Nature Study Group 2


Ranjan Ramchandani, PPSA (B)

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JANUARY 2022 ROUND
Title:   
Conversations between a Lion and a Jackal

Goal:   
When I saw these two mammals walking together from a distance, felt that they may have a unique relationship as under normal circumstances a lion would attack the jackal which did not happen in this case. I felt that there was some sort of conversation happening here which is what I wanted to capture. I do have a whole series I shot and eventually the Lion did give the Jackal a piece of his meal. It shows that times can change animal behaviour and I was lucky to have witnessed this moment.

Equipment/Source:    Olympus E M1 Mk II , 40-150mm f2.8 lens

Technique:   
I wanted to get this image at ground level, but as we were close and it would have been toll dangerous, I leaned out of the window and lowered my camera to capture as low an angle as I could get.
ISO 400, f6.3, 1/320 at 130 mm (On micro 4/3rd system)

Processing:  
I have adjusted the levels in Photoshop as I usually shoot 1 stop under in open areas like the savannah as the light can get quite bright and also the gold grass could give out a harsh glare at times.

Score 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 2021 ROUND
Title:   Leopard climbing down a tree

Goal:   When I noticed the leopard up on a tree early evening and noticed it's stomach was empty at she needed to hunt; I was very sure it would come down and hope it would happen before it became pitch dark. They are nocturnal usually. I decided to capture that moment and placed my vehicle at the right spot keep in mind the slant of the tree to give me this angle I was looking for. I like this image as a monochrome and am thus posting it as such. Image was capture in very low light

Equipment/Source:    Olympus E M1X, Olympus 40-150 mm f2.8 Pro lens

Technique:   I prepared my equipment to shoot in near darkness. I had to take a decision as this species moves very fast and once it gets up, you have literally 5 seconds before it is down. I set my ISO to 3200, F2.8, 1/400 th of a sec on manual mode. My white balance was set at 5600K

Processing:  I converted the image to monochrome and adjusted the levels to bring out a contrast between the leopard and habitat.

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 Rick C.

While interesting, the nature story associated with the behavior shown is still in the 2 level, albeit a strong 2, for me.

The leopard and tree are rendered very nicely. The sky contrast looks “off” when compared to the leopard and tree. While some drop off would be expected due to distance, this looks unnatural in relative terms. There is something very odd going on with the background trees. Brush at the bottom of the frame resulting in a manipulated look to the area. Between the sky and that area my technical rating is a 2 despite how nice the leopard and tree are.

The composition is reasonable. If you had more at the bottom of the frame, I would not say no to adding a bit more on just because of the implicit intensity of the motion. The oddity on the background lower section does have a negative impact pictorially as well because once you see it, you try to figure out what happened there rather than staying with the primary subject. The pictorial rating is a 2.

N-2, T-2, P-2 =6


PERSON WHO WROTE THE REVIEW: Delany, Nick
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NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE: The image results in being a portrait as the timing and crop do not convey the behaviour. (Compare the front legs position to the hind legs for illustration.) In addition it fails to complete the story to show the destination due to too tight a crop at the bottom. Score 2
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TECHNICAL REVIEW OF THE IMAGE: The sharpening is overdone with an easily discernable white halo around the leopard. The use of monochrome was an excellent idea but your levels are not correct with no pure white or black being present. I sense the over use of contrast on this image in your attempts to achieve this which might have been easily corrected using the HDR white & black sliders. There is something very strange about the background created by either the over use of contrast or some other effect.

Score 1
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PICTORIAL REVIEW OF THE IMAGE: This is a good idea and you are commended for your positioning and for waiting for the moment. I would recommend cropping tighter on top and open up the bottom to show where the leopard is going. On the chance you took multiple images, I might suggest you look for the one just before this where the front legs might show some separation.
Score 1
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NATURE SCORE: 2 - Nature story of average strength (portrait)
TECHNICAL SCORE: 1 - Inadequate exposure, color balance and sharpness
PICTORIAL SCORE: 1 - Inadequate composition and impact
Extra Point awarded: 0 - No extra point
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Total score: 4

PERSON WHO WROTE THE REVIEW: Dandridge, Rick
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NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE: Hello, Ranjan. This really a strikingly beautiful photograph! Your comments about the leopard being hungry and expecting her descent shows your excellent knowledge of your subject and the environment. As well as this tells a nature story, it is a common one.
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TECHNICAL REVIEW OF THE IMAGE: I like to express my appreciation to study members who give great detail about gear, settings and technique. Your data is sure to inform other photographers who will benefit from it. Well done!
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PICTORIAL REVIEW OF THE IMAGE: What not to like! You made a somewhat difficult composition work. The focus and texture of the leopard and the tree is very strong, while the background is sufficiently blurred. Your choice of B/W is right on. At times, that can be a difficult choice, but here it works. The DOF, despite the rather unusual effect on the background foliage, is very well done. But to me the overriding characteristic is the impact this photo has on the viewer. Wow! This photograph rates one exceptional point!
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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
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Total score: 9

