Study Group 2


Jodi Smith (C)

Click image to enlarge


Upload Next Round's Image and Description
FEBRUARY 2021 ROUND

Title:   She Said Yes
 
Goal:    When it is time to nest, the male bluebird places twigs in a couple of locations. He then shows those sites to the female. She then selects the site she favors, and begins building the nest. I watched this couple select our nest box last spring, and was able to catch the moment when she grabbed the twigs, landed on the log in front of the nest box facing her mate, and then proceeding to build the nest 

Equipment/Source:    Canon 7D Mark 2. 100-400 lens at 400. ISO 100. Fstop at 5.4. Spot metering.
   
Technique:   This was a late afternoon shot with harsh sunlight. In hindsight, i might have chosen a different metering or used a filter. I crouched low to the ground to try to get a picture at their level. The log was on the ground.   

Processing:   I tried to darken the twigs a bit as they were so blown out. I also lightened the shadows around the males face.

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 Tom S.
Jodi, you have a image with a strong nature story.  Nest building is always a good story about the life of a bird.  Nice work.  N3

The exposure is acceptable but the white on the female is close to being blown out.  The sticks in the female’s beak look flat and needs some contrast.  The color is good and true to real life.  Both birds are in focus.  T2

The low angle to very good but the log simply takes up too much of the image and competes with the subjects.  Crop about half of it out.  P2

Great story of nest building that deserves an extra point.  E1

N3, T2, P2, E1 = 8


This Review is written by: Rich F

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
This is an interesting nature story. I did not know the courtship ritual of blue birds. The image captures the acceptance of the nesting site.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
As you point out the light is rather harsh and contasty. I like the low vantage point you have. works well for this image. I would several things to improve this image, reducing expose by a stop or so. and then dark and possibly desaturation the background even more. also I would down tone bright areas on the log.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
besides for the need for better processing this is a very interesting image. Minor nit is the head of the right blue bird (the male) is turned away from us slightly. Also I could cop off a bit off the bottom and some off the top.

With some work, this has the potential to be an outstanding image.

NATURE SCORE 3-Nature story strong

TECHNICAL SCORE 1-Inadequate exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 2-Average composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 6


This Review is written by: Haru N.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
This demonstrate excellent nature story with description. It is a success case of story telling with a help of description. I admire your patience to capture this at the spot. Well done!

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Crouching low to shoot - this position turned out to be very successful to make this dramatic. Although it is harsh light, it barely maintain the texture and details of main subject. I like the level of blurriness of the background.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Good composition to follow of 1/3 rules, which makes it stable and support this story.
Again this whole concept works and it makes image powerful.

NATURE SCORE 3-Nature story strong

TECHNICAL SCORE 3-Excellent exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 3-Excellent composition and impact

EXTRA POINT 0-No extra point

TOTAL SCORE 9


This Review is written by: Dennis H

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Very good nature story of the female bring nesting material to her selected site.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Nice colour and feather detail on birds. Eyes clear, good background.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I think if you cropped the top and lightened the dark areas on the logs, and darkened some of the white areas it would improve the image.

NATURE SCORE 3-Nature story strong

TECHNICAL SCORE 3-Excellent exposure

PIC TORIAL SCORE 2-Average composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 8


This Review is written by: Natalie M

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
This is a lovely story well captured.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Colour and sharpness looks spot on.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
This is a very well executed shot. The low angle isolates the subjects from the background, maximising the impact.

NATURE SCORE 3-Nature story strong

TECHNICAL SCORE color balance and sharpness

PICTORIAL SCORE 3-Excellent composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 9


This Review is written by: Dave F.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
lovely image and strong nature story. Good job!

