Study Group 2


Suman Bhattacharyya, MPSA, ARPS, EFIAP/b·

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AUGUST 2019 ROUND
Title:    Coral under water
     
Goal:    A large proportion of all life on Earth lives in the ocean. The exact size of this large proportion is unknown, since many ocean species are still to be discovered. The ocean is a complex three-dimensional world covering approximately 71% of the Earth's surface. My intended goal was to set foot into this vastly unexplored natural habitat and document nature which is a new beginning to my natural species hunt.

Equipment/Source:   went in with the Hero GoPro 5 with 1/1000 shutter speeds and 200 ISO. 

Technique:   the initial part became all too scary for me when I donned the scuba mask and initiated into the underwater breathing exercise. Then I went into the deep seas where the corals are and in order to suppress the eerie feeling in my guts turned my total attention to photographing the underwater realm and voila! my entire being was free from the bone chilling feelings and I was engulfed by the sheer beauty of the ocean flora and fauna. Once I settled in turned the shutter speeds to 1/1000 part of a second and the iso to 200 in order to get the maximum output from the low filtered sunlight through water. It being a rainy time and without the additional light source I had to tatally depend on the filtered light source so I tried to keep the sunlight coming from my front instead of the back which we usually do above ground.  

Processing:    since the pictures are captured in 4000x3000x72 with 24 bit depth, I just processed with a bit of sharpening and a little contrast added


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

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 Review by commentator Rick C.

Sounds like quite an adventure. A couple of things to start with as they may well be affecting your image quality in the posting. The first is that this is a png file rather than a jpeg. PNG will accept a different color space and this one came through as “untagged rgb” which can mean windows or Macs may interpret it differently than you think. The second issue was that this was only a little over 600 on the long edge and so it doesn’t really give us a good file to view for things like sharpness.

From a nature perspective the subject easily qualifies and there is a nature story present. These underwater formations are active colonies of living organisms, but from a practical perspective we tend to view images of them more in the vein that we would use for a botany subject because the actual organisms and their activity are hidden from us beyond the structure they have created. On that basis I would consider this to be an environmental portrait and assign a nature value of 2 as we lack the discernable behavior needed to raise it beyond that level.

Underwater photography presents many challenges, as I’m sure you have learned. You made a good choice in dealing with shooting under ambient lighting, but then have to make the choice in post processing to decide if the color cast that will be present when shooting underwater in what amounts to filtered lighting is desirable. In most instances I feel you will want to at least partially offset it if not correcting to what we would consider an unfiltered state (that is to remove the color cast entirely). In this case, I did fully correct and I feel it shows your subject much more effectively. The second technical consideration is relative to sharpening. Again, water acts like a diffuser and so effectively softens an image more than normally seen in a land capture. To offset that we will normally want to apply stronger sharpening to compensate for that. A final consideration is the debris that is commonly floating (suspended) in any body of water. When using flash for illumination we see it as what is known as “back scatter”, but It is there even in ambient light. You can see it in the open water in the upper corners of the frame. Because of the need for added sharpening, we will also often want to apply some noise reduction in those open areas to eliminate what will look like noise to a viewer. The use of noise reduction is appropriate for offsetting the sharpening and does not constitute the removal of something that was part of the observation. Your primary focus looks good to me as does the depth of field. The subject itself looks less than optimally sharp, but that may well be due in part to the small size in the image submitted. The image as it shows, looks underexposed by about a stop, but as I noted above, that may be due to the interpretation of the png file. The complicating factors of the png file and small size leave me with questions on how the image might have shown. I do feel color correction and additional sharpening are appropriate and so I am limiting my Technical rating to 2. That is higher than I might have given had the image been a fully sized jpeg should it have looked the same.

In almost any capture situation we will opt to center the subject to get the advantage of the most sensitive focus points and to allow room for any potential movement. That is doubly true in underwater imaging as we are moving as well as the subject. We need to address that in post processing. The composition as submitted is reasonable from a capture perspective, though I might have wished for enough space over the top of the formation to avoid the touch merger on that edge. I do feel it is centered and therefore unnecessarily static as shown. Given the nice open area on the right side, I would crop on the left to move the key element more out of the center and improve the visual tension and dynamics of the image. I mentioned correction of the color cast under technical, but it also has an impact pictorially as it impedes contrast and lowers the interest values in the image. That said, I am not double counting it in the pictorial rating of 2.

N-2, T-2, P-2 = 6 (see the adjusted version I sent relative to offsetting the color cast, sharpening, and a slight crop modification)


Review by Natalie M

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Nice portrait of an undersea landscape.

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The image is a little soft, possibly due to the challenging lighting conditions you mentioned. I'm not familiar with underwater photography technique, but I think the best shots use flash.

