Study Group 2


Francois Venter, EFIAP, EPSSA (C)

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NOVEMBER 2021 ROUND

Title:     Elephant drinking 
 
Goal:     I spent the whole night in this hide hoping to see animals drink. I was very excited by this visitor. Settings wise and compositionally you don have much room to adjust as this elephant is 5m away. You also have a slight roof overhang and there is only two LED light panels lighting the scene. Catching the moments here is the goal. I was-very happy with this capture
 

Equipment/Source:    Nikon D4, Nikon 24-70 f2.8, off a tripod 
   
Technique:    ISO4000, 2.8, 1/100s. The technique here is going as wide as possible and highest shutter speed possible (which is low) to breeze the action but Cath the moment 

Processing:    LR Slight exposure adjustment and curves adjustment. Mono conversion done in Silver X Pro (Nix)

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 Jan L
Nature Story:
You should be happy with this capture, as it is an excellent image. My only problem with it, as far as Nature goes, is the enlarged trunk and head as a result of your wide-angle lens setting and low camera position. The elephant does not appear natural: the look of the animal is just a little off. This is much more than an “animal portrait,” and the story is good

Technical quality:
I find no problems with the technical quality of this image. The lighting on the elephant is spot on. The animal is tack sharp, and every wrinkle visible. I especially like that the right ear is clearly separate from the shoulder. The droplets from the trunk are a nice catch.

Pictorial Quality:
This image has high impact and excellent pictorial quality. I really like the look in the elephant’s eye, and the feeling of strength of the trunk. This is a powerful image.

N – 2; T – 3; P – 3 = 8


PERSON WHO WROTE THE REVIEW: Stover, Heide

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE: This is a staged image as lighting is provided to the photographer. I think this is allowed in nature but not in wildlife. That would make this a nature story. The elephant is drinking and I like the water coming from its trunk and I like that is has a foot forward showing motion.
TECHNICAL REVIEW OF THE IMAGE: The exposure looks mostly good to me. The ear behind the elephant is partially darkened. It would be nice to see more detail there.
PICTORIAL REVIEW OF THE IMAGE: I would like to see more room above the elephant but do understand that you had limitations. There are some distraction along the trunk. I am not sure if this is water splashing or part of the background.
NATURE SCORE: 2 - Nature story of average strength (portrait)
TECHNICAL SCORE: 2 - Average exposure
PICTORIAL SCORE: 2 - Average composition and impact
Total score: 6

PERSON WHO WROTE THE REVIEW: Yang, Charlie

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE: hard work stay up all night for this, one extra point for the effort! Glad you capture something for your time and effort! Strong nature story, depict an elephant fetching water, excellent included the water droplet action, well done! Another shot: focus on elephant head, and not to take in a whole elephant, waiting for it to feed water into its mouth? to give the 'drinking water' story headline. (sorry about Monday morning quarterbacking!) TECHNICAL REVIEW OF THE IMAGE: difficult light situation, granted, D4 do a ok job, sharp on the tusk and hair along it. Although, on f/2.8, and 5m distance, wasn't sure the focus point on this image, and thus what DOF it covers? Did you set max iso limit on 4000, or no threshold on ISO? PICTORIAL REVIEW OF THE IMAGE: Had that top have some more room, this image would be even nicer, as such, the elephant eyes, is at the edge of the frame, I know, don't you wish that have a wide-angle lens at the time? or compose a little differently and take a few other shots, e.g. focus on eyes, and only have a partial elephant head, waiting for it to feed water into its mouth? just saying
NATURE SCORE: 3 - Nature story strong
TECHNICAL SCORE: 2 - Average exposure
PICTORIAL SCORE: 2 - Average composition and impact
Extra Point awarded: 1 - Exceptional
Total score: 8

