Study Group 2


Adrian Binney, QPSA, LRPS

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NOVEMBER 2020 ROUND
Title:    Death Valley dunes 
     
Goal:    To show the wonderful shapes and textures of the dunes in early morning light. 

Equipment/Source:    Taken in March 2014 with Canon 7D mki and DO 70-300 lens at 130mm and tripod.

Technique:    Settings 1/30, f11 ISO100
Taking the image, technique was about position laterally and height - I dropped the tripod down to knee level
To achieve goal, it was more post-processing than the taking. 

Processing:    The subject renders itself to B&W and cropped to remove the mountains in the distance. Using Lightroom only, I concentrated in adding texture and working on the shadow areas both locally rather than globally. Sharpened using Topaz A1.

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.
Nature Story (N): Landscapes are always interesting for a commentator because it really depends on what the commentator likes that influences his appreciation. I happen to be a commentator that likes the desert and dunes so I find this photograph particularly appealing from a nature standpoint. The reason I mention this is because I have noticed for years that landscape scores as a general rule do not score as well as most nature photographs. However that simply may be because there are so few landscape photos entered in nature competitions. In this photo I see the heat and feel the scorching wind that makes the dunes so beautiful. Score: 3

Technical Quality (T): The camera settings were very good for this photograph. I was surprised to see a 70-300 lens used for this shot but it worked well. The ISO was wonderful and so was the aperture setting. With the shutterspeed set correctly it gave the photographer a fine group of settings that worked well. Score: 3

Pictorial Quality (P): Although the Nature Story and the Technical Quality worked out very well in this photograph there are serious problems to be dealt with concerning the Pictorial Quality. First, by cropping a little off of the top of the photograph it would have left the top of the photo cropped into the dunes and would have gotten rid of the “plains or whatever” that are not wanted in this photograph about sand dunes. Second, to be in compliance with the PSA nature rules you can not have the “hand of man” be in the photograph. In this photograph it appears that there is a man at the top of the photo and footprints in the sand in a couple of areas. Although, the man might be a tree or brush and the foot prints might have been made by an animal, a group of tough judges would have disqualified this photograph. As for this commentator, if I am not positive I follow my own “give the author the benefit of the doubt”. Third, the one fine element of this photograph is the black and white work which is done well. Score: 1

Exceptional (E): The Pictorial Quality element was a problem and kept this photograph from being exceptional. Score: 0

Scores: N 3 / T 3 / P 1/ E 0/ Score = 7


This Review is written by: Janice R

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
I believe this image has a strong, soft nature story. That wonderful light highligts the ripples on the dunes and tells the story of life in the elements. I would not have said this had you not done such a good job of illuminating the wonderful textures of the dunes.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Technically, in my opinion your Dof was good and shutter speed enough to how detail of the sand, which makes the image. Very nice use of light and shadow. I am bothered by the brightness of the dunes in th e backgr ound which compete with dunes in the foreground. In my opinion there is much interest in the forground dunes but they are dark and I have to strain to look at the textures. I would suggest brightening the foreground a bit or softening the brighter background.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I absolutly love sand dunes so I'm predipossed to love this image. Having photographed dunes myself, I know it's difficult to get the dunes lines up nicely with the light and you did a good job. The one critisicm I have about the composition is the placement of the bushes. The one in the right foreground makes a diagonal line with the one in the middle and then the one on the left. However, the two on the sides are cut off and take my eye out of the frame. I'm wondering if you widened the image just a little if you would have been able to keep the bushes from running into the edges.

NATURE SCORE 3-Nature story strong

T ECHNICAL SCORE 2-Average exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 2-Average composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 7


This Review is written by: Diana R.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
I find the nature story weak. Nothing in your description tells me anything that contributes to a nature story.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I think the image is lovely. To me black and white works well to emphasize the textures. The image appears sharp from front to back.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I find the vertical crop doesn't work well. It feels like my eye is always running into the edge of the frame. To me a horizontal crop would work much better.
NATURE SCORE 1-Nature story minimal or contains unrelated hand of man

TECHNICAL SCORE 3-Excellent exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 1-Inadequate composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 5


This Review is written by: Charlie Y

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
interesting BW image, like it.
not up on how this static landscape would tell a nature story, if some wind and flying sand, or fog, might enhance the storyline. Giving a 3, is not reachable, settle on a 2 as final.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
exposure is appropriate, sharpness is good from front to mid section, but not at far end. a shorter lens or wide angle would give you a much better DOF, perhaps that at the time, use a 70-300 lens at 130mm, must have your reason.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
in conjunction of prior section, and take this as portrait instead of landscape, feel that a wide angle lens would give the image a better DOF and strong delivery impact. Just my two cents.

