Study Group 2


Susan Newlin (C)

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JUNE 2021 ROUND

Title:      Cormorant Love
 
Goal:     I wanted to capture interactions between mating Brandt's Cormorants on the cliffs of La Jolla Cove, CA. 
 
Equipment/Source:    Canon R5 with 100-500 mm tele-zoom at 145 mm, f4.5 for shallow depth of field, ISO 400, and polarizing filter. Hand-held.

Technique:     Hanging over a concrete barrier at top of cliff allowed me to look right to left at the Cormorant colony. (I can't believe I really did that! It's a several hundred foot drop to the ocean!) The colony was nesting, some in the stages of building (as was this pair) and some had already laid eggs. This female was sitting on and defending the nest and her mate continued to fly in with pieces of seaweed. I tried to capture him landing with the seaweed, but he typically landed from behind the outcropping the nest was sitting on. But right after one landing the female reached out to greet him with this rather loveable gesture. Click away! it happened so fast and then he was off again.

Processing:     Processed with Topaz AI DeNoise to reduce noise (which is minimal with my new R5), then in Camera Raw to adjust exposure, shadows and highlights. NIK Detail Extractor at low %.  

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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MAY 2021 ROUND
Title:    Greater Roadrunner with Food
 
Goal:   Capture Roadrunner in the act of attending to chick. This Roadrunner had come by several times before we heard the chick calling from the bushes, and the adult run to catch food to present ... the bushes were at the other end of this log, so I felt lucky to have captured it as it was fairly close and moving quickly. I love the comical nature of Roadrunners, and this one was acting in earnest in spite of it's otherwise clownish behavior for the morning.

Equipment/Source:    Canon 7D MarkII, EF100-400mm lens at 100mm, f4.6, center weighted exposure and bracketing +/- 1 stop; used recommended exposure which set shutter speed at 1250. Tripod mount. In a depressed blind.

Technique:   In the blind most of the day capturing what wildlife came by in this southern Texas photo site. This shot was early morning with diffuse light.

Processing:    Topaz DeNoise, Minor sharpening. CR to adjust (lower) exposure on background and heighten on Roadrunner's face.

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.
Very nice nature image, Susan. Any time you have an image of a critter with food, then you have a strong nature image. Good work. N3

Technically a strong image. The subject is well exposed and in focus and the background is not a distraction. Well done. T3

The roadrunner at an angle makes for a more interesting image. I would suggest flipping it horizontally so when you enter the image from the left, the first thing you see is the head instead of the tail, but that is my personal taste. P3

Exceptional image. E1

N3, T3, P3, E1 = 10


This Review is written by: Rich F

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
I, like you, love to photograph birds. The roadrunner is always a great bird to photograph. Carrying food to its young is great nature story. But wonder, and this is my ignorance, are the worms/bugs the roadrunner is carrying, a natural food source for it? perhaps someone wiser than I am, could comment on providing food to attract animals.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Exposure and color are well done. DOF work okay in this image and the subject is "flat" in the frame to allow the enti re bird to be sharp. The distance to the background is a bit short, so even with f4.6 there is noticeable structure in the background trees. Not your fault and in nature we can not fit this. Perhaps if the background trees were a bit darker and the yellow area toned down, it would make it less noticeable.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The diagonal lines reinforce the motion of the bird walking down the log. I assume this is the way you shot the image. I flipped the image left/right and IMO it is much strong that way. When I look at your image, my eye sees the tail first and then wonders down the body to the head. Flipped I first see the eye and then the rest of the bird. Plus the log looks much steeper.

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: Diana R.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Nice nature story with the Roadrunner bringing food to its nestlings. Seeing the youngsters would be icing on the cake.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The image is sharp with great depth of field allowing the background to blur. Love color palette. Good shutter speed to stop the action.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Lovely image. Great placement in the frame. The only thing that would make it even better would be a slightly better head angle (turned slightly toward the viewer). Wonderful image

NATURE SCORE 3-Nature story strong

TECHNICAL SCORE color balance and sharpness

PICTORIAL SCORE 3-Excellent composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 9


This Review is written by: Pinaki S.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
The goal is achieved. I love the image.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The photo is sharp. However I exposure is a little bit on the higher end.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
beautiful image. Beautiful bokeh. What was the focus point/points..single or group ...this is hard to take photo. Congrats

NATURE SCORE 3-Nature story strong

TECHNICAL SCORE 2-Average exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 2-Ave rage composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 7


This Review is written by: Eldon E.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Good image of the Roadrunner carrying food to the nest in a natural setting.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The image is sharp with good contrast. It looks like you made the right choices in post processing because colors and detail look natural. The crop is good with the end of the tail in the upper left corner and the eye near the thirds line. Also, the bird and limb form a diagonal line from upper left to lower right.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
An arresting image with the sharp detail of the eye and food in the bird’s beak. The leg coming up gives the sense of motion and the bird moving toward the nest.

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


This Review is written by: Dennis H

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Good nature image showing Roadrunner with prey in a natural setting.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Bird has good colour and feather detail around head and neck. Eye clear.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The image has impact but I believe could be improved by rotating the image, and cropping the lower section removing part of branch and dark area. Also dodge the remaining dark section.

NATURE SCORE 3-Nature story strong

TECHNICAL SCO RE 2-Average exposure

PICTORIAL SCORE 2-Average composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE 7


This Review is written by: Bruce F

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Strong nature story with the grubs in the beak of the roadrunner. I also like that one of the feet is lifted off of the branch. This adds a sense of movement like the roadrunner is taking the grubs somewhere, and this visually ties in with the written story.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Tight framing but enough greenery and a barkless log to show some sense of habitat. I might overall add in post-processing a little contrast to the scene for the lighting is a bit flat. Since you were in a blind and the log perch was staged, I would have positioned the log further away. At 100 mm, the background isn’t as blurred as I would have liked. Being further away, you could have then used a zoom of 300 mm to 400 mm, and therefore blurring the background a bit more, creating a stronger more isolated subject and a greater artistic image. Sharpness is acceptable, just barely. The original Canon 100 – 400 mm f4.5-5.6 lens quality is lacking, and this is a well-known fact. If you are serious enough to travel to Texas and pay money to shoot at these blinds, I would consider upgrading your lens. The newer Canon 100 – 400 mm f4.5-5.6 lens II produces superior quality files as compared to the original version of this lens.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The diagonal flow of the log perch and the roadrunner itself help add strength, tension, and excitement to the image. The roadrunner’s eye is also looking down. Wondering if ther e was more room in front, so you could see what the roadrunner is looking at might add an extra element to the nature story. The current tight framing is strong pictorially but has my mind wondering where the roadrunner is going.

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: Dave F.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Nice nature story and with the food in the beak just makes the difference.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
image is sharp and well exposed - color of the roadrunner is good and soft background

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I wish that the image was not so tightly cropped and given more room both on the left and right.

NATURE SCORE 3-Nature story strong

TECHNICAL SCORE 3-Excellent exposure

PICTORIAL SCOR E 3-Excellent composition and impact

TOTAL SCORE: 9

 

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