Study Group 2


Suman Bhattacharyya, MPSA, ARPS, EFIAP/b·

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MAY 2021 ROUND

Title: portrait I
  
Goal:   I shot this image on the 1st of January, 2021 during my visit to the mongolajodi wetlands. My aim was to depict a perfect portrait which must be pictorially pleasing.
 
Equipment/Source:   Nikon D4 with 500 mm at f5.6 shot at 1/6400 (ISO 1000) in shutter priority mode. centre weighted average with a +3 EV for compensation. time of shot 14:38 to catch the evening winter golden light glow on the eye of the bird.
 
Technique:  I relied heavily on the shutter speeds since it needs to be exactly timed. with the XQD card in slot of the Nikon D4 its time to experiment. Waited for the right distance since the 500 mm f5.6 lens is accurate with focusing at the right distance. wanted separation between the object and the background so right distance was very much needed. tried the eveing light since during the late January wintery evening glow the birds eye if caught properly would make good impact. got the catcteye which I wasn't looking for but lucky to get one in the frame.

Processing:   
 processed with slight backtracking of the highlight slider and opened the shadows just a bit. used shake reduction for sharpening of the image and then finally used de noise soft to erase the ISO clutter.

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 Jan Lee
Nature Story:

There is no real Nature story here. The bird is not involved in any obvious action, and there is nothing shown of his environment.

Technical Quality:

The technical quality is high. Everything on the bird is sharp, the colors are vibrant and natural looking, and the exposure is perfect. The subject stands out well from the background.

Pictorial Quality:

The composition is simple yet strong. Simple, uncluttered, composition and excellent technical quality lead to a strong visual impact. You say in your comments that you were hoping for a strong pictorial image: you achieved your goal.

N-1, T-3, P-3 = 7


This Review is written by: Charlie Y

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Given stated goal, certainly, this one achieved.
That said, reasonable to be a solid nature (2), but won't be a 3.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
image shown proper exposure, a tad darker than I'd prefer, but solid. does this image shot with tripod or hand held? Given D4, and stated condition, perhaps a 1/3200s or even slower will work and give you extra light on the bird, also ISO will be a more favorable. Just a suggestion.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Image is pleasant to view, delightful for a portrait.

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

TECHNICAL SCORE 2-Average exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 2-Average composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 6


This Review is written by: Larry T

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
You absolutely met your goal of obtaining a portrait of this bird. As a portrait the finished image is everything necessary. Unfortunately, the standard requires a nature story and while there is an inherent story in every image I do not feel there is enough here to justify a top score.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The camera settings, while bordering on extremes, seemingly work. The camera you used handles the higher ISO levels quite well and since your exposure was accurate there does not seem to be a problem. You could have easily reduced the ISO level to 500 and still managed a 1/3200 shutter speed which would be more than enough to freeze that species even in flight. The combination of the fast shutter, the shallow aperture and the fact that the background was distant from the bird allowed for a beautifully smoothed background that completes your sought after portrait appearance.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I think the choice of format works well with this image. It allows for the bird to nicely fill the frame while leaving space for the bill. The eye is also nicely place to draw interest as the viewer moves through the scene.

As a side note I’m not certain what the issue is with the QXD card. I’ve used them with my D850 and never given them a second thought. They do have a faster write speed than the SD cards but that should not matter in a shot such as this.


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

TECHNICAL SCORE 3-Excellent exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 3-Excellent composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 8


This Review is written by: Jodi S.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Unfortunately, the nature story of a portrait is often limited, as in this case, though the picture itself is fabulous

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Tack sharp eye, beak, feathers, and excellent bokah. Impressive catchlight. Thanks for describing the work to get the golden hour catchlight. I am surprised you used such a fast shutter for this. Was the bird in flight or moving?

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Compelling image. Every detail handled beautifully.

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

TECHNICAL SCORE 3-Excellent exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 3-Excellent composition and impact

EXTRA POINT 1-Exceptional

TOTAL SCORE 9


This Review is written by: Wayne S.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
This is a very good portrait of the bird. It makes the viewer go right to the eye of the subject. It is a good portrait but the story is not evident.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Eye and feathers are very sharp. Colors seem accurate. Great use of depth of field to focus your attention on the subject.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The bird is striking but the image is very 1 dimensional. It may have made a stronger image is the bird was not facing at 90 degrees but more at 45 degrees which may have improved the impact.

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: Nirmalya B.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
It is a portrait and a beautiful close up portrait indeed.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Absolutely no criticism on the technical aspect of this photograph.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I have a humble opinion regarding processing of this photograph. As the subject is constituted with darker colours, during processing if you can select the subject with OBJECT SELECTION TOOL (PSCC19 and onwards) and separate it with mask from background,you shall have absolu te freedom to play with background luminosity (shadow & light) as per your subject requirement. I would prefer a lighter background for this portrait without tampering the natural blur as obtained during capture.

NATURE SCORE 3-Nature story strong

TECHNICAL SCORE 3-Excellent exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 2-Average composition and impact

EXTRA POINT 0-No extra point

TOTAL SCORE 8


This Review is written by: Edward X.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
This is a great bird portrait but as we always want the three "F", it is not a very strong story here, sorry to say.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
No complaint from me, everything is perfect.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Great job for the colors and composing.

