Study Group 2


Adrian Binney, PPSA, LRPS

Click image to enlarge>TOTAL SCORE 10

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JULY 2021 ROUND
Title:    I give you this grass
     
Goal:   To capture a pair of gannets interacting

Equipment/Source:    Olympus equipment - 1X body with 300mm f4 prime + 1.4 converter.

Technique:   Handheld as tripod is not needed with the IS of my lenses. 1/1000 f5.6 ISO on auto =1,000, Speed priority with central weighting set and minus 1stop compensation set to control the highlights. Taking single shots, timing them well (or trying to!).

Processing:    Crop to square and not a huge amount needed in Lightroom.

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 Tom S.
This appears to be a couple making a nest so that is a strong nature story. N3

Technically, this is a good image.  The subjects are sharp with good color and good exposure.  The white parts of the birds are not blown out.  Good work.  T3

The birds are angled nicely, and there is nothing in the background that is distracting.  However, parts of the rear of the bird on the right have been cut off.  Was the cropping done in camera or during post processing?  P2

N3, T3, P2, E0  = 8


This Review is written by: Rich F

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Interesting story of nest building/interacting. I would like to know more about their behaviour - I assume that the grass is either part of courtship ritual or nest building.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Exposure is very good. Whites and colors look true. DOF works though only F5.6 Eye of the gannet looking towards us is sharp as is its bill

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The two birds are position well together and the position of rear bird is strong. Unfortunately the bottom of the rear bird is cut off. Not sure if this was part of the crop to square or in the original capture. Never-the-less I would like to see the rest of the front bird.

NATURE SCORE 3-Nature story strong

TECHNICAL SCORE 3-Excellent exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 2-Average composition and impact

EXTRA POINT 0-No extra point

TOTAL SCORE 8


This Review is written by: Rick D.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Hello Adrian. How’s things on your side of the “pond?” Very well, I hope. Being of English ancestry, and my wife being of Scottish/Welsh, we have great affinity for the UK. We have made the crossing twice and hope for more! Your gannets certainly make wonderful subjects. Beautiful birds! In your comments you state that they are interacting. My idea of interaction is some sort of passing something from one to the other, or touching, such as in your June submission. Or one is causing some reaction from the ot her. One may assume that these birds will interact, but the photo really does not plainly state that.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Your technique is well done. Thanks for the informative commentary. Your thoroughness and explanation can serve to help others perfect their skill. Of course, I was not there, but I wonder if you had moved a little to your left if you could have included some of the nearer bird’s face, maybe even the eye.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
There is much to like here. The nice background (complete with splashes of color), the very good texture in the feathers, the sharpness and the crop are all right on. However, as I alluded to earlier, the back of one bird’s head puts a rather dull feature where something eye-catching should be. It may be said that the bird’s beak serves as a leading line to the main subject, the farthest gannet. Be that as it is, it still is not strong enough to overcome the b land back of the head. Imagine a nice eye, even at an angle. Unfortunately, it greatly reduces the impact of an otherwise nearly perfect image.

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

TECHNICAL SCORE 3-Excellent exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 2-Average composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 7


This Review is written by: Dave F.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Although the one gannet has some grass in its bill the other gannet we have the back of the head. Not a strong story.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
good exposure compensation - good detail in the feathers

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I wish the image was not cropped as much showing a bit more room around the gannets. I think the image would have been more pleasing - accepting. Plumage colors are stunning.

NATURE SCORE 1-Nature story minimal o r 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: Bruce F

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Strong nature story with the one gannet with grass in its beak, facing and looking at the other gannet, its mate. I am not particularly enamored of the back of the head of the second-closest gannet. Not seeing part of the face or eye, is less than ideal. I believe I would have moved to my left slightly, to get a better angle on the second gannet. Or I would have waited for the decisive moment when the closer gannet presented its face and eye. Thus, the decisive moment was missed. I will grant that maybe beca use of the cliff location, it might not have been possible to move to the left, without covering up the face of the gannet with the grass in its beak by the cliff face. However, getting the second gannet’s face and eye would improve this image significantly.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Technically, I think the image is well handled. Yet, in post-processing, I might apply some contrast reduction on the background. I think pink flowers and their green leaves have too much form and structure for my taste. A more diffused background would empathize the gannets even more, and strengthen their visual weight.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The square format and framing works well and is a good choice. I like the diagonals within the image. Just wish that the second gannet’s head was turned into the frame. I think this one single factor, changes an OK image into a very good one.

NATURE SCORE 3-Nature stor y strong

TECHNICAL SCORE 2-Average exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 2-Average composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 7



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JUNE 2021 ROUND

Title:   Gannets billing with heather
   
Goal:   To capture a pair of gannets billing (which a pair does when one returns to the nest)

Equipment/Source:    Olympus 1mkii with 40-150 f2.8 lens plus x2 converter at 158mm (FF = 316)

Technique:    Settings - 1/640 at f7.1 ISO200. We stayed in the same place for quite a few hours last week on cliffs well known in England for Gannets, being patient. My main body had a longer prime lens, seeking opportunities either in the air or further away.
This was taken at minus 1.3 stops to control the highlights.