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Nice soft background and the western bluebirds look sharp. Only issue is the female as well as part of the log looks a bit over exposed.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Very nice composition, strong story very good job

NATURE SCORE 3-Nature story strong

TECHNICAL SCORE 3-Excellent exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 3-Excellent composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 9


This Review is written by: Bruce F

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
: I believe this image possesses a strong nature story because the bluebirds are facing each other and she has the sticks in her mouth These elements symbolize their relationship and interaction in this important moment in their lives.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The 7D Mark II was my camera until recently when I purchased the incredible Canon R5 body. The light is a bit on the harsh side, although you did a good job in post-processing to minimizes its effects on the scene. I am a bit troub led by the lack of good sharpness. In reading your description, it states that you used the 100 – 400 f5.6 lens. I assume it’s the Canon 100 – 400 mm 4.5-5.6 f-stop lens, and if it is the original version, with the old push-pull lens barrel. Then, I believe this could be the source of your lack of sharpness. This lens was notorious for being soft at 400 mm. If you are serious, about bird photography and this is the lens you are using, you must upgrade. Also, the 1/400 shutter is on the slow side to freeze action. It’s no longer necessary to use ISO 100. In this light, I would have used ISO 1600, and conversely used a much faster shutter speed around 1/2000 second.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The composition is pretty good. I would have cropped a bit off of the top. I don’t think that you need all the green background above. It makes half and half-spaces with the bottom log setting and the background. Also, I would consider a pa noramic format for the frame along with a small crop off the top. Welcome to Nature Study Group #2

NATURE SCORE 3-Nature story strong

TECHNICAL SCORE 2-Average exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 2-Average composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 7


This Review is written by: Susan N.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Excellent nature story. Interaction between 2 birds and the story of nest-building

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Background is bright and subjects are in shadow. They must have been back-lit. This needs exposure adjustment to draw my eye to the birds and their faces and not the bright green background.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Would be good with the above-suggested adjustments

NATURE SCORE 3-Nature story strong

TECHNICAL SCORE 2-Average exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 2-Average composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE: 7



Upload Next Round's Image and Description
JANUARY 2021 ROUND
Title:  Day is Done
 
Goal:   At the end of day of photographing wildlife, I turned and saw this incredible view of the sun as it was setting behind this tree bearing its last few leaves in late fall. The sunlight caught the spider's web, yet another image of a good days work. 
 

Equipment/Source:    Canon 7D Mark II, Canon 100-400. ISO 100, 100 mm. f4.5, 1/4000 sec

Technique:     Handheld. Sitting down to level the sunlight, waves, and the backlighting of the last few leaves.

Processing:   Lightroom, minor straightening, lighting adjustments to minimize clipping. This is my first time to submit a photo. I look forward to learning from you all.

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 J.D. McClung

Nature Story (N):  Fact one!  Landscape photos are very difficult to take and bring out the nature story in a seaside environment.  Fact two!  Shooting into the sun is a road best not traveled often.  Congratulations for taking the nature photo accurately showing what you described in your goal.  This photo has a great story within in it.  Bravo!  Score: 3

Technical Quality (T):  It is very hard to find fault with a photograph that turns out so well.  Score: 3

Pictorial Quality (P): Wonderful cropping, placement of the sun by the authors position, and the high shutterspeed worked wonderfully to make the waves so realistic.  Nice work!   Score:  3

Exceptional (E):  Keep doing what your doing!  It’s working!  This photograph certainly is so good that it is deserving of the extra point for being exceptional.  Bravo! Score: 1

Scores: N  3 T  3/ P 3/ E 1/   Score = 10 


This Review is written by: Rick D.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Hi Jodi. Congratulations on your long sought retirement! Aren’t all retirements “long sought?” Just think of all that time in the field with camera in hand! And you know, there’s just something about sunset on a beach. As nice as it is, it rates a score of 2.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I wonder if you include shooting from a variety of vantage points in your technique. Did you move to another spot after taking this shot? While this shot is fine, many times I find a shot taken from a different point is actually better than the planned shot.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The sunlight coming through the branches is the subject of this photo. In my view, there are too many small twigs in that sunlight. They clutter the main subject. Picture in your mind’s eye the sun behind one of the larger branches with no twigs. Then you would have clean, uncluttered sunlight. That is the reason I mentioned trying another shooting spot. Or as I said above, moving the sun out of the tree and between an overhanging branch and the horizon would possibly make for a more pleasing composition.