PERSON WHO WROTE THE REVIEW: Smith, Jodi

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE: Breathtaking image! Drinking water is a critical part of their day, and night. I'm impressed with your resolve to capture this at night.
TECHNICAL REVIEW OF THE IMAGE: Tack sharp throughout. Lighting is beautiful.
PICTORIAL REVIEW OF THE IMAGE: The composition is excelling, showing the elephant moving forward in the frame, water droplets captured beautifully. Outstanding photo.
NATURE SCORE: 3 - Nature story strong
TECHNICAL SCORE: 3 - Excellent exposure, color balance and sharpness
PICTORIAL SCORE: 3 - Excellent composition and impact
Extra Point awarded: 1 - Exceptional
Total score: 10

PERSON WHO WROTE THE REVIEW: Treadwell, Larry

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE: This is a stunning image. However the nature story of the animal drinking is not an exceptionally strong story as this is quite ordinary behavior. The visibility of the water droplets does add to the story.
TECHNICAL REVIEW OF THE IMAGE: The technique and the dedication to sit in the blind is certainly commendable. The extremely low camera angle and the proximity to the subject are what make this image so impactful. The camera setting cannot be faulted as the image is sharp and well lit, even for using LED panels. The technique is perfect. I do not know if you have seen the work of David Yarrow who has made a career of shooting wildlife using wide and lenses and very low camera angles. When I first saws this his work came to mind. You might want to look him up.
PICTORIAL REVIEW OF THE IMAGE: This image has a great deal of impact. Processing to bring out the contrast, the use of directional light and the framing make this excellent. I will award the extra point for the impact of the image. It is seldom that I am treated so such a visually powerful image. NATURE SCORE: 2 - Nature story of average strength (portrait)
TECHNICAL SCORE: 3 - Excellent exposure, color balance and sharpness
PICTORIAL SCORE: 3 - Excellent composition and impact
Extra Point awarded: 1 - Exceptional
Total score: 9

PERSON WHO WROTE THE REVIEW: Sarkar, Pinaki

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE: This is an awesome nature photo. The goal is not only met but also exceeded by miles. Congratulations.
TECHNICAL REVIEW OF THE IMAGE: ISO is very high but then again you really can't control all the parameters in nature shoot out. The feet of the lion sharp but some part of the trunk and the head is a little out of focus. Probably because of f2.8. I love the low angle as it contributes to the greatness and elegance of Elephant.
PICTORIAL REVIEW OF THE IMAGE: The choice of making it black and white really contributed to the aesthetics of the photo. It allowed you to focus on the light of the photo (as opposed to black night in the background) and the texture. Because of the contrast the movement of the water is also captured.
NATURE SCORE: 3 - Nature story strong
TECHNICAL SCORE: 2 - Average exposure
PICTORIAL SCORE: 2 - Average composition and impact
Total score: 7

PERSON WHO WROTE THE REVIEW: Roberts, Lillian

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE: I love this image! Getting to photograph a wild animal (even one this big) with wide angle is always amazing, and the ele gives you enough space for the angle to really show.
TECHNICAL REVIEW OF THE IMAGE: It's unfortunate that your focus was on the body rather than the eye (always a point of interest) or trunk (nearest part of subject). But the exposure is otherwise wonderful and the in-focus portions are very crisp. I think B&W was a great call on this one.
PICTORIAL REVIEW OF THE IMAGE: I wouldn't change much. If possible, I'd like to see a bit of space above the head and possible in the water/ foreground, to make this a true vertical. The drama of the ele's body language would definitely hold up with the added tension of a vertical composition!
NATURE SCORE: 3 - Nature story strong
TECHNICAL SCORE: 3 - Excellent exposure, color balance and sharpness
PICTORIAL SCORE: 3 - Excellent composition and impact
Extra Point awarded: 1 - Exceptional
Total score: 10


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OCTOBER 2021 ROUND

Title:     Competition between Species
 
Goal:   Capture interaction between the Jackal and Vultures
 

Equipment/Source:    Nikon, D4, Nikon 70-200
   
Technique:    Shot of tripod, 1/1000, F5.6, Low angle   

Processing:  Lightroom, 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 Tom S.
On my several trips to Tanzania, I was always amazed that most of the safari vehicles didn’t stay around a kill long enough to see the whole story of all the animals and birds that would show up and fight, so good for you. You did it right but I wonder about being on the ground with a tripod instead of being in a vehicle. A strong nature story. N3

