Study Group 2


LC Boros (A)

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SEPTEMBER 2021 ROUND

Title:    Bug Buffet

Goal:     First the exposition: I’ve started a new project which is tidying up image collections. The one for the images from here at Purgatory took a week but is now tidy and went from over 25K to sub 14K, but most of the images show the evil “hand of man” and thus are not suitable for this group. I’m now working through past travel images with the goal of being methodical to find some images to actually submit for PSA image competitions since I’ve been a member of the study group for 18 months and haven’t done much with what I’ve learned. 

That said: this image was taken back in 2009 while visiting family in Australia. Basically at that time what are technically one set of my inlaws were living in Lenswood on a 150 acre cherry farm and in the flower garden area I took a lot of pictures. This is one of several images of a bee along with what I think is a lacewing on what I grew up calling honeysuckle flowers.

Equipment/Source:     Canon EOS 30D with EF 24-105mm f4L. ISO 200, 1/200s, f/4 @105mm
   
Technique:  Hand held.

Processing:    Topaz Sharpen AI to refocus and then cropped the image but didn’t tinker with anything else.

Score this image: YES


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

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

 
Nature Story:
This is in interesting nature story, but of course you must realize that it would be instantly disqualified if entered into a PSA-recognized exhibition. The Stegosaurus and the copyright in the bottom left have ruined it for nature. Having said that, I will talk about the image itself. This shows how often it happens that different animals can go about their business, and ignore other species thar are after the same resources. But, from a judge’s point of view, this image makes me work way too hard to find all of your story. The insects are too far apart, and there is too much flower in proportion to the critters. It seems you are saying the flowers are cultivated/domestic. If so, there again are too much of them in comparison the insects. Many would disqualify this for the flowers, even without the copyright. With insects, these have obviously adapted to their new environment, but the flowers (if cultivated) should not take up so much of the frame.

Technical Quality:
The center flowers and the lower right ones are over exposed. It is difficult to keep one’s eye from moving back toward the blooms, when it is the insects that you want us to look at. The image is sharp, and generally well lit.

Pictorial Quality:
If this were hanging on a wall and I had time to study it, I would probably find this interesting. However, as a judge , I would not find significant impact during a fast-paced exhibition judging session. I wonder if it would work better if you just cropped down to around the bee, and used that image.

N – 2; T – 2; P – 1 = 5


This Review is written by: Larry T

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Visually there actually is a nature story, however its impact is greatly reduced. To me, the story is more about the flower than the insects as they are rendered so small in the total image as to be almost forgotten. Perhaps it there had been more of them or if they had been of increased size the story line would be stronger.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
In a very general sense the setting a ok. However the whites of the flowers are certainly lacking in detail and appears to be slightly over exposed. Gett ing white properly exposed, especially when in bright sunlight can be difficult.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Since the insects are such small part of the image and since you want them to be the story I strongly suggest that cropping at least the lower third of the image would work to your advantage. Additionally, your logo in the lower right corner is far too prominent. The bright blue is certainly a detraction. This is only my opinion and I did not reduce your score for this reason.

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

TECHNICAL SCORE 2-Average exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 2-Average composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 6


This Review is written by: Jodi S.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
I'm impressed you could use a picture from 2009 with this much clarity. The image of two different kinds of insects feeding on these flowers is interesting.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Both insects are tact sharp. The lighting and cropping very pleasing.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
This is a very nice picture, though it does not compel me to linger on the image. The larger bee is not actually engaged with the plant, and i cannot see enough detail on the smaller insect to enter into th e picture. I also found your watermark distracting as the blue color was the first thing that caught my eye when opening the image. It looked very out of place given the tone of the rest of the 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: Charlie Y

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
First, appreciate devote a lot of time to describe the time of shot, locations, and environment. Would rather devote on why this image was taken, chosen, and what's the story trying to depict. What do you mean by 'bug buffet'? as Bug collects, harvest honey? Please be specific, that help viewer to see what's image's intend.
Given that, it's not clear, thus won't be po ssible to award a 3 in nature category.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
good portion of the image is blurred, not in focus. Would recommend to crop out, and leave the flowers in focus and just one bug in the frame, to strength the image. Secondly, with white flowers, it's easy to over exposed, as this image indicated, either adjust highlight so that it's not over-exposed, or next time use camera's adjust +/- to make sure at capture time.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
With cropped image, this would be a better image and more impact on viewer.

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

TECHNICAL SCORE 1-Inadequate exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 2-Average composition and impact

EXTRA POINT 0-No extra point

TOTAL SCORE 5


This Review is written by: Pinaki S.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Beautiful image. To me it is a nature photograph and also appreciate the fact that the birds are in flight and sharp.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I would have a little more tighter to bring more atention to the bugs as in comparative (as opposed to flowers shown here) terms they are very small creatures.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Nice color tones, however the not all the flowers are distinct.
The background is blurry but would have preferred more deeply defocussed, as the flowers are multiple and more detailed.
This would have brought more clarity to the subject matter.

