Study Group 2


Wayne Schmitz (C)

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FEBRUARY 2021 ROUND

Title:    Three for Dinner 
 
Goal:     I was walking in a wildlife reserve and I came across a waterway which had a number of ducks floating on the water. On the other side of the water was a lot of tall grass. Out of the grass came these three coyotes. They were watching the ducks very closely hoping to get close enough to get their dinner. This shot shows the left and the right coyotes watching the ducks, hoping for an opportunity. The middle coyote however saw me. It’s eyes had me fixed in my spot for some time.

Equipment/Source:    Digital raw file. 70-350 zoom lens and Sony a6000 cameral. Shot at 350mm, 1/1000 sec, 640 iso, f/8
   
Technique:   It was a hand held shot so I used a faster shutter speed.  

Processing:   The image was edited with Lightroom. The image was cropped with some light adjustments and sharpening. Used radial filters to lighten the coyotes.

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 Tom S.
Unfortunately, we can’t see the ducks so it is just a portrait of three coyotes and a weak nature story. It would be better if there were some kind of interaction between the coyotes. N2

The coyotes are in focus but the highlights are a little too bright and needs to be reduced. T2

Much too much unnecessary stuff around the coyotes that needs to be cropped out. The coyotes are spread out so the center of interest is not clear. Is the two together the center of interest or the individual on the right? P1

Nothing exceptional. E0

N2, T2, P1, E0 = 5


This Review is written by: Rich F

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
This is an interesting image of what appears to be an adult and 2 juvenile coyotes. Too bad the ducks that they are hunting are not in the image but then the size of the coyotes would be too small.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
the exposure is well done give the time of day (harsh lighting conditions) and you have enough DOF to hold sharpness on all 3 coyotes. I would try to reduce the contrast in the scene and/or darken the bright green vegetation.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The crop works well with this image. the 2 on the left side balance the single coyote on the right side which is closer and large.

As I mentioned before the contrast hurst this image, perhaps a strong vignette could help it.

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

TECHNICAL SCORE
2-Average exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE
2-Average composition and impact

EXTRA POINT 0-No extra point

TOTAL SCORE 6


This Review is written by: Haru N.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
I like the concept of "three for dinner".
I think the concept works if you capture the dinner=ducks in the same frame. Maybe you capture the ducks in the foreground and coyotes as main subject.
Your description helps to understand the story you provide, but the image does not demonstrate as you tell a story in my view.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I must admit that the sharpness is a bit loose.
Light is good to light the main subject.
I feel a bit over saturated in green, as it looks unnatural in my eye.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I am not sure if this is possible because I do not have information where you shoot from but I would lower your position to level your eye to coyotes' eye level at least.
I assume if you go down your position further, then, you might be able to catch the duck in the same frame?


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

TECHNICAL SCORE 2-Average exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 2-Average composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 6


This Review is written by: Dennis H

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Interesting nature image with the two coyotes watching for dinner opportunities, whilst the centre coyote has fixed its gaze on you.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Your shutter speed has captured the moment. Coyotes a little distant to see much detail. If you cropped the lower part and R/H side it would bring the animals closer. Dark areas including the centre coyote need a little dodging.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The image impact could be improved by the adjustments sugge sted in the technical review.

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

TECHNICAL SCORE
2-Average exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE
2-Average composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 6


This Review is written by: Natalie M

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Without your description the story is not evident within the image, so it's more of an environmental portrait.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The lighting conditions look challenging and you have handled them well. Colours look accurate for the environment.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
It's a tricky environment to create an image with impact here, but you have composed the photo well.

NATURE SCORE 1-Nature story minimal or contains unrelated hand of man
TECHNICAL SCORE 2-Average exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 2-Average composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 5


This Review is written by: Dave F.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Nice capture of the three coyotes nut it would have been stronger to see the ducks. You can tell that the two pups are focused on something but one has no idea what it is.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Nice DOF as you can see that the left pup is about 2-3 feet closer that the other two. Exposure looks good and your adjustment in lightroom appears not to be obvious. this is a nice image and you were fortunate that the three coyotes came out of the grass with your presence.

P ICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
this is a nice image and you were fortunate that the three coyotes came out of the grass with your presence. Again I wish that you could see what they were looking at that as part of the image

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

TECHNICAL SCORE
2-Average exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE
2-Average composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 6


This Review is written by: Bruce F

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Something strange about these animals. The parent does not have coyote markings. The gray face and the white marking give this animal a more wolf-like appearance. Possible a cross-breed animal? Nonetheless, the animals are intently engaged watching something, except for the parent. This helps strengthen the nature story. The quizzical looks of the youngsters are a plus. The angle of view above them, from some kind of walkway, perhaps, isn’t the best Point of View.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMA GE
: This camera body was released in 2014. Sensor technology has come a long way, since then. Thus, I feel that the sharpness of this image is slightly below par, because of the camera body. I would try some subject sharpening, perhaps Topaz?

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The panoramic framing is an excellent choice here. I think the time of day and the harsh lighting is hurting you here with the pictorial elements. A golden hour time would have added more drama to the lighting.
Welcome to Nature Study Group #2


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

TECHNICAL SCORE 2-Average exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 2-Average composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 6


This Review is written by: Susan N.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Excellent nature story and good capture of the family scene

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Bright around outside and dark in middle. Needs selective exposure adjustment to reverse that so center and objects of interest are highlighted.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Would be good with adjustments as suggested above

NATURE SCORE
3-Nature story strong

TECHNICAL SCORE
2-Average exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE
2-Average composition and impact



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JANUARY 2021ROUND
Title:   Reflections
 
Goal:   Show the serenity of the Fraser River in the late morning light 
 

Equipment/Source:    Digital raw file, zoom 18-105mm @26mm, f/16, 1/45 second, 200 iso 

Technique:     Use slow shutter speed to smoothen water. A tripod was used for stabilization.  

Processing:   Lightroom used for cropping, sharpening and contrast adjustments. Radial filter was used to lighten trees that were down by the water. 

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. McClung

Nature Story (N)  Anytime you have a landscape photo you have a photograph that shows the “nature story”. Add in a blue sky with clouds, and it only gets better.  Throw in the reflections, as the title of this photograph suggests, and the nature story is indeed enhanced.    Score: 3

Technical Quality (T):  This photograph left me with a case of the “I wonders’”.  It made me wonder if the photographer used the time on the camera or a shutter release of some type to stop camera shake because I see a slight bit of what appears to be camera blur.  It also made me wonder if the photographer might have a “vivid” setting like the Nikon I use which adds a little saturation.  In this photograph, dealing with the dominant colors of green and blue, even a smidge of over-saturation will be painful.   Score:   2

Pictorial Quality (P):  I loved this scene that the photographer chose because of its natural beauty.  I struggled with this photograph wondering about a lack of sharpness and I finally was left with feeling that the author possibly used the dominant white cloud in the back ground (low center) as his focus point.  If so, I would suggest focusing 1/3 of the way into the photograph.     Score:  2

Exceptional (E): This is a wonderful photograph to say the least, but their were minor issues that hurt it.  Regardless, the cropping is so good I am giving the extra point for exceptional cropping .  Score: 1

Scores: N  3/ T 2 / P 2/ E 1/   Score = 8


This Review is written by: Janice R

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
This is a nice image of the river but I'm not sure what the nature story is here.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I think the color balance is appropriate and you have a lot of DoF. I'm not sure why, but on my monitor your trees don't seem to be sharp. I'm wondering if there was a slight breeze and that 1/45th s wasn't quite enough? In my opinion, the image also is over saturated and because of the dark greens and blues, it gives parts of it a muddy appearance.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
In my opinion you chose a nice POV. I like the tree trunk in the water on the right and the reflections.

NATURE SCORE 1-Nature story minimal or contains unrelated hand of man

TECHNICAL SCORE 2-Average exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 2-Average composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 5


This Review is written by: Diana R.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
To me this is a lovely landscape image but doesn't tell a nature story

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The exposure, sharpness and depth of field seem good. For my taste, the blues are oversaturated. The image is pixelated but this is most likely the result of my looking at a low res photo.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
To me the composition is not as compelling as it might be. The image is roughly divided in half. I wish there was something more to hold my attention--an animal, a kayak er, more dramatic clouds.

