Study Group 2

Dennis Hill

Click image to enlarge

Upload Image and Description
Title:   Crested Terns
Goal:   To photograph seabirds at Black Rock, Port Phillip Bay, Melbourne. 

Equipment/Source:   Nikon D7200 Lens Nikon 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 VR lens, Digital Raw File @400mm f/7.1 1/3200sec, WB Auto ISO 640 Aperture Priority

Technique:  Taken midmorning from rocks in shallow water. Lots of seabird activity in area. Took many images trying to get interaction between birds.

Processing:    File adjusted in Camera Raw PSCC
Cropped, Layer for Dodging and 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 Les L.
I like the nature story here with the interaction of three birds. I think your focus, lightening and colors are right on. I like the arrangement (cropping) of the photo I think you did an excellent job.
N-3, T-3, P-3, E-0, Total-9
Review by Andy H.
Some interaction which I like. Exposure, colour and sharpness all good. Composition, I might have pulled back a bit to give some more of the surrounding environment. Would like to see the two standing birds a bit higher in the shot. Reflections cut off and no catchlight.
N-3, T-3, P-2, E-0, Total-8
Review by Bruce F.
I like this image a lot. The tern in landing position is excellent. Color, light, and exposure are all handled very well. Three is a great number of subjects and sets up a triangle which is a great design element. The one bird appears to be looking at the landing bird. Interaction between the birds’ strengthens the nature story. Overall, a good nature image. 
N-3, T-3, P-3, E-0, Total-9
Review by commentator Dan C.

Your capture is nice and sharp where it needs to be.  You handled the tricky situation of having both black and white in the same image without degrading either very well.

Your story is strong with the incoming tern.  It is enhanced by both terns appearing to be paying attention to the new-comer.

Sharpness is excellent.  Your selection of shutter speed has stopped the motion effectively.

N3, T3, P3, E1, Total 10

Review by Maria 3-28
Great moment and composition. Nice light and exposure giving good feather details.
N-3, T-3, P-3, E-0, Total-9

Review by Bogdan B., 3-28
Good catched moment. Fine sharpness and exposure. I would prefere less zoom. I miss complete reflections in the water, and flying bird is so in the edge.
N-3, T-3, P-2, E-0, total-8

Upload Image and Description

Title:    Royal Spoonbill with chicks
Goal:    To photograph Spoonbill with nesting chicks at Healesville Wildlife Sanctuary 40 mile east of Melbourne
Equipment/Source:   Nikon D7100 Lens Nikon 200-400mm f/4 VR lens. Digital Raw File @240mm f/6.3 1/640 sec WB Auto ISO 1600 Aperture Priority
Technique:    Taken mid morning, took many images trying to get interaction between mother and chicks. Tripod used with Wimberley Sidekick.

File adjusted in Camera Raw PSCC Cropped, Curves adjustment, Adjustment layer for Dodging & Burning. Adjustment layer for Luminosity sharpening. Noise reduction in Lightroom.

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

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

Review by Mike P.
This is an image that brought a smile to my face. What wonderfully, odd looking birds! I think you did a nice job of composing and capturing a perfectly sharp focus. The white feathers, to me, seem to have a slightly blue, cool cast. I think the image could be improved if the feathers were brighter and a bit warmer.
N-3, T-2, P-3, E-0, Total-8
Review by Eran P.
Great shot. Nature Story is straight to the point. Such a crisp, clear image.
N-2, T-3, P-3, E-1, Total-9
Review by Butch S.
The story told by your image is similar to the story being told in my Feb. image!

I think that your image is a bit to cool. The white of the Spoonbill's feather has a bluish cast to my eyes. Also I would like to see what the effect a bit more exposure would have on the whites.

When dealing with whites, whites can look different one form the other depending on how each monitor is color adjusted.

I like how you have cropped the image. There is no wasted space.

All in all a very nice image.
N-3, T-2, P-3, E-0, Total-8
Review by Louise H.
Great focus and catch light in the chicks eyes. What an interesting bird. I wonder if you could burn the corners to bring more focus around the birds and less on the background Nice image!
N-2, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-6
Review by Gregory L.
Nice capture. Good composition and sharp.
N-3, T-3, P-3, E-0, Total-9
Review by Manu R.
Image with great nature story. Nice interaction with the chicks and the mother spoon bills. Catchlight on the eyes makes the image lively.
N-3, T-3, P-3, E-0, total-9
Review by commentator Rick C.

I felt this was a well-crafted image with a very solid nature story. You got the exposure right for the shaded whites. The primary focus looks good to my eye as does the depth of field. If you have the space in the frame I would shit the composition to have the adult closer to the right edge with a little more room on the left for the chick. I realize that crops out the blank area and adds more of that odd branch, but I feel the adult creates a natural block to hold the viewer in the image while the current crop intrigues the viewer to see if that chicks butt actually does touch the edge. The catchlight in the chicks’ eyes is a very nice plus. I do wish the front chick’s bill had been a tad lower so as to not merge with the adult’s

The larger issue is the relative brightness of the subjects and the background. As I said, I think you got the exposure right at capture. That leaves us to make some form of adjustment in post-processing. In this case I think slightly desaturating and darkening the greens, yellows and reds and using a mask based on a modified Blue Channel to hold that adjustment to only the background foliage would do the trick. Take a look at the adjusted image I made and see if you disagree.


N-3, T-3, P-2, E-1 = 9 (P-2 on background competing with the main subject. E-1 for the added interest created by the chick’s attentiveness to the adult and the eye catchlights.)


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.