Study Group 2


Diana Rebman (D)

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NOVEMBER 2020 ROUND

Title:     Bald Eagle Snatches a Female Bufflehead

Goal:   I was at a local wildlife refuge photographing a variety of ducks when I noticed a Bald Eagle sitting on a log in the water. I watched for quite a while. When an unsuspecting group of Buffleheads landed on the pond, the eagle took off, grabbed a female Bufflehead in its talons and flew off to consume it. I suspected the Bald Eagle was waiting for an opportunity to grab a duck but when it happened the action was fast and furious. I did not even realize it had caught the Bufflehead until I saw it on the back of my camera! There was very little light that morning which kept my shutter speed a bit lower than I like for fast action.
 

Equipment/Source:     Nikon D850, Nikon 300mm f4 PF lens with 1.4 teleconverter 
   
Technique:    Handheld, f5.6, 1/1600 sec,ISO 1600, EC -0.7

Processing:   Standard camera raw adjustments, cropping, Topaz Denoise AI and Sharpening AI 

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.
Wow, talking about being at the right place at the right time!!  A very strong nature story with great action.  And all the technical are good too, but lighten up the dark wing of the eagle just a tiny bit.  Nothing wrong with the way it is, but could be a touch lighter.  The soft background makes the bird stand out, and the water drops really add to the story. The white head and tail are not blown out and have detail.  Normally, a bird flying away from you isn’t good because its eyes can’t be seen, but with the eagle turning its head for you makes the very sharp eye the center of interest.  Also, it is easy to see what the prey is.  Good work.  This image should do very well in International competitions.

N3, T3, P3, E1 = 10


This Review is written by: Haru N.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
You captured the right moment at right timing.
Eye of the bird, grip of duck, and water splash, all are well captured to support strong nature story.
Well done!

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Color balance, lighting, and sharpness, all are in good condition overall in my view.
Only the comments: the black wing in left side need to be a bit brightened up to see the detail of feather. That part consists of big portion of the image, so I feel its important.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Simple and clear composition makes the main subject huge impact. I do not mind the white lines in the background. It does not distract my eyes so much since the white feather of the birds catch my eyes first with great impact.

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


This Review is written by: Andy H

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Good strong story. Its a 3 for me.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Image is sharp with a good DoF that focuses the eye on the eagle and removes background distractions. The speed was necessary to capture this image but required high ISO.The poor light is evident in the flatness of the image. Recovering detail under the wings is showing some colour noise, blueness.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I like the image but its a pity, as is often the case, that the eagle is flyin g away. However you have captured the head well. For me I would have liked a more landscape composition to allow the eagle space to fly into. Reactions are so important

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: Natalie M

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Fantastic nature story well captured.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
From what I can tell, sharp and well exposed. Don't you just love it when you get away with a slower shutter speed.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I think the square crop works, but I'm also wondering what it would be like in portrait format, with more of the water splash and more room for the eagle looking down.

NATURE SCORE 3-Nature story strong

TECHNICAL SCORE 3- Excellent exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 3-Excellent composition and impact

EXTRA POINT 0-No extra point

TOTAL SCORE 9


This Review is written by: Dennis H

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Good nature story with eagle capturing duck.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Your camera settings have captured a very good image. Nice colour and feather detail on R/H wing of eagle. L/H wing lacks a little detail in dark areas. Eagles eye clear. Duck a little indistinct.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Image has good impact and composition. A pity the bird is flying away.

NATURE SCORE 3-Nature story strong

TECH NICAL SC ORE 2-Average exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 2-Average composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 7


This Review is written by: Louis P

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
magnificent shot is definitely a nature shot

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
all round excellent, including the water spray; white feathers of eagle are a little blown out, but remainder of two birds were sharp, excellent exposure and very well done.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
great impact and wonderful composition.

NATURE SCORE 3-Nature story strong

TECHNICAL SCORE 3-Excellent exposure

< strong>P ICTORIAL SCORE 3-Excellent composition and impact

EXTRA POINT 0-No extra point

TOTAL SCORE 9


This Review is written by: Susan N.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Great nature shot with bird of prey and prey in talons.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Well-framed and captured. Clear image.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The eagle flying away from view is not as good as coming towards, but that is the luck of the draw. I don't know if better positioning would have been available. In processing, the shadows could be brightened some and the picture could take a bit more contrast. It's there, just needs develop ing.

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



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OCTOBER 2020 ROUND
Title:    Marsh Tit Nibbles Icicle
 
Goal:    This image was taken in Hokkaido, Japan. I was planning to photograph the Whooper Swans on this particular day, but they were dirty and didn't allow for a compelling photo. It was -25 outside and I was freezing. On my way back to the van, I saw this most amazing behavior. A large icicle had formed on a maple tree and a group of Marsh tits and Long-tailed tits were taking turns nibbling on the tip of this icicle. Despite the extreme cold I spent 4 hours on two days trying to capture this behavior.
 

Equipment/Source:    Nikon D500, Nikon 300mm f2.8 lens, f8, 1/1000 sec, ISO 1600 EC +.3
  
Technique:  There were several of us photographing this behavior so positioning was limited. I used a tripod and a shutter release so that I could keep my hands in my pockets with hand warmers. These birds moved so quickly that I simply focused on the tip of the icicle and started shooting as soon as one approached.  

