Study Group 2

Maria Korab-Laskowska

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Title:  Tricolored heron preening

Goal:   to catch any bird behaviour in late afternoon light 

Equipment / Source:    Canon 7D markII
EF300mm f/2.8L IS USM +2x
1/2500 sec; f/10; ISO 800

Technique:    standing on the boardwalk of chincoteague wildlife loop and waiting for birds to come closer but it did not happened so I photograph them from longer distance

Processing:    cropping, adding color contrast and sharpen locally

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

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Title:  Running Loon

Goal:    This is Common Loon taking off from the water in La Mauricie National Park, Quebec
Photo was taken from canoe against early morning sun to get water splash.the goal was to catch loon when he was running.

Equipment / Source:    EOS 7D, with Canon lens 300mm/2.8
Exposure: 1/5000, f/4.0,ISO400

Technique:    camera on short monopod to help with weight. Friend turned the canoe in the right direction.

Processing:    Image was cropped and shadows were retrieved. Original was in raw format. The noise came out in post when I was lighting shadows which is normal. I used NIK Define filter to reduce some noise on the body.

How would you suggest expose for this situation to not have blown up image and avoid noise on the bird when retrieving shadows?
What steps in postprocessing would work better?  

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

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

Review by Les L.
I think you got a good nature action picture and I like the water spray which adds to the action. The image looks slightly over saturated to me and I would like the foreground to be sharper (maybe shooting at f 8 or 11 with higher ISO).
N-3, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-7
Review by Andy H.
You achieved your goal. Always a difficult exposure with the light on the wrong side of the bird. This, in my view, is where you have to get the exposure right in camera. It's always going to be a compromise in post production. Allowing the bird to come a little nearer and achieve a shot side on or from the rear 3/4 would have help with light but not the shot you wanted. Hopefully others may have more post production ideas. Love the light through the water. 
N-3, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-7
Review by Bogdan B.
It's hard to capture the bird, which is taking off toward you. You had very hard lightning conditions. It's fine to have drops in the air, but they can be easyly overexposed as yours. The head of the bird is in shadow, so a little bit hard to recognise.
N-3, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-7
Review by Dennis H.
Good capture of loon taking off.
Loon needs more lightning to bring out detail on head, body and wings.
Would have cropped top of image.
N-3, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-7
Review by Bruce F.
Backlighting is a difficult situation when you want to see the animal or a bird’s face. Since you use Nik Software tools, I would use Viveza and create a target adjustment on the birds face and lighten it, also lighten the wings a bit too. I prefer diffused light, or photographing during the golden hours or when there is cloud cover. Harsh midday lighting is usually not desirable, unless you are doing a silhouette. If I am shooting during the middle of the day, I would use fill flash to even out the lighting. Adding a better beamer to the flash, the light created will reach out quite a ways—farther than you would think. The nature story is very good; I have not seen a loon running on water image before. The water spray is just too hot for my taste, I would tone this down if you can and have not blown out the whites already.
At 400 ISO with a 7D camera body, noise shouldn’t be an issue. More problematic is the harsh midday backlit lighting.
If possible and you have a chance to go back, I would try the find a running Loon on a better lit day, or during the golden hours in the early morning or late in the afternoon where the light is soft and pleasing. This might require many trips and lots of patience but that’s the life of a nature photographer. 
N-2, T-2, P-2, E-0, total-6
Review by commentator Dan C.

You definitely accomplished your goal here.  Your story is strong as is the action you captured.  Canoes are not the most stable platforms for photography but it was stable enough for this shot.  The backlighting has worked well to emphasize the water spray from the running.  The splashes and the running combined to create an exceptional shot

I do not know whether it was due to the capture or the difference in brightness between my monitor and yours but the major splashes behind the loon verge on being washed out.  Reducing the brightness in that area increases its texture and impact. I used a shadow/highlight layer to reduce that brightness somewhat and enhance the texture of the splashes in my example.  Since those splashes were not fully blown on your original I still gave you the full 3 under Technique.

The image can also be cropped to improve its pictorial quality.  The area at the top is just more of the same and not needed.  The shutter speed you used to freeze the motion limited your depth of field but your decision to capture the motion was the correct decision.  I also cropped the image into a panel to focus the viewer better on the action and reduce the amount of out of focus water in the foreground.

N3, T3, P2, E1, Total 9



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.