Study Group 2


Natalie Murray (B)

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JANUARY 2021 ROUND
Title:     Gotcha!

Goal:    There is a river about an hour's drive away where the water birds are so comfortable with fishermen (and photographers) that close-up action shots are easy pickings. This great egret is such a regular that the local photographers have named him Eddie the Egret. We have had recent heavy rain so both the water and fish are plentiful. My goal on these visits is always to seek improvements to my capture and story-telling skills.
  

Equipment/Source:     Canon 6D2 with 100-400mm ii lens at 401mm + 1.4x teleconverter, f11, 1/2500sec, auto ISO (1250). Handheld. It's reasonable to ask why I'm using the teleconverter when the birds are so close. It's because there is a resident osprey that often makes an appearance and I don't want to miss that opportunity either. 

Technique:    Sit quietly, enjoy the view, and wait for Eddie to do his thing. f11 to improve focus and sharpness. Manual mode with Auto ISO adjusting exposure compensation as needed. A mix of overcast and sunny conditions.

Processing:    LR for cropping and minor adjustments, Topaz Denoise for noise and sharpening, PS for curves. 

Review 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 2020 ROUND

Title:  You can have yellow, or yellow.
   
Goal:  Lady Elliot Island is a small coral cay at the southernmost section of the Great Barrier Reef off the Queensland Coast. Now an eco-resort, It has undergone extensive rehabilitation of the natural habitat after being practically stripped bare in the early 1900s due to guano mining. Marine life and bird life are thriving, and the 45 hectare site now accomodates 30000 nesting pairs of black noddies. They are literally everywhere during breeding season, at arms reach in every tree throughout the resort. The male birds bring fallen leaves from the pisonia trees where the female (if she approves of the decor) then adds it to build the platform nest. Photo opportunities are plentiful so my goal was to capture a moment of this story.

Equipment/Source:   Canon 6d2, 100-400mm ii lens, f8, 1/160sec, ISO 200.

Technique:  This shot was taken approximately 20 metres from our cabin. it was just a matter of finding an active pair and waiting for the right moment. The shot was hand-held. I didn't take my tripod due to weight restrictions on the small aircraft.

Processing: 
Minor exposure adjustments and cropping in Lightroom, then Topaz deNoise, then curves 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 J.D. McClung
Nature Story (N): Nest building is always a wonderful nature story! Score: 3

Technical Quality (T): Settings are spot on! Bravo! Score: 3

Pictorial Quality (P): By “burning” slightly just to the left of the bird on the left would have killed pulling the eye off of the birds and onto the upper/upper left hand corner . Score: 2
Exceptional (E): Wonderful photograph! Be proud! Score: 1

Scores: N 3 T 3/ P 2/ E 1/ Score = 9


This Review is written by: Larry T

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
I feel you have captured an adequate nature story with the two parents on the nesting site and holding nesting material. The open bill on the left adds a bit of action to an otherwise static scene.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
In this instance your settings worked. Your shutter speed was fast enough to stop the action, which fortunately was minimal. Your choice of aperture was enough to retain sharpness of all of the visible parts of the birds. I will note that their body positions assisted you in this . The exposure of the subjects and the important leaves of the nest is accurate and there are no overexposed areas.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
At first glance the pictorial aspect seems adequate but the eye is slowly drawn to the bright yellow leaves on the upper left corner. I would suggest burning those bright leaves to dim their appearance. As an alternative method you might have taken a step to the left and tried to frame the birds against the dark tree and thus keep the bright leaves in the background out of the frame.

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: Janice R

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Your wait and planning paid off in this lovely image of the nesting behavior. Theya re facing forward and look like they are interacting. Very nice job.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
In my opinion, this image is technically well done. Again, your planning is evident. Your choice of DoF allowed both birds to be in focus while bluring the background. Shutter speed is good, both birds are sharp as is foreground. My only criticism would be to burn the bright spots in the background which distrac t from y our subjects.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
This is a well thought out image with excellent composition (thanks to the birds for posing so nicely). Because of the compostion, nice lighting, and interaction, this image has good impact.

NATURE SCORE 3-Nature story strong

TECHNICAL SCORE 3-Excellent exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 3-Excellent composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 9


This Review is written by: Diana R.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Just looking at the photo I would not understand this interaction so reading your description was very helpful. I think this is a strong nature story.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The exposure seems good. I find the leaf is sharpest and both birds"eyes are soft.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The birds and nest are centered but this seems to work with the branches creating nice framing. I find the background on the left to be a bit distracting

NATURE SCORE 3-Nat ure 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
wow, what a wonderful shot! 20 meters away?? what a wonderful location to find these birds; beautiful scene with the birds framed between two branches

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
very good, but distracted by very bright yellow leaves and the blown out top of birds' heads; really appreciated the catch-light in their eyes

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
wonderful and moving scene, very well framed by the diagonal branches

NATURE SCORE 3-Nature story strong

TECHNICAL SCORE 2-Average exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 3-Excellent composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 8


This Review is written by: Charlie Y

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
interesting title for added story line,
with good environment in scope and two actors in the frame, it's quite easy to construct a nature story line, cute

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
exposure are ok, actors are in close contacts, seems sharp enough in the middle of the frame. However, would suggest faster shuttle speed than 1/160sec to avoid any shake or sudden movement of birds or wind, since you have plenty ISO and distance for that latitude.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Yellow is quite attractive vision,
one suggestion to darken some bright area upper left corner, above birds, distract. Or move around a bit to get better background like your right half of frame, all dark in the background.

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: Susan N.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Great nature story with two birds and their food.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Excellent exposure and focus. It is hard to capture both black and white clarity in one shot.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Very pretty. I might have toned down the yellow a bit as it detracts from my focus on the faces of the birds. A side comment: it would be nice to know the name of the species; this is a new bird for me.

NATURE SCORE 3-Natur e story strong

TECHNICAL SCORE 3-Excellent exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 2-Average composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 8


This Review is written by: Edward X.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
I like your title, very humorous. Great story telling with two cute birds building a nest. I admire your location that there are a lot of birds for a bird photographer. I live in New York, there are less bird photographic opportunities.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Great lighting and I could not find anything wrong from my level...

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Great compose. Do you use half frame camera because it is faster.

NATURE SC ORE 3-Nature story strong

TECHNICAL SCORE 3-Excellent exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 3-Excellent composition and impact

EXTRA POINT 0-No extra point

TOTAL SCORE 9


This Review is written by: Dave F.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Nice photo showing behavior strong story

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
good exposure and fortunately not a lot of movement to stop the action. Both Noddies are sharp and you can see details in their feathers.


PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Cute interaction and very enjoyable, you can almost hear the discussion going on in the image.

NATURE SCORE 3-Nature story strong

TECHNICAL SCORE 3-Excellent exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 3-Excellent composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 9





















Hello.  I'm Natalie. I live in Brisbane, Australia and have been interested in nature photography for approx 8 years.

Last year I joined my local camera club.  They are a very supportive bunch and I was immediately encouraged to enter club, national, and international competitions.  I am lucky to have a diverse range of birds that live locally or a short drive away, and I also enjoy looking out for the smaller creatures in our botanic gardens.  I shoot primarily with a Canon 6D2 and 100-400mm zoom or 100mm macro lens and edit in Adobe Lightroom.