Study Group 2

Suman Bhattacharyya, MPSA, ARPS, EFIAP/b·

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Title:   oriental white eyes fight   
Goal:   while shooting birds is another step I considered as I travelled from Macro to Wildlife to birding. My goal was to get some unique actions of the colourful birds.
Equipment/Source:  keeping in mind advise of my fellow nature group members this time I loaned a tripod from a friend with a gimble head on top along with my Nikon D750 with the Nikon 200-500 lens 
Technique:  waited for the birds for quite some time in a camouflaged bird tent and when they arrived concentrated on actions between them. used a high shutter speed of 1/2000 parts of a second with 640 ISO and 7.1 aperture setting. used a highlight metering mode gives me a wider choice of exposure value. 

 processed using PS raw and then added some extra-light sharpness in the frame with the help of shake reduction filter in PS. 


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 interaction between the two White Eyes gives you a much stronger story than if you just had one bird flying in.  Good timing.

Technically it appears pretty good but you needed a bit more depth of field to the landing bird’s foot was sharp.  You were stuck between having a high enough shutter speed to freeze the motion and a small enough aperture so the depth of field covered all the bird.  I can accept your choice.  During the study group we have time to dissect the image.  At a live judging, the selectors do not have that option and need to make a snap decision.

Pictorially the lines of direction of the branch and the flying bird all work together to keep the viewer in the scene.

N3, T2, P3, E0, Total 8

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Goal:    during the morning rendezvous we cited the lion pride killing a buffalo and amidst the talek river background are having a meal. my goal was to capture some unique shots of the morning breakfast they are having. since I was accompanied with three other fellow photographer friends with same photographic gear I needed something unique to stand out.

Equipment/Source:   the equipment I was holding for documenting this shot is the Nikon D 750 along with the Nikon 200-500.

Technique:    metering was kept at matrix to get the surrounding areas total exposure. shutter speed kept at 1/4000 parts of a second since I didn't wanted to miss any moment. Aperture was F10 so that required sharpness be there. ISO 1250 as I needed to complement for the high shutter speed which I was using. also I wanted the surrounding to be darker with the highlights being brought out. shot at a low angle to keep to the personal viewpoint I preferred with the lion cubs & lionesses.

Processing:   processed initially in DXO studio as was advised by my friend and guide Joe McClung for reducing the ISO clutter. after getting the picture processed through DXO processed it again through 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.

This situation had to be exciting. I think the lower angle of view works here. The one lioness turned back toward us provides the anchor point we need. Ideally, it would have been nice to get one or two of the other faces as well. The tight crop looks intentional, as it should, but also feels a bit cramped. Whether it is possible to put some back will depend on the environment. I suspect you had a very good reason for framing it this way. Primary focus looks OK to me, but the overall image seems harsh (contrasty) rather than crisp. Based on your narrative, it sounds like this should be early morning light, but that seems to have been stripped out of it. When you ran the raw file through DxO studio did you keep the noise reduction setting on Prime (not the default) and hold sharpening to a modest amount? I’m just trying to get a sense of what may have pushed the image to be this harsh.

N-3, T-2, P-1 = 6 (N-3 Good solid nature story showing behavior. T-2 Focus looks OK but image lacks true sharpness. P-1 Processing has pushed image badly into being overly contrasty.).

Review by Larry T.
The highlighted areas in the center of the image quickly draw the eye to the action of the scene. The body posture of the cats and blood read areas on the buffalo and the cats face powerfully demonstrate the mealtime story line of the image. Well done.

I feel the aperture setting was an excellent choice as it rendered all of the cats in focus and this adds to the impact of the image. However I do feel that you could have brought down the shutter speed to 1/2000 and thus lowered that ISO to help reduce the noise you mention. Getting a lower angle of view also enhances the image.

While I do not mind concept of a vignette to draw the eye to the center, I feel that you have over done this aspect. The extremely dark areas on the left edge and the very harsh shadows in the center area make the image feel almost artificial. To me, this gives the image an over processed feel that is distracting. I like the panoramic feel of the crop, but I would have liked to see more of the cat on the far right. Without an of the head showing, and half of the body cropped of the large section of the cat’s side just feel awkward.
N-3, T-3, P-2, E-0, Total-8

Review by MJ Springett
I know that this is a critical nature story and it is well done, but it is not a picture that I would hang on my wall.  
N-3, T-3, P-1, E-1, Total-8

Review by Sylvia W.
Sometimes when there are several photographers all photographing the same thing it’s hard to get a unique photo. I like that you have one of the cubs facing you to show some eye contact. Overall I feel that the image is flat - maybe it’s the colour of the lions? I feel that they are a little dull - maybe a little warmth added to bring out the colour in their hides a bit more.
N-3, T-2, P-2, E-0, total-7

Review by Martin P.
N = This certainly feels like a nature image to me. Seeing the lions gathered around the kill certainly brings it home how nature is red in tooth and claw
T= The image certainly feels sharp from front to back. I am a little concerned at the blacks / shadows being blocked up here and there. I am wondering if 1/4000 is required as I doubt there will be any fast movements. Even 1/2000 or maybe even 1/1000 feels like it may well be enough and would have helped reduce ISO noise..
P = Pictorially I feel that the Lioness looking towards us and the red area feel like the focal point of the image to me. I do feel like the light is a little flat in this image overall and am wondering if you turned the highlights right down and played with blacks/clarity as it feels gritty and therefore I feel the image has lost its sparkle. Given the settings you used I would have expected to have seen more light / warmth in the image. Maybe a little warming up would help.
Whilst certainly a powerful image I am wondering if I am missing the rest of the animal on the right and would have liked to have seen the whole scene, or maybe just go right in tight on the lioness looking outwards.
It is still a fabulous capture what really shows these magnificent creatures at their rawest.
N-3, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-7

Review by Charlie Y
while I read your comments on gear, shooting parameters, was concern about the possible noise due to high ISO. Was there additional light source used? great shot, and opportunity. award +1 for exceptional, not like you'd get that shot every time out
N-2, T-2, P-2, E-1, Total-7

Review by William S.
Your nature goal was successful as it shows the meal being eaten and an example of lions sharing.

With the close cropping on the right I would suggest cropping closer on the left to focus on the red meal just right of center. The bodies of the lions create lines leading to the center of the activity. To my eyes the main light seems more like a flash rather than sunlight making the image look somewhat unnatural. Maybe it is the way the image was processed. You captured lots of detail in the fur texture and eyes but the shadows are harsh. The angle of the animal bodies seems to be viewed as a rear shot rather than a frontal or side shot.
N-3, T-2, P-2, E-0, total-7

Review by Hattie S.
Very good technique to have a great capture of the nature. I feel there are a bit too much stuffs that not necessary for the story. I would think try to crop the image on both left and right (more on the left) to zoom in on the facial expression of the lion who had it's head turned. That could make it very powerful. I don't seems able to download the image to try the crop for visual feedback. 
N-3, ,T-2, P-3, E-1, Total-9

Review by Ken W.
Great photo of family of lions eating, Great nature story, Good composition, sharp, It appears to be slightly over processed, which is why I gave it a 9 vs 10.
N-3, T-3, P-3, E-0, Total-9


My name is Suman Bhattacharyya. I've an avid interest in nature & wildlife. I have been taking photos of nature from 2014 but only in 2017 I've taken membership of PSA. I am a member of FIAP (being an EFIAP) as well as RPS (having ARPS). I like all types of nature photos and am willing to commit time to know more about it. Thanks & Regards