Study Group 2

Butch Spielman

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Title:  Forever Hungry

Goal:   Came to a rookery later in the season. The chicks had grown to a significant size. I noted that the distribution of food was determined by which chick got to the food first. These Roseate Spoonbills ate the food regurgitated by the parent. I was surprised at how deep the chicks would insert their bills into their parent's gules's. This image was the best that I have of this behavior. 

Equipment / Source:   Canon 5D III and a Canon 100-400mm 

Technique:  Shot at f/8.0, 1/1600 and ISO 500; hand-held

Processing:    Dodge and Burn; slight sharpening

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

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Title:   With Full Nuptial Plumage the Mating Season Begins 

Goal:     I was trying to capture interaction between birds at a rookery. Noticed these two with their pink-red lores and fancy feathers.

Equipment / Source:     Canon 5D III Ef 400 f/4 DO ISII + 1.4 III

Technique:   Patient observation. Shot hand-held at f5.6 1/2000 ISO 800

Processing:    Crop, de-noise and adjustment of white on birds to show as much information as possible

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

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

Review by Mike P.
A very nice capture of the birds. The action or story telling wasn't particularly strong, however. The focus was especially sharp. The background trees offered a perfect backdrop to set off their feathers. Technically, it appeared a bit too dark. However, that might be due simply to variations in monitors. From a composition perspective, I didn't find a strong element. Since the birds were separated, my eyes seemed to center on the large green space between them. This was a good shot that slightly missed the mark in its composition.
N-2, T-3, P-2, E-0, Total-7
Review by Eran P.
Egrets are such an elegant species! This ritual is a sight to behold, much less capture an image of the actual event. This one gets an "E" for sure. The Nature Story is strong, and the detail is really vibrant. I also like how they keep their eyes locked on each other during the dance.
N-3, T-3, P-3, E-1, Total-10
Review by Gregory L.
Very nice shot of Snowy Egrets in mating plumage. Looks like the male on top strutting his stuff for the female below. Great story value here. The photo is nice and sharp and the exposure on the birds is excellent. I had similar photos here that others have said the background is too busy but there is not much you can do about that, I don't have a problem with it. Great job. 
N-3, T-3, P-3, E-0, total-9
Review by Manu R.
Beautiful image and I love the composition. The birds with white feathers in the dark greet background provides the contrast. Good capture
N-3, T-3, P-3, E-0, Total-9
Review by commentator Rick C.

Since they don’t get married, we’ll call it breeding plumage rather than nuptial plumage. I feel you succeeded in capturing what you were after almost to perfection. The breeding plumage and color in the lores and feet show well. The wing position and raised crest feathers add to the story. The technical and composition are good with the sole exception that I feel you have let the bulk of the whites get to dark, even for this lighting. I’m seeing whites that are sub 200. I moved this over to a second monitor that was not corrected for a proper brightness level and it definitely looks better. Check your monitor brightness. 

N-3, T-3, P-2, E-1 = 9 (P-2 white levels)

Review by Louise H, 2-2-2017
I love the coloring of the birds against the green of the foliage. nice focus and good nature story it looks like survival of the fittest.  
N-3, T-2, P-3, E-0, Total-8


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.