Study Group 2


Marian Bodart (A)

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NOVEMBER 2021 ROUND

Title:      Battered Blind Beloved
 
Goal:    To capture candid images of young fox kits and family group interaction near their den
 

Equipment/Source:   
Nikon D850, 500 mm, f/7.1, 1/640, ISO 1000 
   
Technique:   I spent hours waiting quietly, while keeping a respectful distance from the den. I stayed as still as possible, and used a tripod and gimbal to ensure I did not move in a way that would attract the attention of the animals. Although I spent hours near the den throughout the month of April, this adult male was seen very infrequently. I was able to capture only a few images of him interacting with his litter. 

Processing:    Lightroom - cropping, dodging, burning.

Question for reviewers - should I remove the single blade of grass that's seen near the kit's front leg? If I do, would I be able to submit this image to a nature photo contest?


Score this image:    YES


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

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

 

The presence of the kit and its response to the adult adds enough behavioral information to elevate this to the 3 level even with the adult paying attention to something to the left. The image would be stronger if the adult was relating directly to the kit. The damaged ear and eye do add to the story being told. I do recommend getting away from the cute titles and moving to something that identifies the subject and the story more effectively. Not every judge will recognize the summer morph of an Arctic Fox in the short time they have to score. N-3

The core technical rendering looks solid with detail visible in all areas of the two subjects. The answer to your question is NO, you are not allowed to clone, heal or otherwise add or remove something in an image under nature rules other than by cropping. T-3.

The composition and poses of the two subjects are effective and spacing in the frame is reasonable for the level of action shown. If you wanted to add a bit to the visual tension in the frame a slight crop on the right side and top would cause the distance to the sides to be less similar and therefore feel less centered. P-3

N-3, T-3, P-3 = 9


PERSON WHO WROTE THE REVIEW: Bradshaw, Colin

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE: Hi I like the image I would have preferred the mother to be looking at the cub, there is good detail in the fur of the mother but loosing it a bit on the cub, as the animal has a dark coat I find the background a bit too light drawing my eye away from the subjects.
TECHNICAL REVIEW OF THE IMAGE: Good detail in the fur. depth of field could have been a tad more to get all of the cub sharp.
PICTORIAL REVIEW OF THE IMAGE: As above I would have like some interaction with the cub from the mother, I would have darkened the piece of grass across the cub brightened the eye and darkened the background
NATURE SCORE: 2 - Nature story of average strength (portrait)
TECHNICAL SCORE: 2 - Average exposure
PICTORIAL SCORE: 2 - Average composition and impact
Total score: 6

PERSON WHO WROTE THE REVIEW: Binney, Adrian

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE: A well timed shot, with a lovely expression of the youngster looking up. I would say there is enough of a story here, because of the above.
TECHNICAL REVIEW OF THE IMAGE: Great depth of field and lovely fur detail - so all your PP works well done. In answer to your question...no! For all Nature Exhibition images, the image should be materially as you saw it. I also do not believe it is necessary to delete anything.
PICTORIAL REVIEW OF THE IMAGE: You have captured a lively moment. I is interesting that the mother seems to have blinked using its right eye only. It certainly deserves a 9 - nearly a 10, but others may give 10's!
NATURE SCORE: 3 - Nature story strong
TECHNICAL SCORE: 3 - Excellent exposure, color balance and sharpness
PICTORIAL SCORE: 3 - Excellent composition and impact
Extra Point awarded: 0 - No extra point
Total score: 9

PERSON WHO WROTE THE REVIEW: Bhattacharyya, Suman

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE: what intrigues me is the eye of the adult. two different eye ball colours found. I would prefer the caring of the adult towards the little one but it seems some sort of noise (may be the shutter sound) made a attention break.
TECHNICAL REVIEW OF THE IMAGE: sharpness is perfect where it is needed. a bit of opening of the shadows would help as per my monitor preview. And if the attention break is caused due to shutter sound, then why not try the silent shutter benefit of the D850?
PICTORIAL REVIEW OF THE IMAGE: placement of the foxes are perfect. and that unsharp blade of grass is not a hindrance according to my opinion. but if you have some nose to nose photos between the two that would be preferable in the nature contests
NATURE SCORE: 3 - Nature story strong
TECHNICAL SCORE: 2 - Average exposure
PICTORIAL SCORE: 2 - Average composition and impact
Extra Point awarded: 0 - No extra point
Total score: 7

PERSON WHO WROTE THE REVIEW: Dandridge, Rick

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE: Hi, Marian. Good job getting this shot! Your patience and knowledge of the fox’s habits really paid dividends for you! This is a nice nature story which is enriched by the apparently blind eye in the adult. Without being overly dramatic, to me it shows nature’s creatures’ ability to overcome obstacles.
TECHNICAL REVIEW OF THE IMAGE: Your technique and gear/settings worked very well. Thanks for your detailed commentary which I always find useful
PICTORIAL REVIEW OF THE IMAGE: Your technique and gear/settings worked very well! What I would like to know is how much you studied the subject’s habits. What caused it to run straight towards the camera? How much familiarity with it do you have? Were you shooting handheld? The more information we provide, the more we educate one another. This is really fine photograph, as I am sure you know. To capture the run with all feet off the ground is impressive. And how often do we see catch lights in both eyes? There is very good texture and a strong impact. At first glance, I judged that a portrait crop is called for, but upon further reflection, I came to feel that the square crop is perfect. And the subject being fully in the center greatly illustrates that so-called rules (rule of thirds, in this case) are actually guides, meant to be overlooked in the proper conditions. This is one portrait that earns the exceptional point! NATURE SCORE: 2 - Nature story of average strength (portrait)
TECHNICAL SCORE: 3 - Excellent exposure, color balance and sharpness
PICTORIAL SCORE: 3 - Excellent composition and impact
Extra Point awarded: 1 - Exceptional
Total score: 9