PERSON WHO WROTE THE REVIEW: Bricelj, Bogdan
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NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE: It is unusual climbing down. I just don't know if this is climbing or jump, while both front paws are in the air.
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TECHNICAL REVIEW OF THE IMAGE: Leopard is sharp, clouds have a little bit too much noise. I will never understand why make bw photo of otherwise colorful nature.
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PICTORIAL REVIEW OF THE IMAGE: Leopard is so aside. Main portion of the image is negative space with clouds.
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NATURE SCORE: 2 - Nature story of average strength (portrait)
TECHNICAL SCORE: 2 - Average exposure
PICTORIAL SCORE: 1 - Inadequate composition and impact
Extra Point awarded: 0 - No extra point
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Total score: 5

PERSON WHO WROTE THE REVIEW: Bodart, Marian
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NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE: This is a stunning shot. The vertical tree trunk and angle of the cat give it tension and show a unique view of the beautiful animal.  
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TECHNICAL REVIEW OF THE IMAGE: Well done in difficult circumstances. The leopard is sharp and well-focused, the bokeh adds to the story of the cat as it goes out to hunt in the evening.
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PICTORIAL REVIEW OF THE IMAGE: The use of black-and-white is a great choice for this image. I have two very minor suggestions: the dark cloud line at the top of the image along with the small-ish triangle of sky are a bit distracting and could easily be cropped out. If possible, and if you have the room in the image, I'd add a little more space to the bottom of the image.
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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
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Total score: 9

PERSON WHO WROTE THE REVIEW: Bhattacharyya, Suman
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NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE: your story of the leopard declining at the wee hours of the evening time for nocturnal predating is noticeable. you have achieved your set target.
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TECHNICAL REVIEW OF THE IMAGE: your image is sharp, timing is excellent. and due the end lights of a day, it took some skills to get it. 
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PICTORIAL REVIEW OF THE IMAGE:  I feel you have unnecessary cropped the front portion of the cheetah. catching it with pray would fetch you better score in the competitions
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NATURE SCORE: 2 - Nature story of average strength (portrait)
TECHNICAL SCORE: 3 - Excellent exposure, color balance and sharpness
PICTORIAL SCORE: 2 - Average composition and impact
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Total score: 7

PERSON WHO WROTE THE REVIEW: Boros, LC
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NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE: I think you have a good story and caught the cat just at the right moment on its way down.  

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TECHNICAL REVIEW OF THE IMAGE: The main subject is sharp even down to the whiskers and I have no quibble with the image technically.

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PICTORIAL REVIEW OF THE IMAGE: For me the monochrome doesn’t work.  I can’t tell if it’s artifacting from post work or not but the tip of the front paw is fuzzy and the background clutter at the bottom is well…wonky.  I have no other word for it sorry. Would love to see the original version for a comparison.  Normally I’m one for having images read left to right, but in this case, because of the subject, its movement the current framing works well.

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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
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Total score: 8

Ranjan Ramchandani is a Singapore based published photographer focusing on travel and wildlife. He calls himself a life long student of photography who does not like being categorised in any one genre. Ranjan has recently accepted the position of Asia/Africa Editor for the recently launched magazine in the United States - The Wild Lens. (www.thewildlensmagazine.com)

He has honed his skills through photography expeditions around the globe including major wildlife destinations. Today, he is one of the best persons to travel with on safari and is always happy to take guests with him to Africa. Ranjan also runs regular field Photography workshops in Africa. He is also a graduate from the New York Institute of Photography. In the past he has been the community ambassador for Canon EOS World, Singapore and then moved on to become an Olympus Visionary and brand Ambasador for a few years. Today he has decided to go freelance and uses both Canon and Olympus systems.
To Ranjan photography is an art - A true medium of self-expression. After his visits to Ladakh in India he was inspired to do his first coffee table book, “Swades: Ladakh: The Land of Splendour in September 2010. His latest book is the first of it’s kind in the world; Published by Floop Photography in the Netherlands this is a coffee table book on the Masai Mara in 3D.
Ranjan has thereafter been covered and published in various media in India and the US - Sanctuary Asia, Green Leaf, BanyoPran, Outdoor Photographer and recently The Wild Lens.

He’s got recognition and awards at competitions from MIFA (Moscow International Foto Awards), PX3 (Paris), IPA (International photography Awards), OneEyeland awards, World Photo Gala Association, The Charles Dodgson Award The Pollux Awards and more.

Ranjan’s works have been shown by private galleries in India, Singapore and now the United States; And was curetted for the 3rd Biennial of fine art and documentary photography at Malaga, Spain in 2014, the 4th Biennial of fine art and documentary photography at Berlin, Germany in 2016, the 5th one which was held in Barcelona, Spain in 2018 and the 6th one which is being held in Barcelona, Spain in December 2021. He was exhibited at Barcelona in October 2019 also where he had been curetted as a part of a group show along with photographers from around the globe.

You could follow my work at https://www.facebook.com/groups/113251635409971 or https://www.instagram.com/_ranjan_