Study Group 2

Andy S. Hayes, ARPS, EFIAP

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Title:  Cheetah teamwork
Goal:   This day I was tracking the five cheetah boys again as they had been such prolific hunters.
The weather was dull, overcast and the first rains had started. It was getting late in the afternoon before the boys started to look for prey. The gaol was to capture them in action and hopefully a head on shot facing me. Apart from the poor light this turned out reasonably well.

Equipment / Source:   Canon 1DX MkII, Canyon EF 200-400mm f/4 IS USM EXT, 280mm, ISO8000, f/7.1, 1/640 sec

Technique:    I followed the five cheetah boys for several hours in very low light and stormy conditions. It rained in Mara that afternoon and the guys got wet. They had a few abortive attempts at hunting which ended with the killing of this young warthog. After capture they ran around chasing each other for a bit of the prey.
The poor light resulted in high ISO but I was reluctant to open the aperture as trying to keep five focused in the frame was difficult enough.

Processing: LR Classic CC, Increased exposure, Took back the contrast, Little Clarity and dehaze, Sharpened Lighten and saturated the eyes.

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

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


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Bandhavgarh Tiger

Goal:    To find tigers and to take photos of them in their natural environment we as little distractions as possible.
Equipment / Source:  Canon 1DXMkII, 200-400 1.4x Ext
Sirui Monopod, ISO 2500, 400mm, f/5.6, 1/400sec
 Searched for tigers in Gypsy Jeeps. Once located sat with a tigress and three 2 year old cubs to see what they would do. Remarkably the tigress and cub both killed a wild boar each and a cub killed a spotted deer. Difficult to get clean shots due to bamboo undergrowth, low light and other photographers!

Had to warm up the images and carryout a lot of processing to minimise the bamboo between me and the cub. The use of dehaze in specific areas did help.

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

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

Review by commentator Rick C.

As an image of a nature subject this is excellent in my opinion. The nature story is enhanced by having the tiger carrying a portion of the prey. Core focus and sharpness are both spot on. The DOF is very good for the subject and conditions. I can see some of the slight diffusion that we see when there is intervening vegetation or other objects, such as the slight blur to the right of the tiger or the one across the lower part of the back leg on our left. These do not bother me in the least. I am somewhat concerned by your comment that you had to do a lot of processing to minimize the bamboo between you and the cub. As we all know, if this involved replacing or rebuilding parts of the image or using a tonal separation technique to eliminate unwanted color or texture, it would no longer qualify as a nature image under PSA nature rules. There does seem to be some pattern repetition in the upper left corner. The black specks around the cub are insects and therefore not an issue. From a pictorial perspective, I would use the Sharpen Tool on the eyes only to boost the crispness there.

If nothing was done the violates the PSA Nature allowed adjustments I would score this a 10. If a disallowed adjustment were made, the Nature score would be zero and the total 7. I just can’t tell from the comment you made which is the case.

Review by Mike P.
Nice capture. I feel the tiger running directly toward me.
N-3, T-2, P-3, E-0, Total-9

Review by Les L.
Sounds like you had very good luck viewing all that tiger and her cubs action. This is a nice nature shot under, as you describe, difficult conditions. I not sure what the tiger is carrying but must be prey. 
N-2, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-6

Review by Dennis H.
Well captured nature image of tiger with kill. Good colour and detail on head. Always hard to to get clean images in heavy jungle and other photographers in the way. Well done.
N-3, T-2, P-3, E-0, total-8

Review by Ken W.
Good nature story of Tiger with food. Good detail on tiger, good sharpness on fur, whisker, eyes. 
N-3, T-3, P-3, E-1, Total-10

Review by Hattie S.
Great shot of the tiger. I can hardly focus at 70mm sometimes, your focus are super. Nice job to hide all the grass away from the attention.
N-3, T-2, P-3, E-1, Total-9

Review by Fran M.
She is absolutely lovely. Great capture.
N-3, T-3, P-3, E-0, Total-9

Review by Georges D.
A really great picture. The head of the animal, which should be the principal point of interest is well in focus. The atitude of the animal is uncommon (we do not see that so often). The background being out of focus to keep our attention on the animal. Only one critic: The crop might be a little be tight. I would suggest more area shown at the bottom, to see the path where the animal is heading to.
N-3, T-3, P-2, E-0, Total-8

Response to a critique by Andy Hayes:
Hi Rick
I went back to the file and all the work was done through the adjustment brush. The main change using the dehaze. I was trying to reduce the distraction from the OOF bamboo and grass. 
Here is the original file:

Response by Rick:
Since all adjustments are within those allowed I would score it 10.



I was born in Prestwick, Scotland and travelled to many parts of the world with my father who was in the Royal Air Force. Now living in historic village of Fettercairn in Kincardineshire, Scotland with my wife Hilary and 'Smokey' the cat. Semi retired construction industry owner and business consultant. Grampian representative of the Royal Photographic Society, member of Brechin Photographic Society. (Est 1888), Dundee Photographic Society and a Scottish Photographic Federation Judge. Much of my photography was aviation photography but about 10 years ago I returned to Wildlife photography, mostly in Scotland, but with trips to Kenya and India.