Study Group 2

Maria Korab-Laskowska

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Title:  Preening Northern Gannets

Goal:   To photograph different behaviors of Northern Gannets on Bonaventure Island, QC 

Equipment / Source:  Canon 7D, lens canon 300 2.8, f.5.6 1/2000 iso 200

Technique: I spend many hours there trying to photograph as many as possible behaviors.The major difficulty is to eliminate distracting background and laying down on the ground to get low angle.

Processing:  cropping, sharpening

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

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Title:   Boreal Bluets Feeding

Goal:   to catch bluets w when feeding

Equipment / Source:  Canon 7D mark II, lens Canon 100 macro 2.8, f/4, 1/2000, iso 400, E -0.33 

Technique:   The challenge was to get a sharp bluet and nice background because sun reflections in the water were very distracting. I spent at least an hour trying different angles and waiting for the clouds to pass by. 

Processing:  basic raw post only and slight crop

 Comments/Scores (N, T, P, E, Total)

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

Review by commentator Dan C.

Actually, unless there are insects on the plant, the Bluettes are not eating.  They only eat insects.  Unfortunately, knowing the behavior does weaken your nature story.

I cannot see the end of the tail of the lower damselfly clearly but it does look like it is showing the same split at the end as the upper damselfly.  If so that means they are both males.  Since damselflies and dragonflies are territorial, that could have lead to stronger story telling images.  That action may have started here since it appears the upper damselfly is pushing off the lower damselfly.  Cropping tighter can help make this aspect of the story stand out better.

Your background is well handled and the exposure is good, giving you a technically well handled image.  Depth of field can be looked at two ways here.  The splayed wings of the lower damselfly show it is moving.  That helps reinforce the story of being pushed off by the other damselfly.  Looking strictly at a technical aspect, it is inadequate but I can live with it here because of the story enhancement.

N2, T2, P3, E0, Total 7

Review by Andy H.
Well done in spending the time to get this image, the results are very good. I like the DOF giving the sharp insects against the defused background. Getting one in focus and nearly a second is an achievement. The exposure is good. The image has impact. I wondered if the composition would be improved by the cropping of some of the RHS. Two bits of distraction for me are the stem reflection and milky area at the top right.
N-3, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-7
Review by Michael B.
- Nature Story: Your title suggests Boreal Bluets feeding, I know little about dragon fly’s, but don’t they feed on other insects? These guys are hard to capture; you have a lovely image here.
- Technical Quality: Exposure seems to be a bit under exposed. You listed under, Equipment, E was -0.33? Understand that you could have been pushing the background/water to be a bit less distracting but that also lowered the exposure of the Bluets. Colors, sharpness and DoF are excellent.
- Pictorial Quality: Your crop seems a bit tight and I would suggest a bit more space on the top and right. This would allow for you to use the reflected stem as a leading line from the bottom right corner to the Bluets and by adding more negative space on the top/right, you would push the Bluets out of the center of the frame.
N-2, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-6
Review by Bogdan B.
It was worth waiting! You have got a wonderful macro image. I would not expect so good DOF to get both insects sharp. You succeed to get undisturbing background.
N-3, T-3, P-3, E-0, Total-9
Review by Dennis H.
Your patience has paid off with a good nature image of feeding bluets. Nice colour and detail on heads and bodies, but lower bluet shows less definition and colour. Nice background.
N-3, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-7
Review by Suman B.
title is not correct as these damsel flys feed on lesser insects like small flys or spiders who in turn feed on smaller insects. during flight these damsel flys come together either to mate or to rest their wings or in search of prey. choise of lower aperture resulted in slightly out of focus subject and less DOF. with greater ISO greater dof can be reached and so will be effect on the insect's picture. as a nature story it would be great if some actions on the part of the insects can be found. nothing exceptional is there in the shot.
N-1, T-1, P-1, E-0, total-3
Review by Bruce F.
If you could identify what they are feeding on, this would help strengthen the nature story. I am not sure what that black mass is. It could be eggs, theirs or another species. Knowing this would take out the guess work, and strengthen the story.
I would have used a higher ISO. This would have abled me to bring the wings into focus or increased the focus on the wings. I think this is the weak spot in your image. At f4.0 aperture, you don’t have the wings in focus. The wings are very interesting intricate structures and I think they should be in focus for damselflies or dragonflies images.
Damselflies have favorite perches, so you can setup a tripod, then can lower your 1/2000 of second exposure for an increased depth of field. Find the right aperture that gives you maximum sharpness while still blurring the background. You said you moved around a lot and tried different angles so they were tolerating your presence, so a tripod would have worked here. You also could have used a diffuser and blocked out the sunlight, creating more saturated colors and reducing the sharp highlights from direct sunlight. This is another macro technique to use that could produce better results. If hand holding, you might consider fill flash too with a soft diffuser, to even out the direct sunlight.
The background water is very pleasing and isolates the subjects well. Placement in the frame of the subjects and the composition works too.
Overall, I like your patience in finding the best angle possible in this type of direct sunlight. 
N-2, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-6




My photographic interests started in Maryland, 2002, when I joined the National Institute of Health Camera Club. After moving back to Montreal in 2004, I joined Lakeshore Camera Club.

I am using a Canon 7D camera and the following Canon lenses: 24-100L IS f4, 70-200 L IS f 4, macro 100 L2.8, 17-35L f2.8, 300L IS f2.8, extenders 1.4 and 2.0. My post processing workflow includes Bridge or Lightroom, Photoshop CS5 and NIK and Photomatix software.

I came into photography with a love for nature and a passion for the outdoors. My photographic interests started in 2002, and since then I photographed many subjects, ranging from environment and architecture to animals and sports. In 2009 I graduated from a Commercial Photography Program at Dawson College in Montreal. I organize photo tours and workshops and enjoy sharing my regional knowledge and passion for photography.