Nature Study Group 2


Suman Bhattacharyya, MPSA, ARPS, EFIAP/b·

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JANUARY 2022 ROUND
Title:   Plain Tiger Caught in Backlight
     
Goal:   the plains just beside my home is home to many smaller nature elements. The Sunday as I was walking by the field, I noticed that there were a large assortment of wild flowers bloomed. The time was around 10 AM when the slanting sun is providing its gaze to the flowers and it was oozing honey for which the many butterflies roamed around. So I went home, brought out my Nikon gear and started shooting in backlight to catch the beauty of these smaller ones. My goal was to catch a beautiful nature story in backlight.

Equipment/Source:  
used my trusted Nikon D750 coupled with the newly bought 180 mm 2.8. Sunlight is source light and no complementary flash was used. As I was shooting while keeping the sun ray falling on the Plain Tiger in front of me so tried the backlighting with the proboscis clearly showing deep into the nectar of the wild flower.

Technique:   
shot in f/7.1, ISO 1245, 1/320 shutter speed, in aperture priority. 7.1 aperture is used to get a nice differentiation between the foreground and the background although keeping the primary image as sharp as possible. since was using the lens in handheld position hence the high shutter. ISO kept at low to minimise noise effects.

Processing:    processed in basic RAW in PS 2020, cropped the busyness around and opened the shadows just a bit.

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: teaching the craft
  
Goal:   It was a spare time between two burst of rain in the Masai Mara sanctuary when our safari vehicle came to halt by getting a sight of a team of elephants with three mothers and a few juveniles. As we watched the juveniles playing with their younger and elder siblings this little one caught my fancy for its young, enthusiastic ways. It kept charging at its older sibling with vigour and locked in tussle to prove it's fearlessness. It's very uncharacteristic as there were other little ones who were always hiding behind their mothers. This prompted me to record the fight of the two little ones and as they were pretty close by I used D500 with 70-200 lens combo leaving my D750 with 200-500 aside.
 
Equipment/Source:   D500 with 70-200 lens combo in the changing light environment 
 
Technique:  shot at f/8 with 1/2000 sec at 400 ISO. used shutter priority to conform with changing light conditions as there were clouds with occasional burst of rain during the end of October, 2019.

Processing:   
 processed with nik details to get details on the elephants.

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 L.
Nature Story:
This is a good nature story. We can really see the affection and fun interaction between the two young elephants. This shows us an aspect of their herd culture that we do not often see in competitive photography.

Technical Quality:
We cannot clearly see the amazing textures of elephant skin. There is also little detail on the eyes on each animal. The exposure is all right, but the lighting is very flat.

Pictorial Quality:
Here is a much better pictorial image than is it technically correct. The story is obvious. It seems that most of us are fond of elephants, especially the young, so the subject helps to carry the image.

N - 3; T - 1; P – 2 = 6


PERSON WHO WROTE THE REVIEW: Venter, Francois
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NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE: I ove the interaction an the teaching like you say in your title. Thesocial interaction with the elephants are also great as it shows them as social beings
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TECHNICAL REVIEW OF THE IMAGE: Your light is very flat, which in this case may not be the worst thing. Unfortunately the image quality is not great. I cannot figure out why. At iso400 there should not be so much. Maybe it was cropped too much? Ot otherwise the resizing to display it here might have affected it.
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PICTORIAL REVIEW OF THE IMAGE: Composition is great. Love the small Ellie on a heap. There is no instructions. Well done
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NATURE SCORE: 3 - Nature story strong
TECHNICAL SCORE: 2 - Average exposure
PICTORIAL SCORE: 3 - Excellent composition and impact
Extra Point awarded: 0 - No extra point
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Total score: 8

PERSON WHO WROTE THE REVIEW: Yang, Charlie
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NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE: It seems that two elephants hooked up their trunks, not sure what're they doing? playing? show and tell? or what?
wish there're more to be learned here. 
 This shows behavior beyond the normal portrait, but not to the point of rising above a nature story rating of 2 for me.

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TECHNICAL REVIEW OF THE IMAGE: exposure seems fine, didn't see anywhere over exposed or blown out. 
However, some area of elephants seems fake, as if details extracted from image and form a superficial skin. Would you mind check the original raw file, against this image, see if you can tell what those artifacts, and what may have caused it. 
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PICTORIAL REVIEW OF THE IMAGE: picture is plain, not much of impact to the story, either 
A) present this image as it, and leave a little more spaces around the edges, especially left elephant, already touch the frame.
B) crop further into the frame, and only leave two elephants' heads and trunks, to present viewer what you intend to show. 
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NATURE SCORE: 2 - Nature story of average strength (portrait)
TECHNICAL SCORE: 1 - Inadequate exposure, color balance and sharpness
PICTORIAL SCORE: 2 - Average composition and impact
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Total score: 5

PERSON WHO WROTE THE REVIEW: Roberts, Lillian
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NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE: Hi, Suman!  It sounds like a wonderful time/place to have seen and experienced this interaction!  I love the story and the interaction.  Though elephants can be hard to photograph, these playful poses are sure to delight.


