Study Group 2


MJ Springett (D)

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NOVEMBER 2020 ROUND

Title:    Jumping Cranes

Goal:   Every year in our area, the greater sandhill cranes gather before migrating further south. Every year I am entrenched in my jeep awaiting their flights into the roost site at sunset or leaving the roost site at sunrise. The dancing shots are my favorites, minor disputes over a piece of food or teaching the young ones the skillful art of the flamenco, get my shutter flying.

Equipment/Source:    Canon 70D Tamron 150-600 Lens 1/1000" at f/8 ISO 400

Technique:    Waiting in the cold jeep for action to occur, Camera preset for action to occur

Processing:   
Cropped, stabilized with Topaz Sharpen A1 software, dodged and burned with neutral gray layer in photoshop

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.
This is probably a courtship dance so a strong nature story except the birds are not interacting with each other, so hard to tell if it really is a courtship dance.

The birds are in focus, well exposed and the color is good, but the grass around them is crunchy, so over sharpened.  The way to solve that problem is to duplicate the image in Photoshop and sharpen the top image in Topaz AI then Select/Subject on the Photoshop menu bar.  Then put a mask on that layer.  Then the only thing sharpened is the birds and not the grass.

The bird in front is fine, but the action of the bird in the back is partially blocked by the front bird.

N2, T2, P2, E0 = 6


This Review is written by: Haru N.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
You capture the right moment at right timing. This is pleasant image to watch overall. I like 2 cranes spread its wings, one on the ground, the other is about to landing.
I can take that 2 cranes are enjoying the moment. This is fun image to watch.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I feel a bit unnatural looking background, the way it is blurred, and the texture of feather of the birds. I am not sure that it is due to postprocessing or because of the shot itself.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Composition is good, centered the main subject. I would crop the bottom part just a bit to have more space on the top side but that is minor point. The image has good impact with dynamic gesture of the crane.

NATURE SCORE 3-Nature story strong

TECHNICAL SCORE 1-Inadequate exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 2-Average composition and impact

EXTRA POINT 0-No extra point

TOTAL SCORE 6


This Review is written by: Andy H

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
The image has a good story with the action between the two birds

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Settings all seem fine to me. High shutterspeed essential in these situations and I would always sacrifice ISO for more sutterspeed. Sharp well exposed and good DoF. Good tones.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
It's a strong image and suits the square format. Separation or no separation Im torn in this case. Good composition but could have more impact. Could you have got a lower view point?
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: Natalie M

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
There is always a story with an action shot with 2 birds.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
All looks sharp and well exposed, but I'm wondering if some artefact has been created in the editing software. It's almost like the sharpness is manufactured rather than achieved in camera.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
There is a nice background that could only have been improved perhaps by shooting from a lower position, and that's not always possible.

NATURE SCORE 3-Na ture story strong

TECHNICAL SCORE 2-Average exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 2-Average composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 7


This Review is written by: Dennis H

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Good nature depiction of interaction between cranes in a natural setting.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Nice colour and feather detail on birds. Eye clear and sharp on forward bird. Well captured image.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Image has good impact and composition. Blurred background enhances birds.

NATURE SCORE 3-Nature story strong

TECHNICAL SCORE 3-Excellent exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 3-Exc ellent c omposition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 9


This Review is written by: Louis P

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
very strong nature story; a shot worth waiting for!

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
your exposure was excellent; caught a catch-light in the closer bird; most of the feathers were sharp and in focus

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
it might have helped to make this image excellent if it were a little brighter and with a touch more contrast.

NATURE SCORE 3-Nature story strong

TECHNICAL SCORE 3-Excellent exposure< br>
< strong>PICTORIAL SCORE 2-Average composition and impact

EXTRA POINT 0-No extra point

TOTAL SCORE 8


This Review is written by: Susan N.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Good nature story and nice patience waiting for the shot.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Well exposed and framed. The birds need to be separated from each other a bit, not overlapping, in order to fully capture the setting. Taking multiple shots at high shutter speed is a good way to catch the fast-moving action and with several tries, you should be able to select one shot with good subject separation.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Well processed for detail, color and exposure . Pictorial quality suffers somewhat for not being able to see each bird clearly.

NATURE SCORE 3-Nature story strong

TECHNICAL SCORE 2-Average exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 2-Average composition and impact

EXTRA POINT 0-No extra point

TOTAL SCORE 7






















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OCTOBER 2020 ROUND
Title:      family flight

Goal:    Every year I like to watch the Greater Sandhill Cranes as they fly into the nightly roost site. This is a family coming in for a landing with adults calling out to those below.
  

