Study Group Two


Butch Spielman


Title:  Nesting Egrets
Goal:   To capture nesting Egrets showing the chicks demands on the parents
Source:   Canon 5D, 100-400 mm, f/8, iso 2000, 1/1250 sec
Technique:  Find a dynamic nest and locate doe a position to stake out for the long haul. hand held.
Processing:  crop, sharpening, expoxure
Study Group Comments and Scores (N, T, P, E, Total)


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

Review by Belinda K., 8-6-2014
Beautiful family portrait! Your efforts and patience paid off, but how were the mosquitoes? I think this is a stunning capture, and impressively done hand-held. Wonderful details and I love all those gaping, begging mouths and not unlike ‘human chicks’ pestering parents for more. Except for seeming a tiny bit tight in the frame at top, I don’t see any improvements. Nice shot!
N=3, T=3, P=3, E=0, Total=9


Review by Tom B., 8-7-2014
Nice Image. I like the sharpness of all of the birds and the crispness of the eyes and mouths. I think that there are several areas on the chicks in the foreground that could use a little more contrast. It is always a hard trick to accomplish with the bright white that they present.
N=3, T=2, P=3, E=0, Total=8


Review by Bogdan B., 8-21-2014
Lovely image of the birds. I wonder, how you have got such position. Just crop is a little bit tight.
N-3, T=3, P=2, E=0, Total=8


Review by Rick C., 8-20-2014
The nature story here is quite nice. The obvious demanding chicks and the now somewhat bedraggled parent Cattle Egret showing the wear and tear of trying to keep up with three rapidly growing offspring can probably evoke a number of parallels in our own memories. Focus and depth of field look good. The exposure is reasonable for the conditions, but a simple application of auto Color will get the whites looking white and brighten the overall image. Placement of the subjects is fine in my opinion, but I think you reached in too close with the zoom at 400mm trying to maximize the size of the nest grouping. It has resulted in the feet of the parent and chicks being cut off. Even though they would not be fully visible, I would recommend always trying to leave enough room for the actual or perceived feet to be in the image. Clips like this are like “touch mergers” in portraiture. They may be intentional, but they are often interpreted by the viewer as mistakes. If you are going to crop in, make it sever enough that the viewer has no doubts that it was intentional. They may not agree with you choice, but they will know it was a decision and not a mistake.

N-3, T-2, P-3 = 8


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.