Study Group 2

Butch Spielman

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Upload Image and Description
Title:  Summer Wasp

Goal:   I was trying to capture birds with my 100-400 mm lens. Called it a day, and when I stepped off of the 4 wheeler, and I stepped right into this guy. Quickly went to an extension tube and took the shot. Knew that the tube would give a very shallow depth of field, but I could use this lens very quickly and up close. Not a planned shot, but an opportunistic one. This shot was the best of the day since the birds were not cooperating. Shot at f/5.6. 1/2000, Iso 800, 20mm extension tube.

Equipment / Source:   Canon 5D III, 100-400 mm lens. Hand-held.    

Technique:  Hand held.

Processing:    PS hue, sat some dodge and burn and denoising

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

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

Review by Bruce F.
When I do macro photography, because of the inherent depth of field issues, I always try to position myself to get the important parts of the image in the film plane, to render them sharp. I think the angle of view is off slightly. The head and eyes aren’t well shown, the body is the focus of the image, rather than the head and eyes. I would have moved slightly to the right to make the eyes and head more prominent in the image. After all, this is really the most important area of the subject.
After further review, I think that the focus point is on the plant buds below and not on the body of the wasp. These elements appear as the sharpest area in the image.
My preference is to shoot these images on a tripod, then, I can lower the shutter speed and increase the aperture from f5.6 you used to f22 or greater. This would give me a better depth of field rendering most of the subject sharp. If you wait most of these insects have a favorite perch, not all, but with careful watching, you can get your tripod positioned in the right place. This isn’t easy, and doesn’t have the freedom of handheld images, but can produce macro images that have greater depth of field.
I also think that the far wing has some hot spots that attract the viewer. I would tone them down in Nik’s Viveza software. The background is pleasing and has a blue-purple hue that contrasts well with the green buds and stem of the plant.
Slight vignette noticeable but not objectionable. Image subject in the middle, cropping to bring the subject to the left lower quadrant may improve the composition. 
N-2, T-3, P-2, E-0, Total-7
Review by Mike P.
I've had my encounters that those thing! Their stings hurt! You've done a great job of getting this guy, especially since it was hand-holding your camera. The focus is perfect. I love the colors. The green leaf provides a nice backdrop and helps draw the eye in. Very good job.
N-3, T-3, P-3, E-0, Total-9
Review by Les L.
This is a good nature shot. I like the color and sharpness. the wasp stands out well against the gray background.
N-3, T-3, P-3, E-0, Total-9
Review by connie L.
Nice find. It is tough to get these little guys. It is a little soft but good job for handheld.
N-2, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-6
Review by Dennis H.
Interesting capture at last minute. Head and parts of body a little soft. Hard to get a good image when taken in a hurry.
N-2, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-6
Review by Bogdan B.
You have found a beautiful insect. You could make larger DOF with smaller aperture. I think 1/1000 should be enough, if you have IS. I make mostly macros at 400 mm lens with adapter at 1/500.
Here, not just the insect is interesting, also the plant. There's too much free grey space on the left. You could make square cut or tighter landscape without lower leafs. But the main problem is, that the eye of the insect is not sharp.
N-3, T-1, P-2, E-0, total-6
Review by Commentator Dan C.

A deviation from Reddish Egrets to insects.  You have nice detail in the wasp but other than that you have no real story value beyond “here I am”.  That is frequently sufficient with insects depending on the amount of detail you show.  Stronger story value would have been provided had the wasp image shown either predation or feeding on a plant.  This shows neither.  The wasp appears to be one of the Paper Wasp species which normally prey on caterpillars.

Here I am shots generally work with insects depending on just how much detail you reveal with your image.  Examining the image in Photoshop indicates this image can stand a lot of cropping without a loss of image quality.  I recommend cropping this image down and flipping horizontal, the flipping horizontal so the plant acts as a leading line to the wasp.  I would then recommend resizing to the same image size you had originally.  This will enlarge the wasp, and provide more detail about the wasp and hence allowing the viewer to better identify the species.  Better identification does help increase any story value inherent in “Here I am”.  That would bring the nature story up to 2 and the pictorial value up to 3.

N1, T3, P2, E0, Total 6

Upload Image and Description

Title:   Gotcha!

Goal:    I saw this Great Blue Heron feeding in a shallow part of a local lake. Watched this Heron until he made a strike. I got the strike with his head under the water as the first image and the Heron holding his catch as the 2nd image. The ripples in the water in the 2nd image were the result of the strike. These strikes are unbelievably fast. I decided to use the 2nd image.

Equipment / Source:   Canon 5D MarkIII, Tamron 150-600mm. Hand held.

Technique: Just waited until the strike came. Held the camera at the ready .

Processing:   PS CC Camera Raw, sharpening, Viveza 2 

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

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

Review by Mike P.
Excellent focus and very sharp feathers. Although you captured it after catching a fish, there still didn't seem much more here than a portait of a bird standing in the water. Perhaps this could have been enhanced if you had caught the image as it was pulling it out of the water, etc. I also noticed a slight edge between the feathers and blue water background, especially along the head and back. This might be chromatic aberration which you can fix with your processing. I also thought you could crop more from the bottom to bring the focus more on the bird.
N-2, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-6

Review by Louise H.
The Heron is beautiful and very intent on his meal. The eye is sharp, the image tells the story. 
N-3, T-3, P-3, E-1, T-10

Review by Manu R.
Lovely catch for both the egret and You. Great nature action and nice details. I feel if you reduce the base ( Especially since the reflection is blurred and cropped) It will improve the composition.
N-3, T-3, P-2, E-0, Total-8

Review by Azim K-R
Great image, excellent moment. But i think backspace is little bit low. 
N-3, T-3, P-3, E-0, Total-9

Review by Alan L.
Sharp, good story-telling image. The use of third party software may be a touch over done, distorting the bird's natural color. Cropping from the bottom to eliminate some of the refection which does not add, but detracts, would improve the image.
N-3, T-2, P-3, E-0, Total-8

Review by Gregory L.
great Capture of this Heron. This must be saltwater, as it looks like a Pogy fish, or shad. The colors are really good but some different cropping could be done, the tail is a bit close to the edge. I looks like a bit too much sharpening as the slight halo at the right side of the head and the hump on his back. Great shot overall.
N-3, T-2, P-3, E-0, Total-8

Review by Commentator Rick C.

I found this to be a strong image with very good technical qualities and a nice snap from the contrast present in the image. The fish and its position, which shows it struggling, add to the nature story. I don't feel the reflection adds much and debated about cropping up to eliminate the white thing (feather?) in the foreground but I do not feel that such a move is needed for the image to be successful. Well done.

N-3, T-3, P-3, E-1 = 10

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.