Equipment/Source:    Canon 70D with 150-600mm Tamron Lens f/9 at 1/250 seconds, ISO 400

Technique:   Because these birds were coming into a strong east wind, they almost stop before they drop down into the marsh

Processing:   Cropped slightly, image stabilized in Topaz Sharpen A1, adjusted color and sharpened

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): Although there seems to be little nature story in this photo, catching a bird in flight, much less 3, is a nature story itself. Score: 3

Technical Quality (T): The technical quality is overall very good . The camera settings were spot on and resulted in a tac sharp photograph. Score: 3

Pictorial Quality (P): There are two major issues concerning pictorial quality. One is the photograph is cropped too tight or the photographer zoomed in to tight. Second, Simply by increasing the brightness using one of several methods such as increasing the brightness, using “levels” in photoshop, or increasing the exposure a bit, the photograph would not have been so dark which takes makes the photograph appear to be less sharp than it actually is. Score: 1

Exceptional (E): Due to the above limitations, there was no reason to add a point. Score: 0

Scores: N 3/ T 3 / P 1/ E 0/ Score = 7


Review by Janice R

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
I love watching the Sandhill cranes. This is a nice image of them coming in for the night. In my opinion this is an average nature story for these birds.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I know that this was close to sunset, but the image seems a bit dark to me. The color balance is good but the birds seem dark. I think your shutter speed and DoF was adequate to capture the cranes sharply. I'm also bothered by the two rear birds merging with each other and wonder if you shot these birds continuously and if it was possible to photogra ph them before the 2nd bird started to descend?

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I think this is a nice, sharp image of the cranes. I particularly like the light on the head of the rear bird. The front bird also has nice light but his head is merging with the darker 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


Review by Diana R.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Lovely flight shot of these Sandhill cranes. To me it is an average nature story as I don't see the other birds that they are about to join.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I love the soft blurred background and the color palette. The birds are fairly sharp, the bird in front is a bit soft probably because of limitations in depth of field.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I really enjoy the blurred background still revealing the environment. Ideally there would not be the merge between the 2nd and 3rd birds , but us ually birds don't cooperate. Very nice!

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

TECHNICAL SCORE 3-Excellent exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 3-Excellent composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 8


Review by Kishore S.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Depicting a family of birds flying back and landing at the nightly roost, is a good nature story.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The picture is of good technical quality, properly exposed and adequately sharp.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The composition is excellent, with the birds occupying the entire frame and the frozen action.

NATURE SCORE 3-Nature story strong

TECHNICAL SCORE 3-Excellent exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 3-Excellent composi tion and impact

TOTAL SCORE 9


Review by Kathleen T.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
makes a strong nature story. Good birding. I love these elegant creatures

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Nicely developed . You froze them in motion perfectly

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The movement of the wings in succession is really interesting. Only suggestion would be to lose a smidge of the fore ground

NATURE SCORE 3-Nature story strong

TECHNICAL SCORE 3-Excellent exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 3-Excellent composition and impact< br>
< strong>EXTRA POINT 0-No extra point

TOTAL SCORE 9


Review by Charlie Y

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Already? 2020 already come to Sandhill crane season? I usually go to Jasper wildlife, but that's in Nov or Dec.
Those are fun birds to watch and capture!
I'm amazed that this captured with just 1/250S, wonder if it's with faster shutter speed, would it be even better?


TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
normal and adequate exposure, nice background choice.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
solid image with good composition and layout, average impact.

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


Review by Larry T

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
For me the landing approach of these sandhill cranes tells a nature story but not a particularly strong one. I do like the fact the at least two of the birds can be seen in different positions as that adds a bit to the story.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
It can clearly be seen that you tried to get this image right. You were aided, as you say, by the strong wind that slowed the birds flight and allowed you to use a slower shutter speed. You clearly tried to capture all three birds in focus by using the f9 aperture. Sadly, I think y ou still do not have enough DOF as the two background birds are not in true focus. I will note that your ISO is still a relatively low 400 and raising the ISO would have allowed you to increase the DOF by increasing the aperture.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Given the subjects the composition is about as solid as it can be although I would prefer that there be a bit less space at the bottom and a bit more at the top and the birds feel a bit crammed into the photo.

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

TECHNICAL SCORE 2-Average exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 2-Average composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 6


Review by Susan N.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Birds in flight is difficult to capture, but unfortunately not a really strong nature story - good, just not outstanding.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Good capture of birds in flight. This is difficult to do. Well-developed for detail on bird and soft background.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Three is a good number for subjects; unfortunately two of the subjects overlap. more space would be good, or else focus/crop into the one bird showing the landing.

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

TECHNICAL SCORE 3-Excellent exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 2-Average composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 7

Photography has always been my go-to activity when I have had spare time. My work as a cell biologist meant that data was recorded on film, developed and printed in a darkroom, and delivered to a principal research scientist. With the advent of digital photography the darkroom work was replaced by Photoshop but little else changed. Upon retirement, I now have time to pursue wildlife, landscape, and especially birds as my photographic subjects. We moved 100 miles north to be near a wildlife refuge that represents the glacial lakes and pine barrens of Wisconsin. We also enjoy the badlands of North Dakota and Theodore Roosevelt National Park.