Study Group 2


Kathy Hickling (B)

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OCTOBER 2021 ROUND

Title:      Limpkins
 
Goal:     To capture the moment of mama Limpkin feeding her babies. However, this image is stronger of her opening the mussel shell to get the meat out while baby anxiously awaits. The subsequent image of the baby eating just looked yucky!
 
Equipment/Source:     NikonD850, 500f5.6prime, shot at 5.6, 1/125, ISO 640, no tripod. ISO is up because they were in a shaded area, hence the ss at 1/125
   
Technique:     hold still and wait for it! Hand held. I believe that I was seated for more stability.

Processing:    Lightroom. cropping, contrast, shadows, exposure adjusted. Desaturated the greens a bit.

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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SEPTEMBER 2021 ROUND

Title:     Dragonslayer
 
Goal:   To grab the image as the bird grabbed the dragonfly
 

Equipment/Source:    Nikon D850, 500 f5.6 prime lens, 
   
Technique:     Use a fast shutter at 1/1250, kept the f stop at 5.6 although could have upped that but then would have lost speed.  

Processing:   Lightroom. Adjusted shadows/highlights, crop, sharpen

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.
Solid predator-prey behavior. N-3

The background is a little on the bright side. All other technical aspects are solid. T-3

The background brightness carries over to the pictorial strength. Selecting the background and darkening it slightly along with a linked mild drop in saturation and contrast would help to keep the viewer’s eye on the subject. The elements on the right side and the orange color on the left edge can be cropped out without having the image feeling too tight. P-2

N-3, T-3, P-2 = 8


This Review is written by: LC B.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Birds dining out always makes for a good nature story. The side-ways perching in this shot adds to an already strong story.


TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Image has good strong focus but the overall image is overexposed. Red-Winged Blackbirds are a deep black even in full sun. Try pulling this image down a couple of stops as that would also help declutter the green-yellow background as well.


PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I think the composition is just “ok”. Viewer’s eyes have been trained via passive exposure to view L->R and while your image allows for this, the negative space surrounding the bird created by your crop, which is neither a square or more traditional landscape or portrait dimension ratio, constrains my eye in an unsettling way. Play around a bit more with all three options and you will be able to strengthen the story even more.

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: Bogdan B

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
The bird with beautiful dragonfly in the beak is a good ND story.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Dragonfly and main part of head is sharp. A step more closed shutter would make sharp also feathers on the top of bird's head, but more narrow shutter would make the background to distractive.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Good composition. You should just brighten a little bit the branches on the left and right.

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: Adrian B

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Welcome Kathy assuming this is your first month. Well captured! A clear Nature story.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Your timing was perfect with the bird turning so you see much of its head and the dragonfly in a helpful position.
On my screen, the image looks somewhat washed out, both the subject and the background. Also, the bird looks over processed: it is not clear. There is little feather detail and it is not fully sharp
I cant judge what is wrong: you have an excellent camera with much pixel horsepower, so I doubt it is as a result of excessive cropping. Whether you missed the core focus and pushing the image in Lightroom to make it sharp I don't know.
If lighting on a bird is balanced ant not bright (like this), I use Lightroom sliders Texture and Clarity a bit, then sharpen - ie: not much.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Ignoring the above, it is a pleasing well captured image.

NATURE SCORE 3-Nature story strong

TECHNICAL SCORE 1-Inadequate exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 3-Excellent composition and impact

EXTRA POINT 0-No extra point

TOTAL SCORE 7


This Review is written by: Rick D.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Hi, Kathy. Welcome to NSG 2! This is first time I have had the pleasure of reviewing your work. And if this is indicative of your talent, I am sure you have much to offer this group! There is a good nature story line here.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Your camera gear is perfect for this shot. I do feel that a little more depth would be an improvement. The fact that the upper part of the tree is fairly sharp while to lower area is not is a distraction. The same for the bird’s fee t. You did not include your ISO setting in your commentary. With the really fine noise reduction and sharpening software available, ISO can provide us with more latitude in our speed and aperture settings. It is another arrow in our quiver. Without knowing the setting, perhaps a higher ISO would have allowed an aperture that would have provided the needed depth while a faster shutter achieved the required sharpness.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
With all that said, this is a really impressive photograph. And you did get great detail in the skimmer’s wings! Very well done. Also, you captured the subjects in the perfect moment. A really nice pose with the head and body at angles. Also very well done! Good catch light in the eye. One very minor suggestion would be to bring the right side crop in a little tighter to remove the distracting darks. I feel the capture of the bird and its prey, and the pleasing pose, rate the bonus point.

NATURE SC ORE 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


This Review is written by: Suman B.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
catching the bird while catching its prey is good show. a good nature story.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
with the help of the 500 mm's f/5.6 aperture you have managed to portray a good nature story without getting a busy bright background. again good score.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
since your image have good technicals, crop closer. instead of a vertical crop why not get a close horizontal crop. accentuates the image.

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

“Every picture tells a story, don’t it?”

– Rod Stewart

I am learning the field of nature photography. As a former sports photographer I learned that telling a story was the most important factor in a great photo. Today, whether I’m using my skills during a family photo session or freezing a moment in the lifespan of a bird or animal or even a landscape, the final image must not only be technically pleasing but have an impactful or whimsical quality.

I am a Nikon shooter. I love my D4, and have recently acquired the Z7II. My go to lenses for wildlife are the 500/5.6, the 70-200/2.8, and the 200-400/f4.