The color is good but in between the dust and with no direct sun, it has pretty flat lighting so the contrast is low. Increasing the contrast greatly improves it. T2

I love the low angle. Good work. The composition of the vultures and jackal is good but it would be better if we could see the nose of the jackal or even better, if its mouth were open and we could see teeth. P3

Good but not an exceptional image. E0

N3, T2, P3, E0 = 8


This Review is written by: Rick D.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Hello, Francois and welcome to Nature Study Group 2! I have found this to be an interesting and fun way to improve my photography. I particularly like the different critiques that are offered. This image has great impact. A good nature story is in this photo. 3

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Your gear and settings are very good. One way we can help other photographers is by providing adequate information about our gear and techniques. We never know when our commentary might enlighten some one. I would like to see more, such as your ISO. Or, how long did you wait for this scene to take place? Did you research the fauna of this location advance? Did you shot in bursts to get this action? Those are a few examples.3

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
This tells a very good action story, which is the best type of wildlife photography. To me, the story can even trump the technique and composition. The flying dirt and the action of the subjects have impact. The subjects are sharp, the crop is very well done and the exposure is right on. This image has loads of texture which creates more interest. I find it interesting that my eye is drawn directly to the jackal. I can only reason that is because the eye has a stronger catch light than the birds. Because of this, if this shot was taken in a burst, could there be one with a clearer view of that head? Just a thought. 3

NATURE SCORE 3

TECHNICAL SCORE 3

PICTORIAL SCORE 3

EXTRA POINT 0-No extra point

TOTAL SCORE 9


This Review is written by: Dennis H

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Good capture of Jackal tackling Vultures with birds about to take flight.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Nice colour and detail on centre vulture and jackal. L/H vulture a little soft.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Good composition and impact with interaction between species.

NATURE SCORE 3-Nature story strong

TECHNICAL SCORE 2-Average exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 3-Excellent composition and impac t

TOTAL SCORE 8


This Review is written by: Susan N.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
A great nature story. At first i thought that the jackal was hunting the birds, but from your story and the posture of the animals it appears to be just chasing them away.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Well focused and you caught the face of the jackal, although it is partially hidden. I would crop from the bottom up a bit. It would bring the animals closer to the viewer and cut out some of the unfocused area on the foreground dirt.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
In teresting story captures my eye. cropping differently would add impact.

NATURE SCORE 3-Nature story strong

TECHNICAL SCORE 2-Average exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 2-Average composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 7


This Review is written by: Kathy H

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Well, this is certainly a very strong nature story! You did not mention where this was taken and am curious about that.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
It appears to me that the Jackal's eye and the Vulture's front foot are in sharp focus. Which I like and underscores the story. Shutter speed was fast enough to catch the dirt kicking up. I am wondering that with a 70-200 you were probably pretty close with this encounter.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
My nov ice eye sees great composition and impact with the vulture running out of the frame and the jackal running in. But am still curious about where they are.

NATURE SCORE 3-Nature story strong

TECHNICAL SCORE 2-Average exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 3-Excellent composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 8

In the last 20 years photography has become a lifestyle for me. Although my first love is wildlife and landscape photography I am just as comfortable in the studio. I have also done many weddings and a number of corporate functions. I would say that the only genre of photography that I really dislike is baby photography. I have recently also moved into the art side of photography, studied graphic design, and a number of art techniques such as cubism, surrealism and impressionism, in order to give myself another outlet for my photography.

My engineering background allowed a good understanding of the technical aspects of photography. I have found it natural to teach, give photography talks and assist during workshops. I try to use my comments to assist people to improve their photography. What I found was that through judging, I learnt a lot about my own photography. I have been a Photographic Society of South Africa (PSSA) member since 2005 and have attended numerous PSSA congresses. I served as the Northern Gauteng Regional Director on the PSSA board since 2015.

I received my AFIAP in 2019 and my EFIAP in 2021. I also hold the following Honours from the PSSA: APSSA (Vers), DPSSA(Vers), EPSSA.