Nature Study Group 2


Lillian Roberts, EPSA (C)

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JANUARY 2022 ROUND
Title:   
Elephant w Broken Tusks in Forest

Goal:   This is an iconic image from Mana Pools in Zimbabwe. I had the chance to go in 2021, and honestly signed up because of the trip leader with little idea what I would see there. This is a truly unique location, where visitors can exit their vehicles (off-road driving is not allowed), and walk to view wildlife. The light is amazing, filtering through these old-growth forests. The trees are all scarred due to the elephants gouging the bark for nutrients. This image has done better in PID-C than in Nature, it will "finish" eventually but I'm not entirely sure why it hasn't done better in nature competition.

Equipment/Source:    Sony A1, Sony 200-600mm lens, hand held. Focus on the elephant.

Technique:   Shutter speed: 1/250 sec
Aperture: 7.1
Exposure mode: Manual
Exposure compensation: +1/3
Flash: Off
Metering mode: Multi-segment
ISO: 800
Lens: FE 200-600mm F5.6-6.3 G OSS
Focal length: 202mm

Processing: 
Minimal - Camera Raw editing, adjustments to Vibrance, Shadows/ Highlights. PS: Curves, High-Pass sharpening. Slight cropping.

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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DECEMBER 2021 ROUND
Title:   Wasp on Flower

Goal:   
This was taken with a long lens during a quiet moment in the blind. It was really nice light and no birds were coming in, so some of us amused ourselves taking photos of the wasps that came in to drink. This one was perched on a lovely flower in the evening light, and seemed to pose as he moved, held the pose, moved again... The BG is just OOF natural foliage. The image hasn't done well in competition but I really like it, so I'm interested in others' thoughts.

Equipment/Source:    Sony a7R iv, Sony 200-600mm with 2x TC.

Technique:   Shutter speed: 1/1000 sec
Aperture: 13
Exposure mode: Manual
Flash: Off
Metering mode: Multi-segment
ISO: 3200
Lens: FE 200-600mm F5.6-6.3 G OSS + 2X Teleconverter
Focal length: 1200mm

Processing:  Cropped - this is about 1/6 of the original frame. Basic Camera Raw processing for Vibrance, shadows & highlights, and to balance the histogram. Topaz DeNoise, high pass sharpening.

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.
Lillian Roberts – “Wasp on Flower”
This is a nice portrait of a wasp on a pretty perch but not a strong nature story, since it isn’t eating. That is probably why it doesn’t do well in competitions. I found that portraits don’t do well in nature competitions unless they are of an unusual subject or it is in an unusual location. N2

Technically very good. Sharp, good exposure, and great color. The whites are handles well. T3

Well done pictorially. Good cropping so the flower and wasp fill the frame, and the background is not a distraction. P3

N2, T3, P3 = 8


PERSON WHO WROTE THE REVIEW: Fisher, Rich
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NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE: This is an good image (portrait) of a wasp, though from the view presented, I could not identify if the insect was a wasp or not (probably my limited knowledge of insects).  I wonder what the wasp is doing on the flower, is that a source of pollen or is it resting place?
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TECHNICAL REVIEW OF THE IMAGE: Your exposure is very good, though the whites are a touch hot for my taste.  The background is well OOF and the different subtle colors add to the interest of the image.  The wasp is sharp as is the flower for the most part.
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PICTORIAL REVIEW OF THE IMAGE: When I look at this picture my eye bounces bad and forth from the wasp to the flower.  SOme things that might help, YMMV, is tone down the flower so the wasp is the brighest part of the image and crop so the wasp is on the left side with room to move in the direction it is looking, to the right 
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NATURE SCORE: 2 - Nature story of average strength (portrait)
TECHNICAL SCORE: 2 - Average exposure
PICTORIAL SCORE: 2 - Average composition and impact
Extra Point awarded: 0 - No extra point
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Total score: 6

PERSON WHO WROTE THE REVIEW: Hill, Dennis
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NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE:  Interesting nature study with wasp on flower in evening light.
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TECHNICAL REVIEW OF THE IMAGE:  Good colour on wasp and flower.  Image appears a little soft lacking definition, possibly due to the amount of  cropping carried out.
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PICTORIAL REVIEW OF THE IMAGE:  Image has nice background.  White petals on flower detract a little from wasp.
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NATURE SCORE: 2 - Nature story of average strength (portrait)
TECHNICAL SCORE: 2 - Average exposure
PICTORIAL SCORE: 2 - Average composition and impact
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Total score: 6

