Study Group 2


Larry Treadwell· (D)

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NOVEMBER 2020 ROUND
Title:   Togetherness
 
   
Goal:  Four weeks after they hatched I returned to the nest to see first hand how these Great Blue Heron chicks were growing. I hoped to capture some intimate moments between the mother and her chicks.


Equipment/Source:   Nikon D7200, Nikkor 200-400mm lens with tc1.4. ISO 500, f8 @ 1/800. The camera was set to manual mode with auto ISO.
To capture this image my tripod with gimbal head was mounted on the prow of my canoe. and the camera rig placed on the tripod. This image was taken using a cable release.

Technique:  Knowing that the chicks would be most active at daybreak I launched the canoe just before sunrise for the paddle to the nest. I allowed the canoe to drift into some mangroves that I hoped would help steady the canoe. I chose an area that would keep the rising sun on my left to provide some directional golden light. After getting in position all that was required was keeping the mosquitoes at bay while worked the camera. With the chicks being quite small I planned on getting a close up of the chicks and hoped for the adult lay down near the chicks. I knew the issue would come down to DOF and getting everyone in focus. For this particular shot the chicks were pushing each other around (the one on the left is much more aggressive than the one on the right) and the mother leaned in to separate them. This relatively parallel positioning helped keep them within the DOF zone of my lens. I felt the mother leaning in would provide the best opportunity for a close intimate shot as the adult, when standing, is over 40 inches tall and the chicks are only about 6-7 inches. Thus this would be my best opportunity.

Processing:  Post work only required cropping and adjusting exposure slightly. I added sharpening and some contrast.

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.
Interactions between a mothers and babies are always a strong nature story no matter if it is birds or mammals or reptiles.  Good that you can keep tract of the family as they hatch and grow.

The three birds are well exposed with nothing blown out, and all are in focus.  And good color.  Nice work, Larry  

Having the mother in the middle makes for a nice composition, and having all three sets of eyes in focus is a big plus.  It is good that no branches are in front of the nest to block the birds.  However, there is a big problem with the very bright leaves in the background.  You need to burn them to remove those distractions.

N3, T3, P2, E0  = 8


This Review is written by: Haru N.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Great shot with right moment at right timing.
it really demonstrate some interaction between the parents and chicks in nature world. The motion blur of bill strengthen the story of interaction. Good work!

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Excellent sharpness on the main subject. It is a bit too tight on clarity in my eye but that's my personal view.
I like the golden lighting hitting the chick which provide warm mood in the image. One critique is the background - it is blurred to some extent, but it is still noisy. I wish it blurred more to make background soft.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Excellent cropping - simple composition resulting great impact of the image. This image has a "wow" factor.

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
Full on nature story and captured at the right moment. Id give it more but limited to a 3

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
All the settings look good to me. The hard work good preparation and clear objective result in a great image. Pity about the mosquitos.
I can forgive the movement in the chicks beak.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
This image is a good example of correct composition and bags of impact. Lovely shot.

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


This Review is written by: Dennis H

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
You have certainly put a lot of time, patience, and effort in obtaining this nature study of mother feeding chicks.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Eyes clear and sharp on birds. Black parts on chicks lack a little detail. White areas on adult bird lack some detail.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Image has impact with good lighting. I believe the image could be improved by cropping away some of the messy nesting material. Bright spots could be burnt in.

NA TURE SCO RE 3-Nature story strong

TECHNICAL SCORE 2-Average exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 2-Average composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 7


This Review is written by: Natalie M

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Beautiful intimate portrait providing lovely story of family.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Well captured in difficult lighting conditions. Sharp in all the right places.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The image loses impact because of the cluttered environment, you have to go looking for the photo. This is beyond your control, it's a really nice image.

NATURE SCORE 3-Nature story strong

TECHNICAL SCORE 3-Excellent exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 2-Average composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 8


This Review is written by: Louis P

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
wonderful nature image; loved the early morning sun on left chick; I have been lucky enough to shoot GB herons, but have never seen a nest so close, only high-up in trees.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
faces of all 3 birds were sharp and in focus; I am not sure, but away from the faces the rest of image seemed quite noisy.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
the grain really distracted me from a wonderful shot.

NATURE SCORE 3-Nature sto ry stron g

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: Susan N.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Great nature story and a touching scene with the mother separating the two chicks.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Good planning for your position vis a vis the directional light, DOF, and camera settings.Nicely framed and captured.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Parts of the image, especially the yellows, are very much brighter than the other parts of the image and distract from being able to appreciate the full image. A decreased luminosity and/or saturation on the yel low woul d help the image greatly.

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:      Hold Tight
   
Goal:   This photo is simply an example of the struggle for survival in the Everglades. The image shows a white egret trying to devour a snake. The bird grabbed the snake but before the bird could swallow the snake the snake wrapped itself around of the stem of a water plant and around the bird’s neck and bill. This pinned the egret’s bill down along the side its neck. The bird could not fly because it was bound to the plant by the snake. It could not open its bill because the snake was wrapped tightly around both the upper and lower parts of the bill and the bird’s neck. The egret flapped, twisted, turned all to no avail. It finally became so exhausted that it tried to lay down in the water. The stand off lasted over 90 minutes until as if by mutual consent both the snake and the bird let go. The bird staggered off and the snake swam away.

Equipment/Source:  Nikon D7200, Nikkon 200-400mm with tc1.4, ISO 640, f8, 1/1000
 
Technique:   Kneeling in the water at the edge of the swamp I positioned the monopod at nearly the eye level of the bird. Separation of the bird/snake from the background was impossible because the bird was in the plants. The trick was shooting when the bird turned to somewhat face the camera. Most of the time the bird’s wings blocked any view of the face and if the wings didn’t then the plants blocked the view. For me there was clearly a story taking place it was just extremely difficult to see.

