Study Group 2

Ken Warning· (B)

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Title:    Eagle With Fish
Goal:   Capture an eagle with fish on Mississippi river in February. Winter is a good time to find eagles along Mississippi River in Iowa near dams. This weekend a photographer was baiting eagles with fish.
Equipment/Source:     D500 camera, 500mm F4 lens, tripod
Technique:    I set camera at 1/1600 sec at F8, auto ISO (560) 

Toning in LR, Cropped LR, Sharpening in PS 

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

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

Review by commentator Rick C.

Nice job on the capture. The wing position is excellent. Primary focus looks good to me as does the sharpness on the Eagle’s head. You might want to sharpen the feet a bit more. Don’t be afraid to sharpen areas independently and use masks to control where that sharpening is applied in the image. You need the larger size on the image for the fish to show effectively. The water feels slightly tipped to the left. I found a slight correction (clockwise rotation) felt more natural to me. The color on the water is a little on the cyan side. I found a Hue adjustment of between +8 and +10 looked more natural for the way I view water.

Too bad about the baiting. Is this a very common practice at this location or is this individual likely to be altering behavior to create a dependency that will not be supported for the long term? Older birds that have foraged for their entire lives may retain older hunting habits, but younger birds could come to look to that area for easy “prey” and be in trouble if there is not a constant supply.

N-3, T-3, P-3 = 9 (I didn’t feel the slight tip and water color were sufficient to hold back on the primary score, but they did keep me from awarding the extra bonus point.)

Review by Prasad D.

Excellent Image in action with a Bait. However, the Photographer who was Baiting the Eagle should be reprimanded as we tend to kill the killer instincts of the Birds and the Animals by feeding them artificially. Good for you as you took the advantage of the situation and made the most of it. Lovely elegant bird and top class picture in all respects.
N-3, T-3, P-3 E-1 Total:10
Review by Larry T.
This is an excellent shot of an adult Bald Eagle with a dramatic wing spread carrying a fish. The nature storyline is clear as a bell, (Wish the fish was bigger)

Technically everything came together for you. All your settings worked---there are no visible blown highlights on the white head, the action is frozen perfectly, DOF from beak to tail is spot on.

What is there to say? You did it right. I like the composition. The diagonal line of the bird from upper left to lower right is dramatic, there is nothing distracting in the background and the eye is fierce to behold. The water drops are just a bonus. I only wish the fish was bigger--- ☺
By the way---I even like the shadow on the water surface.

Still----This is a 10 as far as I’m concerned.
Review by Janice R.
Dynamic, sharp capture of the Eagle. Great focus on the eye/head which is hard to do on a flying bird. Your DOF was also adequate enough to keep the tail feathers in focus and have some detail and still isolate him from water. Love the spray of the water from his wing. Nice job of not blowing out his white head. I love the diagonal line of the bird in the image and the added interest of the light on the water in the foreground. Great job.

N=3, T=3, P=3, E= 1 Total= 10
Review by Sylvia W.
Personally I can never get birds in flight sharp and I commend you for doing so. Nice choice of depth of field and shutter speed which allows the background to fade away and freezes those water drops off the wing adding to the story. I like the diagonal composition which adds a dynamic element to the picture. Nice eye contact with the eagle - couldn’t you get the fish to face you as well. Just joking.
N-3, T-3, P-3, E-0, Total-9
Review by Charlie Y.
nice shot in Feb freeze. with 1/1600s got that sharp eyes, nice. 
N-2, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-6
Review by MJ Springett
N= the story is fishing, but no fish. I think the story is leaving the water with the splashes visible.
T= great image with sharp eye and splashes, uniform background blurred is not distracting.
P=nice nature shot would make a great print
N-3, T-3, P-3, E-0, Total-9
Review by William S.
Very nice nature shot.
I like the detail in the eagle’s feathers and the water droplets falling behind. I would suggest reducing the highlights on the fish to make it more visible in the image. The colors are very good.

