Study Group 2


Suman Bhattacharyya, MPSA, ARPS, EFIAP/b·

Click image to enlarge

Upload Next Round's Image and Description
NOVEMBER 2020 ROUND

Title:  hyena approaching kill
  
Goal:   Since the wee hours we traveled from one corner of the Masai Mara plains when the five cheetah brothers we saw playing and then marching off to possible kill and we ventured towards other subjects. Previous day was blessed with rain and the herbivores were busy munching as much they could. For predators it was field day as new grass came up but isn't of that height that their pray could hide behind it. Also predators could be spotted from far away. Weather was cool and dry. So we did manage to get some good shots and then we received news from radio that the five brothers made a kill of a wilder beast and we rushed towards them. When we reached the spot the killing and the reaping is already done and safari vehicles started to march off one by another as they had their fill. We saw the five cheetahs dispersing one after another and scavengers (vultures) started pouring in covering the kill and getting what they could as there were enough for them even after the cheetahs got their fill. suddenly Hyenas started appearing in the scene and there were palpable tension between the vultures as hyenas chased vultures away and lifted the carcass away for devouring. My goal was to record a nature story of continuing strife between the hyenas and the vultures as I previously read about vultures being wiped off due to poising of carcass by farmers in other parts of Kenya. So the strife between the hyenas and vultures are very important from the nature conservation pov as both depend on kills left by larger predators like cheetahs and lions.
 
Equipment/Source:   shot with Nikon D500 fitted with 70-200 2.8 ED VRII. I chose the high shutter speed (1/4000) to get continuous shot in aperture priority mode to get a good depth of the scene (at f8) and with an ISO of 800 at matrix metering as there were very harsh lighting since the sun is on top. 
 
Technique:  used the railing of the safari vehicle on top so that the entire scene could be viewed and used a beanbag for support too although not much needed at such high shutter speed. 

Processing:   
 Processed through PS CC to lighten the harsh shadows just a bit and used noiseware to reduce colour noise.

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.
Nature Story (N): There are many ways a person can define “the nature story”. This photograph falls into the category of a group of nature stories wrapped into one. This type of photograph is not the type of photograph a photographer will get to take on a regular basis and is one to be cherished. Bravo! Score: 3

Technical Quality (T): When a photographer takes a complicated photo like this the camera settings become “the enemy”. Even worse, there usually is little time to get the settings properly set. In this case the photographer chose wisely and the end result was a fine photograph properly exposed especially when you consider it was taken at mid-day under a bright sun. Excellent work! Score: 3

Pictorial Quality (P): Although this photograph had a very significant nature story and the technical quality was excellent, the photograph still faced the dilemma of it being “very busy”. When this happens there is so much activity taking place there there are so many photographs within the photograph that the overall photograph gets lost. Score: 2

Exceptional (E): Regretfully, this photograph doesn’t rise to the level of getting an extra point for being exceptional. Score: 0

Scores: N 3/ T 3 / P 2 / E 0 / Score = 8


This Review is written by: Janice R

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
This is a typical scene on the Mara. The hyena is approaching the kill but there is little interaction between the vulture and the hyena. This image has the feeling of, "the party's over".

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Color balance, DoF and shutter speed adequate. The harsh lighting detracts from the scene. I think were this image to be cropped so that they hyena and vulture next to him are more prominent the image would be stronger.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGEI like your position relative to the hyena and the vulture that is next to him with the carcus in front. Clearly the approaching hyena and the vulture next to him are the primary subjects, but they almost get lost in all the birds.

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: Diana R.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
To me this is a strong nature story as the hyena and vultures compete for the morsels left by the cheetah.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The exposure, depth of field, and sharpness all seem good.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I feel this image would be improved by cropping in to the action between the vulture and hyena.

NATURE SCORE 3-Nature story strong

TECHNICAL SCORE 2-Average exposure

PICTOR IAL SCOR E 1-Inadequate composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 6


This Review is written by: Charlie Y

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
on first glance, it seems to be a party scene. After reading the description, and closer look, there're only one or two vultures were in the view still engaged in the kill, most of them stepping away or look away. Thus, this is not as strong a nature story more than 2. In fact, only one vulture has its wing raised.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
exposure seems appropriate, but main flow is in image composition and deliver impact.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
images showed very cha otic but loosely related objects (vultures are leaving the scene, and not so involved with the hyena. Thus my suggestion is to at shoot time, extend the lens to your max, and focus, compose your image only to the related parties and tell a much stronger story than this loosely related elements on the prairie, which doesn't deliver the impact.

