Study Group 2


Bruce Finocchio (B)

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FEBRUARY 2020 ROUND
Title:    Lioness with Cub in Her Mouth
 
Goal:   As we arrived at Ndutu Lodge in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, we found out and saw two lionesses in the Ndutu marsh with eleven cubs. They must have used the marsh as a denning area for there was some high dry ground in the middle of the marsh. It was the time that the lionesses were moving out of the marsh to bring and introduce the lion cubs to the pride. The lionesses kept trying to pick up the smaller cubs to help them along. Thus, the goal was to get a cub in the lioness’s mouth.  

Equipment / Source:    Canon 7D Mark II body, 600 mm f4.0 IS lens, with a 1.4x teleconverter III, 1/1600 sec at f11, ISO 1600, Aperture Priority, Evaluative Metering

Technique:   Taken on a bean bag from the top of a Safari Land Rover with a foot plate on the lens for added stability. 

Processing:    For the composition, I flipped the image so the lioness was on the right side, so our western eyes would travel in from the left. It seems to work better even though the cub was looking the other way. I darkened the light hot spots on both the lioness and cub’s ears and the area behind the lioness’ jaw, as well as the area on top of her head. Darken the top strip of bush on the top, so the mind wouldn’t flow up and out of the top of the image. Dfine noise reduction on the background only. Nik pre-sharpening with a mask on the lion bodies.

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

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













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JANUARY 2020 ROUND

Title:    A Male Green-Tailed Towhee Sings His Song From The Top Of A Broken And Old Tree Stump 
  
Goal:   To capture a Male Green-tailed Towhee singing. 

Equipment / Source:    Canon 7D Mark II body, EF 600mm f4.0 IS lens, 1/1250 sec at f8, ISO 1250, Aperture Priority, Evaluative Metering. Tripod 

Technique:    I used a photo blind near a water source to hide myself from the birds coming into drink. The Green-tailed towhees were just starting there breeding, so the males would often perch up out in the open for a short time to sing their song and claim their territory.

Otherwise, I have found the Green-tailed towhees are more secretive and reluctant to show themselves than the California Towhees we have in California where I live. I believe in the adage “let them come to you, rather than chasing them.” Using a photo blind is a much more successful technique, than trying to chase birds.  

Processing:    Dfine II noise reduction using a luminance mask through control points. Raw-sharpening by painting on the mask. Mid-tones enhancement using the rbg channel, technique learned long ago and use on most of my images. Viveza control points to even out the background, darkening the light areas and lightening the dark areas. 

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

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

Review by commentator Dan C.

 While not exciting, the pose of the towhee actively singing coupled with distinct markings that permit accurate identification of the bird gives this image a strong and valid nature story, well above it just being a “Here I Am” shot.  A knowledgeable person will easily see that the perch is an old tree stump and not claim the image is hurt by a human element. 

Technically your subject is nicely sharp and the shallow depth of field inherent with your long lens works to isolate the subject from the background.  Your RGB channel technique for middle tone enhancement has been successful as has your use of Define for background noise reduction

Pictorially your presentation is effective.

N3, T3, P3, E0, Total 9


Review by Prasad D

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Male Green-tailed Towhee singing a goal achieved. However, it is a simplistic Portrait.

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I feel that the image is soft at the edges and at the crown. I don't know if the processing might have created the effect.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Nice simplistic Portrait of the bird.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 6


Review by Robert D

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Great moment captured in the middle of a song with his mouth open.

SCORE N (Nature) 3-nature story strong

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
While it is sharp and detailed, I feel the image is a little flat and would benefit a lot by increasing the exposure by a little and the contrast by quite a lot

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Lovely shot. Too much negative space for me.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 7


Review by Dennis A.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Excellent photo. However, I don’t think it has a strong enough story to rate a 3.

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Everything is sharp and not blown out. The feathers are clear and not over sharp. The DOF is good as well.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The framing is good with no distractions in the background. It looks like the bird is in the open. However, there aren’t any harsh shadows from direct sunlight. Well done.

SCORE P (Pictorial Quality) 3-Excellent composition and impact

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 8


Review by Adrian B

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
A nice very clear view of the bird singing: story is there IMHO.

SCORE N (Nature) 3-nature story strong

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Very sharp, with appropriate nice background. Well presented


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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
A pleasing image rather than a strong one. Not a huge amount of interest except for a serious bird lover. I enjoyed looking at it: thank you for sharing it

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 8


Review by Bogdan B

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
The bird singing is a good nature story.

SCORE N (Nature) 3-nature story strong

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Very sharp wings and blurred background. I just miss more sharpness in the eye and beak. You can additionally sharpen it separatelly.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Left side of the image is too large negative space. I Would make a square crop.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 8


Review by Suman B.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
a singing bird is indeed a nature story. beautiful rendering of a singing bird.

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
good separation of subject and background. good DOF. typical triads.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
left to right view flow allows the viewer to look at the marvelous picture.

SCORE P (Pictorial Quality) 3-Excellent composition and impact

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 8


Review by Linda C

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Beautiful bird picture sitting on stump.

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Technical aspects perfect in my eyes. Love the background which makes the bird stand out.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Very nice bird picture; not really having Wow factor.

SCORE P (Pictorial Quality) 3-Excellent composition and impact

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 8


I am a wildlife, nature, and scenic photographer. I now live in San Mateo, after spending most of my adult life in Millbrae. I previously worked full-time for Applied Biosystems and Life Technologies as a senior business analyst. I left this position a few years ago to concentrate on my true passion of nature photography. My Dad was a deer hunter and bought some property in Monterey County, so he could have a place of his own to go deer hunting. We have owned this property since 1946. I grew up spending my summers down there, following in my father's footsteps, hunting quail, dove, and black tailed deer--using a b-b gun, graduating up to a powerful hunting rifle. When I was eighteen I had to kill a black-tailed buck up close shooting him in the neck, since my first shot from afar had only wounded him. I saw death up close and personal, deciding from that moment on I didn't not want to be part of death, but to cherish life instead.

My friends and I do a lot of bird photography at my ranch in rural Monterey County, using photo blinds extensively; and recently we have built a few permanent ponds to attract wildlife.

I was a Minolta user, but switched to Canon in 2001. I used to shoot extensively with slide film; now I strictly use digital camera bodies, specifically the Canon 7D and 40D bodies, previously the Canon D1 Mark II and as backup the Canon 20D. I primarily use RAW capture, and process the images in Photoshop. I recently upgraded to CS5, and also have many external hard drives to store my raw files.


Check out Bruce's nature blog at www.brucefinocchio.wordpress.com and his website at www.dreamcatcherimages.net