Study Group 2

Eran Perkins (B)

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Title:     Fall Reflections

Goal:   I wasn't encouraged by the sun's absence on this day. Not really expecting to get too many decent pictures. The original goal was to photograph a herd of White Deer that frequent this particular area. No sightings. Even though the sun wasn't out, I cannot resist the image of water reflected.
Equipment/Source:     Nikon D3400, 18-55MM Landscape, no flash
Technique:    Hand held

 I did sharpen this image slightly with the Enhancement feature on my laptop. I find that PhotoShop and other software programs a little too overwhelming to use at this point.

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

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

Review by Mike P.
You came upon a beautiful scene for this lovely landscape. I like the sharpness of the image and your ability to spot potential shots. I do think the image could be strengthened in a couple of ways. First, the horizon nearly cuts the image in half. Usually, you will have a stronger photo if you avoid that halfway mark. You could avoid it here by cropping more from the bottom (and cutting out the little branches at the bottom). I think it could also benefit by cropping more of the sky in order to focus on the tree line and reflections. Finally, the shadows seem too dark to make out any details. These could be lightened on your processing programs. While I think this is a pretty shot, to me it lacks a strong nature story impact. If you are having trouble with Photoshop, you might look into Lightroom. It's an easier program and can do most of the same work as Photoshop. Adobe provides PS and LR now as a package.
N-2, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-6
Review by Les L.
This image could use a little more of a nature story. I would suggest cropping the foreground some to eliminate the plants lightening the trees and their shadows to add some detail.
N-1, T-2, P-1, E-0, Total-4
Review by Bogdan B.
You didn't have fortune to get a fine day for photography. I like the reflections in very calm water. Symmetric composition is good in this case. The sky is too white. It would be good to learn, how to make it darker.
The pieces of grass on the lower side are a little bit distracting. 
N-1, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-5
Review by Bruce F.
This image does have a nice gloomy mood, reflecting the conditions of the day quite well. However, for my taste, the horizon line in the middle is not the ideal composition for reflections type imagery in most cases. For this image, I would have made an unbalance composition, with the water more interesting than the sky, made the sky a lesser part of the image. The water and reflection area a greater portion. I know you can’t change the light or the weather, but for me, I would have zoomed in and taken just the trees with snow that occupy the center of the image, also possibly including their reflections. This to me seems the most interesting part of the image. This weather and drab lighting is perfect for intimate or telephoto landscapes, not the wide angle or traditional type of landscape shots.  
Review by Dennis H.
Nice image of forest with reflections. Would crop foreground to remove branches. Appears to be over sharpened in some areas.
N-2, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-6
Review by Andy H.
Always have a back up idea, so any times we go out to photograph one thing and nature doesn't turn up when scheduled. I also like to use reflections and you ad the perfect still lake. The lack of sun and grey sky is fairly common over here in Scotland. We call it SFL Scottish Flat Light. There probably is more colour there to recover but until you develop post production skills this will be a difficult task. Try to find someone to help with these skills and a whole new world will open up. The composition is fine and its right to use the horizon in the centre of the image. There is some shrubbery at the base of the image that should be cropped out. 
N-2, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-6
Review by Maria K-L
Very nice and well seen image. Diffused light is very suitable for your subject because is soft and allows good exposure for clouds.
I like white snow on the trees. It adds interest to the image.
Composition is good but small branches at the bottom edge are distracting and should be cropped out or removed in postprocessing (but removing is not allowed for the nature competition).
For the next time just try to avoid them when shooting.
I would add some tonal contrast to the trees to show more details there but this a bit more advanced postprocessing and I understand you are not working in Photoshop yet.

I would add some tonal contrast to the trees to show more details there but this a bit more advanced postprocessing and I understand you are not working in Photoshop yet.
I put N=2 . there is nice story here but I think not strong enough for 3.

P=2 becouse of distracting branches at the bottom edge
N-2, T-3, P-2, E-0, Total-7
Review by commentator Dan C.

For weather conditions that were not encouraging you managed to capture a nice image.  Your sharpening did help to some degree.  We do not always get the images we want but being able to create a good image from what you were able to get is a strong plus in your favor.

I do not know what specific controls the Enhancement feature on your laptop has but many of the current generic software does include sliders for highlights, shadows, and clarity.  Those would be good to play with so you can see what they do for your images.  Playing with the controls is really the only way to overcome the overwhelming feeling you have with editing software.  Always work on a copy of your capture instead of the capture itself so if you make a mistake or do not like the results, your original capture is intact.  All you have lost is the time you played with the image but even that time can be rewarding if you learn from your efforts and become more comfortable with the software.