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

TECHNICAL SCORE 3-Excellent exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 3-Excellent composition and impact< br>
TOTAL SCORE 8




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APRIL 2021 ROUND
Title:   Purple heron with catch
     
Goal:    Aim was to catch the elusive purple heron with catch. As I often missed the action since purple herons are very patient hunters and when they look at pray they can be there for an hour without battling an eyelid. just when one looses patience that particular moment it grabs and flies away. very challenging to get it with food.

Equipment/Source:     Nikon D4 coupled with 500 mm 5.6 telephoto. Shot at 1/2000 at ISO 640 at f10 in manual exposure. Centre Weighted average metering used with a 1.67 EV without flash at 15:16 hours in the afternoon lights at the Mongolajodi wetlands.

Technique:    I used a scope to find one and targeted one such purple heron and just when I zoomed through the telephoto to have a quick look it fished which made my day. Lucky to catch one in action.

Processing:    used f10 to get maximum depth within a narrow stretch and a little bit of ISO reducing agent. Rest is done by camera settings.

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 nature story is clear and solid and warrants a 3.

The core technical quality on the subject is clean and solid. I appreciate that it was just past 3 PM in the afternoon and so the lighting angle was getting a bit lower and warmer, but I wouldn’t mind boosting the effective exposure (luminosity) of the main subject. This is one of those things we have to decide as we process an image. Do we want to be literally accurate to the level of lighting present at the time we made the shot or do we want to pull the tonal curve up enough to retain the observed balance but improve the viewer’s ability to interact with the subject? Effectively boosting the exposure in post does not distort or alter the truth of the moment observed since you could achieve the same effect by increasing your iso one stop at the point of capture. The question should be considered when considering what, if any, adjustment / correction of the capture white balance may be needed. It does not take away from a rating of 3 for the image as it is presented.

Pictorially the image has good impact and sufficient interest to keep the viewer involved. I did find the other bird or object that is a darker blob behind the heron’s head to be mildly distracting. I also found the background felt like it had been darkened when compared to the lighting level on the heron and foreground, but that may be due to cloud cover. The pictorial rating is a 3.

N-3, T-3, P-3 = 9


This Review is written by: Adrian B

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Good capture! The lighting is so dramatic which is the key plus with this image, but your timing of having the herron's mouth open with its prey is excellent. Great Nature Story.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Your image is very sharp and the lighting on the bird is just perfect. The background is clean and defused (despite f10, so it was far enough away). My only suggestion is to crop a tad off the right and add the same amount if you have it, so the bird is less central.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Cant fault it. A 10 from me!

NATURE SCORE 3-Nature story strong

TECHNICAL SCORE 3-Excellent exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 3-Excellent composition and impact

EXTRA POINT 1-Exceptional

TOTAL SCORE 10


This Review is written by: Nirmalya B.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Undoubtedly the photograph belongs to excellent nature story category.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Crispy sharp image with excellent details of feathers. The exposure is interesting and helped to bring out the subject from background.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
In my view the pictorial quality of the image is excellent.

NATURE SCORE 3-Nature story strong

TECHNICAL SCORE 3-Excellent exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 3-Excellent composition and impact

EXTRA POINT 1-Exceptional

TOTAL SCORE 10


This Review is written by: Rick D.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Hi Suman. Your planning and patience paid off with the shot you wanted. A nice portrait of a normal activity.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
It is good that you included the time and type of natural light in your commentary. I have seen reviewers in this study who complain about a yellow tint and take off points, not realizing that the Golden Hour is exactly what the maker sought! The very sharp water drops are excellent! Well done!

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Although I like this image and would like to score it higher, there is one issue. The bird is too dark. I do not know if this is intentional or a mistake. Either way, it is obvious and reduces any possible impact. I would like to see image again this after a little editing.

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

TECHNICAL SCORE 3-Excellent exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 2-Average composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 7


This Review is written by: LC B.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Successful hunting always makes for a good story!

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I think you did a good job not only getting the subjects in sharp focus but that the colors/curves/levels are well done. I really like the water sheen on the upper mandible. When first viewing just the thumbnail I thought the full-size would might be too dark, but I don’t find that to be the case. It’s obvious from the lighting that this was captured at dawn or dusk and thus I think it’s well exec uted.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
My only kvetches are the dark blob directly behind the bird is a slight distraction and I think you can crop a wee bit tighter horizontally to remove the grass clutter along the bottom. You may also want to try flipping the image and/or shaving off some of the negative space near the bird’s butt.

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: Eldon E.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Good capture food in the beak and the water drop adds to the image quality.


TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
When I first looked at the image, I thought it was more like a picture of a painting rather than a photo in the wild. It seemed a little over saturated and maybe too much sharpening.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
It is an arresting image particularly the sharpness of the eye and the curvature of the neck.

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: Bogdan B

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Nice story with fish in the air.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Sharp image, good DOF. It seems a little dark to me.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Good composition. You could cut a little bit on the right.

NATURE SCORE 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  

My name is Suman Bhattacharyya. I've an avid interest in nature & wildlife. I have been taking photos of nature from 2014 but only in 2017 I've taken membership of PSA. I am a member of FIAP (being an EFIAP) as well as RPS (having ARPS). I like all types of nature photos and am willing to commit time to know more about it. Thanks & Regards