Study Group 2

Les Lincke

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Title:   Red-shourldered Hawk Chick

Goal:  Just happenned upon this hawk nest.

Equipment / Source:   Coolpix P520 @ 1/1600, f6.6 w/ ISO 400
Technique:  Hand held

Processing:   Cropped, sharpened and burned background.

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

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

Review by Mike P.
You found a delightful subject! I think you got a perfectly exposed and focused image. I also like the way the image is composed, with the chick nestled in the nest and looking to the right. To me, the image is more of a portrait and lacks a strong story element.
N-2, T-3, P-3, E-0, Total-8
Review by Eran P.
Just my personal opinion, but I think burning the background took away a little bit of the nature look of this image. Great shot otherwise.
N-1, T-1, P-3, E-0, Total-5
Review by Butch S.
A nice image of a raptor chick. The image is sharp where it needs to be sharp. To me the, image is of the portrait type.. Without showing an interaction with its environment in an interesting way, the nature score is moderate. The technical aspects are good. The pictorial value is average in my opinion.  
N-2, T-3, P-2, E-0, Total-7
Review by Louise H.
very nice capture! I love that the baby hawk still if fuzzy. The catch light in the eye is nice the focus around the eye maybe a little soft. Overall a very nice image 
N-2, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-6
Review by commentator Rick C.

You captured a nice shot of this chick> I like the way you have it composed. The exposure may be a tad hot on the top of the chick’s head, but overall I think you handled that well for the lighting present. I also like the fact that the chick’s head is turned so that we see the profile completely. I would normally try shifting the effective lighting balance in post-processing by darkening the surroundings slightly and lightening the chick’s face slightly. When darkening the background, I would also need to drop the saturation and contrast for those areas to keep things in a relative balance. At a minimum, I would use the didge tool to lighten the chick’s eye so that that part of the face shows a little more clearly. I can’t be 100% certain, but on the two monitor I work from the main point of focus seems to be on the leaves behind the chick and at F6.6 the DOF falls off too fast to hold the head sharp. Most focusing systems are contrast detection and so that would make sense given that the leaves are more contrasty. If you have a way of checking the actual point of focus used, it may be worth a look. In any event, I would run the sharpening tool over the face and eye to see if you can’t make that a touch crisper.

N-2, T-2, P-3 = 7 (N-2 A nice juvenile image but lacks the added behavioral aspect to take it up to a 3. T-2 Seems a bit back focused to me , eye and face need sharpening.)

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Title:  Immature Night Heron

Goal:    Photographing on a quiet visit to Ding Darling Wild Refuge.

Equipment / Source:  
  Nikon 810 w/ 28-300 mmAt 300 mm. ISO 400

Technique:  Hand held 

Processing:     Lightroomed w/ clarity, saturation, noise reduction. 

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

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

Review by Andy H.
Nice image. Well exposed, sharp good DOF. I like the composition, could it be flipped? Looking L to R?
I would take away the bright leaves at the top by toning down or cropping. The light stalk at the back of the bird, there's always one, could do with toning down.
N-2, T-2, P-3, E-0, Total-7
Review by Bogdan B.
I haven't seen such a small heron yet. It's not colorful, but you have succeed it to outstand from the grey background.I would prefere tighter, maibe portrait crop. Now the bird is a little bit lost in the photo.

N-3, T-3, P-2, e-0, Total-8

Review by Maria K
Nice image. Good portrait.-so nature value 2. Good sharpness and dof with pleasing background.
Very good composition. Cath light in the eye is great addition.
N-2, T-3, P-3, E-0, Total-8

Review by Dennis H.
Image sharp, good colour and detail on heron.
Background foliage somewhat distracting.
Would have cropped top of image to highlight heron. 
N-2, T-3, P-2, E-0, Total-7

Review by Bruce F.
I don’t think you need all the environment, I would crop out some of the mangrove bushes, particular the bright one on the top. It is a bit of a distraction. Therefore, I would crop just below it. This would make the Immature Night Heron larger in the frame. On the button, I would crop above the rock on the left middle of the frame. The edge of this rock on the border creates a small eye catching distraction.
I am not sure why you are applying noise reduction at ISO 400. It should not be necessary. You are unnecessarily making the image softer—less sharp. I am not up on Nikon camera bodies but I think the 810 is a relatively new body that should not need noise reduction at ISO 400.
The environment does help the nature story showing the mangrove ecosystem where this bird lives, but the bird isn’t really doing anything. There is no action or behavior. That to me makes this more of a portrait situation.
Exposure is well-handled as the placement of the subject in the frame. 
N-2, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-6

Review by commentator Rick C.

You’ve captured a nice roosting / resting pose for this youngster. The Mangrove environment provides great habitat and adds to the story value. Primary focus looks good to my eye as does your basic exposure. Pictorially, the issue is that the heron lacks a lot of color and the one clump of brighter Mangrove leaves at the top and the bright yellow leaves among the rocks quickly become lures pulling at the eye.  I applied what I tend to call a “custom vignette” that I build using two curves that push or pull the midtones in opposite directions paired with a single mask that is inverted in one of the two layers to keep the lightening and darkening confined to the desired space. See what you think.

Since I didn’t see any scoring N-2, T-3, P-2 = 7 (N-2 As a nice environmental portrait it warrants the 2 but lacks the behavior strength for a 3, P-2 The bright leaves tend to conflict with the subject as shown.)

I live in Ft. Myers, FL. and Blowing Rock, NC. I am a retired business executive who travels extensively and enjoys photography as one of my many hobbies. I also participate in the PSA Travel Study Group. I look forward to being involved in this nature group.