Study Group 2

Dennis Hill (B)

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Upload Next Month's Image and Description
Title:    Ring tailed Lemurs

Goal:    To photograph Lemurs at Melbourne Zoo

Equipment/Source:    Nikon D300 Lens 200-400mm f/4 VR. Digital Raw File @400mm f/7.1 1/200sec ISO 800 WB Auto Matrix Metering  

Technique:   Image taken mid afternoon across moat to an island where breeding Ring Tailed Lemurs are kept. Monopod used. 

Processing:    File adjusted in Camera Raw LR & PS. Image cropped, Tone Curve adjustment, Noise reduction in Lightroom. PS. Layers for dodging & burning. Adjustment layer for Luminosity sharpening.

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

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

Review by commentator Rick C.

Pictorially and technically I feel you have crafted an excellent image. The eyes pull the viewer right in. The position of the tails and near feet create strong repeating elements that engage the viewer and, in the case of the tails, help to lead the viewer’s eye through the image. The issue, as I am sure you are already aware, is the platform. Zoo or captive subjects are fine, but there is no instance in which I feel a judge would consider the platform to be anything other than an unrelated hand of man element. That is the sole flaw in the image and even then only as it relates to a nature image, but it would be sufficient in a nature section to result in a DQ in my opinion. Send this one out to the PIDC sections. It is that good. 

N-0, T-3, P-3, E-1 = 7 (N-0 Platform would result in DQ in my opinion.)

Review by Mike P.
I like the way you composed the image. I also think the soft background works well. The nature story isn't terribly strong as it appears more of a portrait.
N-2, T-3, P-3, E-0, Total-8

Review by Les L.
My eye is immediately drawn to the Lemurs big eyes. They put pop in the photo. The image is a nice portrait but has limited nature exposure. Unfortunately the image is a little soft, I think because it was shot from 400 mm at only 1/200 sec. I also would prefer that the background had more green to better augment the brown Lemurs.
N-2, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-6

Review by Hattie S.
Nice capture of the animals. I love how the background works with the subjects. The framing is a bit tight for me, maybe leave a bit more room on the right side of the frame. Just a question about nature photo (I'm new here), does photos of animals in a zoo count for nature category? In what criterias? 
N-2, T-3, P-3, E-0, Total-8

Review by Ken W.
Nice image, the lemur looks like it is sitting on a board which could be a problem with a nature image. Good eye detail, sharp photo, good exposure, good blur on background
N-2, T-3, P-3, E-0, Total-8

Review by Fran M
That is a lovely study of the Lemurs. Well captured, well executed. 
N-2, T-3, P-3, E-0, Total-8

Review by Butch S.
I question whether or not the perches found in the zoo for the Lemurs causes a problem in regard to the hand of man prohibition. I would guess that it does. Thus, add least a Nature value of 1. But I ask for Dan to provide his guidance here.

Technically and pictorially I would give this image high marks
N-1, T-3, P-3, E-0, Total-7

Upload Next Month's Image and Description

Title:   Noisy Miner 

Goal:   To photograph native birds at Ruffeys Lake East Doncaster 12 mile N/E of Melbourne.  

Equipment/Source:    Nikon D7200, lens Nikon 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 V.R.
Digital Raw file @400mm f/7.1 1/640 Sec ISO 1250 WB Auto Matrix Metering  
Technique:    Image taken late morning walking around lake with Birdlife Melbourne on our monthly outing. Selected this image as I thought it unusual.
Hand held.

File adjusted in Camera Raw LR & PS. Image cropped, Tone curve adjustment. Layers for Dodging & Burning. Adjustment Layer for Luminosity Sharpening

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

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

Review by commentator Dan Charbonnet

You captured and appealing and humorous image of this Australian Honeyeater.  The position of the bird provides an insight to their behavior.  Admittedly I do not know if the ruffled neck feathers is an indication this Is a juvenile or due to the position, but I feel it is a juvenile due to the brownish tints in the feathers instead of them being black.

Technically the image Is well handled.  You managed to capture detail in the white underbelly without any of the other areas becoming over exposed. 

Pictorially the image is well arranged for a good flow.  The bird is sharp and the background soft, giving you good separation.

N3, T3, P3, E0, Total 9

Review by Andy H.
Lovely full on shot. Lacks a story, for me, I would need some interaction to add a point. Good exposure, sharp, feet a little soft, well balanced and nothing too distracting in the background. Well composed and has impact. Good catchlight in eye.
N-2, T-3, P-3, E-0, Total-8

Review by Bruce F.
I love the way the bird is hanging down from the branch. You can see the power and strength of its grip by the way the feet curl around the branch. The twist body position give a clear view of the face and eye. Clearly shows the habitat of what look like Eucalyptus leaves. The background leaves fade off in the distance very nicely, which I suspect is from some wonderful diffused lighting.
Post-processing techniques listed, so good control of digital workflow. Two things I might suggest, one, tone down the couple of blue sky patches showing through the upper left background. Make the color less intense and less saturated. This will lessen the flow of the mind away from the bird as it visually considers the image elements. Secondly, I would also tone down the lower white belly feathers a bit. The viewer needs to focus on the face and eye, as the primary visual focus point. 
N-3, T-3, P-3, E-0, Total-9

Review by Bogdan B.
The pose of the bird is really unusual, hanging on thiny plants. The photo is sharp and good exposed. I miss some more colors and the background is too busy.
N-3, T-3, P-1, E-0, Total-7

Review by Georges D.
This is a nice picture which fits very well in the Nature subject. The posture of the bird is quite unusual and this makes this picture rather unique rather than being "dejà vu". The main point of interest is the bird's head which is well in focus and sharp. In fact the whole bird is sharp. It is generally hard to control the background when making such a photo. Sometimes we have distracting branches which are distracting. In this case the bckground is less distracting. The fact of being out of focus helps. One suggestion is that using Photoshop one could darken a little bit the background so has to enhance the interest on the bird. But without exaggeration so as to denature the photo. I dont recall what is exactly permitted in post processing, but it could help.
N-3, T-3, P-2, E-0, Total-8

Review by Suman B.
beautiful capture keeping in mind the handheld scenario. Well done. perhaps you could have adjusted the burn around the hanging place which would reduce emphasis off the top to middle part of the picture.
N-3, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-7


I live in Templestowe, a suburb north-east of Melbourne, Australia. I have been interested in photography for many years but only became serious when I joined a local camera club 8 years ago.

My main interests in photography are nature and travel. I use Nikon equipment D7200 and a number of lenses from 16mm-400mm.

My other interests are travel, motor sport and gardening. My goal in joining the nature group is to improve my photography and learn new skills.