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JULY 2019 ROUND
Title: Black-bellied Bustard Sings Out Its Call
Goal: To Capture A Male Bustard Singing its Mating Call
Equipment / Source: 7D Mark II camera body, 600 mm IS f4.0 lens, 1/3200 sec at f7.1, ISO 1250, Aperture Priority, Evaluative Metering
Technique: Taken on the Top of a Land Rover on a Bean Bag while on Safari in the famous Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania, East Africa
Processing: Slight crop for better composition, targeted noise reduction using Nik Define 2, as well as some pre raw sharpening with the Nik sharpening tool. A technique to create mid-tone contrast and a slight lightening of the overall image with a general levels adjustment, for this mid-tone contrast technique has a tendency to darken backgrounds a little too much. All adjustments very subtle. Diffuse light and capture already very good.
Comments/Scores (N,T,P,E,Total)Critique Image (only members of Study Group Two may critique this image)
JUNE 2019 ROUND
Title: Rufous-tailed Hummingbird Sips Water and Nectar From A Heliconias Blossom
Goal: During my first trip to Costa Rica, I had a chance to photograph many new species hummingbirds. Costa Rica is an interesting country and more mountainous than you would think of Central America. I went on a week-long workshop, run by a former president of NANPA that I have known for quite a while.
One of the places we visited was Dave and Dave's Nature Park - Eco-Observatory, in the Caribbean lowlands in the northern part of the country. They had a feeder up along the backside of a building, which attracted many White-necked Jacobins and Rufous-tailed Hummingbirds. I used my Canon 600 mm lens, in a restrictive space and had to use an extension tube to focus closer than the minimum 18 feet focal distance for this lens. This was the first place I saw new non-US hummingbirds, like this Rufous-tailed Hummingbird. In fact, I kind of went crazy photographing all the different hummingbirds on this trip.
Equipment / Source: 7D Mark II Camera Body, 600 mm f4.0 IS lens, 1/800 sec at f5.6, Aperture Priority, Evaluative Metering.
Technique: Gitzo Tripod with a Wimberley gimbal type head, waiting and watching the hummingbird land and waiting for some behavior like sticking its tongue out, or even preening, sipping nectar, fluttering wings, to separate the capture beyond just a portrait.
Processing: Used Viveza to even out the contrast in the background, darkening certain areas, and lightening and desaturating other areas. All with the thought of subtly creating tension to draw the viewer to the subject. I also used Nik’s Difine 2 noise reduction on the background, Pre Raw Sharpener for the subject, as local targeted adjustments.
Comments/Scores (N,T,P,E, Total)Critique Image (only members of Study Group Two may critique this image)
Review by commentator Dan C.
Your patience paid off. The position of the wings and the visible tongue has taken this above a “Here I Am” portrait. The helconia adds to the story by showing this is a tropical hummingbird species, not a North American species. That drop of water hanging from the heliconia bract is a bonus.
Technically the image is well handled, with good sharpness and good exposure.
Your processing to help focus attention on the bird has helped. While not bright enough for me to deduct a point, you may want to consider a slight desaturation of the bracts so they do not compete with the bird.
N2, T3, P3, E0, Total 9
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NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
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.