Study Group 2

Andy S. Hayes, ARPS, EFIAP

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Title: Red and Yellow Barbet 

Goal:   To take images of several birds while waiting to enter Lake Bogoria. The area around the gates had numerous birds and I found this Red and yellow Barbet on top of a termite mound.

Equipment / Source:    1DX
200 - 400 F4 1.4X ext
1/1000 sec f8 ISO 1250 519mm

Technique:  Adjusted settings and walked around the gardens slowly and quietly looking for birds to photograph. Found a few different birds including this one. Hand held. 

Processing:     Cropped. Toned down background. Added a little clarity and sharpening.

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

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The Chase

Goal: Sat with a small pride of Lions on the edge of the river waiting for something to happen. Hoping for the lioness to hunt game coming down to drink. She spotted two warthog at a pool at the edge of the river and started her approach. The two warthog were about 150 mtrs away. She worked her way towards them slowly and one moved away from the river toward the bank. Up she spring and chased the warthog but it was too agile and outpaced her. She turned to look at the other warthog, who hadn't reacted to the commotion, and started to stalk it. The second warthog raised its head to see the lioness heading towards it and the warthog took off towards the bank. The lioness cut off its retreat and the warthog turned in the dry sand and headed towards the river. The lioness turned and the sand flew up, the lioness emerged from the sand with her eyes fixed on the warthog. The chase continued over the wet sand across a pool and back up the river bank. The end was inevitable and the pride ate that afternoon.
Equipment / Source:   1DX MkII
200 - 400 f/4 1.4X

Technique:   Sat in vehicle and waited for something to happen. Positioned myself next to the pride to ensure that I was in the best position whichever way the action started. 

  Quite heavy crop due to eventual distance. I like the long crop as it helps add to the tension. This is one of a sequence of 32 images taken during the stalking and chase. Due to animal and sand colours it was difficult to separate the animals from the background.

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

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

Review by Mike P.
I think this is a well-exposed and focused image. The fast shutter speed certainly captured the action. The frozen movement also carries a strong nature story. You are correct that the distance and sand make it hard to distinguish the warthog. In my opinion, you really don't need the warthog in the image at all. I think the image could be strengthened by cropping in on the lion itself. That is an extremely powerful subject. To me, cropping out the warthog and focusing on the lion only would only add to the drama and keep the viewer wondering what she was after. I give this a 3 for the strong nature element, 3 for the great fast-action capture, focus and exposure, and a 2 because the warthog and lion are far apart and hard to distinguish. Again, I would give this a 3 for pictorial quality and even a exceptional point if the warthog was cropped out and the focus was entirely on the powerful lion and dust she was kicking up.
N-3, T-3, P-2, E-0, Total-8

Review by Eran P.
Great capture. Wide angle shows the chase in full view.
N-3, T-2, P-3, E-1, Total-9

Review by Butch S.
This is an impressive image. Great Nature Story. I see what you are talking about concerning the color of the sand not allowing much visual separation between the sand and the warthog and lion. But that is just what you were presented with. I like your crop as it lets the story to be very well told.

The shutter speed and exposure values gave a nicely sharp and well exposed image even though the action was fast.

Great job!
N-3, T-3, P-3, E-1, Total-10

Review by Gregory L.
You captured a fine shot for sure. The action is perfect as the Lion makes his turn and kicks the sand up as the Warthog runs for his life. Amazing. The pano puts it all into perspective for me, I don't know the rules of pano's in exhibitions. The exceptional point is the way the whole scene looks sharp with a long focal length.  
N-3, T-3, P-3, E-1, Total-10

Review by Louise H.
what a great action shot! The nature story is told through the dirt flying and the expressions on the animals faces great image 
N-3, T-3, P-3, E-0, Total-9

Review by commentator Rick C.

I think you managed to capture an excellent nature story. The sequence must be fascinating to go through. For the conditions you had including the lighting (based on the shadows), I think you did a solid job on the technical side of the capture. I agree that the panel helps with the dynamics of the scene. I don’t see any practical way of knocking the background down tonally so that it doesn’t compete in some manner. I am also loathe to crop to more of a panel to eliminate either the root / branch in the lower right or the green bush in the upper left. There is a warm color cast to the shot. You don’t mention time of day, but I am anticipating that normal waterhole activity is early and late so that you were shooting in warm light. If that isn’t the case, you may want to neutralize that added warmth. I think you have maxed out the capture for the conditions you had. 

N-3, T-3, P-3 = 9 (If we could have found a way to get the hunter and its prey to separate a bit more it could have gotten the additional point.)

Review by Manu R., 2-27-2017
Nice action with great Nature story! The rising dust and the lion in the middle of the dust depicts the action. Attention is going to the log in the back ground which appears in the primary focus. Flat lighting is also not helpful
N-3, T-3, P-2, E-0, Total-8


I was born in Prestwick, Scotland. I 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 and Vice President of Brechin Photographic Society. (Est 1888) Aviation photographer, turned Wildlife photographer.