the event occurred in a dark barn, at night). The shutter was opened 2-5 seconds and immediately closed after the first class.

Processing:   Besides from adjustments in lightroom, luminous masks were used to make the image pop, a 3 stage sharpen process used and curves applied to adjust the luminosity of the wings.

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

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



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MAY 2019 ROUND

Title:    Indigo Bunting 
   
Goal:    I was in the area of the Smoky National Park hoping to capture full frame images of a song bird. (I did not have a long enough lens, oh well). The bird hung around us for a while willing to sing its heart out, claiming it territory.

Equipment/Source:   Nikon 850 with 180-400 lens with the extender in place. Though I would have thought this combination would have yielded 560mm at maximum zoom (which I was at), LR reports the lens at 550mm (maximum zoom). Other info: 1600 ISO, 1/250 second, F5.6.
   
Technique:   I watched as the bunting flew from tree to tree in front of us. When it landed I tried to find it in my viewfinder (not always easy) and then blasted away as long as the bird was facing me.

Processing:     
Actually very little processing (for me). LR developing sliders (white and black points, shadows opened a bit, highlights turned down a bit), contrast increased as was clarity. Vibrance and saturation were both increased, with a greater increase applied to vibrance. I left the white balance as the camera assigned it. I reduced the luminance and saturation of the background.

Finally the image was cropped to 1/3 its original H dimension and 60% its vertical dimension. Yes I am a long way from a full frame capture - the cropped image is 10MP, a D500 is 20+ MP.

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

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

Review by commentator Tom Savage

Nature Story – This is a very nice portrait of an Indigo Bunting.  While it is a weak nature story, it is good you caught the bird singing, and with his head turned toward you.  N2

Technical – Very nice technically.  The bird is sharp, and the exposure is right on and the colors are good.  Good work on the post processing. T3

Pictorial Quality – Good composition.  The bird is at an angle and the leaves are small and do not distract from the bird.  It is good that the bird is facing to the left.   Moderate impact.  P3

N2, T3, P3 = 8


Review by Larry T.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
This is a fine presentation of a male indigo bunting singing its mating song. The presentation includes a “spring” branch with new leaves (helping to set the scene for the storyline) and the open beak helps to carry the message of song. The fact that the bunting does most of its singing nearer the tops of trees is also shown by the general lack of foliage indicating thinning trees, as they would be near the top. This overall combination carries your storyline.

SCORE N (Nature) 3-positive nature story

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Capturing these little guys (even with a 550mm lens combination is in itself quite a feat. (I get the same setting in Lightroom—550 and not 560). The lack of bight light indicates a somewhat shady or overcast environment and thus the high ISO and relatively shallow fstop of 5.6. You did quite well with the capture at a mere 1/250 demonstrating mastery of the camera rig. You show no motion blur and the slight softness of the bird is directly connected to the high ISO. Over all, you did everything right.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The heavy crop leaving you with half of the original file does show in the overall quality of the image. All that said, the image is quite stunning (largely due to the colors and you very well handled background. In my opinion, it is this masterful background that saves the image as well as helping to make the bird itself appear sharper than perhaps it actually is. The one part of the image that to me is the most detrimental is that very awkward yellow leaf protruding behind the bird’s breast. While I realize that this is “wild” and that PSA does not allow for removal of the leaf, it still annoys me and is the reason for my deduction.

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

IF APPLICABLE, WHY DESERVING OF EXTRA POINT FOR EXCELLENCE
Since this is a “Nature” image, and you are not any retouching the leaf has to remain. However, for me this is still a brilliant image. Color, composition and that background and excellent. I’m going to award the extra point for your vision and for the handling of your gear allowing for this capture. I would not score it as high in a competition, but for this forum I’ll give you a hearty “well done”!

SCORE E (Exceptional) 1

TOTAL SCORE_____ 9


Review by Charlie Y.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
nice capture of a bunting singing with its mouth open. :) if there's a 2.5 for this, this is it. As a whole, I'm still struggle with the scoring system of this month, although well intended, but feel a 5 points scoring will be more suited to evaluate this, especially the wording of the score associate with it.