With this particular image I would look for the shadow slider and the clarity slider.  The shadow slider will open up the dark areas of your image and let you reveal more detail, always a good enhancement for many images.  In this case those additional details help provide some story value to the scene by better revealing the snow in the trees.  The Clarity slider will help you add more texture and interest into your cloud area, adding more excitement and interest.

Also learn to pay attention to the edges of your frame and think about how someone with no attachment to the image would view it.  An example with this image is that bright dried foliage in the left foreground.  Does it add a feeling of depth to the image or does it attract attention away from the rest of the image.  It does do both here but in my own opinion, the negative of the distraction is stronger than the positive of the feeling of depth.  Since the negatives outweigh the negatives, consider cropping the distraction out of the image as shown in the adjusted version I have attached.

N2, T2, P2, E0, Total 6


Upload Image and Description
Title:    Swan Silhouette

Goal:   The goal that morning was to catch the sunrise, and yes the Swans were a bonus!

Equipment/Source:    NIKON D3400

Technique:  Handheld. Got out to site at 6am to get set up before Sunrise.

Processing:    Took the image on "Auto" setting on camera. No copping or Photoshop. First official use of camera.

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

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

Review by Butch S.
A real nice image. It is hard to detect the birds as swans since they are far in the distance. Be that sit may, this is a nice sunrise shot with plenty of color and reflection. I would give this image a pictorial score of 2 for Nature. Technically, I would like to see a bit more cropping in to get a better sense of the birds being swans. Pictorial score is average from where I sit.
N-2, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-6

Review by Mike P.
For the the first "official" use of your camera, you did a magnificent job. I think you did a fine job of capturing the bright sunset yet dimmed enough in the reflections of the waters to present a delightful balance. You capture of the swans was also a nice touch and added a great story-telling aspect to your photo. If you are indeed a novice, you demonstrate a wonderful eye and a true talent for photography. I look forward to many more of your images.
N-3, T-3, P-3, E-0, Total-9

Review by Gregory L.
Very nice color in this shot. The exposure is spot on even for the sun. The swans are in focus and sharp. The ground fog in the background is interesting. The photo is a off level slightly. The swans are swimming along and spaced out well and pleasing but not quite a good story value.  
N-2, T-2, P-3, E-0, Total-7

Review by Manu R.
Beautiful sunrise shot with the ducks adding value. Nice colours and reflection of the sun too. Wonder why the sun is in the oval shape? The image lakhs minor adjustments such correction of horizon tilt 
N-3, T-2, P-2, E-0, total-7
Review by Commentator Rick Cloran
For something shot on Auto, you made an excellent capture. I’m not expecting detail in the sun, but the fact that the dark band of land didn’t push the sun to lose all color and the lack of significant blooming (haloing) on the edges of the sun are both testaments to the sensor and auto exposure functions in the camera. As best I can tell by the swans and the their trail in the water you have the scene nicely leveled. The dark band is a little heavy. It is prominent enough that I see no effective means of cropping to more of a panel without emphasizing it even more. My one comment for improvement would relate to the time of capture and that would be to wait until the lead swan was in the sun reflection. That would have the added benefit of getting the head of the trailing swam away from that stick that makes it look as if it has a headdress.

N-2, T-3, P-2 = 7 (N-2 Some behavior but not strong enough for a 3. P-2 wait for the trailing swan to get away from the stick. The silhouettes are crucial to the image and so this becomes significant. If you can get the lead swan in the sun reflection while maintaining separation in the trailing group it will add to the impact of the image.)

Review by Louise H., 2-2-2017
You captured a wonderful image. The swans look beautiful against the morning sun. 
N-2, T-3, P-2, E-0, Total-7

This isn't a very long story, but I wanted to start from the beginning. When I was a child my mother was always behind the camera. There are very few pictures of her in the frame. Sooo many pictures of my sister and I! My mother and aunt loved us dearly and it shows in all of the photos that they took. The inspiration was there, but the quality of the equipment was not. My mother and aunt always struggled financially, so an expensive camera was out of the question. Now that I'm an adult and both parents are deceased, I want to carry on the tradition of capturing wonderful moments in time. My sister (who is the best!) bought me a Nikon D3400 for an early Christmas present. I have been up at dawn and going out at dusk to catch the sun in all its glory.