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

TECHNICAL SCORE 2-Average exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 1-Inadequate composition and impact

EXTRA POINT 0-No extra point

TOTAL SCORE 5


This Review is written by: Kishore S.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
The image is a compelling one. The tension between the hyena and the vultures can be felt.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Image is sharp and well composed

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The story is a compelling one.

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: Larry T

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
I feel there is a valid nature story built around the symbiotic use of the kill. There are two visible species involved and a third species in the implied killer who is not shown. This visible relationship produces a solid nature story.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
For me the visible flaw is the heart of the nature story (the vultures and the hyena) occupies such a minimal part of the frame. While my eye is drawn to the hyena, kill and spread winged vulture I do not get a dramatic or int imate co nnection to the scene. I feel this story needs to be told from a closer position so that the viewer can actually see what is going on. The real story is a vertical section in the center of the image and I sincerely wish this was larger. As shown, this feels more like an opportunistic shot than a created image.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I feel the post work on this image is adequate. You might consider slightly adjusting the highlights and thereby taking some of the shine off the backs of the vultures and I would feel a bit better if there was just a tiny bit more space above the wings on the vulture in the center. In a perfect work, I would prefer cropping a third off the left side and a third off the right side and thus turn the center section into a vertical composition.

NATURE SCORE 3-Nature story strong

TECHNICAL SCORE 2-Average exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 2-Average com position and impact

TOTAL SCORE 7


This Review is written by: MJ S

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
While the story of hyenas and vultures interaction is present, the action is dead center. I suggest cropping from left and bottom to set off the grisly scene.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
This image looks tooo sharp and strong highlights

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Too grisly for me, subject is too graphic to hang on my wall.

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

TECHNICAL SCORE 2-Average exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 1-Inadequate composition and impact

EXTRA POINT 0-No extra point

TOTAL SCORE 5




Upload Next Round's Image and Description
OCTOBER 2020 ROUND
Title:   Antmimicking Spider in Cocoon  
     
Goal:    it was a pure chance prize. usually on every sundays I take up my camera and try to get some good photos. When I visited near my home and was surprised to find a ant in a cocoon guarding some eggs. It increased my interest and I bring my powerful portable magnifying glass and saw some strange phenomenon. whenever the prying ants some near the cocoon the ant within it is mimicking like an ant yet it had absolutely no intention to move like other ants and was guarding the cocoon filled with eggs. upon close inspection I found that the so called ant had eyes like a spider. I immediately went googling for it and found that I am being witness to a rare phenomenon of that ant mimicking spider guarding its eggs which are scheduled to be hatched a few days later. My simple goal was to capture the nature story although I knew very little about it then.

Equipment/Source:     D750 with Tamron 90 mm macro lens fitted. shot at 1/250 in manual with f32 to arrest the finest details. ISO was 200 with spot metering enabled as I was apprehensive about the whiteness of the entire scene.

Technique:    Shot handheld with a range focus technique I devised myself which helps me rest on the tree and move forward and backward until get the perfect frame

Processing:    processed with NIK dark contrast used to reduce the whiteness of the entire scene and finally used a bit noise reduction - just a bit

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 Dan C.

I am definitely pleased to see you looked up your subject to learn more about it.  Hopefully you were able to return to capture the spiderlings.

This one is a challenge to rate for the nature score. The density of the cocoon web makes it difficult to see the spider and its egg cases.  The spider is clear enough to see it has 8 legs instead of the six an ant would have.  Due to the low subject maturity a “here I am” shot does provide greater story value than a more common subject.  Due to the density of the web obscuring the spider I need to reluctantly give a 2 as the Nature score in spite of how much I personally like the image.

Technically your exposure is good and has provided accurate color and detail.  Some species of ant-mimicking spiders are somewhat of chameleons and change color to match the species of ant in their area.  Your technical score is a 3.