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

TECHNICAL SCORE 2-Average exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 2-Average composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 7


This Review is written by: Rick D.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Hello, LC. I have several thoughts on your September submission. I would rather read more commentary on the actual event of photographing and less, or even none, of your archival culling. I found your August commentary to be much more desirable. The nature story is here, although it is a very ordinary one.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Your camera equipment and settings are good, but there is some overexposure in the white flowers.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I feel that a much tighter crop would put more emphasis on the bee. Having two subjects, especially at such a large distance from each other is very confusing to the viewer. Bring in the crop as much as possible on the bee and its surrounding flowers. The best judge of sharpness is the catch light in the eye. Here, the head and eye of the bee appear to be in a shadow, making it difficult to judge. The bee does not seem to be tack sharp. As I mentioned earlier, several flowers are overexposed. Perhaps a LR adjustment could correct that. Finally, your watermark icon is greatly distracting to the photo. It is fighting the subject for attention and winning. The viewer’s eye goes immediately to the bright blue dino and text. Ideally, the eye would follow the composition to the bee. Your past work that I have seen is very well done. It is the quality of your product rather than a catchy watermark that impacts the viewer.



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


Upload Next Round's Image and Description
AUGUST 2021 ROUND
Title:     A Smackerel

Goal:   To capture shore birds feeding. This is a Willet and it has a coquina (Donax variabilis) that it has pulled out of the sand. Shot was taken close to sunset on Longboat Key, Florida a few years ago.

As for the title: what else is a coquina but a smackerel of clam -- if it works for Winnie the Pooh and honey it can work for others.

Equipment/Source:     
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV / EF 100-400 f 4.5-5.6L IS USM
1/2000s f/5.6 ISO 1250 @ 400mm (Shutter Priority)  

Technique:  Handheld while lying in the sand.

Processing:   Cropped, tweaked levels and pushed through Topaz Sharpen AI

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 behavior is clear and cleanly shows feeding activity. The nature story rating is 3.

Primary exposure is good for the lighting you had. I tried two different monitors but the image shows as slightly over sharpened on both. That impression is driven more by the water than the Willet. When you apply sharpening through a product such as Sharpen Ai, I generally recommend using Select Subject on the layer and dropping on a layer mask confining the sharpening to only the subject itself. You can then use a white brush at a low flow and add a bit of sharpening elsewhere if it is needed. I’m also getting a noticeable cyan cast in the water. That may be natural and associated with the very nice angle of view you had, but be aware that Sharpen Ai does have a tendency to cause a cyan shift in images. Most of the time I will change the layer blend mode to Luminosity to eliminate any potential for that because it does not happen on every image. Technical rating is a 2 for me.

I feel the low angle of view and expanded sense of habitat coupled with the warm lighting and resulting contrast give this image both impact and interest. The pictorial rating is a 3.

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


This Review is written by: Adrian B

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Birds doing things like eating is enough of a story for me and they tend to do OK at Exhibitions. Your timing was good here with the object very clear in its mouth.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Camera settings look fine - although you did not for this shot need 2,000 of a second and this drove ISO up a tad - but I see no noise. It is sharp where needed. You have positioned the bird nicely in an appropriate shape.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The lighting makes this shot: its beautiful on th e right of the bird and a fine image - not exciting enough for a 10, but a good image for me.

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


This Review is written by: Bogdan B

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Eating is a good ND story.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The bird is perfectly sharp and lightened. Nice colors at sunset.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
There's too much negative space on the right.

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


This Review is written by: Nirmalya B.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
A precise activity of the bird captured and appears to be a good nature story.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Very well exposed shot with play of light. The eye and beaks are acceptably sharp.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Very nice photograph when watched on full screen.

NATURE SCORE 3-Nature story strong

TECHNICAL SCORE 3-Excellent exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 3-Excellent composition and impa ct

TOTAL SCORE 9

LC’s (aka Stega to her friends) interest in photography started in a high school art class, but it wasn’t until she moved west to California and purchased a DSLR that she became somewhat serious about it.  

In a valley far below where she lives now, she was once a network engineer and technical trainer. Retired from that world she is now a working voice actor who also manages a small ranch in the foothills of the Diablo range. There she prefers to do as much gardening with her excavator and as much in camera as possible. Primarily taking photos of birds and other wildlife with the occasional flower, piece of heavy machinery or interesting bit of architecture tossed into the general morass of ranch documentation photos means her struggles with web publishing, crafting coherent essays and digital asset management are real.