Study Group 2

Andrew Hayes, ARPS, EFIAP·

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Armani Cubs in the Rain

Goal:  I was looking for some cat action and came across Armani and her three cubs. I stayed with the group for a couple of hours knowing that see would hunt at some stage. 
Following her was difficult as the authorities had banned off road driving due to a recent incident. She moved several times during the afternoon but despite the heavy rain she managed to capture a full grown Thomson gazelle with a very short chase.
This image is of the cubs standing in a heavy downpour. I did get the action but felt this was a different story. It always amazes me that they don't take shelter.   
Equipment / Source:   Olympus E-M1 MkII
40-150 2.8 + 1.4x converter
ISO 2000
1/500 sec
 Followed Armani and cubs as best we could and due to heavy rain had to shoot when I could. I like the way the rain is evident and blurs the image. It's not always about the ideal image sometimes the story is the image. Cold wet and hungry, but they did eventually get to eat and the sun and mum dried them off.  

LR Classic CC
I now use AUTO in the tone panel and make a few tweaks. Add clarity and sharpening.

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Title:  White Rhino and Calf
Goal:   I start my Kenya trips by visiting Meru NP for a couple of days. My prime objective is rhino and big elephants. The park has a large area fenced off as a rhino sanctuary. On my first morning I saw 16 white rhino and on the second day 23 white rhino. They were in groups of up to five. This year I didn't see any black rhino. A family of black rhino had been poached earlier in the year.

Equipment / Source:   On this occasion I didn't take my 5DSR and 70-200 2.8 but took the Olympus E-M1 MkII, 40-150mm f2.8 and the 1.4xt. It's a micro 4/3rds and I was trying to evaluate it. I had an intermittent fault with the 200-400, requiring me to manual focus, so the E-M1MkII had to step up to the mark and I can confirm that it covered 95% of my needs. The physical differences in size and weight are substantial. I have printed comparison images and can see no appreciable difference at A4 and A3.
Handheld. ISO 800 52mm f/8 1/400sec Taken around 8.00am on a cloudy day.

Technique:    We arranged with the rangers to get in to the sanctuary very early so that we could be at the open marsh area before the rhino woke up and headed for the surrounding bush. It worked perfectly as we found the rhino making their way across the marsh as the sun rose.

Processing:  LR Classic CC. Im using the auto tone and making minor adjustments after saving me considerable processing time.

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

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

Review by commentator Dan C.

Your nature story is nice with this image due to showing both the adult and the calf. You do not always need a lot of action to show a valid story. 

Technically your exposure is good. You have adequate sharpness on the rhinos but the skin appears a bit soft.  You can improve that appearance and add to the story by showing the skin’s texture using the structure slider in Lightroom or NIK Viveza.

Pictorially you made a good decision by cropping to a panel.  It focuses the viewer on the animals.  I did look at it flipped horizontal due to my preference of encountering living creatures but in this case decided not to recommend it.  I liked what it did for the adult but did not like the results with the calf.

N3, T3, P3, E0, Total 9

Review by Larry T.
I should preface this critique by stating that this is my first month on the Nature Study Group. I have read the description of what a Nature Photo is supposed to entail and it clearly states The story telling value of a photograph must be weighed more than the pictorial quality while maintaining high technical quality. When you state that you goal is “rhino and big elephants” I do not find that this meets the criteria of story telling. Therefore according to the guideline this image cannot score more than a 2 in the Nature portion as it appears to be little more than a “here I am” image.

In that the day was cloudy, and the animals are slowly moving the technical settings appear to be adequate to capture the image. However, I f eel that the animals seem to appear a bit soft. The grasses in front both animals seem to be sharper than the animals themselves.

The composition is adequate to display both animals. Although I would prefer to see a bit more space in front of the lead rhino so as to provide room for it to move within the frame. You have captured an eye in both animals which helps the viewer to establish contact with the animals. Finally there is no evidence of impact. This appears to be just an image of two rhinos walking through grasses. I’m sure there is a thrill attached to being this close to these incredible animals but to me that is not imparted in the image.
N-2, T-2, P-2, E-0, total-6

Review by Bruce F.
Like your choice of framing, going with the long and skinny panoramic framing. Technically solid with diffused lighting greatly helping here. Solid focus and good overall sharpness. The calf leading helps the nature story a bit, and the inclusion of a small part of the well-worn trail adds subtlety to the story, but overall the image lacks strong behavior and drama. 
N-2, T-3, P-3, E-0, total-8

Review by Dennis H.
Nice nature story with adult rhino and calf. Good colour throughout image. I feel the animals a little soft and lack some detail.
N-3, T-2, P-3, E-0, total-8

Review by Rich F.
Good story telling image of mother (?) and child. The image is well exposed and processed well. There is a slightly blurry effect on the child rhino, either due to animal motion or that the head in particular may be slightly different plane of focus. I believe the latter is true. Not sure how well the camera handles higher ISO but if it does, I would have increased the ISO and shutter speed by a stop. Also if there is room to the right of the child rhino.
N-3, T-2, P-3, E-0, total-8

Review by Bogdan B.
The animals are clear seen and surrounded by proper eniroment. The image is clear and the lightning is good.
N-3, T-3, P-3, E-0, total-9

Review by Suman B.
The fact that the two horn rhinos are getting extinct is what elicits response from this picture. the focusing is a little bit soft and the grass is pretty much sharp against the skin of the Rhino. the hidden legs are also taking away marks. the child and the mother white Rhino is a good documentation of the White Rhino. composition-ally a little space is needed on the front part of the smaller Rhino. 
N-2, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-6

Review by Georges D.
This is a nice picture. The posture of the animals shows movements. The background is not so distracting. It seems that the sky at that time was not sunny but instead overcast and this helped to create this soft environment.
The only critic I would make concerns the croping. Although the format of the cropping (may be 16/9 ratio) is a good choice, but I would have preferred to see a little bit more of the environment around the animals (less cropping).
N-3, T-3, P-2, E-0, Total-8



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, a Scottish Photographic Federation Judge & Speaker and PSA Scottish Liaison Officer and Membership Director. Much of my photography was aviation photography but about 15 years ago I returned to Wildlife photography, mostly in Scotland, but with annual trips to Kenya and India.