PERSON WHO WROTE THE REVIEW: Finocchio, Bruce

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE: Excellent nature story, and excellent capture of a decisive moment; the way the young pup is looking up at its parent. This capture has a lot of emotional appeal, and as humans, we are drawn to young interacting with their parents. I bet this image was taken on the San Juan Islands for they have this Silver fox out there. I have been planning to come up from California for the last few years, but things haven’t worked out for me.
TECHNICAL REVIEW OF THE IMAGE: Sharp and well exposed, with beautiful diffused light. I just love the side lighting illuminating the left eye, capturing the eye’s translucence. Also, you can see the pup’s teeth and its left eye too. This conveys life, and we can see into their spirit or souls. Sharpness is excellent. You were rewarded for your patience.
PICTORIAL REVIEW OF THE IMAGE: The dark color of the foxes' fur really stands out against the lighter background of dried grasses. The subject size is perfect. Regarding the grass, yes, you cannot remove it for nature competition, but if you were going to offer it as a fine art print, then, you are free to do so. It is a distraction, so I would remove it except for international or club competitions.
NATURE SCORE: 3 - Nature story strong
TECHNICAL SCORE: 3 - Excellent exposure, color balance and sharpness
PICTORIAL SCORE: 3 - Excellent composition and impact Total score: 9


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OCTOBER 2021 ROUND

Title:     Fox Kit and Rabbit
 
Goal:   To capture images of young fox kits and adult foxes interacting near their den
 

Equipment/Source:    Nikon D850, 500 mm, f/8, 1/800, ISO 450 I
   
Technique:    Waiting quietly, a respectful distance from the den, with camera on tripod and gimbal   

Processing:  Lightroom - cropping, dodging and burning, 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 J.D.

Nature Story (N): What an amazing nature story! It is so easy to enjoy seeing this fox kit scampering around with the rabbit in its mouth! Bravo for being at the right place at the right time! Score: 3

Technical Quality (T): Matching a very fine camera and lens with excellent settings almost always produces a wonderful, well exposed photograph as done in this photograph. Score: 3

Pictorial Quality (P): This is an excellent in every possible way. The tonal quality is so spot on that the photograph is not only a pleasure but it is easy on the commentators eye to look at and enjoy, even while being critical. The one bit of advice I would make is this: Don’t forget what you did here and repeat as often as possible! Score: 3

Exceptional (E): This photograph is well deserving of the extra point for being “Exceptional”. This photograph certainly deserves more that one point for being exceptional! Bravo! Score: 3

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


This Review is written by: Diana R.


NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
The fox kit running with a rabbit in its mouth is a very strong nature story

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The image appears soft to me. I believe 1/800 sec was simply not a fast enough shutter speed to get a sharp eye on the fox. A faster shutter speed would have required a higher ISO but the D850 would easily handle an ISO up to at least 1600 so you had room to go. The exposure is good. Depth of field is good.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I think the image is very strong (better i f it was sharper). To me it would benefit from bumping the vibrance and contrast a bit. It wouldn't take much to really make the image pop.

NATURE SCORE 3-Nature story strong

TECHNICAL SCORE 2-Average exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 2-Average composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 7


This Review is written by: Louis P

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
wonderful nature story with the kit proudly carry its prey home.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
nice try which I have tried many thousand times myself; if you could redo it I am sure you would have used more speed and a deeper field of view to capture the beautiful kit, and even the prey, sharply; it is quite clear what is going on and the beauty of it all. The image did a beautiful job of seperating the animals from the background.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
very well composed and moving.

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: Pinaki S.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Good Nature Photo and a cute one too.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The out of focus grass in the foreground is a major distraction. The fox seems to be little out of focus on the edges. The eye is relatively in focus . f/8 should give good depth on the fur on the animal..what kind of focus was used ? What was the metering mode ?

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
This picture seems to be little washed, that may be because of lowlight . The bokeh is nice.

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: Jodi S.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Precious capture of the fox kit with a meal. I wondered if it was taking the rabbit back to den to share. Fascinating questions arise about how a parent might participate in the training for the hunt.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The face is clear, though not tack sharp.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The foreground is a bit distracting both in color and size. My eye was drawn to this part of the picture both at first glance and then again as I took in the image. It almost look ed intrusive on an otherwise stunning capture. I like that it added a bit of texture and distance, but found it distracting.

NATURE SCORE 3-Nature story strong

TECHNICAL SCORE 2-Average exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 2-Average composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 7

I’ve been fascinated by photography my entire life – my first college major was photography (I later changed majors for something more ‘sensible’). Then, about 10 years ago I began to seriously pursue photography as an artform. I favor nature photography although I am fascinated by all aspects; being less interested in technology and more intrigued by interesting light and shapes. Photography is both challenging (ok, at times frustrating) and rewarding. I love the experience of photography – finding a beautiful scene and mastering the camera to effectively interpret what I see.  

Now living in the Pacific Northwest, I divide my time between working full-time, walking our two Great Danes, tending our flower and vegetable gardens, and wandering throughout the Northwest with my camera, exploring the beautiful landscape and all that makes it special.

I’m thrilled to be a part of this group and look forward to learning from the experience. Thank you.