Study Group 2

Richard Fisher· (B)

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Title:    Mom and Cub at Play
Goal:      In June I was at Lake Clark National Park in Alaska. In the park there are lots of Brown bears (aka grizzly bears to those of us from the lower 48). As we watched them, I noticed that one 2nd summer cub (i.e., it was born winter 2020) was rather frisky. I wanted to catch him playing with his mother.

Equipment/Source:     Nikon D850, 180-400 with 1.4 at 550mm (wanted to keep a respectful distance), with RRS series 3 tripod and Flex Shooter Pro head (great head when you need both a gimbal and ball head - an "improved" version? of the unique ball).

Technique:  Shutter speed was 1/1250 to stop the action, F8 for a touch extra DOF, ISO 400

Processing:  I did the norm "tricks" in LR, white and black point, highlights and shadows, a touch of contrast, moderate texture and clarity, upped the vibrance slightly and lower the saturation. Used HSL to lighten and saturate the bear's fur very slightly and darken and darken and saturate the water slightly.

In PS I applied Topaz sharpening (correct slight softness in focussing), added a bit pop to the bears with dodge and burn as well as luminosity masks, and sharpened the image.

Score this Image:   YES

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

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Title:       Collared Peccary

Goal:    While shooting in the Rio Grande Valley, we noticed a pair of Collared Peccaries coming to the water hole. It seems this pair like to spar often, with the larger female having the advantage.

The goal was capture this behaviour. The fighting was about dominance and rank, not aimed to injury the other party. 

Equipment/Source:    Nikon D850, 180-400 at 210mm, 1/500 second, F8, ISO 1600. Shot loose and then cropped. They moved around a lot. Yes a tripod and Wimberley head.
Technique:  Shoot from a blind, followed the peccary around at the watering hole, and watched for action.

 Started with the standard set of sliders in LR, then use DxO Pure Raw to reduce the noise in the image. Did capture sharpening, darkened the background and ground while adding a bit of pop to the pecceary, enhanced the highlight in the eye, creative sharpening on the peccary, and finally used luminosity masks to add some final pop to the image. I tried not to over process the image.

Score this image: YES

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

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Review by commentator J.D.

Nature Story (N): Whether playing or fighting as in this photograph, it is a great nature story for the viewer to choose what is going on and best of all, it makes the viewer think about the photograph. Score: 3

Technical Quality (T): Having wonderful equipment and the right settings almost always turns out well. It did in this situation. Bravo! Score: 3

Pictorial Quality (P): This was a wonderful photograph taken with wonderful settings using a great camera, lens, tripod, etc. setup. However, as a DXO Pure Raw user, I want to caution the user to be very careful dealing with sharpness. This photograph appears to be over sharpened on this monitor. I find that on a lot of my photos that I shoot after using Pure Raw I do no sharpening. Score: 2

Exceptional (E): Normally, with a “sharpness” issue I would not give the extra point for the photograph being “exceptional”. However, an exceptional photograph is still an exceptional photograph. Score:1

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

This Review is written by: Haru N.

This is well taken. You captured this at the right moment. I think your goal is met.
I am not sure this supports the strong nature story to rate 3, but it is pictorial excellent image.

Sharpness on the main subject is good, even it captured the splash of dirt - it demonstrate the movement and intense very well. Lighting choice is good, too.
I feel the background looks unnatural - the blurriness is artificial look like PS oil painting for my eyes.

Composition wise, it is simple and clear.
You captured the important part - eye and fang - well-highlighted. Again the splash dirt adds movement and intense, which is excellent.
One improvement opportunity is the side space. I feel you cropped too tight. I prefer to have a bit more space in right and left.

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

TECHNICAL SCORE 3-Excellent exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 3-Excellent composition and impact

EXTRA POINT 0-No extra point


This Review is written by: Eric N.

Great story. The dominance struggle makes for a great image. Having to wait in a blind for hours in order to capture this image was worth the wait.

The blur of the background was smooth and effective. On the other hand the sharp line between the blurred foreground and the focused area detracted from the image quality. Feathering the connection between the foreground and the focus area to smooth the transition would have made the image perfect.

Cropping the image to fill the frame created a huge impact as the viewer gets to see the bared fangs of the two animals. The fine detail on the right hand animal chest hair is a credit to your use of depth of field.

NATURE SCORE 3-Nature story strong

TECHNICAL SCORE 3-Excellent exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 3-Excellent composition and impact


This Review is written by: Dennis H

Good capture of sparing peccaries in a natural environment. Your efforts have paid off.

Nice colour and detail on both peccaries. Eye clear on L/H animal. A little dodging on lower bodies and legs would improve the image.

Good composition and impact with the dominant peccary on L/H side.

NATURE SCORE 3-Nature story strong

TECHNICAL SCORE 2-Average exposure

PIC TORIAL SCORE 3-Excellent composition and impact


Rich could be described as a modern-day Renaissance man. Though now retired from Kraft Foods (2012), he is trained in the sciences with a PhD from UCLA in Molecular Biology and has earned an MBA from the University of Chicago where he specialized in Finance, Marketing and Statistics. In addition to his analytic side, Rich is artistic as demonstrated from his photography. 

During his tenure at Kraft Foods his career spanned such diverse areas from Physical Chemistry and computer simulation to Marketing Analytic (last brand positions were Director of Analytics for the Cheese & Dairy Business Unit and The Pizza Company). As head of Analytics Rich was responsible for forecasting volumetric and financial impact of changes in marketing spending and price changes. 

Rich has been a member of the Garden Photographic Society (GPS) since 1997 and the Riverwood Nature Photographic Society (RNPS) since 2002. In GPS he has held numerous positions such as newsletter editor, president, competition chair, DPI coordinator and Treasurer. In RNPS he has been Outing and Program Chairs, and Vice President of Competition. Rich has been on the board of CACCA, Chicago Area Camera Club Association, since 1999 and Rich has been Treasurer for most of his tenure on the board except during his term as president, 2014-16. In addition, he has been additional roles as the information manager and coordinator of speakers and judges. 

On a personal note, Rich lives outside Chicago with his wife Jane and their delightful Golden Retriever, Denali. Both Rich and Jane love to travel and are planning their 23rd trip Africa.