Study Group 2


Edward Xu (C)

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DECEMBER 2020 ROUND

Title:     Snowy Owl
 
Goal:     Last Christmas Day, my friend called me suddenly and told me his friend spot one snowy owl at the beach of Long Island. So we drove there and search for a moment, at last we spot this owl. I shoot this when she was jumping up.

Equipment/Source:     Nikon Z6 FTZ Convertor Nikkor 200-500mm F5.6 on tripod
   
Technique:   F5.6 1/800s ISO100

Processing:    A little bit Lightroom CC

Score this image:  YES


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

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

 
Review by commentator Rick C.
The snowy itself is captured well. The concrete structure, while minimized, will raise questions associated with an element that is human in origin and whether the subject’s behavior relative to that object falls under the adaptive behavior allowance. In this case where it sems obvious that the Snowy plans on landing on it I would say yes, but recognize that the image would be stronger with a nature perch. This is basic behavior and lacks the interaction associated with the higher nature story values. As such it is more of a portrait and scores a 2 for nature story.

The core technical elements are all solid. The technical rating is 3.

The framing and composition are understandable. Having the far wing in line with the head and the head largely turned away from us as viewers (because it was focusing on its landing spot) are regrettable aspects that weaken the interest value from a nature story perspective. The nature pictorial rating is 1. Because the pictorial strength of the image in this specialty is tied so closely to the nature story relatively small flaws, such as a head turned away from the viewer, can have a significant influence on the overall interest value of the image and the associated pictorial rating.

N-2, T-3, P-1 = 6


This Review is written by: Rick D.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Hi Edward. What a wonderful Christmas present you friend gave you by telling you about this wonderful owl’s presence in your area! Could this be a once in a lifetime shot for you? It is a very nice portrait of a beautiful bird.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
At first look, this image appears to be slightly over exposed. However, a closer look shows that all the tones are well represented. This is evident in the great detail in the feathers. The fact that the wing tips are blurred just enou gh to sh ow motion while the body of the bird is tack sharp speaks highly of your ability. This knowledge of yours rates a point for excellence! Well done!

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The story is plainly and simply told (the best way to do so) by the photograph itself. A landing is about to occur. The beauty and rarity (for most people!) of the owl creates impact. The feathers and rocks provide good texture. The one issue is the device that is apparently mounted on the rocks. The bright colors distract the viewer’s eye away from the subject, the owl. In order to tell the story, it is unavoidable to include it. Perhaps it’s impact could be reduced somewhat in LR or PS. Nevertheless, this is a truly wonderful photograph.


NATURE SCORE 2-Nature story of average strength (portrait)

TECHNICAL SCORE 3-Excellent exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 3-Excellent composition and impact

EXTRA POINT 1-Exceptional

TOTAL SCORE 9


This Review is written by: Alex C.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Since there's not much more in this image aside from the owl and what appears to be a part of a pier, it's hard to establish a story, though you can tell that the owl is going to land.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I love that the focus on the owls face is strong and solid yet you can see the birds wings moving. I wish the angle showed the face a bit more, but technically speaking very well done.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
It's hard to figure out what the owl is going to land on since you can only see a small piece of the concrete on the side. Perhaps zoomed out a bit and/or not cropped in so tight it would be more visible. I also wish the owls face could be seen more. Otherwise I like seeing the entire wingspan of the owl and the movement in the wings.

NATURE SCORE 1-Nature story minimal or contains unrelated hand of man

TECHNICAL SCORE 3-Excellent exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 2-Average composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 6


This Review is written by: Adrian B.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Welcome Edward if the is your first round.

A owl flying is lovely to see and photograph and you have captured this one quite well I feel. It is sharp where needed. I think though that you will be marked down (re Nature story) for the fact that your bird is flying to a man made post or something - clear hand of man.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I think your camera settings and timing were fine/ I would see if in Lightroom you can darken the blue and generally try to make the sky more interesting with more detail - as you present a white bird against a white sky!

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
To be a good interesting image one would prefer to be able to see more of its face - this is too side on. Thank you for sharing.

NATURE SCORE 1-Nature story minimal or contains unrelated hand of man

TECHNICAL SCORE 2-Average exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 2-Average composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 5


This Review is written by: LC B.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Overall a good capture of an owl about to land. Not being able to see its face is a minor issue. For me the big distraction is the blue bits on the post. A selective mask to dampen that down a bit might help.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I think this image is overexposed and as such not only is it very bright but detail is lost and the wing movement is excessively blurry. At that f-stop, upping the shutter speed significantly might solve such problems in the future. (I tend to shoot birds with shutter/time priority at anywhere from 1/2000 to 1/3200.)

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I’m partial to using negative space for a moving bird/animal to enter (or leave depending on the story) and thus the viewer’s eye will follow adding to the perceived story. You don’t mention that you cropped this image, but I think even shaving off some of the space on the right and along the bottom edge would make the composition stronger.

NATURE SCORE
2-Nature story of average strength (portrait)

TECHNICAL SCORE
2-Average exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE
2-Average composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 6


This Review is written by: Bogdan B

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
I know, it's not easy to find snow owl and beside that jumping. I can't imagine, what's in the low left edge. But red and blue bands I'm sure, that they are made by people. That's why N1.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The image is not sharp enough. I could accept blurred wings, but not the whole body. I can't explain, why the image is so white. If there was enough light, you could capture with 1/1200, getting more color, contrast and sharpness.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
So white imag e would need a thin black or brown frame. Now right and bottom edge are nearly undefined. It seems, that the owl is quite central.

NATURE SCORE
1-Nature story minimal or contains unrelated hand of man

TECHNICAL SCORE
1-Inadequate exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE
2-Average composition and impact

EXTRA POINT
0-No extra point

TOTAL SCORE 4


This Review is written by: Suman B.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
rather a portrait of the snowy owl. is a portrait of weak nature value.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
histogram shows highlight values missing. need to be shot with higher shutter speeds as wings edge remains blurred.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
need more information o the white sky otherwise a below average pictorial value

NATURE SCORE
1-Nature story minimal or contains unrelated hand of man

TECHNICAL SCORE
1-Inadequate exposure
PICTORIAL SCORE
1-Inadequate composition and impact

EXTRA POINT
0-No extra point

TOTAL SCORE
3



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  • 1985-1986 Manager of Amature photographic group in Guangzhou Institute of Foreign Languages, Guangzhou, China
  • 2015-now group leader of North American Photographic  Association (NAPA) Wechat group 6th group(500 People)
  • 2017-now founder of Wide Angle Photographic Group (Wechat group)
  • 2017-2018 Member of Taiwan Photographic Association in Greater New York
  • 2017 Won trophy for photographic competition of Dragon Boat Festival hosted by Sing Tao Newspaper(New York)
  • 2018 Won trophy for photographic competition of Dragon  Boat Festival hosted by Sing Tao Newspaper(New York)
  • 2018 Won trophy for photographic competition with a theme "What Lunar New Year Meant to You" hosted by Queens NY
  • 2017-now Member of Flushing Camera Club
  • 2019 Third Place of the picture of the year from Flushing  Camera Club(Group B)
  • 2020 Second Place of the picture of the year from Flushing  Camera Club(Group A)
  • 2017-now Member of PSA.
  • 2019 My picture "Bald Eagle" is "Accepted" in the  competition hosted by Rising Star Photographic Association  in New Jersey