Study Group 2


Alex Cohen (A)

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NOVEMBER 2020 ROUND

Title:     Splish Splash Bluejay Bath
 
Goal:    I was actually out looking to capture some Kingfishers at Chagrin River Park. Instead I came across a pair of Bluejays taking turns hopping in the river for a quick bath and cool down.
 

Equipment/Source:    Canon EOS 80D, Sigma 150-600mm (at 600mm), 1/1000, ISO 320 f6.3
   
Technique:    Late afternoon climb through some woods and down to the riverbank. Very quietly waiting up against the plants along the edge of the water waiting for the shot.

Processing:   Lightroom and camera raw adjustments to remove some noise, enhance shadows, remove some of the plant life that was almost blocking the subject and resized for web.

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): This photograph is an excellent representation of what a wonderful nature story is. Or is it? (See Pictorial Quality) Score: 0

Technical Quality (T): Overall the technical quality is very good. The camera settings seem to be spot on. Score: 3

Pictorial Quality (P): In competitions that have PSA Recognition, there are rules and one of the rules states “No techniques that add, relocate, replace, or remove pictorial elements except by cropping are permitted”. Because the author stated that he “remove some of the plant life that was almost blocking the subject” it has made this photograph impossible to score for Pictorial Quality and in competition would have resulted in a disqualification. Score: 0
Exceptional (E): Score: 0

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


This Review is written by: Diana R.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
The jay is taking a bath so that is a nature story although a bit weak.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
To me the image is well exposed, sharp, adequate depth of field and nice color palette.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
To me, this would be a much stronger image if you either moved closer to your subject or cropped in. I want to focus on the jay bathing and some of the water splashing, the remainder of the image isn't really necessary.

NATURE SCOR E 2-Nature story of average strength (portrait)

TECHNICAL SCORE 2-Average exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 1-Inadequate composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 5


This Review is written by: Janice R

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
This is a fun pic of the Jay. I love how you got all the water droplets he was flinging. That was quite a bath and does help tell the story.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Color balance is good and you Dof and shutter speed appear to be adequate to render a sharp image, however, nothing in this image appears to be sharp on my monitor. There is a large, bright piece of grass in the center top that draws the eye away from the subject. Also there are bright areas on the leaves and rocks that compete with the subject.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The lack of sharpness interferes with the impact of this image. Also, the subject is only a very small part of the image. In my opinion it would help to either increase the focal length of the lens or crop this image.

NATURE SCORE 3-Nature story strong

TECHNICAL SCORE 1-Inadequate exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 1-Inadequate composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 3


This Review is written by: Charlie Y

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
This is a fun one, I enjoy it. I did capture a similar one during summer in my backyard's bird bath, bluejay also.
Did I read it right that "remove some of the plant life that was almost blocking the subject", that's not a PSA nature thing, please read them, as last month's review, it allow to darken/lighten, but can't remove single pixel.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
exposure seem fine, sharp enough around bird, but I'd suggest as you set up your shot, look for quieter background and foreground, keep moving to find a better angle/position to take the shots. With a 600mm len, sure has enough range to cover it no problem.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
overall, could use some more crop, from top, from right, and perhaps in front, leave enough water to indicate the surroundings, also the image doesn't need all that splash to show it's doing a bath. Then the image would be stronger, show enough the elements to tell the story, and nothing more.

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

TECHNICAL SCORE 2-Average exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 1-Inadequate composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 4


This Review is written by: Larry T

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
For me this image of a bluejay “bathing” only rates as an average nature story. This is largely due to the bird itself. The birds appears to be just sitting in the water which has a great deal of spray. It is hard to distinguish what “activity” is happening. It could be bathing, something could have hit the water, I just don’t know. Perhaps waiting until the bird was engaged in some sort of “bathing” activity would improve the story and the image.

TECHNICAL REVIE W OF IMA GE
I am having a hard time finding something truly sharp in the image. With a shutter speed of 1/1000 I would expect something to be. This leaves me wondering if you failed to acquire focus, did you have too much camera movement? You also mention “removing some plant life”. It is my understanding that this type of editing is not acceptable in a Nature image. However you indicate that plants were blocking a view of the bird so perhaps your reconstruction is the cause of the lack of sharpness

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Generally center weighted compositions have a static feel and that feeling may contribute to the under whelming impact of the image. I feel that cropping down from the top to at least below the blurred bright leaf would both eliminate clutter (the background at the top of the frame) and help draw move attention to the bird. In this case you subject is such a small portion of the image that it simply does not dra w much attention.

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

TOTAL SCORE 6


This Review is written by: Kishore S.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Beautifully captured image. I like the droplets of water splashing around.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Exposure is good and image is sharp.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Composition is very good.

