Study Group 2


Susan Newlin (C)

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NOVEMBER 2020 ROUND
Title:    Lunch in La Jolla 2
 
Goal:   To capture sea lion interactions. Discovered this mother that climbed up onto a rock in La Jolla cove and beckoned her (rather large) pup up for nursing.

Equipment/Source:    Image shot with Canon 7DMark II, 100-400 IS telephoto zoom, using AF mode and 400 ISO.

Technique:   New submission from a collection with one of these shots already submitted. This shot does not cut off the lower flipper of nursing sea lion pup.
Using tripod and avoiding a large number of walking observers from above the rocks, I was able to capture several frames of this interaction.

Processing:    Camera Raw for adjustments of exposure, lighting balance, etc. Topaz DeNoise AI, minimal sharpening for key features. Crop to best display the animals and their interactions in their environment.

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 the nursing aspect of the story is somewhat harder to ascertain due in part to the size of the pup, some study does allow the viewer to understand what is taking place. I feel there is enough information in the relative positioning of the subjects that the viewer would understand that some form of interaction was taking place and on that basis that the story is strong enough for a rating of 3.

The technical aspects all look to be handled well to me. That said, I do feel that further sharpening on the seals themselves, particularly on the heads, would be beneficial. That aspect is not enough to reduce my technical rating below a 3.

The image shows well as presented but is actually stronger for me flipped horizontally. While not enough to keep the Pictorial rating from being a 3 it was sufficient to eliminate consideration of the E bonus point.

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


This Review is written by: Rick D.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Hi Susan. I do remember your earlier submission and find this to be a very nice improvement. A mother sea lion nursing her young is a wonderful nature story. Also, the environment is clearly defined with the rocks and surf. Good work!

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Without your settings, I cannot comment on them, only to say that the result is very good. I would also say that going back to your files for something better is to me, good technique. Technique does not always have to be about e quipment and settings. Our thoughts, ideas and actions also are techniques that we should employ.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
There are a lot of qualities here to like. The sea lions form a type of inverted “S” shape, the green and blue balances the earth tones, and there are leading lines in the rocks. There is very good texture in the sea lions and rocks. The only concern is the amount of space on the right side of the image. Normally, the side of the image “behind” the subject(s) would be the smaller side. However, to me, that “issue” is offset by the impact of the blue and that reducing the water would weaken the important part that the environment plays in this photograph. This photograph cries out to be framed and hung in a prominent location. Very nice nature photograph.

NATURE SCORE 3-Nature story strong

TECHNICAL SCORE 3-Excellent exposure

P ICTORIAL SCORE 3-Excellent composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 9


This Review is written by: Kathleen C.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
A sea lion pup nursing is a strong nature photo. Plus- showing the sea lions in their environment makes it stronger.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The color, exposure are are good. The sharp details on the mother sea lion's face add to the image. Shadows were obviously hard to control while avoiding other visitors and with the sun. I like the balance of this photo with the water included.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Congratulations on getting such a delightful pho to. I lo ve seeing these sea lions in their environment. The water and the mossy/ wet rocks add to the photo. A sea pup nursing makes it even more special.

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: Bruce F

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Interesting to see such a large almost fully grown sea lion suckling from its mother at this stage of life. You would think that it would have been already weaned. Overall, I think this image is better than the previously submitted one, where the flippers were cut off. The suckling is what makes the nature story strong.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
You don’t give the specifications for the capture like shutter speed and aperture. I think that I would have either used a wide-op en aperture like f5.6 so only the seals were in the zone of sharpness, or a smaller aperture like f16 or f22. The reason is that the ocean in the top right side of the frame is soft. It’s in between, not completely soft or completely sharp, sort of in-between the two. This zone of softness draws my mind to it since the rest of the image including all of the seals and rocks are sharp, and the ocean on the bottom right is too.
The exposure and the soft warm light of sunset give a very pleasing look. However, they are a couple of blown highlights on the top mother seal’s back, and two on the juvenile sea lion. I would go back into camera raw and pull the highlight slider back 30 or so points to see if I could get some texture back into these areas. This won’t help too much if they are completely blown out, just make the area less white and more grey.


PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The six by seven framing is OK, preferably I would like to see the seals on the right side of the frame. The ocean surf has white froth and this froth is the brightest area of the image, and it keeps drawing my eye over there and away from the seals. A vertical composition might work better eliminating the ocean and these white areas. The wet rocks already provide context as to the location, near the sea.

NATURE SCORE 3-Nature story strong

TECHNICAL SCORE 2-Average exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 2-Average composition and impact

EXTRA POINT 0-No extra point

TOTAL SCORE 7


This Review is written by: Robert D

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Good nature capture. Very similar to your previous image. I like this one

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Good. Might try to tone down the bright sunlight area.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Attractive shot. The composition might be better with a very central position

NATURE SCORE 3-Nature story strong

TECHNICAL SCORE 2-Average exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 2-Average composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 7


This Review is written by: Prasad D

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Lovely nursing image of Sea Lions. The texture on the rocks are amazing. The Green moss on the rocks and the blue see gives it a magic touch.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The Circular Polarizer could have cut the reflections and brought out more details. The sopts on the back of the Sea Lions would have been avoided.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Lovely composition. With the diagonal patterns of the rock and the Sea Lions is good.

