Study Group 2

Louise Hesse (B)

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Upload Image and Description
Title:    Fall colors

Goal: capture fall colors 
Equipment/Source:  cannon 60D
Technique:   Hand held 

Processing:   Cropping, Contrast and brightness

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

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

Review by Mike P.
I think this is a lovely landscape that is based on patterns, lines and colors. It appears to me to have a solid focal point in the golden trees at the bottom. Above them is a pretty line of aspens (?) that follow the curved pattern of the tree tops below them. The focus appears very sharp. To me, the image could be improved by cropping off the left slightly to remove the distracting tree curving to the left edge and drawing the eye away. You noted that you adjusted the exposure but to me the image still seems about a half-stop too bright. 
N-3, T-3, P-2, E-0, Total-8

Review by Butch S.
A beautiful sight this is. The Nature value is not the highest as, in my opinion, there is no apparent action shown. This does not mean that this image has a low value for Pictorial value. The fall showing by trees is beautiful by any measure. I note that the tree trunks all show a sun light side and a shadow side. I find that this lighting shadow relationship on the trunks creates a distraction and takes away from the point of interest, i.s. leaf fall colors. I wonder if a polarizer may have been of some use to tame the sunlight reflection on the tree trunks.
N-2, T-2, P-2, E-0, total-6

Review by Manu R.
Celebration of the yellow colour! Beauty of the nature is well captured. Details are a bit lost and lighting is a bit harsh.  
N-3, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-7

Review by Commentator Rick C.

I feel that you have larger attained your goal in making this image. The exposure might be a very small bit on the under side, but that is adding to the saturation in the colors and the colors were your goal. I feel the composition works as you have it and find that the channel formed by the tree trunks creates a nice leading line into the golden and still green trees. I see from the meta data that you shot at 1/250th but only F6.3. When I look closely at the trees, the leaves seem to lack distinct sharpness. I suspect that is due to the depth of field not being adequate to hold the depth of the scene at that aperture. Since you were at an iso of 100, I would recommend moving to an iso of at least 400, which the 60D should handle easily. That would allow you to use F13 or possibly F16 while still keeping the shutter fast enough to avoid wind motion, yet significantly expanding the apparent sharpness from the gain in DOF. As a side note, this is a nice theme, project, or personal image and would make a nice print. However, it would likely not be a strong competition image despite the good impact it has.

N-2, T-2, P-3 = 7 (N-2 I feel there is enough of a story here in the turn of the colors relative to the cycle of deciduous trees to warrant a 2. T-2 We need some additional sharpness and I feel that comes from increasing depth of field.)

Upload Image and Description

Title:   Reptilian Texture  
Goal:   to capture wildlife and came across a lizard sunning itself
Equipment/Source:    Cannon
Technique:    Hand held

cropping, contrast

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

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

Review by Mike P.
I feel like this is a nice composition. I like the way the left leg draws my attention to his eye, and then along the curve of his spine to his tail. I also like the texture of the stump or leg and brown background. The exposure and focus both looked good to me. In my opinion, this could be strong if you lightened the shadow area to make his right claw and leg a bit more visible. I also feel that this isn't a particularly strong or dramatic nature photo. In the future, perhaps you could try different angles, such as getting a close-up of a head or a claw, or even waiting for it to do something such as snatch at a bug.
N-2, T-3, P-3, E-0, Total-8

Review by Bogdan B.
This lizard is very interesting in it's ambient with nearly the same color. You have good DOF. But the lizard's eye doesn't seem Quite sharp to me.
The main disadvantage is, that shadows are so dark. You may selectively dodge the dark side of the lizard and also the wood near it.
I would also crop a little bit of image from the top. 
N-3, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-7

Review by Les L.
I like that the lizard and the foreground are sharp while the background is blurred which highlights the lizard. I would like to see you lighten the left side of the animal to show more detail.
N-2, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-6

Review by Bruce F.
What intrigues me about this image is the shadow. I think that the head of the lizard is too low in the frame and there is a lot of unnecessary background occupying all most half of the top portion of the image. Thus, the composition because of this arrangement of the elements is less than desirable. I would have move the subject up higher in the frame and included all of the shadow, using this shadow as a leading line to the subject. The light is directional, but still strong, producing high contrast that I would prefer to soft a bit. Maybe, using a flash with a soft box would help tone down this high contrast light. Also, the flash could add a catch light to the recessed eye, illuminating the life source of the lizard. There are a few hot spots to in the background that distract the eye, moving and recomposing would eliminate them. Also, I would try to get down to the lizards level, then the face and eye would be more prominent within the image, creating more impact. 
N-2, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-6

Review by Dennis H.
Good capture of reptile. Image requires lightning of shadow areas. Highlight above reptile is slightly distracting.
N-3, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-7

Review by Andy H.
Image appears to have been taken in strong sunlight and has resulted in heavy shadows. The head is sharp and I like the texture in the wood. Good DOF. There is a bright patch in the background that could be toned down.
N-2, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-6

Review by Maria K-L
This is nice shot. I like the angle for which you took this image and fact that lizard seems to be looking at you. Focus, dof are correct and background is nicely blurred. Direction of the light helps to show texture.
What is distracting is very harsh light, this is why I lowered P=2. Nature story is 2 as well however the way lizard is looking at you is saying more than portrait I think.
N-2, T-3, P-2, E-0, Total-7

Review by commentator Dan C.

Your image is interesting.  Pictorially it is well composed.  It is a valid nature image worth having but the story does not go beyond a “here I am” story.  That is frequently enough with an uncommon subject such as this.  The pose does imply action and that helps the story. Your sharpness on the lizard is nice and the background is nicely blurred, successfully directing viewers’ attention to the subject.  You do have some digital noise in the background that can selectively reduced with a plugin such as NIK Define.  You can legitimately use the dodge tool to darken that hot spot in the background. 

Your composition is good but can be improved.  Re-crop the image so you have less space above the lizard and to the right of the lizard.  Using the NIK Viveza shadow adjustment slider can help open up the deep shadow, giving the image better story value by providing more detail about the lizard..

N1, T2, P3, E0, Total 6

Hi! My name is Louise Hesse, I live in Las Vegas, NV and really enjoy getting outdoors. 

I love wildlife and nature photography! 

I am looking forward to learning from my fellow photographers.  I have been a member of our local camera club for about 6 years and PSA for 3. 

I really  am in awe of the beautiful images I have seen and aspire to be as good!