Study Group 2


Omar Pena (B)

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APRIL 2019 ROUND

Title:  Blue Heron on Ice 

Goal:  Capture an image of a the heron an a cold morning along a river which I noticed the morning before. 

Equipment/Source:    Canon 7D MarkII @ 200 mm, 1/640 sec at f/4.0, ISO 2000
 
Technique:   Approached the area quietly and slowly to try not to scare any possible herons in the area. I notice this heron and just waited for 5 minutes hoping it would be comfortable with my presence. Given that it was a very cold morning (10 Fahrenheit) it did not make an effort to leave it's spot. To my surprise, the heron started to walk and dance by jumping up and down. I wasn't ready with to take the shot and only captured the end of its dance. This image. Lesson, always be as ready as possible.   

Processing: 
 Lightroom, adjust exposure, highlights, and color adjustments. Because of the high ISO processed noise reduction. 

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

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








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FEBRUARY 2019 ROUND
Title:   Who Else is There
 
   
Goal:   Capture an image of a great horned owl near its nest.
  

Equipment/Source:   Canon EOS 7D Mark II, EF 70-200mm @ 200mm Plus 1.4X Extender  

Technique:  Hand held shot @ 1/1600 trying to expose the owls by spot metering because of the very strong back lighting from the sun/clouds.  

Processing:   Exposure and sharpening in Lightroom. I struggle to under expose the strong back lighting from the sun. 

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

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

Review by commentator Dan C.

The owlet peeking out of the hole is what makes this image.  Too bad you needed to live with that horrendous sky.

I feel you can crop tighter to eliminate some tree and sky.  Flipping horizontal lets the owlet stand out stronger, at least for me.

N3, T3, P2, E0, Total 8


Review by Robert D.
Unfortunately the first impression is one of a monochromatic formless greyish mass. One has to look hard to see the grey horned owl and its little partially hidden companion. I would definitely do an extensive crop beginning just below the little fellow and close to the big bird to eliminate the distracting background. Whatever is left can be burned in some to reduce it’s attraction. Filling the image with the subject will transform it. Then I would try to make the subject stand out more by Dodging it to make it lighter against a darker background. Of course you could try to take the image from another angle maybe slightly to the left so that you avoid the high lit backg/Users/robertdavis/Desktop/Criotique2.jpground.
N-2, T-1, P-2, E-0, Total-5


Review by Larry T.
The simple act of capturing at GHO near its nest would not have provided a strong story line for the image. However, the addition of the owlet peeping out of the nest and the stern guard like look and posture of the parent create a rather compelling storyline.

Camera and lens choice appear adequate to capture this image. The idea of spot metering due to the stated strong backlight was clearly the correct choice. While you do not state the ISO, the choice of aperture does not appear to be a major factor as the background (the white part) is far enough away to render it soft and blurred. The high shutter speed clearly stopped whatever action was present.

You seem to have handled the exposure of the owls correctly as they are both sharp and properly exposed. You have kept the shadow light so as not to be distracting. This brings up the bright highlighted area on the left. I feel you have done a fair job of bringing the brightness down so that it is not completely blown out but the process you have used has rendered it a grey sludge. I believe that you could have reduced the white area on the far left by cropping towards the tree as far as the middle notch on the tree just to the right of the darkest branch. You could also crop down from the top as far as the first protrusion pointing left. This would reduce the white/grey area considerably.
N-3, T-3, P-2, E-0, Total-8


Review by Robert D.
Unfortunately the first impression is one of a monochromatic formless greyish mass. One has to look hard to see the grey horned owl and its little partially hidden companion. I would definitely do an extensive crop beginning just below the little fellow and close to the big bird to eliminate the distracting background. Whatever is left can be burned in some to reduce it’s attraction. Filling the image with the subject will transform it. Then I would try to make the subject stand out more by Dodging it to make it lighter against a darker background. Of course you could try to take the image from another angle maybe slightly to the left so that you avoid the highly lit background
N-2, T-2, P-2, E-0, total-6


