Study Group 2

Butch Spielman

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Title:  Suffering the Wind 

Goal:   Was on a tidal flat on Galveston Texas, looking for Reddish Egrets. The wind had been blowing hard. And at the time of image capture the wind was still blowing. I had been watching this Tricolored Heron as he moved from spot to spot on the tidal flat. He seemed to be uncomfortable wherever he was. Then he went to the post to try that spot. He tried different positions and still could not find his comfort zone. He finally dropped down into a ditch and seemed to have found what he wanted. This is when I found out that both of my memory cards were full! I will bring extra cards the next time

Equipment / Source:  Canon 7D II and a 400 mm f/4 DOS

Technique:  I shot at f/4.5 and 1/1250 and ISO 320, monopod

Processing:  PS CC and Camera Raw, Color saturation, sharpening in PS CC.

Comments/Scores (N, T, P, E, Total)

   Critique Image (only members of Study Group Two may critique this image)

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Title:     On the Hunt

Goal:    I went to southeast Texas looking for the Reddish Egret. These are declared to be endangered species by the States of Texas and Florida. On the last day of a three day search we found just what I wanted, a Reddish Egret having a late breakfast and hunting his breakfast quarry. I got over 75 shots of this guy and that is not too many as the hunting antics of this bird are worth the price of admission. The Audubon Society states: "Often draws attention by its feeding behavior: running through shallows with long strides, staggering sideways, leaping in air, raising one or both wings, and abruptly stabbing at fish."

Equipment / Source:    Shot with a 7D Mark II Canon camera using a 400 mm f/4 DO IS II USM at f/4.5 1/2500 sec.,Iso 320

Technique:  Searched backwaters of Galveston Tex. Until we found what we wanted. I used a monopod with its butt end seated in the cup of a fishing belt. Hand held at the upper end of the monopod.

Processing:    Camera, PS CC. Saturation and exposure to obtain the best image for the scene captured

Comments/Scores (N, T, P, E, Total)

  Critique Image (only members of Study Group Two may critique this image)

Review by Bogdan B.
Nice to see shy egret so near and in full action. Extremely sharp and good exposed.
N-3, T-3, P-3, E-1, Total-10

Review by Dennis H.
I like this image as it captures bird's hunting technique.
Nice colour and detail on bird, eye nice and clear.
Well done.
N-3, T-3, P-3, E-0, Total-9

Review by Les L.
This is a great image
Technically I see a sharp focus, great color and good exposure. I like the way you framed the image putting the bird in the lower left portion and giving the bird room to move forward.
I think this picture has great interest and strong energy.
N-3, T-3, P-3, E-1, Total-10

Review by Andy H.
Lovely image. You captured the decisive moment! The story is there for all to see. Exposure for me is a little dark. Sharpness is good although I am seeing a slight halo around the head and beak. Good DOF. I like the composition and this image has impact. One small criticism, top RHS - tone down the yellow dot.
N-3, T-2, P-3, E-0, Total-8

Review by Lara K.
Beautiful picture with great detail. It would have been a better story if there was another bird or fish in the photo.
N-2, T-3, P-3, E-0, Total-8
Review by Bruce F.
Love the light on the feathers, it’s just great. Love diffused light. Think this is very, very good image—especially as regards to the bird. I would have preferred to see less of the green vegetation up on top of the image. It also has a distracting yellow spot in the vegetation. I would have preferred all water in the background, including the entire shadow in the water. This is the background that I would have tried for. One other aspect is that the water appears to be running downhill. Thus, I would re-crop and straight to include less green vegetation. Excellent nature story and decisive moment of capture.
N-3, T-3, P-2, E-0, Total-8
Review by Maria K-L
Wonderful shot of rare bird; great composition, light and technique. To me this photo has all elements of perfect nature photo because I could see details of the Reddish egret appearance and behavior.
N-3, T-3, P-3, E-1, Total-10
Review by commentator Dan C.

Excellent action with this image.  That provides very strong story value for this image.  The water ripples and the background grasses makes the image appear to be tilted clockwise. Rotating counter clockwise corrects this appearance.

I find both story and pictorial qualities enhanced with the image flipped horizontal.  I interact better with the reddish flipped.  I also find the outstretched wing acts as a stronger leading line to the body and head.

N3, T3, P2, E1, Total 9

I am recently retired (chemical engineer/attorney) and I needed something to fill the resultant hole. I have fished and hunted all of my life, but was looking for a “soft” way to enjoy the outdoors and nature. Old age does that to you. I became interested in photography about 4 years ago. My photographic interests are wide in scope but I am now beginning to focus on wildlife. The “nature” category is a challenge.

I am an opportunistic photographer and try to find subjects wherever I go. My main “studios” are the swamps, marshes, woods and bayous of Louisiana. My subjects are mainly birds, flowers, insects, gators, etc. There are some excellent photo opportunities in the spring at the rookeries located in Louisiana’s Acadian (Cajun) country. Great food too!!!

I lean heavily in the direction of shooting “hand-held.” However, I will use a tripod in low light. I shoot Canon (70D and 5D III). I have several lenses, but my go-to lenses are the 24-104 mm 4.0L, 100-400 mm 4.5-5.6L and 70-200 mm 4.0L. Also use converters and extenders. Shoot in RAW and process with Photoshop CC and Nik Software.

I am only now beginning to enter competitions, etc. I have found success and recently won a Best in Show ribbon. I want to learn more (a lot more) and see what others folks are doing.