Study Group 2

Les Lincke, PPSA

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Upload Image and Description
Title:   Irritated Mockingbird

Goal: I like this closeup even though it does not have a real nature story.

Equipment / Source:   Nikon D500 w/ 150-600 mm. F 8.0 @ 1/350. ISO 800
Technique:  Handheld

Processing:   Crop and sharpen

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

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

Review by Butch S.
I noticed that you cropped the image. Why did you crop parts of the bird out of the image? To my eye, it appears that the back and tail feathers have a bluish tint. The bird is nice and sharp. The background is nicely blurred to yield a good Bokeh. I agree with you that the Nature score will not bee high.
N-2, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-6

Review by Bogdan B.
I like this bird, but I miss legs and tail. If you wanted just a portrait, the crop should be even closer.
The eye is sharp, but feathers on wings are not sharp. The image also has some noise in the background.
N-2, T-2, P-1, E-0, Total-5

Review by Andy H.
As you say the image is of an irritated mockingbird, which makes me feel uncomfortable. The exposure is fine but the colours seem unnatural to me. There are signs of detail loss and noise, possibly due to trying to recover detail. The crop doesn't work, for me, I would like to have seen the crop show the whole bird or more tightly cropped as a close up.
N-2, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-6

Review by Bruce F.
I disagree. This image does have a nature story. The story is the action of the open beak, implying that the bird is calling or crying out. Mockingbirds are great singers and mimics so the action and story tie together. Is it the strongest nature story, perhaps not? What really concerns me as an image is the way the bird legs and tail are cut off. As an image the composition to me is poor and distracts away from the energized head with the open mouth. I would also cropped off some and get tighter eliminating the legs and the one bothersome wing tip.

Also, the subject could use a bit of lightening, especially the mouth area. Its nature photography, and the nature story might be the most important factor, but you can’t ignore the pictorial elements that give an image power, and the characteristics that draw viewers back to view the image again and again.
Crop tighter and lighten, or fine another image in the sequence or go back and try again.
Positively, you have a good clean background with a light/dark effect. A good nature story with an open mouth and implicit action going for you.  
N-2, T-2, P-1, E-0, Total-5

Review by commentator Dan C.

The calling and attitude do give this some story value.  I agree that the attitude shown makes for an interesting image. 

I am bothered by the blue cast I see on this image.  Most mockingbirds are grey with some browns.  There is a blue mockingbird but it is uniformly blue without the white breast and underbelly.  The blue may be reflected light coming off some nearby surface.

I have no problem with cropping out parts of the bird but feel it needs to be more extreme, completely eliminating the tail and legs instead of only part of them.  You should also eliminate or at least reduce the digital noise in the background.  You can also make the background more interesting without being intrusive by selectively darkening it.

N2, T2, P2, E0, Total 6

Upload Image and Description

Title:  Anhinga With Nesting Supplies

Goal:    Get action pictures at a rookery.

Equipment / Source:  
  Nikon D500 w/ 150-600 mm lens

Technique:  Hand held 

Processing:     Crop, debate, noise reduction and sharpen.

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

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

Review by Mike P.
I think you did a wonderful job of capturing the bird in mid-flight. The fact that it is carrying a small branch adds to the nature story element. The composition is excellent, the exposure is spot-on, and the focus is perfectly sharp, especially considering you hand-held your lens as the bird flew in mid-flight.
N-3, T-3, P-3, E-0, Total-9

Review by Dennis H.
Good capture of flying bird with nesting material. Wings and tail sharp, head lacks detail.
Would have cropped top of image which detracts from bird.
N-3, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-7

Review by Andy H.
Another action shot. Bird in flight, well caught, not easy. Exposure is good given a black bird with white parts. Image is adequately sharp and good DOF. Looks like some harsh light giving some trouble. Compositionally the bird is too low in the image. I would consider cropping out the bank in the upper section its not necessary, in my view, and will lift the image.
I love you second item in PROCESSING. 'debate', will all do that with practically every image!
N-3, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-7

Review by Bruce F.
Not sure what you mean by “debate” in you processing description. The anhinga in flight is very sharp and will exposed. The nature story is good with the nesting material in the mouth. Also, the wing positions is excellent. One thing I don’t think is helping you is including the far shore especially the white blurred logs or material. Habitat is good to include, but visually this white area is a distraction. I would crop this area out. Then, your focus would be on the anhinga strengthening the image. 
N-3, T-3, P-2, E-0, Total-8

Review by Bogdan B.
It's nice to catch the bird with branch, Unfortunately it covers some parts of the head, hard to see the eye. Image is sharp enough for the bird flying. It's a little bit tilted down. I would prefere tighter crop. Now the bird is too much in the edge.
N-3, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-7

Review by Maria K
This is a wonderful image and great nature story.
Focus, sharpness,dof all works.I like placement of the bird in the frame and fact that you included some more environment becouse colors of the water are interesting.
However I find top of the frame distracting.I would suggest to include only reflection of the shore.
N-3, T-3, P-3, E-0, Total-9

Review by Commentator Rick C.

I think the base capture on this Anhinga is well handled. The technical there all look good to me. I appreciate the out of center placement, but given the downward flight angle of the subject I think you will have a stronger image if you crop to much more of a panel and rely on the left side location of the subject for the visual tension. If you have a little more room at the bottom on the original I would add some of that back as well. I’m attaching a crop version to give you a sense of what I am suggesting.

Review by Commentator Dan C.

You have a very nice capture, especially for one that is hand held.  You did a good job freeing the motion of the wings and kept all parts of the anhinga in sharp focus.  Your story is made stronger by the anhinga flying with an obvious purpose.

Pictorially I find the portion of far shore a distraction that is a bigger negative than the positive aspect of adding a sense of depth to the scene.  I suggest cropping it out.  I also find the brightness of portions of the water pulls the viewer away from the anhinga.  This can be selectively darkened to make the anhinga pop out better,

N3, T3, P2, E0, Total 8

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.