Study Group 2


Todd Grivetti (C)

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JUNE 2020 ROUND
Title:    The Hunt

Goal:    To capture images of wildlife in Yellowstone National Park during a winter trip. The harshness of the winter in the park on wildlife is very unforgiving and some animals can be opportunistic while others struggle to survive.
This Red tail fox was pacing along the Madison river in the lower geyser basin during our first day out on snowmobiles. As you can see by the color, these foxes can blend in very well. Although there is not a lot of food source available here, the occasional mouse or shrew could be enough to "wet" the appetite.  

Equipment/Source:    First, during the winter, you need a snowmobile or snow coach to enter the park. We scheduled two days with a guide service to do a tour which allowed us to be a little more flexible with spending time to capture some shots. During this trip I was isolated with my Canon EOS T3, 75-300mm or the 18-55 mm lenses. All shots were hand held and while attempting to ensure limited camera shake d/t the weather, it did become a bit challenging. Lens for this shot was a Canon EF 75-300 f/4-5.6 USM. 

Technique:    I was able to track the fox fairly closely at 300mm with the camera. Settings were ISO 400, f/5.6, Tv 1/1500 sec., no exp. bias. The was handheld while shooting from a standing position along the walkway in the geyser basin. 

Processing:     Utilizing LR, I cropped the image down and adjusted so that the fox was more toward the left with ample room in front to give the perceived forward movement. I modified color, profile, and light to enhance the colors of the foliage and fox with some additonal contrast. I use the radial gradient to work on sharpening the fir and enhancing the fox further. 

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 Rick C.
Nature story - The snow adds to the sense of season for this capture. It also helps to put the full, thick coat of fur in better context. The behavior is not strong enough to raise this above an environmental portrait.

Technical quality – Unfortunately, the limitations of your gear and the movement of the fox left you with an image the lacks significant sharpness. The exposure is reasonable for the lighting you had. I see no need to push the whites or mid tones any harder to open them up as they speak to the flat lighting that you were working with.

Pictorial quality – Your framing and composition are fine. The flat lighting holds back on the impact value and the lack of sharpness weakens the interest value significantly.

The lack of sharpness in at least the fox holds the image back and keeps it to a value of 5 for me.


Review by Rich F

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
This image shows a fox walking in a wintry scene. It is a portrait of a fox and does not show anything about it behaviour.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Not sure how much you cropped the image but it looks rather soft. I don't think you missed focus since I don't see any particularly sharp area elsewhere in the image. At 1/1500 there should not have been motion blur. I would check your equipment to ensure that the lens is working well.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The image is interesting show the fox walking. I think that there is t oo much negative space about the fox and a tad bit too much water in the picture. If I were to crop it I would take a bit off the left and make a panoramic image.I would consider flipping the image left / right.

SCORE 5


Review by Dave F.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Nice photo of the fox and you show more of the environment of which he is in.

SCORE N (Nature) - 3


TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Image appears to be sharp and colors for that time of the year appear to be true.

SCORE T (Technical Quality) - 3


PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Some might say to crop the top but I think showing the environment is a part of the image. It is a shame that you didn’t get the shot as he was crossing the little creek behind him.

SCORE P (Pictorial Quality) - 2


SCORE 8


Review by Robert D

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
An image of a fox. The image does not convey anything much beyond that there is a fox walking amidst winter foliage and snow

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Fair exposure but lacks sharp definition and detail. The black are behind the tail is distracting.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
As with most photography, the main subject should dominate the I'm age. Her the fox is a small fraction of the image space. It's environment dominates the scene. I wonder if the eyes could be lightened.

SCORE 5


Review by Rick D.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Very nice shot of a Red Fox. I relate well with your comments about Yellowstone in the winter or early spring. I was there in Feburary and we used the snow bombardiers. It was quit an adventure!

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Your technical work appears pretty good. However, the focus on the fox does not look sharp. 1/1500 sec should provide plenty of speed for a very sharp image. The immediate environment seems sharp. Did you employ the IS on your lens?

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I appreciate your comments on the crop, especially leaving roo m to mov e on the right side on the image. It seems that many photographers have not grasped that important concept. But, due to the
earth tones of the fox and the environment, I feel a slightly tighter crop, while maintaining the same aspect, would make the fox more prominent. As it is, he blends in with the environment and makes the eye search to find him.


SCORE 6


Review by Saswati C

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Nice ambiance shot depicting a beautiful nature story.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Shallow DOF.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Ambiance is beautiful, but the fox is in slightly soft focus. Otherwise it is a good presentation.

