Study Group 2


Kathleen Colligan (B)

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NOVEMBER 2020 ROUND

Title:       Get on your mark.. get set.
 
Goal:    While on a morning walk Oct 3 when I spotted several white-tailed deer feeding in an open field in Narrowsburg NY. It was early in the morning when the light was shining on this misty field. I loved seeing this buck and four does lined up as they were eating grasses. I walked up as closely as possible without scaring off the deer. It looked like they were lined up to race. 
 

Equipment/Source:     Sony Rx10 iv camera handheld 
   
Technique:    ISO F4.0 ISO 100 1/500 sec  

Processing:   Lightroom used to adjust shadows, highlights, texture and contrast. Photoshop used including sharpening some details.

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.
You captured a nice grouping of Whitetails but the two does with their heads down kind of take away from you feeling of being lined up to race. The image does portray the group well but does not show much information about the deer. I have to rate the story as a 2. Try to minimize the use of “cute” titles for nature subjects.

Technically your exposure is acceptable though you are on the verge of opening up the shadows too much. The colors are more accurate with about a half stop less exposure like in the attached adjusted image. Your texture is good. Even though you added some sharpening in Photoshop, the head of the doe looking towards the tree line is not sharp nor are the rumps of the rear does. The technical score is a 2.

Pictorially the image is nicely handled. I like the confrontation created by greeting the deer as I move into the picture. One minor flaw that caused me to look twice was the juxtaposition of the bright patch at the left tree line and the light area at the base of the buck’s ears. It almost makes it look like a bleed through from an added background. The second look confirmed that was not the case but if seen in a fast paced judging, it could result in an unfair low score. Pay attention to your backgrounds and how they can affect how someone interprets your image. This near merger does result in a pictorial score of 2.

N2, T2, P2, E0, Total 6


This Review is written by: Alex C.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
To me deer rarely have much of a story aside from when they are battling or during mating season (I have hundreds of deer near my home). However, for this image, you can see the description as well as the title in the way they are lined up.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I like the bit of haziness to the photo and the depth of field. There seems to be a lack of detail and sharpness on the buck that seems to be the main focus of the lens.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE< br>I rea lly like the angle of the deer. You can see all of them, yet it's not overly jumbled. I also enjoy the glow of the lighting from the right side and from behind them.

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: Bogdan B

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
It is a group portrait, but it is special.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Good lighted, sharp. I would prefer a little bit more DOF.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I like the line-up although a little bit from the back. Background is good blurred.

NATURE SCORE 3-Nature story strong

TECHNICAL SCORE 3-Excellent exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 3-Excellent composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 9


This Review is written by: LC B.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
I think your story in this image is strong: even if it is up to the viewer. Sometimes open ended stories are even better than specific/obvious ones.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The overall focus/sharpness is good, but the image seems over exposed with weak contrast and shadows. Also there is some significant weird artifacting around the ears of the back deer that then meanders across the entire upper right quadrant. It looks like the background has been altered to remove someth ing.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Compositionally I’d love to have the very bottom section cropped out and more of the area to the left left in: this could remove the much of the distraction of the leaf litter and create more of a sense of drama as it would indicate that the deer might indeed be about to move out of frame.

NATURE SCORE 3-Nature story strong

TECHNICAL SCORE 1-Inadequate exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 2-Average composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 6


This Review is written by: Suman B.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Adults keep on watch while younger ones eating is a common behaviour found among deer herds but since you accentuated it with a back lighted exposure it looks pretty.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
technically your shot is well exposed but that highlighted patch of grass attracts the eye more. I would advise you to shoot low so that the dark background frames the herd with a back light to make it even prettier. But at f4 you can't ask for good DOF.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF I MAGE
pictorially your image shows properly exposed side view in the back light.

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: Adrian B

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
I'm not sure about the story here Kathleen: a group of deer which is nice to see, but I don't believe necessarily they are about to run off. some are eating, while others are on point duty watching for danger.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I enjoyed looking at the coat detail of the leading deer and as such this is sharp, as are the paid of heads seen eating, but the next upright one isn't and I think where you are aiming at taking a group of animals, you need to ensure your f-stop choice gives you good dept of field - f4 is not wide at all, indeed it may be the narrowest you have.

I like the fact the background is off-focus as this helps to make the deer stand out - but Im sure say f8 of f10 would have solved the first issue without adversely bringing the background into too much focus.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
A pleasing image, but not one which offers long term viewing interest, but thank you for posting.

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



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OCTOBER 2020 ROUND
Title:    Pileated Woodpecker Feeding  
 
Goal:    I was walking on a trail this past May in sunny Bokeelia Fl when I spotted these Pileated Woodpeckers in the distance. It was a bright sunny morning so not the best lighting but wanted to catch the parent feeding the youngster. I am fairly new at photography compared to most in this group and still trying to figure out a lot. Your constructive feedback is much appreciated.
 

Equipment/Source:    Sony Rx10iv hand held    
  
Technique:    Quick decisions were made to find the best viewing spot to overcome bright sun and shadows. ISO 125 F 4.0 1/800sec 

Processing:    Lightroom and Photoshop were used to adjust highlights, shadows and contrast. It was also cropped.

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 Rick C.
The nature story is good and clear with the chicks responding to the adult’s presence. The nature story is rated as 3.