Processing:   
Processed in Lightroom CC. Highlights reduced, contrast and selective dodging and burning.

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): Nature story? This is the shot that all photographers dream of taking to get the nature story. Congratulations Sir! Score: 3

Technical Quality (T): As I read the camera settings and then paired them with the photograph I thought this was some of the finest camera control I had ever seen. My compliments! Score: 3

Pictorial Quality (P): A very good friend of mine gave me my greatest lesson by telling me, “background, background, background”. The photographers use of the background properly with the great nature story turned this photograph into something very special. Also, by not overworking the photo, the natural colors came out wonderfully. Score: 3

Exceptional (E): This is extremely fine nature photography at the highest level is more than deserving of the extra point. One extra point for this photograph doesn’t seem to be enough! Score: 1

Scores: N 3/ T 3 / P 3/ E 1/ Score = 10


Review by Janice R

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Wow, that's quite a story. I bet it was something to sit there and watch this struggle. Talk about keeping it real!

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I'm sure that this was a challenging image given the action of the bird, the reeds and your position. I know the scene was quite contrasty but overall the image does seem to be a little underexposed. I'd like to see more detail on the darker parts of the snake and a little more light on the egrets eye. I think the expression in his eye is important to the story.

PICTORIAL REV IEW OF I MAGE
This was quite a capture. While I don't know that I'd hang it on my wall, it's a very compelling image.

NATURE SCORE 3-Nature story strong

TECHNICAL SCORE 2-Average exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 3-Excellent composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 8


Review by Kathleen T.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
What a story your observation skills and your patience have really paid off here. The eye to eye staring match was intense. Good story ,

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Beautifully composed nicely focused

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Your handling of the post production really brought all the elements together . Nice job!

NATURE SCORE 3-Nature story strong

TECHNICAL SCORE 3-Excellent exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 3-Excellent composition an d impact

EXTRA POINT 1-Exceptional

TOTAL SCORE 10


Review by Diana R.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Wonderful nature story!

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
As you stated, it is very hard to get photos of this type of action in the reeds. Overall the sharpness is pretty good. I wish the snake was in better focus. The whites of the egret seemed gray to me.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Nice composition.

NATURE SCORE 3-Nature story strong

TECHNICAL SCORE 2-Average exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 2-Average composition and impact

EXTRA POINT 1-Exceptional

TOTAL SCORE 8


Review by Kishore S.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Larry, this picture has a very strong story. I could feel the the dilemma of the heron and how it had to forego its food.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Technically, the exposure and sharpness are good. The crop is a little bit too tight. Mentioning the focal length at which the picture was made, would have been very much informative.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Composition is average. Showing much more of the bird's body, would have been much more impactful.

NATURE SCORE 3-Nature story strong< br>
TECHNICAL SCORE 2-Average exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 2-Average composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 7


Review by Kathleen T.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Perfect nature story .. Very dramatic

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The image was crisp
and well focused on the center of the action

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I can not see any thing to improve the eye to eye stare down of predator and prey was priceless

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
marvelous capture! love it
although rather static behavior, but egret's eye just show so much concentration and efforts, good one.
'

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
proper exposure and sharpness, even zoom in 1:1 still see good images, well done

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
image is sharp and crisp, details of feather, wonderful lens and results.
effective crop to show case the stand-still game of nature. Even though the background is not ideal, but viewer can draw focus onto main subject. Might suggest darken the edge a bit, just enhance the impace.

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


Review by MJ S

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Strong nature story

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
While the head and eye of bird are sharp, the wing is a bit soft, snake is sharp, but details are dark, some whites are lacking details

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Lovely image of life struggles and an extra point for getting at eye level

NATURE SCORE 3-Nature story strong

TECHNICAL SCORE 2-Average exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 3-Excellent composition and impact

EXTRA POINT 1-E xceptional

TOTAL SCORE 9


Review by Susan N.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
WOW! A great bird AND snake capture and a great nature story.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
well-focused and developed. Can see the feathers on bird and scales on snake. Perhaps lightening the black at the mid/tail end of snake could help some

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Caught my attention! well-framed and good colors. Would lighten the non-white areas some to add to impact.

NATURE SCORE 3-Nature story strong

TECHNICAL SCORE 3-Excellent exposure

PICT ORIAL SCORE 2-Average composition and impact

EXTRA POINT 1-Exceptional

TOTAL SCORE 9

I am retired and living the good life in south Florida.  I have always had a love affair with the wilderness and the natural world.  This naturally lead to an interest in photography to bring home memories from my adventures in the wilderness.  I have thus been involved in photography for more than 40 years and have worked as a semi-professional including work for the PGA and LPGA as well as shooting sports for various local colleges. 

My favorite photographic locations are Everglades National Park (the hardest place I’ve ever found to photograph), the Great Smoky Mountains and Rocky Mountain National Park.  That said, I will go anywhere to get a good image.  I enjoy shooting the Milky Way and the night sky, a real challenge, and I enjoy using long exposures.  

I have taught photography on the college level, belong to several local camera groups and have served as a photo judge at local clubs and for other local competitions.  Since retiring I have had several photographic exhibits in south Florida.

I am member of the online group called The Nikonians and shoot Nikon cameras currently using a D800 and D810.  While I have a collection of Nikon only lenses my favorites are my 24-70 and my baby, a 200-400 f4 beast that weighs 7.3 pounds.   My hiking buddy is my tripod that goes everywhere I do.