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: Dave F.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
story is clear with interaction of mom and pup

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
exposure looks good and both pup and mom are in focus

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I like the image shot about level with the subject as opposed to looking down makes for a more interesting image

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

TECHNICAL SCORE 3-Excellent exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 2-Avera ge compo sition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 7

 



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OCTOBER 2020 ROUND

Title:      Tiger on the Prowl
 
Goal:     Capture young female tiger on the prowl through a Nature Reserve (Safari Park in San Diego). 
 
Equipment/Source:    Canon 7D MarkII with If100-400 lens zoomed into 100mm. 
   
Technique:     Shooting from a tripod through plexiglass with a polarizing filter to minimize glare. Using tripod, aperture priority f4.6 with ISO Set High to capture high speed as the animal was moving quickly.

Processing:     Denoise with Topaz DeNoise AI. Camera Raw processing to adjust light and tonality. It was bright daylight, so toned down some of the glare spots on fur.

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 Tom S.
Welcome, Susan, to the Study Group. 

This is a nice image of a walking tiger, but a weak nature image, since she is just walking and not doing anything that would show something about her life. 

Good exposure, sharpness, and color.  Good job considering that it was taken through glass.

Pictorially, it would be much better if you were lower down so as to get her head-on rather than looking down at her.

N2, T3, P2, E0  =  7


Review by Rich F

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Nice images of tiger, though obviously shot from a point much above the tiger's head (lacks intimacy). Nothing special about the image

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Exposure is good as is color rendering and DOF/sharpness. There is some light on the top of the head.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The tiger will positioned in the frame with amble room to look out of the frame. I like the position of the right leg (bent) while the left leg (stiff) is barrier to entering the image. It would help if the eyes wer e a bit brighter and if you could get eye level with the tiger (without being its meal) to be more intimate.

Over all shows promise.

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

TECHNICAL SCORE 2-Average exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 2-Average composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 6


Review by Haru N.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
You are lucky to encounter tiger with that distance (using 100mm lens) and captured right. It is a shot at Safari Park in San Diego so it does not tell so much about nature story.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I like the lighting, enough light on the main subject. I feel color balance is spot on.
I do not know the SS, but in my eye, it has motion blur especially tiger head. I am not sure that it is your intention but I prefer to see good sharpness on the main subject, rather than sharpness on the grass around the tiger.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I was wonder how did you shot this image with tripod. but I like to composition, success choice of portrait. It give a bigger impact. My preference is to have this shot from low eye level than looking down from high eye level.

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

TECHNICAL SCORE 2-Average exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 3-Excellent composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 6


Review by Tom K

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
More of a portrait than an interactive shot.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
In focus and good separation from the background. Well exposed with shadows not blocked and the highlights not blown.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I think the angle is a bit too high, and would have benefited from a lower angle. It feels like you are shooting down which you are and it's not as interesting to me.  


Review by Andy H

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
You did well to keep the hand of man out of the image. The tiger is on the prowl and focused on something which does give a story.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
You've done well again in shooting through glass. Bars can also be a problem and wide apertures and close to the bars helps eliminate them. Image is ell exposed, eyes are sharp and colours are good.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The composition is what it is. You dont often get a choice of viewpoint so youve done well. Suits portrait format. Has some impact i n the colours and partial eye contact.

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


Review by Louis P

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
magnificent nature shot; withheld extra point due to shooting in reserve

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
outstanding image; sharp everywhere; tiger stands out from background, even though limited boceh; excellent color

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
excellent composition with tiger "coming out" of the picture; very moving

NATURE SCORE 3-Nature story strong

TECHNICAL SCORE 3-Excellent exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 3-Excellent composit ion and impact

EXTRA POINT 0-No extra point

TOTAL SCORE 9


Review by Dennis H

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Nice nature image of tiger in a natural setting in a safari park.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Always difficult to capture images through glass. Good colour on tiger. Tigers head a little soft lacking detail. L/L hand eye partially obscured.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Image has impact, would look better shooting at eye level if possible..

NATURE SCORE 3-Nature story strong

TECHNICAL SCORE 2-Average exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 2-Ave rage com position and impact

TOTAL SCORE 7


Review by Dave F.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Nice photograph of tiger as it is walking around

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I think you did well considering the photo was through plexiglass and the glair/reflection.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Nice photo of a tiger walking through some grass

Susan is a juried photographic artist from the Cape Cod Art Center. She has recently moved to Southern California and now concentrates her work there.  

Susan’s work focuses on wildlife and landscapes. She has exhibited in several juried galleries and shows. She is active in photo clubs in Southern California and Massachusetts as well as the Photographic Society of America. Her work focuses on showing birds and other animals in their natural habitat or in various life activities, as well as natural landscapes that tell the story of our environment and its beauty.

Her work can be found on-line at www.facebook.com/SusanNewlinNaturePhoto