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

TECHNICAL SCORE 2-Average exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 1-Inadequate composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 5


This Review is written by: Janice R

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
It seems like this was an intense sunset that really provided some color to tell the story.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
This image had such a high tonal range, it was a challenge. I like the color and tones you captured in the water. The blown out highlights in the water are distracting to me, especially the large highlights in the foreground that draw my eye. I'm also wondering about the circular lines just behind the tree. Were these caused by something in the tree or some lens aberration?

PICTORI AL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I think that this composition has possibilities, but I'm bothered by the branch that is cut off on the left. This takes my eye out of the frame. I also would like to have seen the foreground water more in focus so that those highlights were more defined.

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

TECHNICAL SCORE 1-Inadequate exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 2-Average composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 6


This Review is written by: Wayne S.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
I could feel the warmth of the sun...great image.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
It was good use of the tree as a silhouette and block out some of the sun. It gave great shape of the tree and helped to diffuse some of the sun's bright light.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Good composition. It would be interesting to see this shot with an ND filter to smoothen out the water. The movement in the water takes your eye away from the shape of the tree.

NATURE SCORE< /strong> 2-Nature story of average strength (portrait)

TECHNICAL SCORE 2-Average exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 2-Average composition and impact


TOTAL: 6


This Review is written by: Diana R.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
I find the nature story to be quite weak. The spider web doesn't seem to add much to the story.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The image seems to be sharp, well-exposed, and have good depth of field

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
To me, this image has impact. I like that the sun is not glaring at me but is mostly behind a tree branch. The color is lovely.

NATURE SCORE 1-Nature story minimal or contains unrelated hand of man

TECHNICAL SCORE 3-Excellent exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 3-Excellent composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 7


This Review is written by: Larry T

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
The Nature2 forum mandates that each submitted image must have a clear storyline. Accomplishing this is relatively easy with wildlife as you can submit an image of a bird building a nest, or in this case a spider with prey trapped in its web, but meeting this requirement with a pure scenic or landscape style image is much more difficult. I suppose there is a storyline with the spider having its web in a tree surrounded by water but the web is not clear enough and there is not visible spider to complete the storyline and thus I cannot score the image higher than a 1

I will suggest that you review the forum guidelines to gain a better understanding of requirements. You might review the images posted this month that are landscapes and see how they either develop or fail to develop a story line so that you will have a clear understanding of what is expected.


TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The camera settings allowed for the capture of this image. The extremely high shutter speed allowed you to freeze the motion of the web in the evening breeze. Your focal length and aperture created the sharp appearance of the tree and web and allowed the water in the distance to fade into a blur.
If you like this look then I guess the results are satisfactory for you. Personally I find the incongruity of the scene to be a distraction that could have been resolved by using a lower camera angle that would eliminate much of the water in the distance by angling the lens more sharply toward the tree.


PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Viewed as a purely landscape type image you nicely backlit the tree creating a touch of drama while usjng the tree as both a subject and a frame.

NATURE SCORE 1-Nature story minimal or contains unrelated hand of man

TECHNICAL SCORE 2-Average exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 2-Average composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 5


This Review is written by: Louis P

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
well Jodi, you can retire from this group now -- this image is absolutely wonderful; great shot!

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
excellent exposure, focus, control of overpowering sunlight

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
very moving and relaxing; truly a great "end of day" shot

NATURE SCORE 3-Nature story strong

TECHNICAL SCORE 3-Excellent exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 3-Excellent compositi on and i mpact

TOTAL SCORE 9

I discovered the joy of nature photography and bird watching around Thanksgiving in 2015. Since then, I have focused on creating a certified wildlife habitat in my yard, reading everything I can get my hands on about wildlife, and attending wildlife photography classes at every opportunity. Living in a lake community, I have become a de facto wildlife “consultant” for the neighborhood. Given my late arrival to the joys of nature and wildlife, I find this new notoriety humorous. As I will officially retire January 1, 2021, I am looking forward to pursuing this new passion with a new freedom. I look forward to sharing what I have learned, and learning from this group.