Study Group 1

Bruce Finocchio

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Title:  African Lions Mating

Goal: To capture a dramatic lion mating during my recent trip to East Africa. I think the key is the female looking up and the interaction with the male. The early morning light also helps.

Source: Canon 7D body, with a 100 - 400 mm Canon F 4.5 to F 5.6 lens.

Technique: Shot from a Land rover at Ndutu, in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, with Tanzania.

Processing:    Adode Photoshop, and Bridge, with some touch ups with Nik Viveza software.

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Title:  Female grizzly with salmon

Goal:   To capture grizzly with salmon in her mouth

Source:  Canon 7D, 600 mm f4.0 lens, 1/400 at f4.0, at ISO 2500

Technique:  Very Dark along the River so used much higher ISO than normal, and f4.0 aperture to have enough shutter speed. This also helped blur a possible distracting background. Photographed this image from a boat floating down the river, used a tripod, and almost lost tripod and camera when boat driver steered boat into log. Big bang, and lens and tripod flew overhead before I grab it and got it back, otherwise, won't be able to photograph this image later.

Processing:  ACR and photoshop

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Review by Dan C., 1-26-2015
You are always coming up with strong nature shots and this one is no exception. The salmon meat hanging out of the bear's mouth helps strengthen the story you captured. The wet fur enhances the already strong story by showing it is a fresh catch. A bonus is the tip of the bear's tongue. The only very minor negative is not seeing more of the salmon the bear is tearing the flesh from but not enough of a problem to knock off a point for story. It might have gotten you the extra point for exceptional.

Not much you can do about the dark background but there are legitimate techniques to make the bear stand out better against that background. Enhancing the texture of the fur works and the job is completed with a bit of additional selective sharpening of the bear without any further sharpening of the background. Go light with that selective sharpening otherwise it will look over processed. Both techniques are allowed and both will improve the story and the pictorial quality at the same time.

This is a good example that even though the grizzly is technically a brown bear, not all grizzly's are brown. The keys to your correct identification are the claws, the eyes and the shape of the muzzle. Good job.
N-3, T-3, P-2, E-1, Total-9

I am a wildlife, nature, and scenic photographer. I now live in San Mateo, after spending most of my adult life in Millbrae. I previously worked full-time for Applied Biosystems and Life Technologies as a senior business analyst. I left this position a few years ago to concentrate on my true passion of nature photography. My Dad was a deer hunter and bought some property in Monterey County, so he could have a place of his own to go deer hunting. We have owned this property since 1946. I grew up spending my summers down there, following in my father's footsteps, hunting quail, dove, and black tailed deer--using a b-b gun, graduating up to a powerful hunting rifle. When I was eighteen I had to kill a black-tailed buck up close shooting him in the neck, since my first shot from afar had only wounded him. I saw death up close and personal, deciding from that moment on I didn't not want to be part of death, but to cherish life instead.

My friends and I do a lot of bird photography at my ranch in rural Monterey County, using photo blinds extensively; and recently we have built a few permanent ponds to attract wildlife.

I was a Minolta user, but switched to Canon in 2001. I used to shoot extensively with slide film; now I strictly use digital camera bodies, specifically the Canon 7D and 40D bodies, previously the Canon D1 Mark II and as backup the Canon 20D. I primarily use RAW capture, and process the images in Photoshop. I recently upgraded to CS5, and also have many external hard drives to store my raw files.

Check out Bruce's nature blog at and his website at