Study Group 2

Butch Spielman

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Title:  Fishing by a Reddish Egret 

Goal:    To find a Reddish Egret make a strike 

Equipment / Source:  Canon 7D Mark II, EF400 mm f/4 DO IS II USM  

Technique:   Shot at f/7.1, 1/800 sec ISO 500

  Used Viveza to adjust exposure and to correct colors that were actually seen.

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

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

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Title:  Neotropic Cormorant Drying Wings

Goal:   Capture birds doing things that are integral and necessary for their life. I saw this Neotropic Cormorant in breeding plumage drying his wings at ground level. Most cormorants that I have seen, which were mostly double crested cormorants, obtain drying stations in tree, posts, etc. This bird and others of its kind that I have seen will dry on the ground.

The nootropic cormorant is reported in various bird books as being uncommon. My experience concurs with this description .

Equipment / Source:   Canon 5D III, 150-600mm Tamron, hand held.

Technique:   When I stumbled onto this bird I shot several shots.

Processing:   PS CC Dodge and burn plug-ins moderate color saturation.

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

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

Review by commentator Dan C.

The bird drying its wings provides you with the nature story in this image. You can enhance this story by opening up the shadows under the wings and body some to reveal more feather detail.

I have to question your identification of the bird.  I believe this is an Anhinga, not a Cormorant.  Both need to dry their wings because they lack the natural oils to make them waterproof like a duck’s feathers.  Several factors give me this belief, the main being the bill.  This one is sharply pointed.  A Cormorant’s bill has a hooked tip.  The eye is another clue.  The Cormorant’s eye is blue with no eye ring.  This bird has an eye ring.  Lastly, the Neotropic Cormorant does not have any light grey feathers that are prominent on this bird.  My belief that the subject is not correctly identified is the reason for a 2 for the Nature score instead of a 3.

N2, T2, P3, E0, Total 7

Review by Dennis H.
Good capture of cormorant drying wings. Nice colour and detail on bird's head, neck and edge of wings. Bird's body and underside of wings need lightening to bring out more detail.
N-3, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-7

Review by Bruce F.
A splendid nature image in all aspects expect one. The habitat is there as well as the behavior, producing an excellent example of a Cormorant spreading its wings to dry them. They do this because they have less preen oil than other birds, so their feathers can get soaked rather than shedding water like a duck's. The only thing lacking is head angle; the head and eye are pointed back and are not easily viewable. This is particularly important in nature photography because it represent life and the sacredness life. Hopefully, you caught one like this, only with the head and eye perpendicular to the camera’s film plane. This small yet important detail takes this image up a notch from good one. 
N-3, T-3, P-3, E-0, Total-9

Review by Maria K-L
Nature story is good. Image is well exposed, subject is sharp, light is good.
Background is in focus so subject stand out of the background only by color contrast.
The beak which is similar to grasses is lost. Maybe making many shots would allow to get one when the bird turns head so we can see it better.
N-3, T-3, P-2, E-0, Total-8

Review by Suman B.
missing eye and getting too much details all around which reduces value of nature story. may be burning around a little so that the bird comes out will help the image. may be turning the image in monochrome would enhance the story by putting bird in focus instead of the yellow and greens all around.
N-2, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-6

Review by Bogdan B.
The bird is beautiful. The bottom side of the wings is a little bit underexposed. The beak is very sharp but grey feathers are a little bit soft. The main distraction is busy background. 
N-2, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-6

I am recently retired (chemical engineer/attorney) and I needed something to fill the resultant hole. I have fished and hunted all of my life, but was looking for a “soft” way to enjoy the outdoors and nature. Old age does that to you. I became interested in photography about 4 years ago. My photographic interests are wide in scope but I am now beginning to focus on wildlife. The “nature” category is a challenge.

I am an opportunistic photographer and try to find subjects wherever I go. My main “studios” are the swamps, marshes, woods and bayous of Louisiana. My subjects are mainly birds, flowers, insects, gators, etc. There are some excellent photo opportunities in the spring at the rookeries located in Louisiana’s Acadian (Cajun) country. Great food too!!!

I lean heavily in the direction of shooting “hand-held.” However, I will use a tripod in low light. I shoot Canon (70D and 5D III). I have several lenses, but my go-to lenses are the 24-104 mm 4.0L, 100-400 mm 4.5-5.6L and 70-200 mm 4.0L. Also use converters and extenders. Shoot in RAW and process with Photoshop CC and Nik Software.

I am only now beginning to enter competitions, etc. I have found success and recently won a Best in Show ribbon. I want to learn more (a lot more) and see what others folks are doing.