Study Group 2


Robert Davis, PPSA (B)

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NOVEMBER 2020 ROUND
Title:     Silver Wolf charging
 
   
Goal:    Recording animal behavior on the 4D ranch Kalispell

Equipment/Source:    Canon 5D3. 100-400 @250mm 1/500. f5. ISO 100

Technique:   Handheld. The wolf came charging out of the undergrowth after a duck in the adjacent small pond. Shot at 5ps.

Processing:   PS. slight contrast and saturation.

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 Dan C.

The pose does provide some action with this shot but with the tight cropping you have presented it out of context with any actual story.  That is one of the problems with Game Farm shots; the stories are not real and are in response to the subject’s training and not the natural behavior of the subject.  I can only award this a 2 for the nature story.

Technically you have a problem with the blown whites of the wolf’s fur, especially the muzzle and cheeks.  You may be able to recover some fur texture in these areas with the raw file.  There are no pixels to recover in the jpeg version.  Due to the washed out highlights I can only assign a 2 for technical.

Pictorially the pose is good.  While it may be cropped a bit too tight for a nature shot, the cropping does work on a pictorial basis.  Since I already knocked down in technical for the blown whites, I will not double dip here so will award a pictorial score of 3.

N2, T2, P3, E0, Total 7


This Review is written by: Alex C.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
This image definitely tells a story!

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I feel like there is too much detail enhanced in the image as well as too much saturation added. Maybe use a brush tool in Lightroom to blur some of the background as well as take away some of the saturation, it's overpowering.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Due to the background being very overwhelming, it seems to take away from the subject of the photo, the wolf itself.

NATURE SCORE 3-Natur e story strong

TECHNICAL SCORE 1-Inadequate exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 1-Inadequate composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 5


This Review is written by: Bogdan B

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
It would be a normal portrait, but the image is so oversharpened, that it is seen quite unnatural. That's why N1.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Oversharpening, busy background, fluorescent green grass.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Normal composition.

NATURE SCORE 1-Nature story minimal or contains unrelated hand of man

TECHNICAL SCORE 1-Inadequate exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 2-Average composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 4


This Review is written by: LC B.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
I think this image would tell a much stronger story if the viewer could see what the wolf was charging/stalking. While to me its obvious something is going on, there isn’t enough other information presented to determine what that might be.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The over saturation of of both the grass and wolf are an issue for me. In addition so much of the wolf is out of focus with just its face/eyes clear and sharp that it has to compete with all that grass for my eyes’ attenti on. I think this is a case where working with the motion of the animal and possibly shooting with a higher ISO and lower shutter might produce a better technical result as well as adding to the story.

Also there is something wonky going on with the tip of the wolf’s tail: not sure if you used a mask/layer in your post and if that might be the cause.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
For me this is one of those images I want to like, but the above technical issues coupled with lack of story all make me want to close the pop-up. Then, when I view the image at the smaller resolution its not only much easier on my eyes, but I can then look objectively at the basic composition: and my critique of that is that story and wolf would be better served if it were possible to change the crop to not place the animal dead center but more to the left.

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

TECHNICAL SCORE 1-Inadequate exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 2-Average composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 5


This Review is written by: Adrian B

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
I rate the nature story here as borderline - yes it is reasonably clear that it is about to pounce, but because there is no space provided to show more of its settling, one can't tell the story you have provided in your narrative. So your image does not stand up by itself, even with your title.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Your camera settings and post production have derived a very sharp and clear image - lovely fur detail and very clear yellow eyes. Was the grass truly that bright though?

P ICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
A well presented image, but not one to hold interest for long after admiring the fur detail and eyes.Nevertheless a pictorially pleasing image.

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

TECHNICAL SCORE 3-Excellent exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 2-Average composition and impact

EXTRA POINT 0-No extra point

TOTAL SCORE 7


This Review is written by: Suman B.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
The attacking posture of the wolf shown by the front left paw approaching implies the story you are telling. However since this is a implied storyline which doesn't show the point of attack neither it shows the connecting eye of the wolf which is pointed towards the camera, the nature story rating is reduced to 2.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The top down approach to frame the animal is a point of concern as it lacks the personal approach towards the animal. Also the almost top light showing sli ghtly an gular shadow is pressing. Instead of the implied nature story I would be more interested in showing the portrait of the world at a personal view angle in this scenario. But if the prey and the predator can be framed in a single frame that would be best advised. Also DOF is very high which needed to ba taken care of as differential between the the background and the predator is a much needed criteria in the competitions.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
the almost diagonal framing does help pictorially but not that much that it merits a 3

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

TECHNICAL SCORE 1-Inadequate exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 2-Average composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 5



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OCTOBER 2020 ROUND

Title:     Harbor Pelicans

Goal:    Documenting Pelican behavior in the Galveston harbor

Equipment/Source:     Canon 5 Ds. !00-400 zoom. F 7.1 1/400. ISO 400 hand-held

Technique:   Hand-held average metering. Pelicans love to settle on pylons in a harbor and appear to be guarding the area. More likely they are scanning for food. and or resting. The water dripping from the beak of the one on the left suggests the former.