SCORE 7


Review by Bruce F

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
I like the movement of the legs; I think they add to the nature story and show the fox moving along the edge of this river. The habitat is well shown. My preference would have moved in tighter to enlarge the subject within the frame. As now the subject is only 10% of the image, getting in tighter allows us to see more of the fox and its spirit, while still including enough of the environment to show habitat. Also as presented, the light of life within its eye is hard to discern, enlarging the subject would help us see the eye and its life force better, especially if you lighten it a bit in post-processing.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I like the overall color of the grasses at this time of year. They mirror the color of the fox’s fur very well, adding a camouflage element. I might add a little more overall contrast and bright the mid-tone values slightly. I think this might add a little pop to the diffuse lighting.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I would crop off some from the top it’s not adding much to the story, the bottom part with the rocks, the creek flowing in, and the river are much more exciting.

SCORE 8






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MAY 2020 ROUND

Title:     Calypso Cascades
   
Goal:    To capture the natural landscape while isolating cascading water 
 
Equipment/Source:  Canon EOS T3, Canon 18-55mm IS 1:3.5-5.6 at 18 mm   

Technique:   Camera Settings: ISO-100, f/13, tV 1/10 sec, focal length 18mm. Landscape Custom mode, and Image Quality - RAW. I did use a Tripod due to the slow exposure speed.

The Ouzel falls/lake trail begins at an elevation of approx. 8,500 feet at the Wild Basin Ranger station. This is a remote trail, but one that is easy-moderate. This location is approximately 3.1 miles in from the trailhead. The trail is well maintained, running along the South St. Vrain creek then when crossing one of the first bridges at Copeland falls, you begin to follow the North St. Vrain Creek up to Calypso cascades and then Ouzel Falls.Further beyond the falls is Ouzel Lake which is approx. 5 miles from the trail head.

This shot was actually taken in a vertical composition and I cropped it down to this landscape version to focus on the isolated water cascading over the rocks near the foot bridge that crosses the river. I set the camera up on the tripod and composed the shot vertically to capture the water coming down over the top of the cascades. I captured three images with three different stops f/13, f/16, f/22, also changing the ISO from 100, 160, and 320. This was the image that I chose. Most landscape shots are shot with the lowest ISO (100). In the original rendition, there was too much sky and foreground clutter, I wanted to focus on this specific location in the frame.   

Processing: 
  In LR, I took the original vertical image and cropped it down significantly to this landscaped version, totally isolating the middle 1/3 of the entire image to this.

Looking at the histogram, I wanted to ensure that neither side was hitting the edges as much as possible. The majority of the dynamic range is in the middle of the histogram. To help enhance the Raw image, I chose the Artistic 04 profile bringing out the richness in the color of the rocks and plants. In the light sliders, I decreased exposure to -.64, contract -33, increased highlights +49, Shadows +100, whites -69, blacks +19. I also utilized tonal curves to modify other aspects of the overall image. Using the color sliders, I adjusted the orange colors to bring out the color of the rocks and afternoon light. Effects slider; added +21 clarity and left everthing else at 0. I also utilized split toning in the shadows and brougth them up a little more for richness. Being this was shot at a wide angle, I did need to add some sharpening in the detail sliders and just a hint of noice reduction. In optics sliders, I generally will check both Chromatic aberration and lens correction unless this is done on the camera. 
  

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

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

Review by commentator Tom S.

You have good composition and nice color on the rocks and vegetation but there are two problems.  The first is the very bright water at the top of the image.  The second is the whole image is very flat and needs more contrast.  Increasing contrast makes it much better, but the bright water at the top is just blown out and nothing can be done to fix it. A great situation for high dynamic range.

 N2, T1, P3, E0  = 6 


Review by Larry T

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
While this is beautiful capture of a cascade there is little in the image to demonstrate a nature story. From the view presented this could be any season of the year other than winter. The image may demonstrate erosion, but not enough to raise the story level above average

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The most technical aspects of the capture for the most part appear to work. The most egregious error if the completely blown section near the top of the cascade. For me this is an absolute deal breaker. The use of the tripod, as you noted allowed for the longer exposure.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
As a nature image the processing techniques shown are a considerably overdone.
At first look I find it stunning. But then the naturalist in me kicks in and for me this begins to fall apart. What you have created is a "fine art" interpretation of the cascade. This is a style that is becoming more popular with the introduction of more AI technology. While the look of the water has instant appeal (remember I said it was stunning) the scene, at least for me looks fake. In this rendition Nature has become too crisp, to clear and too sharp.