Review by Martin P.
N = Whilst this is a lovely detailed portrait of the owls, I do not feel that the shot is exhibiting any significant behaviour beyond perching.
T = Technically I think you did well to capture the bird so nicely exposed against a strong backlight with such nice shadow detail and sharpness
P = Pictorially I feel that the image feels quite flat as the bird blends into the background as the tree and bird share a similar colour palette and are both sharp. I can't help noticing the branches intruding into the sky are quite distracting due to the large contrast between the sky and branches.
The main owl is nice and sharp and well exposed. The second owl is a nice little surprise within the image, overall a well delivered well executed and edited image.
N-2, T-3, P-2, E-0, Total-7


Review by Andy H.
Hi Omar welcome to the group.
Lovely shot well taken. Strong background light, how many times do we find ourselves in this situation You choose the right metering but the background is inevitably blown. Could you have chosen a different viewpoint it doesn't look likely. The owls are sharp and well exposed. Do you need all the area at the lower part, crop some?
N-3, T-2, P-3, E-0, Total-8


Review by Rich F.
Great shot of adult and chick Great-horned owl. You did a good job getting the exposure correct. You did not mention the f-stop, DOF is challenge in this image as you to get enough to cover the adult and chick while not too much detail in the branches. I think you did a reasonable job balancing these. I find the bright sky annoying - I would like to see it darkened a bit. Also a tighter crop on the birds and tree would eliminate some of the sky.
N-3, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-7


Review by MJ Springett
This image is a great example of a bird blending in with its habitat. The depth of field is great and I love the two eyes peeking out from the nest hole.
N-3, T-3, P-2, E-1, Total-9


Review by Dennis H.
Interesting nature study showing owlet with parent. Nice colour and detail on owl. I think image could be enhanced by cropping bottom and top of image showing less tree. Well captured.
N-3, T-3, P-2, E-0, total-8


Review by Natalie M.
A great moment beautifully captured Omar. I know you said you struggled with the high contrast conditions but I feel you have done well. The background is bright but appears well controlled, and you have retained good sharpness and detail in the feathers. The baby poking it's head out of the nest has elevated the nature story score from a 2 to a 3. 
N-3, T-3, P-3, E-0, Total-9


Review by Bogdan B.
Interesting photo of owls. Contra light was too strong. When you tried to recover shaddows, you have got a dotted picture. Maibe you have also made oversharpenning.
Composition would be better cropping some on the bottom.
N-2, T-1, P-2, E-0, Total-5


Review by Valentin D.
It definitely tells the story. Great composition, Omar. The picture is sharp and in focus. 
N-3, T-3, P-3, E-1, Total-10


Review by Prasad D.

It's a fantastic camouflage  image. It has lovely detailed of the owls, and it's juvenile peeping i to the outside world. However, no specific relative action seen.
I see that you have Technically captured the birds well keeping in mind backlit situation. I think you did well to capture the bird so nicely. Nice shadow detail and sharpness.
Pictorially aspect is not as dynamic. But yes it's a good candidate for camouflage. I feel that the image feels quite flat as the bird blends into the background as the tree and bird share a similar colour palette and are both sharp. 
Yes the background is disturbing as others mentioned. You could try subduing the background.
The image is well captured.
N-3, T-3, P-2, E-0, Total-8
Review by Suman B.
Although I am not an expert in this nature group as others but I am sharing my feeling towards this picture of yours Omar. Welcome to the group with a beautifully captured Great Horned Owl and its little baby peeping from the nest. Obviously the papa doesn’t like this intrusion and gives you a stern warning look. To me it seems to be a fine nature story. Obviously the highlights are by far extreme yet you have kept it under control with your choice of technique. However shadows could have been lighted inside the nest making it more detailing. Pictorially speaking, I like the feathers detail and the illusions they make which otherwise would have been lost if not of your choice of good depth. May be you could have given it a thought that a little crop in the highlight area with flipping horizontally adds some extra value.
N-2, T-2, P-3, E-0, Total-7

Omar is a Mechanical Engineer with over 20 years experience working in high technology. He enjoys wildlife and landscape photography.