Study Group 2

Mike Patterson

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Title:     Armadillo

Goal:    I spotted this armadillo rooting among the leaves at our ranch, apparently in search of grubs and other bugs to eat. My goal was to capture it as it plowed through the debris and showing how it searches for food.

 Canon T2i, 18-135 mm lens.

The armadillo was in dark shade, so I had to use a high ISO setting of 3200. Shot at 154 mm at f5.6 at 1/400. These animals are rather ugly but are quite harmless and slow.

Processing:    Minor adjustments in Lightroom. Added a bit of saturation to deepen the brown color of the leaves.

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

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Title:    Drought 
Goal:    The goal was to capture a dramatic scene showing the impact of a severe drought on the pine trees in Yosemite National Park. I attempted to capture the starkness of the many dead trees against the backdrop of the granite cliffs and small new trees sprouting up to replace the dead ones. To me, this tells the story of life, death, rebirth and beauty in the natural landscape.

Equipment/Source:    Canon T2i, 18-135 mm lens shot at 33 mm. ISO 200, f9 at 1/50 second.

Technique:   Tried to compose the shot using the vertical trees against the vertical cliffs. 

Processing:  Some minor adjustments in Lightroom.

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

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Review by commentator Dan C.

You did capture the story you were going for.  You succeeded in creating a landscape shot with good nature story value.  The problem with this image lies with the viewers to see if they get the same story without your backstory.  If they have time to consider, yes.  If they need to make a snap judgment, probably not.   That is why I only gave it a 2 for Nature.

The image holds together well both technically and pictorially.  The shot requires sharpness throughout and you delivered that.

N2, T3, P3, E0, Total 7

Review by Andy H.
Well you certainly captured a dramatic and, for me an environmental, scene. The image is sharp, well exposed and the right DOF. Always going to be a difficult crop.
N-3, T-3, P-2, E-0, Total-8

Review by Dennis H.
You've certainly captured the drought ravished trees and the colourful new growth. Nice background of sheer rock face. 1/50th sec is slow speed if your camera was hand held. Nice landscape image.
N-3, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-7

Review by Bogdan B.
Your story is good, although not seen at the first sight. I would prefere to see a little bit more ground. The clouds are overexposed.
N-3, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-7

Review by Bruce F.
I am not clear what your subject is in this image. Is it the dead and dying trees or the granite walls of Yosemite Valley? I feel the way it’s framed by the trees on the edge of the image gives a window to the walls so to speak, then your subject is the granite walls. With so many trees, there is a busyness to the image. For more impact, less is generally more.
I do think you exposure is good, the colors rendered beautifully, the light is soft and diffused helping saturate the colors. Technical factors are all good.
It’s the composition that’s a bit confusing with the two subjects. Also, I feel that I would have include a base to the image, the main foreground trees on the edge are cut off, and there also is no ground from which the little pine trees to grow from. I would have move my camera down, included more ground to the base of the big trees, and eliminated most of the sky. This change would give the trees more weight and more focus as the subject. 
N-2, T-3, P-2, E-0, Total-7

Review by Suman B.
good background information provided. but keeping in view your informations I didn't find DROUGHT as you mentioned, visually. To me rather it seemed a fine case of fall image. and for that reason it scored 2 in nature story. otherwise it is good here I am shot providing the mountain background with the horizontal lines of trees. pictorially it forced me to give it a 2. may be in order to keep the mountain out of focus trees can be brought out and which will enhance their story more. a further crop keeping the mountains out and the highlighted clouds will according to my view will bring back focus to the trees ultimately leading to enhance it's story.
N-2, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-6

Review by Maria K-L
This is very nice ,well composed image,
I really like that you used vertical format which works well with trees and mountains. To me the title is a bit suprising as there is much more in this image than "drought." Technicaly the clouds are overexposed.
N-3, T-2, P-3, E-0, Total-8

I am happily retired after a career in journalism and the non-profit sector. I reside in San Antonio but spend about half my time at our family’s small ranch in the Texas Hill Country where we raise angora goats, sheep and rocks. We have ample whitetail deer, wild turkey, a variety of songbirds, an occasional coyote or two and many wildflowers and native grasses to photograph.

I’ve been photographing most of my life but am finally able to devote more time to increasing my skill. A lot of my photography is of ranch and livestock scenes. However, I’m interested in pure nature photography, especially landscapes, and these are the shots I’ll be posting to this study group.

My wife and I travel a bit, primarily to the Southwest and West, which is where I especially enjoy shooting. My equipment is definitely on the budget end – a Canon Rebel and several different Canon lenses and filters. I process everything in Lightroom.

The study group can be very beneficial to me by seeing and learning from the excellent work of others as well as the insightful comments and critiques about my own photos.