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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 6


Review by Haru N.
Beautiful fall image. Texture of wet rocks and silky water is well described. Good lighting with light spot and shadow, which is also well described here. I wanted to see vertical position even after cropping to present stream of water longer from top to bottom, which I think provide more stronger impact on the image. 
NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
It would be better to have element to support nature story.

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Excellent description of texture of wet rocks and silky water by selecting the right setting. Good sharpness as well.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I prefer to see vertical composition and focus on the main stream, taking the right small stream out from the image. That's would give stronger impact.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 7


Review by Charlie Y

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
to the goal, capture a cascading water, that you succeed at that. However, a common landscape shot of little visible nature behavior. could only render a score of weak 2, or perhaps 1,

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
image seems reasonable, but look into details, the sharpness is not quite there even for the non-moving rocks, or ghosting around the edge. While don't get why the adjustment on the image, so, I reverse what you did, and attempt to see what's the image looked like after shot, without and changes. Which l et me see what're you trying to do, 1) overexposed on one area of water, which can be locally adjusted, without overall the entire image. The original image to me, looks better!

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
average picture composition, although water seems to your focus, but not compelling in light/shadow, to show off the main character. Image your original in vertical form, the lighted water area might just tell more of the story than this.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 4


Review by Janice R

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
This is a nice image of the falls. The rocks are beautiful and reflect the story of life next to the stream.

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I was surprised to read that your histogram wasn't hitting the right side as the top of the falls appear to be blown out on my monitor. I love the colors of the rocks and think they are well exposed but the water appears grey. In my opinion the whole image lack contrast and except for the hot spot, seems underexposed. The DoF is appropriate for the subject and your shutter speed provided for some pleasing blur of the water.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I like the composition of this image. The placement of the plants in an implied diagonal is pleasing to me as is the prominence of the color on the rocks. The dullness of the exposure affects the impact.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 5


Review by Louis P

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
fine nature image, but looks un-natural (several areas looked like waterfall was covered in ceranwrap.

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
average exposure because the top of fall was totally blown out and the brightness was very distracting; my guess is that the sun was strongly hitting this area of the falls

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
composition was excellent and had a great impact on me

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 7


Review by Natalie M

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
I find it tricky giving 3 points in a landscape shot, and in this case this is a fairly typical waterfall scene.

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
There appears to be a few problems here with colour balance, and there are patches of blow out whites in the water. Image appears over processed with a distinct lack of texture in the rocks.

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The landscape crop i s approp riate, however the image appears flat and two-dimensional.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 4


Review by Susan N.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Beautiful image, but not processed to look "natural" and hence i give it a low nature score. It is more of a "painterly" effect and would make a great submission for a general photo exhibit or group.

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Nice focus, cropping, color. Composition is interesting. Flowing water tells a nice story

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I like the pa interly look for general photography and this one is well presented. The water takes on an interesting sharpness and softness at the same time. It is good for pictoral quality; not good for nature.

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 6

IF APPLICABLE, WHY DESERVING OF EXTRA POINT FOR EXCELLENCE
I like the pictoral presentation.

SCORE E (Exceptional) 1

GRAND TOTAL WITH EXTRA POINT 7


Review by MJ S

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
I think that this is basically a portrait

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

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The contrast between sharpness of the rocks and softness of the water adds a flavor to this image

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

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I like the horizontal orientation and a real wall-hanger

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

TOTAL BASIC SCORE 8

I am a passionate photographer, shooting primarily Landscapes, Nature and Wildlife photography. Living in Colorado, has great opportunities to capture some of the best photographs in the country, and the Rockies always provide a spectacular backdrop.

As a photographer I have taken insights from the professionals whom I admire, such as Ansel Adams, John Fielder, and Thomas Mangelson. Their works inspire me to be the best I can be.

I shoot Canon EOS Rebel t3 and t6 and carry the followin- lenses: Canon EF-S 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II; Canon EF 75-300 mm f/4-5.6 II USM; Tamron SP 150-600 mm f/5-6.3 USD Di, and a Tamron 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5 DiII VC HLD. Being mostly self-taught, I continue to learn every time I am out shooting. I joined PSA to gain more knowledge, develop further relationships with other photographers and to enhance my photography in order to be able to begin competing more and entering art shows. This is a true passion for me and I am glad to be a part of PSA.