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SEPTEMBER 2019 ROUND
Title: Male Von Der Decken's Hornbill with A Captured Insect In Its Beak
Goal: To capture birds in their natural habitats showing behavior especially under diffused light.
Equipment / Source: 7D Mark II Camera Body, with a 600 mm IS f4.0 lens with a 1.4x teleconverter at 1/640 sec, f9.0, ISO 1600, Aperture Priority, Evaluative Metering.
Technique: Photographing from a Land Rover while on a photographic safari in East Africa. Using a bean bag, placed on the top of the Land Rover, with a small foot bracket so the focusing ring is off the bean bag—handheld.
Processing: I very subtly worked on the background with small minor adjustments, darkening light areas and lightening some of the dark areas, with control points in Nik Viveza. Blurred the lower left corner of the background a bit. I also slightly increased the contrast of the entire photo with a Levels adjustment. Noise reduction with a mask using Nik Dfine 2 software.
Comments/Scores (N,T,P,E,Total)Critique Image (only members of Study Group Two may critique this image)
AUGUST 2019 ROUND
Title: Male Western Bluebird Warms And Dries His Feather In The Sunshine
Goal: To capture a Western Bluebird with wet feathers after a bath.
Equipment / Source: 7D Mark II Camera Body, with a 600 mm IS f4.0 lens at 1/2000 sec f8.0, ISO 1250, Aperture Priority, Evaluative Metering.
Technique: Photographing from a bird blind, twenty to thirty feet from a small pond, a water source to attract birds. My bird photography philosophy is to have birds come to you, rather than trying to stalk them with a camera, as a hunter would. The success rate is much greater, and you’re able to control backgrounds much better too.
Processing: I worked on the background, darkening really light areas and lightening some of the dark areas, with control points in Nik Viveza. I also reduced the contrast of the entire photo, since the bright light was a bit strong and harsh. Noise reduction with a mask using Nik Dfine software. A slight crop in order to make the bird a bit bigger in the frame.
Comments/Scores (N,T,P,E, Total)Critique Image (only members of Study Group Two may critique this image)
Review by commentator Rick C.
A strong capture. The wet and ruffled feathers add to the interest value of this image. While they imply behavior, I do not feel it is strong enough for the 3 level and so rate this as a 2 for a strong environmental portrait.
The technical quality is top shelf in all aspects. The subject is sharper than the branch it is on even though they are in the same relative plane of focus. That said, it doesn’t bother me at all. The technical rating is 3.
The composition is effective as shown. The positioning and slight head turn of the subject bring the viewer right to its eye. The background is very smooth and non-competitive and the viewer always returns to the primary subject. The one nit I might consider is dropping the saturation of the lichen bit near the left edge. There seems to be a second piece right on the edge that would be in the same light but which is nicely muted. I don’t feel the next one down needs to go to that level, but a slight desaturation and darkening would lessen the one thing that might catch a viewer’s eye. I consider this optional and rate the pictorial quality as 3.
I feel this image has the impact and viewer interest that would make it an easy acceptance in most exhibitions. On that basis I am assigning the additional point for extra interest.
N-2, T-3, P-3, E-1 = 9
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I am a wildlife, nature, and scenic photographer. I now live in San Mateo, after spending most of my adult life in Millbrae. I previously worked full-time for Applied Biosystems and Life Technologies as a senior business analyst. I left this position a few years ago to concentrate on my true passion of nature photography. My Dad was a deer hunter and bought some property in Monterey County, so he could have a place of his own to go deer hunting. We have owned this property since 1946. I grew up spending my summers down there, following in my father's footsteps, hunting quail, dove, and black tailed deer--using a b-b gun, graduating up to a powerful hunting rifle. When I was eighteen I had to kill a black-tailed buck up close shooting him in the neck, since my first shot from afar had only wounded him. I saw death up close and personal, deciding from that moment on I didn't not want to be part of death, but to cherish life instead.
My friends and I do a lot of bird photography at my ranch in rural Monterey County, using photo blinds extensively; and recently we have built a few permanent ponds to attract wildlife.
I was a Minolta user, but switched to Canon in 2001. I used to shoot extensively with slide film; now I strictly use digital camera bodies, specifically the Canon 7D and 40D bodies, previously the Canon D1 Mark II and as backup the Canon 20D. I primarily use RAW capture, and process the images in Photoshop. I recently upgraded to CS5, and also have many external hard drives to store my raw files.