NATURE SCORE 3-Nature story strong

TECHNICAL SCORE 2-Average exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 3-Excellent composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 8


This Review is written by: MJ S

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Good story but need to crop out distracting elements

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Overall exposure is good but lots of overexposure in rock elements

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
A closer crop would benefit the story

NATURE SCORE 3-Nature story strong

TECHNICAL SCORE 2-Average exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 1-Inadequate composition and impact

EXTRA POINT 0-No extra point

TOTA L SCORE: 6



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OCTOBER 2020 ROUND

Title:     Migrating Monarchs
 
Goal:    Capturing monarch migration along Lake Erie
 

Equipment/Source:     Canon 80D, Sigma 18-300mm lens
   
Technique:    At my son's soccer practice watching as the monarchs began attaching to leaves for rest. Snapped quite a few shots

Processing:   crop, contrast, clarity, noise reduction

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. 

Welcome to the group Alex.

The normally isolated Monarch Butterflies collecting in a group provides the nature story of migrating monarchs in this image though your location of Lake Erie says assembling for the start of the migration, not during the full migration.  It is surprising to see the most of the Monarchs in the shot are females.  That story is still worth a nature score of 3.

Technically your exposure and primary sharpness are good.  Depth of field is adequate for the Monarchs themselves.  I can assign a 2 for the technical score.

The arrangement of the primary subject works but that background is a killer.  It is very busy and draws significant attention from the main subject.  The PSA nature definition does allow selective lightening and darkening and that can be done for some of the highlights,  The definition does not allow you to deliberately blur the background so it is less of a distraction from the main subject.  I am sorry but can only assign a 1 for pictorial.

N3, T2, P1, E0, Total 6


Review by Bogdan B

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Interesting to see such a crowd of beautiful butterflies.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The most sharpness is on the leaf in the middle. Butterflies are a little bit soft.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I miss to see more than one whole butterfly. Others are partially covered with leafs.

NATURE SCORE 3-Nature story strong

TECHNICAL SCORE 2-Average exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 2-Average composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 7


Review by LC B.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
I think this is a good capture of the butteries resting but the uniformity of their positions/profiles doesn’t expand the story: if you had one in motion joining the clan on a leaf I think the story would be stronger.


TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I think you captured the green tones of the leaves well but the detail and colors of the insects isn’t as vibrant. Adjust levels in your tools might help with that. When I look at the image full size the depth of field is pretty short and thus details on the individuals are blurred. You didn’t mention your settings for shutter/aperature/iso/focus so my only suggestion would be to open up your aperture more and/or bring down the shutter speed.


PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I like the composition of the image but think it would work better with just a bit more negative space to the top/bottom and right.


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

TECHNICAL SCORE 2-Average exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 2-Average composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 6


Review by Adrian B

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Welcome Alex! I have doubts whether these butterflies are migrating, but is nevertheless an amazing collection of them - I've never seen this before live, or a picture like this.
I thus find it an interesting nature story and give you the full points accordingly.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
You don't give us the camera settings used for the shot - these are helpful to allow us to comment in a more informed way which you can learn from.

Your butterflies are well presented - they are sharp enough throughout and clear.

Ones eye normally goes to the brightest part of any image, so where you have bright areas like this in some corners, you should try to work on those areas to dim them a tad.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
This is a pleasing interesting image and as said, unusual, so it demands attention.

NATURE SCORE 3-Nature story strong

TECHNICAL SCORE 2-Average exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 3-Excellent composition and impact

EXTRA POINT 0-No extra point

TOTAL SCORE 8


Review by Nirmalya B.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Beautiful nature story.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Well exposed, sharp image deserves full credit.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Very nice composition but perhaps the vibrancy could be slightly up.

NATURE SCORE 3-Nature story strong

TECHNICAL SCORE 3-Excellent exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 2-Average composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 8


Review by Bogdan B

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Interesting to see such a crowd of beautiful butterflies.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The most sharpness is on the leaf in the middle. Butterflies are a little bit soft.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I miss to see more than one whole butterfly. Others are partially covered with leafs.

NATURE SCORE 3-Nature story strong

TECHNICAL SCORE 2-Average exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 2-Average composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 7

Alex Cohen spends most of his time traveling between Ohio and Pennsylvania capturing the explorations he and his family take between the two states and anywhere else that life guides him. Taking photos of everything he comes across, whether it be nature, people, or obscure oddities found all over the place. After spending many years in the dark and dismal abyss of depression, alcoholism, and drug addiction Alex found sobriety and a new spiritual path. At this point his eyes reopened to the beauty of life and the world around him. With that new found perception he has channeled that love of beauty into his love of photography.

His work can be found in various galleries, gift shops, hair studios, and other locations in both Pennsylvania and Ohio. He has also received a great deal of recognition in online photography competitions around the web. Living his life one moment at a time, he continues to follow his passion through learning, growing, and capturing everything he can.