SCORE N (Nature) 3-positive nature story

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
amazing image, sharp enough to see the inside of mouth, and spider web behind the bird, nice gear for the job, wonder if a D500 will get you a better result or not?

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
a balance picture comp, if a little light would really add points to this image

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

TOTAL SCORE_____ 7


Review by Sylvia W.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
You have managed to catch the bird mid song which is fantastic. I really like that hint of a cobweb behind the bird which I feel adds to the story.

SCORE N (Nature) 3-positive nature story

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Beautiful colours and nice clear background. Bird is sharp and in focus.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The only distracting feature for me is the bright leaf that appears from the belly of the bird. Maybe a step to the right would have hidden that from sight - if it was possible. These are little things that you find after taking the picture though as when shooting all your focus is on the subject.

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

TOTAL SCORE_____ 9


Review by Ken W.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Nice portrait of an indigo bunting. It does not have much of a nature story.

SCORE N (Nature) 2-basic shot--no nature story

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I like the framing of the bird with the leaf stems. The background is nicely blurred. The bird is a little soft but good considering the distance. The eye is very visible for a some what dark bird and very sharp.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Excellent composition.

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

TOTAL SCORE_____ 7


Review by Prasad D.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Indigo Bunting

SCORE N (Nature) 2-basic shot--no nature story

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Dear Mr. Rich This Picture of the Bunting seems excellent with right kind of exposure and plain bokeh. I wish and strive to capture such sharp and crisp images. However, feel other than the chirping feel, its a mare Portrait shot of this beautiful bird. The contrast is good. It would have helped if you would have mentioned the converter that you used to capture this image. I salute your patience.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The composition is good.

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

TOTAL SCORE_____ 7


Review by Charlie Y.
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
very nice, caught bird open its mouth, otherwise a so so static image, not much to tell..

SCORE N (Nature) 2-basic shot--no nature story

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Seems sharp, to bad light wasn't evident on the object.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
very pleasant image, wonder if it's possible get any closer to the bird?

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

TOTAL SCORE_____ 6


Review by MJ Springett
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Lovely sharp image, with tendril of web from the tree twig. Singing his heart out, hope his lady finds him.

SCORE N (Nature) 3-positive nature story

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Great sharpness and great bokeh background

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Lovely colors and composition . only criticism is downward tendril, but that is minor

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

TOTAL SCORE_____ 9











Rich could be described as a modern-day Renaissance man. Though now retired from Kraft Foods (2012), he is trained in the sciences with a PhD from UCLA in Molecular Biology and has earned an MBA from the University of Chicago where he specialized in Finance, Marketing and Statistics. In addition to his analytic side, Rich is artistic as demonstrated from his photography. 

During his tenure at Kraft Foods his career spanned such diverse areas from Physical Chemistry and computer simulation to Marketing Analytic (last brand positions were Director of Analytics for the Cheese & Dairy Business Unit and The Pizza Company). As head of Analytics Rich was responsible for forecasting volumetric and financial impact of changes in marketing spending and price changes. 

Rich has been a member of the Garden Photographic Society (GPS) since 1997 and the Riverwood Nature Photographic Society (RNPS) since 2002. In GPS he has held numerous positions such as newsletter editor, president, competition chair, DPI coordinator and Treasurer. In RNPS he has been Outing and Program Chairs, and Vice President of Competition. Rich has been on the board of CACCA, Chicago Area Camera Club Association, since 1999 and Rich has been Treasurer for most of his tenure on the board except during his term as president, 2014-16. In addition, he has been additional roles as the information manager and coordinator of speakers and judges. 

On a personal note, Rich lives outside Chicago with his wife Jane and their delightful Golden Retriever, Denali. Both Rich and Jane love to travel and are planning their 23rd trip Africa.