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

TECHNICAL SCORE 2-Average exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 2-Average composition and impact

EXTRA POINT 0-No extra point

T OTAL SCORE 6


This Review is written by: Kishore S.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Early morning is the best time to photograph the dunes. i like the shadows which create a stunning contrast.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Converting to black and white enhanced the image.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
very sharp image and excellent composition.

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

TECHNICAL SCORE 3-Excellent exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 3-Excellent composit ion and impact

TOTAL SCORE 8


This Review is written by: Larry T

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Developing a nature story with a landscape is generally difficult. However the rippling action in the sand does show the effect of nature on the landscape. Thus I can give credit for the nature storyline.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I feel that you handled the exposure and the conversion quite well. I also like the low camera angle that brings the foreground into a more dramatic position in image. Your increase of contrast makes the nature story much more visible.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I feel the vertical format was a good choice as it makes the depth feel greater and give the feel of these dunes simply going on for ever and ever in a most timeless manner. I feel the format increases the power of the nature story. Personally, I do wish that you would have left just a tiny bit more space at the top. To me if feels as if it is a bit crowded at the top.

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

TECHNICAL SCORE 3-Excellent exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 3-Excellent composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 8


This Review is written by: MJ S

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
I think this is more a portrait with lots of light and shadows interactions. Textures are great

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I like the black and white rendition, and the diagonal line from left bottom to right top

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Nice image

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

TECHNICAL SCORE 3-Excellent exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 3-Excellent composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 8



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OCTOBER 2020 ROUND

Title:   Snowy Bryce Canyon in dawn light
   
Goal:   To show the unique landscape of Bryce Canyon
 
Equipment/Source:    Canon iDsiii with 24-105 lens at 67mm and settings 1/15 f9.0 ISO100 with tripod - Taken in 2008
 
Technique:    In position before the sun commenced hitting the Canyon wall - taking images as the sun rose

Processing: 
 Lightroom - No crop, White balance to Daylight from Auto, Texture and clarity added plus use of S curve slightly. Sharpen in Topaz Sharpen A1

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 Dan C.

Brice is one place where erosion has given the nature photographer the ability to have decent story value in a landscape image.  The addition of a dusting of snow adds to the story value.    This is a landscape image that clearly shows how the forces of nature sculpt the land.  I can easily assign a 3 for the nature story.

Technically the image is excellent.  Your exposure is spot on. Your sharpness is also excellent with an appropriate depth of field.  The bright directional early morning light could have very easily caused blown areas but you handled it well.  It is also easy to award this a 3 for technical.

Pictorially I have some problems, mainly the bald sky and that strong hoodo in the lower right corner.  I consider the right corner the bigger of the two issues.  You might want to consider cropping out at least one.  The attached adjustment crops both.  I award this a 2 for pictorial.

N3, T3, P2, E0, Total 8


Review by Alex C.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
The image certainly shows that it was taken at dawn based on the light coming across the canyon rocks. There is no additional story involved

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Technically the shot is well done.
There may be a bit too much warmth to the color from the sun, which could be toned down a bit in post. The snow could have more contrast and brightness added to it to make it stand out more, also something in post.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I like the composition in this image. Even though there is only a touch of the sky near the top, it really helps you acknowledge the size of the canyon. The ridges and angles add to the flow of the image.

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


Review by Bogdan B.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Beautiful landscape with snow in dawn. Anyway natural story can't be very strong.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Although rocks are colorful and dawn sunlight the colors are unnatural vivid. Also the sky and green trees seem to be orange and snow a little bit blue. I think, that colors are too strong.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Normal composition.

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

TECHNICAL SCORE 1-Inadequate exposure

PICTORIAL S CORE 2-Average composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 5


Review by LC B.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
I think this is a good capture and you accomplished your goal. In terms of story though I’m left looking for more.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I think the image is well shot and the your use of the morning light works well. Technically I can find no faults/way to improve.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The composition is interesting with several points that draw my eye but no clear flow to draw me from across the entire image. I also think this would work as a wider shot: perhaps shooti ng back at 24mm and then using a crop to shorten the sky and make it more panoramic.

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

TECHNICAL SCORE 3-Excellent exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 2-Average composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 7


Review by Nirmalya B.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
It appears to me more as a landscape with moderate nature story.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
In my observation the photograph is slightly overexposed and missing the early dawn feeling.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Luminosity of the sky and that of the foreground are not matching in my view resulting a feeling of overdone post processing. It can be easily fixed considering direction and angle of sunrays falling on surface and selective
shadow and highlight management accordingly.

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

TECHNICAL SCORE 2-Average exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 2-Average composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 6

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.