Pictorially the overall composition holds together well but maybe a not-so-close shot might have included an ant as well.  Again, the lack of detail of the spider makes me assign a pictorial score of 2.  Keep up your curiosity and trying to learn about your subjects.  Not all images need to be taken with competition in mind.  The learning experience can be more rewarding.

N2, T3, P2, E0, Total 7


Review by Alex C.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
I don't know that I have ever seen an ant do this, what an odd phenomenon. I always like captures that see something beyond the norm.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I can see where there may have been a struggle with so much white from the weblike substance, it makes for a difficult shot and blend of contrast. Perhaps some fine detailed touch ups around the shape of the ant would make it stand out a bit more, take away some exposure and add some dehaze in lightroom or photoshop raw.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IM AGE
There is something about the dark up in the top right corner that pulls my view away from the focus of the ant. Otherwise I think it's great. I've added the extra point based on never seeing an ant like this.

NATURE SCORE 3-Nature story strong

TECHNICAL SCORE 2-Average exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 2-Average composition and impact

EXTRA POINT 1-Exceptional

TOTAL SCORE 8


Review by Bogdan B

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Very intersting nature story.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Due to the cocon all around I understand, that it's hard to get a sharp image of the spider itself.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The image seems a little bit too lightened to me.

NATURE SCORE 3-Nature story strong

TECHNICAL SCORE 2-Average exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 2-Average composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 7


Review by Adrian B

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Your back-story is fascinating! A nature story of the most unusual! Thank you for the story too.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
You used f32 so all should be in focus, but it isn't clear whether it is! I suspect you have processed it as well as anyone could to try to show what is a very complicated and 'messy' image

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
It isn't easy to identify what we are looking at. Yes, the spider shape is clear and the cocoon material is clear what it is. But pictorially one is still left won dering w hat the viewer is missing. Not an easy subject to take in a way that results in a pleasing image - I supect again you have done as well as was possible.

NATURE SCORE 3-Nature story strong

TECHNICAL SCORE 3-Excellent exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 1-Inadequate composition and impact

EXTRA POINT 0-No extra point

TOTAL SCORE 7


Review by LC B.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Very interesting story in your Goal text and I think you accomplished documenting what you saw quite well.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Technically I think the images is good: well lit and focussed with good contrasts. My only gripe is that I would love to see an even higher res version to see even more detail. I’m not sure if this is a result of posting constraints, but given what you used to shoot it, I’m assuming that is the case.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
My only comment in terms of room for improvement is the composition of the image: since you’ve gone for a square crop and you have what is effectively a ball/circle I would crop to place the orb dead center. Right now it’s a bit off-kilter.

NATURE SCORE 3-Nature story strong

TECHNICAL SCORE 3-Excellent exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 2-Average composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 8


Review by LC B.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Very interesting story in your Goal text and I think you accomplished documenting what you saw quite well.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Technically I think the images is good: well lit and focussed with good contrasts. My only gripe is that I would love to see an even higher res version to see even more detail. I’m not sure if this is a result of posting constraints, but given what you used to shoot it, I’m assuming that is the case.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
My only comment in terms of room for improvement is the composition of the image: since you’ve gone for a square crop and you have what is effectively a ball/circle I would crop to place the orb dead center. Right now it’s a bit off-kilter.

NATURE SCORE 3-Nature story strong

TECHNICAL SCORE 3-Excellent exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 2-Average composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 8


Review by Nirmalya B.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
I must admire the inquisitiveness of Suman specially connected to macro photography. Ant mimicking spiders are one of the nature's wonder evolution and it deserves full score .

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I am not exposed to macro photography technique, therefor allowing full marks to the photographer on anticipation.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Before I get into pictorial review of the photograph, I would like to share a small tips to recognize spider from ins ects by noticing it's legs. Spiders comes with 4 pairs of legs while insects have 3 pairs. So when ever you are capturing a spider, ensure all the four pairs are visible otherwise the audience have to go through your write up to understand the hidden story of nature. I would like to add additional one for your extraordinary effort.

NATURE SCORE 3-Nature story strong

TECHNICAL SCORE 3-Excellent exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 2-Average composition and impact

EXTRA POINT 1-Exceptional

TOTAL SCORE 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