Study Group 2


MJ Springett (C)

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SEPTEMBER 2019 ROUND
Title:   Wet Loon
 
   
Goal:  Document the nesting behavior of a pair of Common Loons. After a torrential storm I was surprised to see one of the loons still protecting her eggs from water and wind. The beaded water droplets show the resistance to water of her feathers and she is lying low to protect both of the eggs beneath her.
  

Equipment/Source:    Canon 70D and Tamron 150-600mm at 600 mm. f/8 at 1/125" ISO 400

Technique:  Handheld from vehicle blind without stopping on a busy road for long to reveal this site

Processing:    Cropped 30% and stabilized with topaz a1 software, also boosted saturation of the eye with photoshop


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

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

 


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AUGUST 2019 ROUND

Title:   Mallard with Chicks   
 
Goal:    To illustrate the proactive instinct of a female mallard duck toward her chicks  

Equipment/Source:   Canon 70D Tamron 150-600mm lens at 600mm, f/6.3 at1/250", ISO400, Spot metered Aperture priority 
 
Technique:    Sitting in vehicle as a blind, and focusing on female beak,  

Processing:    
Cropped, desaturated background, and sharpened with Topaz SharpenA1 in Stabilizing mode

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

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

Review by commentator Dan C.

You successfully accomplished your goal.  The story is strong as it does show behavior and the interaction between parent and chicks that you were going for.

Technically it appears over exposed.  This may be due to differences in the brightness of my monitor and your monitor.  At the extreme magnification of a 600mm lens, the 6.3 f/stop you used did not really give you sufficient depth of field for all the chicks to be sharp, especially the one under the female’s bill and the one facing her just at the end of her bill. I ran it through Topaz AI Sharpen and was able to improve the sharpness.  I was thinking about assigning a score of 1 for Technical but decided not to penalize you for what might be a difference in equipment used to prepare and view the image.  You might want to download the greyscale jpeg file now on the Nature Study Group Home Page.

Pictorially the composition works very well.  It places emphasis on the chicks and ends with the attentive female mallard.

N3, T2, P3, E0, Total 8


Review by Bogdan B

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
I like these little ducks. Anyway I see this as a group portrait.

SCORE N (Nature) common behavior

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I would like to see sharp also the chicks, not just mother. There's not enough DOF. It seems, that you have desaturated also the birds, so the image doesn't have enough contrast.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I don't like cut chicks and mother. The background is too bussy.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 4


Review by Adrian B

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
I believe you have achieved your goal - this is a nice compact group with a number of young ones. There is a story of mother with children, but not hugely strong I think - more "common behaviour"

SCORE N (Nature) common behavior

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I like the way you have desaturated the background grasses - this helps to make the wildlife more clearly visible. Most of the birds are very sharp and there is good feather detail.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The initial first look of the image shouts a fussy amount of detail. But a few seconds later, I realised that you had timed the shot well, with a good number of eyes visible. But still not a huge impact image, despite the fact that I do like it.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 7


Review by Robert D

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Very pleasing image. A goods nature moment showing a mother and her chicks.

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Would have liked more space around the main subjects. Image is a little flat. Increase saturation. Decrease the exposure. Suggest add some contrast and saturation to bring out the colors.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
With added punch and space it would be very attractive

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 5


Review by Linda C

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Cute picture but common gathering.

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Out of focus. I think more saturation would improve. I believe it is cropped too much.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Composition decreases impact.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 4


Review by Dennis A.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
It meets the definition of nature photo and contains the story of mommy duck watching her young.

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Nice picture of mommy duck (assuming it is not daddy) and her brood. However, it seems a little flat and some of the chicks look blurred (from movement?). Also, some of the feathers on the chick under the mommy’s bill looks blown out. I’m not familiar with the lens used, but it would have helped to have a smaller DOF to blur the background.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I like the cropping. However, once I noticed the eye of the chick to the right of the mother’s neck that is the first thing I see whenever I look at this picture.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 6


Review by Suman B.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
average shot. not much behaviour showing that could be applauded

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
overall sharp but slightly softer due to the low aperture used

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
colour balance is okay but since it's your shot may be a little drama could be adopted in an otherwise mundane shot.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 6


Review by Bruce F

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
The nature story is strong and enhanced by the eye-level view. This low eye level really strengthens the intimate nature of the image. The reed habitat is included and sets the scene as to where they live. I don’t mind that the female and mother mallard is cropped and the whole body is not shown. The cropping is done well and intentional.

SCORE N (Nature) 3-nature story strong

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Depth of field is adequate, and the sharpness sufficient even with an f6.3 aperture choice.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The eyes of all but one chick that’s behind the mother is shown, even though there is some merger of the chicks’ bodies. Therefore, the decisive and capture moment is a good one. The long panoramic frame choice is excellent. The soft diffused light adds to the overall pictorial qualities of the image.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 9

















Photography has always been my go-to activity when I have had spare time. My work as a cell biologist meant that data was recorded on film, developed and printed in a darkroom, and delivered to a principal research scientist. With the advent of digital photography the darkroom work was replaced by Photoshop but little else changed. Upon retirement, I now have time to pursue wildlife, landscape, and especially birds as my photographic subjects. We moved 100 miles north to be near a wildlife refuge that represents the glacial lakes and pine barrens of Wisconsin. We also enjoy the badlands of North Dakota and Theodore Roosevelt National Park.