Study Group 2


Diana Rebman (C)

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SEPTEMBER 2021 ROUND

Title:    Bison Newborn Nursing

Goal:   This was my first trip to Yellowstone National Park. Animals were scarce but we did see quite a few bison. This newborn with its umbilical cord still attached was very feisty. It would run around like crazy but always within a few minutes would return to the safety of its mother. I wanted to catch an intimate moment when it stopped and nursed.  
 

Equipment/Source:   Nikon D500 with Nikon 500mm f5.6 PF lens
f8 , ISO 2800, EC +0.3
   
Technique:   handheld 

Processing:   standard camera raw, minimal cropping, noise reduction with Topaz

Score this image:   YES


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

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

 

 


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AUGUST 2021 ROUND
Title:    Leucistic Gynandromorphic Red-winged Blackbird

Goal:    I anticipate that many will say this is just a portrait but to me this bird is the nature story.
I had heard that this very rare bird was being spotted at a local refuge for the 3rd year in a row. After several attempts I was finally able to locate it although the sun was very strong at that point. This beautiful bird shows characteristics of both male and female red-winged blackbirds. In addition it is leucistic. It appears healthy but is always alone never pairing up with another Red-winged blackbird.   
 

Equipment/Source:     Nikon D500, Nikon 500mm f 5.6 PF lens

Technique:  f5.6, 1/1600 sec, ISO 1250, handheld

Processing:    Standard RAW conversion, a bit of noise reduction and sharpening

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):  The title of this photograph (which is over the 35 character limit for PSA competitions) gives away quickly that the nature story will most likely be limited and it is.  Although the photograph is very nice, a bird on a limb is at the bottom end of the nature story scale.   Score: 1

Technical Quality (T):  The camera settings are spot on for this photograph and the photograph is excellent. Bravo!  Score: 3

Pictorial Quality (P):    This photograph would have been greatly enhanced by better "burning".   Score:  2

Exceptional (E):   Regretfully, this photograph does not deserve the extra point for being exceptional.  Score: 0

Scores: N 1 / T 3 / P 2 / E  0/   Score = 6

Review by commentator Jan Lee (did one extra by mistake)

Nature Story:

If this were a “normal” bird, I would tend to agree with your comment about it being a portrait. But this is a very rare find, and one that deserves recognition. I also feel, as a person who spends a lot of time watching birds, that this perching and watching activity is exactly how male red-wing blackbirds spend a great deal of their time, so the pose is a part of their nature story. To us, this is a beautiful bird, but I too suspect that it will never attract a mate.

Technical Quality:

The image is clear and sharp on the whole bird. Especially nice is the slight highlight on the fluff of feather on the throat. Although generally well lit, I would like to see the leaves a little less bright, and the head a little lighter.

Pictorial Quality:

In Nature photos, I don’t usually like to see the backgrounds completely blurred out (to me, that is not a “natural” look). Here you did include enough of the environment to give a feeling for his natural habitat. I feel it would have been stronger with less background blur. You might consider cropping in a bit from the right, in order to put the head in an ordinal line. That way, the bird is increased as a proportion of the image.

N – 3, T – 2, P – 2 = 7



This Review is written by: Larry T

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Personally, I’m in agreement with you in regards to the nature story. I think there is more to a nature story than just photographing the traditional stories. Like you I have submitted images of rare animals found in the wild and had them terribly panned in this forum. However, I believe that photography is more than just fitting a photo into a formula. According to your description you seem to have spent some time and effort searching for and capturing this particular bird. I’m sure it would have been easier just captu ring a photo of “any” redwing backbird. For these reasons I will give you’re the fully three points for your nature story. This is unique and worth documenting.
Note: Several years ago I also captured of photo of a very unusual mutation of a GBH. I sent the photos to the Audubon Society. I will suggest that you do the same.


TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
You seem to have handled the bright light well enough to capture the detail in the black feathers. The background is well handled and the very neutral appearance allows for the separation of the subject from the background thus producing a strong visual impact. I do question your reference to having “very strong sunlight” available. If sunlight is quite strong you should be able to obtain a shutter speed of 1/1600 with an aperture of 5.6 without pushing the ISO to 1250. To me the leaves and stems seem to be a bit over exposed and this over exposure allowed the detail of the black feathers to be more accurately captured.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
You seem to have handled the bright light well enough to capture the detail in the black feathers. The background is well handled and the very neutral appearance allows for the separation of the subject from the background thus producing a strong visual impact. I do question your reference to having “very strong sunlight” available. If sunlight is quite strong you should be able to obtain a shutter speed of 1/1600 with an aperture of 5.6 without pushing the ISO to 1250. To me the leaves and stems seem to be a bit over exposed and this over exposure allowed the detail of the black feathers to be more accurately captured.

