Study Group 2


Alex Cohen (A)

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MARCH 2021 ROUND

Title:     Oh Deer! 
 
Goal:    Typically I head to the park near my home to just take a look around and see what I can photo. On this particular visit I came across this incredible buck that's missing an eye. I'm not entirely sure what happened to him, even after asking around to see if anyone else knew. Nonetheless, it was quite interesting to see. 
 

Equipment/Source:     Shot handheld with my Canon EOS 80d with my Sigma 150-600mm almost fully extended. iso 400 1/250 
   
Technique:     Handheld about 50 feet away crouched down in the grass

Processing:   Very little post processing. Levels adjustment layer in Photoshop and masked and painted to bring back the depth and detail on the deer.

Score this image:   YES


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

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

 



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JANUARY 2021 ROUND

Title:     Mr and Mrs Shroom
 
Goal:    While spending some time out at a cottage in Little Valley NY I noticed the wonderful colors of all the different fungi in the area. These two were right outside the cottage on the rocky walkway up the hill. I wanted to capture the beauty of the two mushrooms that appear to be cuddling in the rain.
 

Equipment/Source:    Laying on the ground handheld. Canon 80D, 35mm lens, f5.6, 1/160 shutter, iso-200
   
Technique:    Had to get myself at ground level and somewhat lay on the wet ground, keeping the camera in my hand but using the ground to stabilize it as well. 

Processing:   LR camera matching profile, cropped and rotated, clarity and texture increased a tad.

Score this image:   YES


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

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

 
Review by commentator Rick C.

While not at what I would call the interaction level, capturing the emergence of these fungi from their rocky habitat with the evidence of the “breakout” in the detritus on the caps is what I would consider to be a solid 2 in a general nature section and potentially a 3 if it were a botany section. The story rating is 2.

Focus and sharpness / detail are both good in my opinion. I do feel that while the exposure is reflective of the lighting you may have had, it is also on the under exposed side, possibly biased by the specular reflections off the mushroom caps tripping your highlight warnings on your camera. The technical rating is 2.

You did very well in capturing the subjects. Kudos for getting down to their level and giving us this perspective. The composition leaves plenty of space around them, which is something that more and more judges are looking for. However, it is also somewhat static with a relatively central placement of the primary elements. There is more room on the right than the left which does provide some visual tension but, in this instance, I feel a little tighter is warranted. The pictorial rating is 2.

N-2, T-2, P-2 = 6


This Review is written by: Rick D.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Hi Alex. You have a good eye to notice these mushrooms among the rocky walk.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
You made the effort to get down and wet in order to capture this photo. The subject is nice and sharp while the background is pleasantly blurred. However, the blurred foreground is a distraction.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The bright red subjects play well with the dull gray rocks. I feel that a tighter crop would have eliminated some of the unneeded environment a nd moved the subjects closer to the eye of the viewer. It could also remove the blurred foreground.

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

TECHNICAL SCORE 2-Average exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 2-Average composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 6


This Review is written by: Adrian B

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
I find these sort of situations very difficult to conclude re a Nature Story and I will read the review of the Commentator to help me! For a wildlife shot, it's quite easy!
So I will guess thane needs to show a subject like this in its environment and that is the story.
Does your image do this? One can tell that the mushrooms are in a pebbly area.
I will give you 2 rather than 3 as I think your depth of field is too narrow to show the environment well enough.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I think you could crop a lot out of this - most is blurred and thus not adding. I suggest the image should be brightened and then the left mushroom light area pulled back. I think that would give a more pleasing result.


PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
A closer view would make your nice mushrooms stand out much better

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

TECHNICAL SCORE 2-Average exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 2-Average composition and impact

EXTRA POINT 0-No extra point

TOTAL SCORE 6


This Review is written by: Bogdan B

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
A portrait of beautiful mushrooms.


TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Mushrooms are very sharp. I like low DOF.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I would make a tighter crop 4:3. What are dark subjects on the mushrooms? I usually get rid of needles and other parts of plants, that are distractive taking the sight from the mushrooms.

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

TECHNICAL SCORE 3-Excellent exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 2-Average composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 7


This Review is written by: LC B.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
I think this is an interesting still life but that it lacks a strong story. Perhaps if there was an extra dynamic such as an insect or other transient bit of life there would be more to tell.


TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Overall I think this is a technically strong image. The DoF is spot on, but this leads to some compositional issues. The color pallet is also well done.


PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Compositionally I think this image would benefit greatly from a stronger crop: removing most of the foreground haze as well as some of the negative space on the left would create a stronger left to right image.


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

TECHNICAL SCORE 3-Excellent exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 2-Average composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 7


This Review is written by: Suman B.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Although I really liked the colour of the image but story wise its basically a portrait of the fungi and so a lot less impact generated

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
technically you were perfect. shooting straight lying on the ground is excellent. sharpness is at par and the stability generated from holding on the ground is very good indeed. what I could advise you which I do myself shooting macro shots lying on mudflats is keep a flat wood / stone (for base) & keep a foam sheet / plastic sheet in your backpack (helps you to keep dry) and use a towel to keep your hands and gear dry in the rain. keep shooting my friend. you have good keen spotting eyes for macro.

a word of caution - use higher f-stops for depth although the subject is in the same plain, in the macro shots a slight difference in focal plains makes images unmanageable if you use low f-stops like 5.6. Also in this case you might consider a centre weighted highlight based metering mode which will provide natural vignette instead of matrix / multi segment metering which you have used.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
a closer crop would be preferred

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

TECHNICAL SCORE 3-Excellent exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 3-Excellent composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 8

Alex Cohen spends most of his time traveling between Ohio and Pennsylvania capturing the explorations he and his family take between the two states and anywhere else that life guides him. Taking photos of everything he comes across, whether it be nature, people, or obscure oddities found all over the place. After spending many years in the dark and dismal abyss of depression, alcoholism, and drug addiction Alex found sobriety and a new spiritual path. At this point his eyes reopened to the beauty of life and the world around him. With that new found perception he has channeled that love of beauty into his love of photography.

His work can be found in various galleries, gift shops, hair studios, and other locations in both Pennsylvania and Ohio. He has also received a great deal of recognition in online photography competitions around the web. Living his life one moment at a time, he continues to follow his passion through learning, growing, and capturing everything he can.