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TECHNICAL REVIEW OF THE IMAGE: I am very put off by the quality of the image.  The odd juxtaposition of artificial-looking detail against areas with almost no detail is very awkward.  Your equipment should be able to get a really crisp, sharp image yet this has the quality of a video capture or very low resolution jpeg.  It also looks like you hand-selected the subject for special processing but the selection bleeds into the BG in some places.  Also you have very sparkly grass - possibly real due to the rain, but in this context it just adds to the sense of a low resolution image that has been beaten up with processing.  I really don't understand how this happens - I'm no PP expert but pull up your RAW image and try just asking Camera Raw to "auto" process it - see if you like the results better.
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PICTORIAL REVIEW OF THE IMAGE: Your composition is good.  I'd have tried zooming in a bit closer to emphasize the story (unless this is already a big crop and that's why the technical aspects are as they are) to bring us into their world.  Also, if you have an image where the smaller elephant's trunk is closer to the viewer than the large one, that might also emphasize him as the main subject.  I know you can't control such things, but I expect you took quite a few at the scene.  I like to just scroll through all related images and listen to my gut - often one speaks to me for reasons that are not immediately clear.
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NATURE SCORE: 3 - Nature story strong
TECHNICAL SCORE: 0 - No points
PICTORIAL SCORE: 2 - Average composition and impact
Extra Point awarded: 0 - No extra point
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Total score: 5

PERSON WHO WROTE THE REVIEW: Stover, Heide
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NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE: I feel the nature story is good here showing something that elepants do.  I like that these are young elephants learning as they play.
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TECHNICAL REVIEW OF THE IMAGE: The elephants do not look sharp to me.  The image has something going on, maybe from a lot of cropping?
I do find that distracting.
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PICTORIAL REVIEW OF THE IMAGE: I like the format of the image helping to keep my eye on the subjects.  For me, I would like the composition adjusted so that there is a little less on top and a little more below.
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NATURE SCORE: 3 - Nature story strong
TECHNICAL SCORE: 1 - Inadequate exposure, color balance and sharpness
PICTORIAL SCORE: 2 - Average composition and impact
Extra Point awarded: 0 - No extra point
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Total score: 6

PERSON WHO WROTE THE REVIEW: Treadwell, Larry
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NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE: One of the better methods of capturing an acceptable Nature Story is to capture interaction among creatures of the same species.  This image quite clearly shows such interaction.  The twisted trunks and for me, the leg position of the littlest elephant, demonstrates this quite well.


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TECHNICAL REVIEW OF THE IMAGE: When viewed in the enlarged format the elephant on the right appears to be a bit soft.  This seems most visible in the head and ear area  and also in the grass underfoot.  This may be a issue with processing (please note the white streak on the little elephant’s back which does not seem to be cause by light issues.  I do not feel that the DOF of field is adequate for this capture.  A simple remedy might be just reducing the shutter speed as I doubt they were moving so fast that they could not have been captured with 1/1000.


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PICTORIAL REVIEW OF THE IMAGE: Upon close examination there appears to be artifacts surrounding the edges of both elephants.  The image appears to have been over processed and seems to show attempts to recapture sharpness  that was lost due in the initial capture.
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NATURE SCORE: 3 - Nature story strong
TECHNICAL SCORE: 2 - Average exposure
PICTORIAL SCORE: 2 - Average composition and impact
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Total score: 7

PERSON WHO WROTE THE REVIEW: Smith, Jodi
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NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE: What a unique capture! Very strong nature story here. Your description of the setting is quite interesting too as I am unfamiliar with the behavior of elephants fighting. Great capture
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TECHNICAL REVIEW OF THE IMAGE: Unfortunately, it does not look like you caught the eye as the focal point on either elephant. It looks like the focal plane is on the sides of the elephants. While the sides of the elephants are very sharp in some places, it almost looks like you applied a bit too much denoise maybe, as parts of the elephants are lacking the detail I would expect given the sharpness of other parts of their massive bodies. Otherwise, this is an excellent image with a lot of potential
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PICTORIAL REVIEW OF THE IMAGE: The composition and coloring look great to me. The grass might  be a bit too green, but some grasses are brighter than others so I'm not certain if this is the processing color or the genus of this grass. Nice job on the composition, all of the important elements are visible, drawing my eye to to interlocking trunks.
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NATURE SCORE: 3 - Nature story strong
TECHNICAL SCORE: 2 - Average exposure
PICTORIAL SCORE: 3 - Excellent composition and impact
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Total score: 8

PERSON WHO WROTE THE REVIEW: Sarkar, Pinaki
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NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE: As far as I am concerned this is a nature photograph.
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TECHNICAL REVIEW OF THE IMAGE: This is a good image. While we some wrinkles on the body of the elephants, on other places they seem to be a little too smooth. Is it because of the software that was used to denoise.? At places the grass also seems to be smooth with f8 I would expect more detail in them. I also do not see catchlight on the eyes of the elephant, while that is not necessary though, but it helps in animal photography.
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PICTORIAL REVIEW OF THE IMAGE: Love the color tones of the image with distinctive color variations of the elephants. The green of the grass looks young and fresh. Good Work.
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NATURE SCORE: 2 - Nature story of average strength (portrait)
TECHNICAL SCORE: 2 - Average exposure
PICTORIAL SCORE: 2 - Average composition and impact
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Total score: 7

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