PERSON WHO WROTE THE REVIEW: Ramchandani, Ranjan
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NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE: Nature has so much to offer. This image is definitely one that fits the category.
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TECHNICAL REVIEW OF THE IMAGE: The lighting is perfect and so are the settings. I would not change a thing on the settings. I like the way the image has been cropped and the main subject is the center of attraction
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PICTORIAL REVIEW OF THE IMAGE: For this frame the image is cropped just right. The main. subject, the wasp, catches my eye at first glance .
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NATURE SCORE: 3 - Nature story strong
TECHNICAL SCORE: 3 - Excellent exposure, color balance and sharpness
PICTORIAL SCORE: 3 - Excellent composition and impact
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Total score: 9

PERSON WHO WROTE THE REVIEW: Paley, Louis
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NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE: this is a wonderful portrait of the wasp.  It is amazing what your lens and extender can bring the insect so close.
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TECHNICAL REVIEW OF THE IMAGE: the image is technically very good; wonderful lighting, pretty sharp and color balance.  However, it is not tack-sharp in the face; I would have expected to see tiny hairy protrusions from its face and body.  I expect that either there was a slight movement of wasp or the hyper extended lens prevented it from being perfectly sharp.
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PICTORIAL REVIEW OF THE IMAGE: the pictorial quality of the image was excellent in terms of the stem angle and position of the wasp in the frame.
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NATURE SCORE: 2 - Nature story of average strength (portrait)
TECHNICAL SCORE: 2 - Average exposure
PICTORIAL SCORE: 3 - Excellent composition and impact
Extra Point awarded: 0 - No extra point
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Total score: 7

PERSON WHO WROTE THE REVIEW: Newlin, Susan
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NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE: Nice capture and lighting. Insect is posing so is more of a portrait than an action or story
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TECHNICAL REVIEW OF THE IMAGE: Crisp focus. With distance you have full depth of field on insect and flower with no background distractions.
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PICTORIAL REVIEW OF THE IMAGE: A little oversaturated. Would be more picturesque if you backed that down a bit. 
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NATURE SCORE: 2 - Nature story of average strength (portrait)
TECHNICAL SCORE: 2 - Average exposure
PICTORIAL SCORE: 2 - Average composition and impact
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Total score: 6

PERSON WHO WROTE THE REVIEW: Finocchio, Bruce
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NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE: It is hard to understand what the wasp is doing. Since wasps are predatory, it doesn’t seem like they would eat the flower. The nature story element is weak. What type of wasp is it? Why is it on the flower? Would it be ambushing some other insect? If you could provide some answers or information in the title, that would help strengthen the nature story element. 
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TECHNICAL REVIEW OF THE IMAGE: The exposure is fine, and the overall sharpness is within an acceptable range. Considering you crop this image, I think the sharpness of the wasp is very good, and the lighting illuminates the wasp well. I might work on the background a bit, as there seems to be a bit of color blotting. Select the subject and invert the selection, and create a contrast mask to reduce the contrast of the background. This might help make this issue less noticeable. Also, I would darken the right corner bright area to match the rest of the image. 
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PICTORIAL REVIEW OF THE IMAGE: Subject placement within the frame is very good. Acceptable amount of background around the subjects, so the subject size is excellent. No distracting elements in the background; it’s clean. 
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NATURE SCORE: 2 - Nature story of average strength (portrait)
TECHNICAL SCORE: 2 - Average exposure
PICTORIAL SCORE: 3 - Excellent composition and impact
Extra Point awarded: 0 - No extra point
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Total score: 7

Lillian Roberts has been taking photos since the late 1990's, and joined PSA in 2001.  She has been active in the Coachella Valley Desert Camera Club, and was a founding chair of the Coachella Exhibition for several years.  She is a past president of her club and past Nature Division Chair for the Southern California Chapter for Camera Clubs (S4C).  She currently holds a PPSA mainly involving ND acceptances, and expects to increase her PSA contributions in the near future.