The composition might benefit if a little more space was available to move into. Otherwise this is a very attractive image.
N-3, T-3, P-3, E-0, Total-9
Review by Martin P.
I am enjoying the diagonal composition of this image, it really adds energy to the shot. The splash, trailing water works well and we wonder if the bird just failed to catch a fish. The shutter speed has frozen the action well. I am finding the blue of the water very distracting and un natural feeling. The image is nicely exposed overall with nice detail in the wings / feathers.
N-2, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-6



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Title:  Coyote Hunting
Goal:   I was watching Coyote hunting for mice/moles in Yellowstone NP. I was trying to capture the Coyote as it was jumping in air to land with its paws to catch prey. I had several captures, but I chose this one because the coyote was parallel to me during the jump. It does merge with it's foot marks, but I still preferred this image over others.
Equipment/Source:   Nikon D500 with Nikor 200-500mm lens on tripod.
Technique:   I opened lens from 500mm to 310mm to allow room for jumping, F8, 1/5000, ISO 400

Processing:   I made tone adjustments, and added some clarity, and vibrance in LR, and sharpened in PS.

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

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

Review by commentator Rick C.

The nature story is strong here.  Your technical quality is also excellent, You stopped the motion well and did a good job holding detail in the snow.

I do find it stronger flipped horizontal so I confront the coyote.  Admittedly that is a personal preference that I feel adds story value and excitement to an image of an living subject.

N3, T3, P2, E0, Total 8

Review by Martin P.
My initial impression is of an impactful study of wild behaviour under challenging conditions.
N = This is not a creature I am used to seeing in my local area, but I am aware of this behaviour from watching the wonderful BBC documentaries. I can certainly tell that the creature has bounded into the air which I feel creates a very powerful shape in the body.
T = I feel like I am seeing some detail in the snow which is always difficult to achieve so well done. The Wolf feels well exposed and he colours of the wolf feel natural to me. However, I am not feeling that I can see all the fur detail that I would have expected to see at F8 and 1/5000 of a second.
P = The overall impression is of a predator at hunt which I feel works very well. I noted your comment about the creature overlapping their own tracks and agree this isn’t perfect, but what can you do with Nature Photography. I am enjoying the space you have given the creature and I feel the position you have placed the wolf in the frame works well. The snow provides a stunning backdrop to the image keeping it simple which works well in my opinion. I am missing seeing the creature’s eyes which I know is asking a lot given the position of the wolf. I do wonder if a more impactful image would have been of the creature hitting the snow with the snow flying all 
N-3, T-2, P-3, E-0, Total-8

Review by Andy H.
Great timing. Technically all seems good to me. The choice of a fast shutter speed was the best decision. The settings result in a sharp image. Exposure is good and not easy with all that snow around. Two things, I would like to have seen all the shadow and that horizontal track cutting the coyotes head just bothers me.
N-3, T-3, P-2, E-0, Total-8

Review by Rich F.
This is a very strong image of a coyote mousing. Unlike other images which show the coyote either mid flight or about to enter the snow, Ken's image shows the coyote as it starting it jump. The coyote is frozen in its jump (good shutter speed), and the exposure and process are done very well - even if the coyote is back lit. I might have trimmed a bit off the top and bottom to give a panoramic feel.
N-3, T-3, P-3, E-1, Total-10

Review by Robert D.
Good action shot. As with all snow inclusive images the Coyote seems underexposed. I would recommend removing the horizontal black line and cropping some off the right lower corner.
N-2, T-1, P-2, E-0, Total-5

Review by MJ Springett
Great nature moment, but distracting line in the background that intersects with the coyote.  
N-3, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-7

Review by Larry T.
Your goal of documenting the behavior of the Grebe is admirable however, in my opinion, the bird simply sitting in the water does not demonstrate a strong story line. If the bird was nest building, fishing or something similar then you might have a more compelling story line.