The conditions were very difficult. I suspect you have already tried to pull back on the highlights to an extent, however, they are still significantly over on the brightly lit side of the tree. We have also lost contrast and detail in the chick’s necks and chest. There is some red color shift in the adult’s left wing (shoulder). This was almost a no-win situation. As it stands, it would have been better to expose based on the light side of the tree and see if you could keep detail there by letting it go to +1 ½ stops (manual exposure or exposure lock). That may have left you with enough detail in the adult’s back to be able to recover it in post processing. If your camera had a feature that allowed for in camera HDR brackets, it would have been worth trying a couple of those too. Focus and depth of field are fine. It is the exposure issues that will keep the technical rating to a 1.

Pictorially, you are composed well. We could debate cropping a bit more off the right edge with that part of the tree not really adding to the story. It would be an improvement, but I don’t see that as a major issue. The exposure problems weaken both impact and interest value, btu I’m not going to hit the image twice for the same problem. The pictorial rating is 3 for me.

N-3, T-1, P-3 = 7


Review by Rick D.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Hi Kathleen. Wow! Nicely done! Your patient observations really paid off! This photo captures it all! Both parent and baby are well positioned. And the yummy beetle is in plain sight. Of course the house (in this study group) is a bit of a deduction. While that may affect the score, it does not change the fact that this is a cover shot image and should be framed and hung. One point for exceptional photo

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Your settings and planning technique are on the money.

PICTORI AL REVIE W OF IMAGE
What’s not to like? The exposure, composition, and focus are excellent. The wings portray action and the colors create great impact

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

TECHNICAL SCORE 3-Excellent exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 3-Excellent composition and impact

EXTRA POINT 1-Exceptional

TOTAL SCORE 8


Review by Robert D

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Nice capture of pileated woodpeckers on a tree. From the picture on cannot tell that they are feeding.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The vertical composition is fine but the bright vertical line is very distracting. Remember the viewer's eye goes to the brightest part of the image and there is nothing of interest there. If you can, try to think about a suitable background before the shoot, then make your subject(s) big enough so that they do not have to complete with the background. In this case moving to the left about 15 degrees would have helped a lot. I know that this is not always possible, but if you want to create the best, it has to be.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Not a wall hanger

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

TECHNICAL SCORE 1-Inadequate exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 1-Inadequate composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 4


Review by Prasad D

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Nice capture for a beginner. Nice nature shot of the Pileated Woodpecker Feeding the juveniles.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The highlights are specular and F stop of 5.6 could have given better depth and reduced the highlights on the bark of the tree. Lovely highlights in the eyes of the juveniles.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Composition should have been tighter. The overexposed bark distracts attention.

NATURE SCORE 2-Nature story of average strength (portr ait)

TECHNICAL SCORE 1-Inadequate exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 2-Average composition and impact

EXTRA POINT 0-No extra point

TOTAL SCORE 5


Review by John E.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
the parent(s) to feed their two chicks over many months.  In addition, there is information about where these woodpeckers live.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Good sharp focus and catchlight in the eye of the chicks are strengths. Good exposure of the highlights and details in the shadows make this a strong image.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Pictorially I enjoy the vertical composition which works well and complements the chicks looking up at the parent from below.& nbsp; The red and blue colors complement each other well.

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


Review by Bruce F

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
The nature story is there. Although, the parent woodpecker feeding the chicks would raise the nature story value up a notch. The chicks with their open mouths and direct focus on the parent bird universally say “feed me” and speaks to babies mammals everywhere.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The lighting conditions are difficult and the sensor is having difficulty capturing the entire range of light. The shadows of the chicks seem too light. I would use targeted adjustments and darken the c hicks&rs quo; shadows, and I would slightly darken the light side of the barkless tree trunk. The tree area on the right has interesting cracks and texture, but including so much of it push the woodpeckers to the left side of the frame. I would have included more of the blue sky and less of the shadow area of the tree trunk, resulting in a better balance and increased focus on the birds.
You mention your settings. I would never shoot at ISO 125 and f4.0, with a digital camera released in 2017. You could have used a higher ISO and then, used a smaller aperture and gotten more depth of field without increasing noise in the capture. You need to determine your top ISO setting where you can produce acceptable files without noise. Files that noise reduction software will remove the background noise. I am not saying that you use this top ISO for every image capture. Here the light was amble. A higher ISO setting can give you more room to increase the shutter speed (an important factor when hand-holding) or you can obtain more depth of field by adjusting your aperture.
I would also tone-down the red values a bit. The chicks' mouths seem to be reflecting red that looks unnatural. Also, the red feathers on their crowns are a bit hot.


PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
l mentioned the heaviness of the left side. The visual flow of the mind is out through the parent’s head at out of the image. It’s hard to visually get back in. If the birds we placed more to the right, the mind could circle from the parents to the chicks, in a circular flow. The positioning to the right doesn’t have to be much, but the effect would improve the composition considerably. Vertical framing was a good choice; this is a vertical subject and scene.

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


Review by Dave F.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Nice shot telling a story and the babies are really engaged

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Tough shot with the bright sunlight and then the shadows on the adult. Over all I think you did a good job considering the conditions. I submitted a photo of a Raven a while back I knew the image was poor in composition but I was a cool shot, for me!

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Nice composition. Your efforts to walk around to get a better shot paid off.

NATURE SCORE 2- Nature s tory of average strength (portrait)

TECHNICAL SCORE 2-Average exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 2-Average composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 6

 

I'm Kathleen Colligan, a retired middle school science teacher from NE Pennsylvania. A few years ago I joined a birding club which led into my newest hobby of photography. My goal for joining PSA and this group is to learn more in order to improve my photography skills. Birds are my favorite subjects but I also enjoy all kinds of nature photography. This pandemic has limited my traveling and other social groups. So my camera along with nature walks have been extremely beneficial during this stressful time.