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: Janice R

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
I appreciate your comments about the significance of this portrait, and a beautiful portrait at that. But, without your written detail, the photograph is a portrait.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
In my opinion this is technically excellent. Your shutter speed and Dof to keep the bird well focused and sharp. Your color balance is excellent as is the feather detail of the bird.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I think this composition works well. The branch creates some sense o f place and the position of the bird shows off all of the unusual features of this blackbird.

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: Haru N.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
This is very beautiful pictorial image. I think this is the beautiful "portrait" in my view.
After reading the description and looking the image, I could not justify the rating of 3, I am afraid.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Selection of the camera setting is perfect - adequate sharpness on the main subject and level of blurriness of background.
Also I like the color pallet.
There is nothing I can add for improvement.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The balance of the space is good.
Simple composition is good as well.
The leading line of branch helps the eyes to guide the main subject well.

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

TECHNICAL SCORE 3-Excellent exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 2-Average composition and impact

EXTRA POINT 0-No extra point

TOTAL SCORE 7
This Review is written by: Louis P

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
I wonder what makes this bird so rare; we in central Maryland have plenty of these. I think that this is a portrait of a perched bird.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
First I was going to rate this a 3 because the bird was tack sharp; then I scrolled down and became very distracted by the too-bright leaves below the bird.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I guess having seen lots of these birds I found this one very nice, but it did not move me.

N ATURE 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: Jodi S.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
I am fascinated by the stories of animals with unique variations like this one, so although it is a portrait, the story behind it is rich. As a birder I would have wanted to know more about this bird as I have never seen one like it.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
You noted you took this picture in harsh light, and that does show. Given your situation in documenting this bird, I find the exposure particularly nice on the bird. The leaves are blown out a bit, but the lighting on the birds head and beak and the catchilight in the eye seem to have benefitted from the exposure settings.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The birds eye and face are tack sharp, and the background is excellent. I do not see a lot of noise anywhere.

NATURE SCORE 3-Nature story strong

TECHNICAL SCORE 2-Average exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 3-Excellent composition and impact

EXTRA POINT 1-Exceptional

TOTAL SCORE 9
This Review is written by: Susan N.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
I think you are right in that the specimen is a "nature story". Nice capture.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Well framed and exposed; however, the brightness of the leaves detracts a bit and could be lowered legitimately in processing. Nice use of depth of field with plain/blurred background. I might have raised the shadows on the bird's head behind its eye in order to bring out more feather detail - I think it is there.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
With the above adjustments I think the pictorial quality would be improved. As a documentary photograph you have captured the markings to meet the specimen description.

NATURE SCORE 3-Nature story strong

TECHNICAL SCORE 2-Average exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 2-Average composition and impact

EXTRA POINT 0-No extra point

TOTAL SCORE 7
This Review is written by: Eric N.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Your introduction as to why this image is not a portrait is significant. I know several birders seeking individual species and having trouble finding them. Your search for this particular species is the story itself.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The exposure is spot on. Focus and depth of field are perfect for this image. The Bokah is smooth and not distracting from the image.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Capturing a unique species of bi rd is difficult in the main. This portrait shows good compositions with the stem and leaves on the bottom-right leading your eye to the bird. Your eye level perspective allows the bird to be properly positioned in the image.

NATURE SCORE 3-Nature story strong

TECHNICAL SCORE 3-Excellent exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 3-Excellent composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 9

I am an avid amateur wildlife photographer. Having recently retired from my practice as an anesthesiologist and relocated to Portland from CA, I am looking to connect with other nature photographers.  For about 10 years I participated in camera clubs in the SF Bay area. I am indebted to these clubs for all of my initial learning about photography. Since then I’ve participated in numerous workshops and classes to hone my skills.  

My goal is to push my photography to the highest level possible so I greatly appreciate any constructive feedback. For more about me or to see more of my photography and awards, please check out my website www.dianarebmanphotography.com or follow me on instagram www.instagram.com/drebmanphotography