Processing: 
 With the underexposure, I brought back the birds which were mostly in less light after a modest crop. Work was mostly to even the lighting.

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 J.D. McClung
Nature Story (N): Although not the most powerful nature story, billing is an integral part of the nature story concerning birds returning to the nest and a high reward is deserved. Score: 3

Technical Quality (T) It is obvious the photographer was very contemplative about the choice of camera settings which resulted in a fine photograph. Score: 3

Pictorial Quality (P) Cropping is a “killer” and it showed up here. The photographer might have made this shot more powerful by pulling in the left side a bit and the dropping down the top slightly to achieve that power. As it was, the picture was weaker when it could have been stronger. Score: 2
Exceptional (E): This is a nice photograph and over all well done but not exceptional. (I would suggest the author work on having a better title that is easier for the judge to read and be within PSA guidelines of a maximum of 35 characters.) (Capitalizing all of the words such as Gannets Billing With Heather might make the presentation of the title look better.) Score: 0

Scores: N 3 / T 3 / P 2/ E 0/ Score = 8




This Review is written by: Janice R

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Wonderful capture of this interesting behavior.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Well exposed with appropriate Dog and shutter speed. Color balance good. Birds are sharp and whites are handled well with this challenging lighting.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
This is a beautiful composition. The steepness of the hill creates drama and the birds are well placed.

NATURE SCORE 3-Nature story strong

TECHNICAL SCORE 3-Excellent expos ure

PICTORIAL SCORE 3-Excellent composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 9


This Review is written by: Haru N.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
This is a pictorial beautiful image. Nicely done.
In terms of nature story, however, I could not detect strong nature story from the image nor the description, I am afraid. I wish I understand more about the story you wanted to demonstrate here.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
You have selected the right camera setting at the spot, I think. The sharpness of the main subject is spot on and the blurredness of background and foreground is fine.
It is a bit harsh lighting but can recover it in post-processing in my view.
I would burn the foreground a bit more - it is so bright and distract my eye currently.


PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
This is an interesting composition - foreground creates diagonal - it gives impression of tense and dynamic, which I liked it very much.
This image have a potential to improve in my eye.


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

TECHNICAL SCORE 2-Average exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 3-Excellent composition and impact

EXTRA POINT 0-No extra point

TOTAL SCORE 7


This Review is written by: Dennis H

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
You have spent some time and effort in obtaining this good nature study of nesting gannets.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Birds lack a little feather detail. Head and bills have better definition. Eyes clear.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Image has good impact. Background could be enhanced by burning in distracting spots which could have been on lens.

NATURE SCORE 3-Nature story strong

TECHNICAL SCORE 2-Average exposur e

PICTORIAL SCORE 3-Excellent composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 8


This Review is written by: Louis P

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
the nature story was fantastic, a wonderful catch

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
the technical quality left a lot to be desired, EXCEPT for around the faces and eyes of the 2 birds where it was tach sharp. Otherwise the heads were blown out and the feathers were not sharp

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
very moving and impactful interaction between the two birds; excellent composition.

NATURE SCORE 3-Nature story strong

TECHNICAL SCOR E 2-Average exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 3-Excellent composition and impact

EXTRA POINT 0-No extra point

TOTAL SCORE 8


This Review is written by: Susan N.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
A sweet moment and excellent nature story of mating pair acknowledging shared nesting work.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
good focus, exposure, and juxtaposition of white/yellow of birds against darker blue sea and a little green to the side

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Complementary colors, excellent cropping and handling of background to bring out the birds. I'd hang this picture on my wall!

NATURE SCORE 3-Nature story strong

TECHNICAL SCORE 3-Excellent exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 3-Excellent composition and impact

EXTRA POINT 1-Exceptional

TOTAL SCORE 10

I am retired (64 as at 2018) and keen to devote more time to photography and travelling. My photography started 40 years ago with a home darkroom and like many, was kickstarted again with digital SLR’s becoming affordable.
I was a Canon man - 5 and 7 bodies, with many L series lenses, but sold the whole lot in 2015 due to weight issues. I now use an Olympus EM1 Mkii with many of their Pro series lenses and don’t regret the move. My core wildlife lens is a 300 f4 prime, which is razor sharp. Used with a 1.4 converter gives a Full Frame equivalent of 840mm - in a recent trip to Costa Rica 80% of my shots were at this reach (birds there are small and other wildlife are very high in the canopy!).
When at home in the UK, I enjoy visiting zoos and bird protection areas, as well as trying to photograph insects in gardens etc. I also travel abroad to enjoy wildlife experiences - Africa and Costa Rica mostly.
I am Secretary and Committee Member at a large Camera Club (Winchester, Hampshire) and enjoy helping to run a large club (200 members). I continue learning a lot from the many excellent photographers (particularly in use of Lightroom and what makes a good image). I don’t use Photoshop. In December I was awarded LRPS - the first distinction level of three awarded by The Royal Photographic Society.