Unfortunately you do not provide your camera setting. Having them would help to understand HOW you created your image. While the image appears sharp, it would seem that your focus point is on the eye (a good thing) but it also seems that your have a very shallow depth of field because the back of the bird lacks detail and appears soft. This might be due to the fact that it is dark and wet, but in my opinion I feel it is from a lack of DOF. There is a burned highlight on the birds breast which might be removed by raising the f stop and making the image a bid darker. I also wonder how high your ISO is because the feathers on the bird’s head lack detail. I do applaud the fact that you captured a catch light in the eye. Over all, except for the face the image has a fairly soft look to it. Did you use a polarizer? Using one may have eliminated the glare on the surface of the water.

The general composition pleasing as you did honor the rule of thirds and place the bird on the right fixation points. The angle of the bird’s head adds some dynamics to the image. I would have cropped just a fraction of an inch off the top to eliminate the disjointed dark spots of the water plants on the top edge toward the right. I would also suggest providing a bit more water below the bird to avoid the cramped placement on the bird in the frame.
N-3, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-7

Review by Dennis H.
Good nature story with hunting coyote. Nice colour and detail on animal. I feel image could be improved by cropping to just below the shadow area. 
N-3, T-3, P-2, E-0, Total-8

Review by Natalie M.
Great action shot, Ken, definitely displaying the "pounce" position. If I could see the mouse I would have given you a 3 for the story component. Fast shutter speed has frozen the action, scene looks to be well exposed, so 3 for TQ. I agree the the footprints behind the fox's head is not ideal, but the composition is otherwise good, so have awarded 2 for PQ. I wonder if allowing more of the shadow to be included in the frame may have added a leading line of sorts. 
N-2, T-3, P-2, E-0, Total-7

Review by Omar P.
Great anticipation and capture. If only the coyote would have jumped a little more toward the camera it would show more of the eyes and showcase the coyote’s focus and intent to catch mice/moles.
N-3, T-3, P-3, E-0, Total-9

Review by Bogdan B.
It's nice that you have caught coyote in jump. The image is sharp and good lighted. You can dodge the footmarks a little bit to be less distractive.
N-3, T-3, P-2, E-0, Total-8

Review by Valentin D.
Beautiful shot, Ken. It’s not always easy to properly expose in a white environment. I wonder if you used manual exposure. The shot tells the story for sure. Great technique, and composition. Well done.
N-3, T-3, P-3, E-1, Total-10

Review by Prasad D.

For us back in India no opportunity to vet this mind of a shot until we tarvel abroad. So very well taken. The exposure for snow is perfect and the motion freeze is crisp and sharp.
Composition is good too.
N -3, T-3, P-3, E-0 Total 9
Review by Suman B.
you opted for putting in the action image for this month is an excellent choice. Good sharp and crispy image always fares better in nature section. upon observing your background data I was perplexed on one point & i.e. if you chose to shoot at 1/5000 parts of a second do you need a tripod even then? giving the picture a horizontal flip makes it more attractive to my view which you may consider. for post processing I find the hind legs throwback of ice bit unnoticeable. a simple big soft brush burning and dodging would have been enough to bring the focus to the hind legs zone of focus. if only the mole was noticeable your picture could have been a winner but that's life for us nature photographers. 
N-2, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-6

I live in Menomonee Falls, WI, and have recently retired. I have been actively photographing for over 12 years.  I started by taking field trips to photograph waterfalls in the upper peninsula of Michigan that was being offered by the University of Wisconsin in Waukesha, WI. I still enjoy photographing waterfalls in Michigan, and along the North Shore of Minnesota.  I also enjoy bird photography.  I live less than 60 miles from Horicon Marsh, which is a popular birding area in Wisconsin.  I also try to get to Florida every other year for bird photography.  I will also do some sports, city, and winter photography.

I am a member of 2 local camera clubs, the PSA Wisconsin Chapter, and a board member of the Wisconsin Area Camera Club Organization.