Processing:   Slight sharpening and increased contrast in PS

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.
The situation observed lacks a behavioral element strong enough for the higher story rating. This falls into the category of an environmental portrait. Some will contest that while the piling may be allowed under the adaptive behavior exception, the ships in the background are significant enough and unrelated to the story enough that they would warrant a significant mark down or even a DQ. If the one on the right were not red that condition would be less problematic. I’m not going to penalize the image to that extent and rate the story as a 2 on the adaptive behavior exception.

Core technical quality is excellent for the conditions you were shooting in. That ship red should be desaturated even more. Don’t forget to drop both contrast and luminosity in that area if you do make the adjustment. The technical quality is rated as a 3.

The composition is fine with them slightly off center and no strong implicit action that requires added spacing. Having the distance to the sides uneven is a plus. That red ship is a major visual issue as that color pulls the eye past the pelicans and you have to fight not to see it or look at it. The pictorial rating is a 2 for that reason.

N-2, T-3, P-2 = 7


Review by Rick D.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Hi Robert. As I live in a coastal area, I also enjoy photographing these amazing birds. They are some of the most unique of all birds. This is a very good capture of one of their most common habits, sitting and waiting for a good opportunity for a meal to come along. As you point out in your commentary, the water drops add interest to the photo.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Your settings are on target and achieved the wanted results. However, as far as your shooting technique, I wonder if moving to a better vantage point woul d have e liminated the ship’s red bow. The color red is a vision magnet and actually pulls the eye away from the pelicans. Also as it occupies nearly a third of the image, its size magnifies the issue.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The same issue as above is the large red distraction in the background. Your shooting technique issue impacted the pictorial quality. I would like to award a higher score, but the guidelines allow only I point for a composition error.

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

TECHNICAL SCORE 2-Average exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 1-Inadequate composition and impact

EXTRA POINT 0-No extra point

TOTAL SCORE 5


Review by Kathleen C.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
What a lovely photo of these two pelicans! The one dripping water most likely was feeding like you mentioned .

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Exposure, balance and sharpness are excellent. The pelicans' interesting positions are perfect providing sharp details of wings etc.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Lovely photo that should be framed. The colors and overall details make it pleasing to view. The water dripping adds interest to this photo.

NATURE SCORE 3-Nature story strong

TECHNICAL SCORE 3-Excellent exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 3-Excellent composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 9


Review by Prasad D

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Harbor Pelicans settled on pylons in a harbor and appear to be lazing around guarding the area seems to be a lovely sight.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Correct exposure and a very nice soft background pops out the two pelicans in the image.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
However the Red/orange column in the background demands attention. Could have tried to avoid the same.

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

TECHNICAL SCORE 3-Excelle nt expos ure

PICTORIAL SCORE 1-Inadequate composition and impact

EXTRA POINT 0-No extra point

TOTAL SCORE 6


Review by John E.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Nature story is minimal because there is no special activity.  The pylon may also represent the "hand of man" and is not relevant to the nature story.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The exposure provides good detail in the shadows and the highlights and the shallow depth of field emphasizes the pelicans.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Pictorially I enjoy that view of the pelicans but for me the ship in the background detracts from the birds due to its red color which diverts my attention away from th em.

NATURE SCORE 1-Nature story minimal or contains unrelated hand of man

TECHNICAL SCORE 2-Average exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 1-Inadequate composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 5


Review by Bruce F

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
The water dripping from the left Brown Pelican’s beak adds a touch of interest to a relatively static scene. I don’t think the water droplets are enough to have a strong nature story; more behavior is needed. The red out of focus ship is also hurting the story since the color red draws the mind like a magnet.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Exposure and detail of the feathers are excellent, and the diffused light helped here. However, I feel that there is considerable noise in the background, and it is parti cularly evident in the dark bands of the out of focused pier. Apply some target noise reduction in these areas.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I would try to eliminate any of the harbor structures by blurring the background. I would have tried to position myself to eliminate the partial red boat. Backgrounds are often just as important as the subject. After all, photography is a visual medium, and to me, that also applies to nature photography.

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 Dave F.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Nice photo of pelicans not much of a story, but nice image

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Shutter speed was fast enough as I can see the water drops form the one pelican. Not sure you needed f7.1 as there is to much of the background that could have been softer. My eye keeps going to the red bow of the ship and very distracting

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Again, nice shot of the pelicans and good detail but the image is not saying or doing much for me.

NATURE SCORE 1-Nature s tory min imal or contains unrelated hand of man

TECHNICAL SCORE 2-Average exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 1-Inadequate composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 4








Bob Davis was born in Johannesburg South Africa and educated there and in London, Edinburgh and New York. He has retired from being a surgeon in Houston Texas for many years. After the busy years of hard work, he joined the Houston Photographic Society and is now its President. He is fascinated by all forms of photography especially nature. He mainly utilizes Canon equipment and is trying hard to keep up with recent software advances.