Study Group 2

Maria Korab-Laskowska

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Title:  Curious red fox cub

Goal:   I spotted fox family hidden behind rocks.
The goal was to get anything interesting despite very harsh light.  

Equipment / Source:  Canon 7D lens Canon 70-200 f/4L IS   

Technique:  Sitting quiet and waiting patiently until somebody will look out of the hide. 1/1250 sec, f/6.3 ISO 500

Processing:  slight crop and sharpening  

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

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

Review by Commentator Dan C.

The capture is nice but I get more of a startled expression on the cub rather than a curious expression. The shadows are a mixed blessing.  They are distractions but they also help show protective camouflage.  You might want to crop to reduce those shadows and focus the viewer better on the kit. 

The sharpness and detail of the kit’s face, especially the eyes is a strong and effective magnet.  It does help pull the viewer over that out of focus foreground.

N2, T2, P2, E0, Total 6.

Review by Commentator Rick C.

You captured a nice shot of this young fox kit (not cub). The basic technical aspects all look to be handled well to me. I think the eyes would snap even a bit better if you gave them a pass or two with the sharpening tool set to the Luminosity blend mode, a lower opacity (15%) and with the protect detail option active. You handled the contrasty lighting well. To make our youngster stand out a bit better we need to do some burning in on the environment around him. This isn’t just a vignette, you are going to need to work the masking in close to him. My suggestion is to use one or two curves layers and just pull back on the Midtones in the one you use to darken the surroundings. The alternative is to set it to a Multiply blend mode without adjusting the curve and then lowering the opacity of the layer until the darkening is effective but remains realistic in appearance.

N-2, T-3, P-2 = 7 (N-2 A nice portrait but with no behavioral pluses. P-2 We need to control the environment a bit more to help the subject separate.)

Review by Dennis H.
Well captured image of inquisitive fox cub.
Eye nice and clear with catchlight.
Good colour and detail on muzzle and head. I think the shadow areas need lightening.
N-3, T-2, P-3, E-0, Total-8

Review by Fran M.
What excellent camouflage. The habitat colour is making the baby fox almost disappear. I think that is a good thing for the fox AND for the image. The colour gives continuity to the image. But the foreground looks odd for some reason. I don’t know what it is – something about the angle of the head not suiting. Is it peeping over the edge? Is it listening? I can’t quite put my finger on why it seems odd, sorry. 
N-2, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-6

Review by Andy H.
Love this image it has, for me, impact. Which is what I look for in an image.
Good exposure, colour, sharpness and DOF. Great eye contact and nice catchlight.
If I was to be picky it would have been even better if the other eye was out of the shadow.
N-2, T-3, P-3, E-0, Total-8

Review by Bogdan B.
A lovely young fox!Good sharpness and exposure. The eye in shadow I would dodge a little bit. The background is really the same color as the fox. I would also burn it a little to see the animal more clearly. And I would crop it tighter to cut the unsharp foreground and some background.
N-3, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-7


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Title:  winter scene with boreal caribou

Goal:   To capture atmosphere of the winter scene and show environment of caribou.

Equipment / Source:    Canon 7D with EF300mm f/2.8L IS USM
F13 1/320, +0.67 ISO 400

Technique:    It was snowing and I was in the car.
This is older photo. Now I would use faster shutter but I remember I had problem to get focus due to heavy snow.
What focusing technique would you suggest to get caribou in focus in such conditions?

clarity, sharpening using High pass filter

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

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

Review by Mike P.
I find the snow is so heavy that it's difficult to see the caribou. They are obviously the main focus on your image but they seem lost in all the heavy snow. I also think that you have too much open space at the top. Perhaps if you cropped closer to the caribou you could draw more attention to them. Due to the lack of contrast, I'm wondering if this might be better in black and white than in color.
N-2, T-2, P-1, E-0, Total-5
Review by Les L.
Good effort on a tough shot. I think your only chance is manual focus under these conditions. I would use a more camera friendly apature opening i.e. f-5.6 or 8 under these conditions and take multiple shots - of course. I think you did well and I'll bet it was fun.
N-3, T-2, P-2, E-0, total-7
Review by Louise H.
You captured a great shot of what animals have to go through in rough conditions. The animals almost get lost with all the snow you can really see they are in the midst of a heavy snowstorm. The image does not capture catchlight in the eyes or tightly focused on the subject, but to me you have captured the nature story by demonstrating the animals living in a harsh winter environment.  
N-3, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-7
Review by Butch S.
Tuff conditions maker images that are not as good we would hope. The snowfall is heavy and thus interferes with obtaining good resolution of the target. this image gets an A for effort and low marks for technique and picture values.

I assume this was shot through the window of the car.. If that is right, getting out of the car for the shoot may help. Also, could you have gotten closer. Ifvso the shorter the shot the less falling snow in the image.
N-2, T-1, P-1, E-0, Total-4

Review by commentator Rick C.

I found this to be an interesting nature environment capture. The composition works well as you have it shown. The exposure, given the weather, also looks to be well handled. Your exact point of focus is hard to discern, but the image isn’t about super sharp detail in this type of weather. I think the visual prominence of the snow is a key aspect and that the muted nature of the background barely showing through the snow adds to the feel of the image. The one negative is that the Caribou would separate better with a little more contrast on just them. For example, the antlers on the male (left) are barely discernable even when looking closely. The tougher part would be trying to add contrast just there without it spilling over into the adjacent background.

From a focusing perspective, if your camera allows “spot focusing” (i.e., focusing tied to a singular metering or focus spot, I would shift to that and try to put it on the line of demarcation between the dark fur of the upper face and the light fur of the jaw. Right around the ear or nose should be good relative to ensuring the DOF carries through the facial area anyway. It is going to be a chore when the snow is falling this heavily.

N-2, T-3, P-2 = 7 (N-2 The nature story is more environmental and doesn’t quite have the impact of the behavioral shots P-2 If we could get more contrast into the Caribou they would separate a bit better than they do currently)

Review by Manu R.
Nice image showing the Environment and weather.
I do not see a problem with focussing on the subjects. Mnual focussing would have helped to bring the focus more on them.Composition would have been better with more space towards right.
N-3, T-3, P=2, E-0, Total-8




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.