NATURE SCORE 1-Nature story minimal or contains unrelated hand of man

TECHNICAL SCORE 2-Average exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 2-Average composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 5


This Review is written by: Larry T

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Welcome to the Nature2 study forum. While you have submitted a a “serene” scene it is not the type of scene that is appropriate for this forum. I strongly suggest that you carefully read the forum guidelines for nature images. In this forum there is a premium place on the development of a nature story. This is relatively simple when dealing with fauna. You can show a bird building a nest and the activity suggests a storyline. You could present a coyote pouncing on prey and have a adequate storyline. Howeve r submit ting a scenic image is much harder. Just having a pretty scene will not yield a strong nature story line. Perhaps a Kansas sky with a funnel cloud would show a story line. As a landscape photographer I have struggled since joining this forum to present a scenic with an acceptable storyline. I am not pretending that my submitted image this month is wonderful, I am hoping however that the story of the flood ripping out the land will be an acceptable story. I will suggest that you might read my reviews to see how the scenic image fairs. I do not expect a high score.

You submitted image simply shows an idyllic scene. There is nothing happens nor evidence of something that has happened. We might project the retreat of a glacier millions of years ago but beyond that I see no story line.


TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Looking as your camera settings and your announced goal I see several conflicts. You suggest that you wanted to show the serenity of the scene and that to do this you used a slow shutter speed of 1/45 second. Your image displays a flat lake. However, a shutter speed of 1/45 second is really a slow shutter speed. I will therefore suggest that the lake was really not very rough at all. Had you shown a shutter speed of 1 second or even several seconds the waters would likely have been fairly windblown. Secondly upon reviewing the image the leaves of the trees are certainly not sharp and clear. Since your camera was mounted on a tripod, camera shake or motion may be ruled out. Therefore, the relatively slow shutter speed of 1/45 captured the rustling of the leaves. You may like that look in the trees, however in this scene I feel it makes the image almost lookout of focus due to the amount the blurred leaves. This fo r this i mage I would suggest using a faster shutter to still the leaves, the lake would not have ended up looking that rough. There are methods of using a faster shutter to freeze the motion of the leaves and a slow shutter to really soften the water and then blend the images to create a final result, but this practice is not allowed in PSA nature photography.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Pictorially you have submitted a pleasant scene. There is nothing really wrong. The color is adequate, other than the leaves, mentioned previously, the image is sharp and there is a strong diagonal leading line coming from the left to move the eye through the image. However, for me there is little impact and the image strikes me as ordinary with little to lift it above a hundred similar images.



NATURE SCORE 1-Nature story minimal or contains unrelated hand of man

TECHNICAL SCORE 2-Average exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 2-Average composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 5


This Review is written by: Louis P

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
you certainly captured a wonderful, relaxing moment! wonderful 3 D-like image

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
wonderful technique; sharp in 3 dimensions; colors are wonderful

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
very emotional; makes you feel like you are right there in person

NATURE SCORE 3-Nature story strong

TECHNICAL SCORE 3-Excellent exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 3-Excellent compo sition a nd impact

TOTAL SCORE 9


This Review is written by: Jodi S.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
bend in river invites the viewer into the peaceful scene.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Noise is distracting. Vignetting on treetops beginning on the moutain range on the left and following through the edges of the trees and clous is somewhat distracting.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Bright white cloud in sky and reflectionpulls eye to center of picture, but away from the beauty of the river and trees. Blissfully peacerful

NATURE SCORE 2-Nature story of avera ge strength (portrait)

TECHNICAL SCORE 2-Average exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 2-Average composition and impact

EXTRA POINT 0-No extra point

TOTAL SCORE 6

I am a retired banker who has been creating images since my early 20’s. Starting off in film photographs and had my own darkroom. Now with digital photography, I enjoy my digital darkroom. I live in Arizona for the winter and British Columbia for the summer months. This gives me a lot for opportunity for a variety landscapes and wildlife. Hiking is my favourite activity and provides a great source for my images. I use a Sony a6000 mirrorless camera and have a Sony G f/4 18-105mm and Sony G f4.5-6.3 70-350mm lenses. For my digital darkroom I use Lightroom, Photoshop and Luminar AI.