Processing:    Standard processing in camera raw, minimal cropping

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 is a fine example of an extraordinary nature story and I give my highest compliments to the author. Many times in judging international competitions which goes so quickly this fine nature story would be overlooked. However, nothing is more important than water in nature, especially in the winter months. For the author to be able to capture a photograph at the instant a bird flys up to “nibble” on the ice is truly excellent work. Congratulations! Score: 3

Technical Quality (T): As I looked at your camera settings I thought they looked very good. One item of concern was the relative high ISO. As your commentator also uses a Nikon camera similar to your D500, I wondered the author didn’t drop to F7.1 or F6.3 to get more light and lower the ISO. With the wonderful lens being used in this photograph, it might have worked out better and enhanced the background which is wonderful to begin with. Score: 3

Pictorial Quality (P): Although the background appears “busy” in this photo it works extremely well in forcing anyone looking at the photograph to focus directly on the bird which is “tac” sharp which in this case works out very well. As a result of the back ground you have the wings showing the appearance of movement transitioning into the body and head of the bird being spot on sharp. Although I did find a bit of what appears to be a sharpening halo around the head of the bird, I was unable to find it elsewhere and my thoughts where, “yup, winter shooting lighting effects”. Score: 3

Exceptional (E): This is a wonderful photograph for so many reasons it obviously deserves extra credit. Score:1

Scores: N 3/ T 3 / P 3 / E1 / Score = 10


Review by Janice R

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
I'm impressed that you got this image. I was also at that same place in Japan in February and stood in the cold and watched a Marsh tit for about 3 hours. I did get some images, but not THAT image with his facing in the right direction and at the end of the icicle with it in its mouth. Great job.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I think your focus and DoF was spot on as was your exposure. The only technical issue I see is that his eye is lost and I'm wondering if you could bring that out in post. I do think it detracts of the appearance of the b ird.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I think that your back ground is beautiful and I love the spread of the wings and the slight blur. You can just see him fluttering to stay in place at the icicle. The only thing that interferes with the pictorial quality is the lack of visibility of the eye.

NATURE SCORE 3-Nature story strong

TECHNICAL SCORE 3-Excellent exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 2-Average composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 8


Review by Kathleen T.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
What a wonderful sight .thanks for showing me something I would never ordinarily see

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Your focus on the bird was miraculous and I like how wing tip to wing tip it appears right with in the little twigs. They make a nice frame. I like blurred back ground

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Your patience paid off . Nice job. Your camera worked great in the cold as well

NATURE SCORE 3-Nature story strong

TECHNICAL SCORE 3-Excel lent exp osure

PICTORIAL SCORE 3-Excellent composition and impact

EXTRA POINT 1-Exceptional

TOTAL SCORE 10


Review by Kishore S.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
This is a very compelling nature story.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The exposure is good. Shooting at 1/8 gave a sharp image and the shutter speed of 1/1000 resulted in the motion blur of the wings.Pre focussing on the tip of the icicle while waiting for the bird to approach was an excellent technique.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The moment has been beautifully captured.

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


Review by Charlie Y

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
very interesting nature capture, as I never seen this bird, have to look it up on the web, Thanks for sharing,
wonderful!m and extra point for working in freeze,

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
First I thought it's a 300mm fl f/4 lens, but then realize it's a f2.8, that's heavy, no wonder it's on tripod, and freeze out there. However, I wonder if a 1.4 or 1.7 extender would do, then you don't have to crop so much.
Anther was the noise, though 16000 is not bad, run it through Topaz denoise AI would render a even better image. Just a suggestion, recently, I start to use it, it helps, thus I bump up my ISO limit way up on my D500.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
a clean image, though center posed the subject, it doesn't bother me as much. would suggest darken a little bit on the edge, to bring the focus into center subject.

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

TECHNICAL SCORE 2-Average exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 2-Average composition and impact

EXTRA POINT 1-Exceptional

TOTAL SCORE 7


Review by Larry T

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
I feel this displays a strong nature story and has the advantage of being something unique.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I applaud your dedication in capturing this shot. Wild life photography is about more than just getting a grab shot. Your suffering in the cold was well worth the result and your technique including the hand warmers is all first class.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
It would appear that you did everything perfectly with this. The composition is solid and the exposure, even with the white bird is well ha ndled. I even like the frame created by the branches. I do have two thoughts. I am not deducting anything for the first but rather am just asking. The bright white of the ice is startling and really draws my eye immediately to it. Since so much of the scene seems to be grey is it possible to tone down the ice just a bit? This may turn the ice too grey and so may not work but the possibility strikes me just the same. The second suggest would be to crop the hanging berries/seeds (?) on the right edge. To me they seem a distraction and are not contributing to the composition.

NATURE SCORE 3-Nature story strong

TECHNICAL SCORE 3-Excellent exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 3-Excellent composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 9


Review by MJ S

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Great story

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Great effort with a similar background, good exposure, I like the blurred wing tips, but I would crop out the leaf on the right leaving the bird a little off center

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Love it would hang it on my wall, you get an extra point for withstanding the cold, brrrr

NATURE SCORE 3-Nature story strong

TECHNICAL SCORE 3-Excellent exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 2-Average composition and imp act

EXTRA POINT
1-Exceptional

TOTAL SCORE 9


Review by Susan N.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Strong nature story capturing bird in flight and feasting on the frozen source of water

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Dark area of the face on bird needs shadow relief and bright area of icicle needs toning down whites/highlights maybe also the shadows in order to see the texture of the ice - this all in post-processing.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Beautiful and serene with grace of the birds wings. Technical improvements would make this a stunning image

NATURE SCORE 3 -Nature story strong

TECHNICAL SCORE 2-Average exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 2-Average composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 7

 

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