SCORE T (Technical Quality) 2-Average exposure color balance and sharpness

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I think the composition is generally good, I probably would have preferred the top part of the coral not to be cropped off.

SCORE P (Pictorial Quality) 2-Average composition and impact

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 6


Review by Andy H

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
This is an area I have little knowledge of and will struggle to critique it

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Technically I would think this type of image is quite difficult to achieve given the other non photography issues that have to be over come first. Also operating a camera like the Hero Black 5 must have been a challenge underwater. Given the light and other conditions I think you have done well to capture this image. I would have like to have seen something a little closer in with some of the fish more prominent in the image.

SCORE T (Technical Quality) 2-Average exposure color balance and sharpness

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The image is interesting but for me lacks impact. You've cut off the top of the coral and the subject is a little too central for me.

SCORE P (Pictorial Quality) 2-Average composition and impact

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 6


Review by Dennis H

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Nice underwater image showing coral with interesting colours.

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Exposure looks quite good although some of the dark areas could be lightened a little.

SCORE T (Technical Quality) 2-Average exposure color balance and sharpness

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Feel the image could be improved by cropping the dark area from the bottom.

SCORE P (Pictorial Quality) 2-Average composition and impact

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 6


Review by William S

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Interesting photograph of a choral reef. Is the nature story the design and colors created by the exoskeleton of calcium carbonate over time or something else? I thought maybe the need for sunlight to survive or the effect of poisons and dirt from boats might be a good conservation story.

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
You didn’t mention your f stop or your focus point as the background of the image is not as sharp as the foreground . I am not sure how you saw the original image but a color balance that removed some of the cyan and boosted the red would improve the “pop” and a levels adjustment would improve the overall balance.

SCORE T (Technical Quality) 2-Average exposure color balance and sharpness

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The compositional lines lead the eye from a sharp foreground to an out of focus background and the colors do not hold my attention.

SCORE P (Pictorial Quality) 2-Average composition and impact

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 6


Review by Janice R

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Underwater image of coral. Nature story not clear

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Front of coral is underexposed and detail not visible. brightest part of image is not the subjevt. Color balance and focus seem good.

SCORE T (Technical Quality) 1-Inadequate exposure color balance and sharpness

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
This is a dark image of a coral. I'm not sure what the intent is. Underexposure lessons impact

SCORE P (Pictorial Quality) 1-Inadequate composition and impact

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 4


Review by MJ S

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Story is not clear

SCORE N (Nature) 1-Nature story minimal or contains unrelated hand of man

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Composition appears centered

SCORE T (Technical Quality) 2-Average exposure color balance and sharpness

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Color is dull and composition centered

SCORE P (Pictorial Quality) 2-Average composition and impact

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 5


Review by Martin P

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Whilst the coral is interesting and different, it is very difficult to see any type of behavior.

SCORE N (Nature) 1-Nature story minimal or contains unrelated hand of man

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Image looks sharp and well exposed. Lighting appears to be very flat so creates a very dull image from a lighting perspective

SCORE T (Technical Quality) 2-Average exposure color balance and sharpness

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The central position in the frame highlights the orange coral. The fish surrounding the area appear bright and colorful.

SCORE P (Pictorial Quality) 2-Average composition and impact

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 5


Review by Louis P

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
certainly is nature; wonderful image

SCORE N (Nature) 3-nature story strong

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
for very limited light it came out beautifully; subject is quite sharp

SCORE T (Technical Quality) 3-Excellent exposure color balance and sharpness

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
it might have been a little bit stronger if the reddish coral (I presume to be the "subject") were not perfectly centered

SCORE P (Pictorial Quality) 2-Average composition and impact

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 8

 


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JULY 2019 ROUND

Title:   Look at the Eye
   
Goal:    Vision is the most important sense for birds, since good eyesight is essential for safe flight. Birds of prey like this kingfisher have a very high density of receptors and other adaptations that maximise visual acuity. The placement of their eyes gives them good binocular vision enabling accurate judgement of distances of fish under the water. The eyelids of a bird are not used in blinking. Instead the eye is lubricated by the nictitating membrane, a third concealed eyelid that sweeps horizontally across the eye like a windscreen wiper. The nictitating membrane also covers the eye and acts as a contact lens in many aquatic birds when they are under water. When sleeping, the lower eyelid rises to cover the eye in most birds.

I got lucky while I was shooting in burst mode in the bird hide this kingfisher let me see its nictitating membrane.
 
Equipment/Source:   used my tried and tasted D750 with 200-500 nikon. 
 
Technique:    used f6.3 for the narrow DOF and 1/2500 for the quick capture and to compensate used 400 ISO. shot in burst.

Processing:   
 lightened the shadows and dowsed the highlights only

  

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


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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