Study Group 2

Maria Korab-Laskowska

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Upload Image and Description

Title:   Seagull

Goal:  To capture seagull in action

Equipment / Source:  Canon 7D , f6.3 1/2000 sec, ISO 400, f300mm, 2x,

Technique:  Photo taken from rocks where I was waiting for whales. Burst of few shots, hand held, tracking action

Processing:  Processed raw image : clarity, highlights

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

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

Review by Bruce F., 7-20-2015
The image has excellent exposure, clean without distractions, sharp, and peak flying action as the gull takes off. Reasonably good nature image, sound and well executed. However, nothing dramatic or extraordinary about it.

Two ways I think could improve the image, is getting lower, so you’re at the water level. I think by being on the rocks above the water, the gull visually isn’t flattering since you’re shooting down on it. Not the most exciting view, by getting lower you allowing the viewer to see what is it like for the gull, seeing the world through its eyes, or almost. Check out other images where the maker shot at the water or eye level, the images have more impact and excitement.
This is something that I am working at with my photography as well. I bought a ball or trip mount on a disk so I can slide my trip gimbal Wimberely head with the camera and lens on the ground, getting down to eye level for water birds.

A second situation is to wait for a better time, when the light is softer, later or early in the day, a lower sun angle. Maybe, use backlighting, to emphasize shape. Something to increase the drama, to separate it from the thousands of other gull images taken in a similar way at a similar time.

I do think that the frontal lighting shows the feather detail well. And I especially like that the front wing appears to be touching the water, makes the story a little bit different, a little stronger. I also like the way the water shows waves and even swell. Pictorially, you might crop a little off the top down to the edge of the dark blue swell, making the frame long and skinny, placing the emphasis on the horizontal flight movement of the bird.

Be a naturalist, identify the gull, what kind of gull is it? Teach me something.
N-2, T-3, P-2, E-0, Total-7
Review by Butch S., 7-21-2015
A nice sharp bird in flight image. Pleasant to the eye, but I do not see a strong nature story as the gull is not interacting with food, other gulls, etc. but rather is simply flying. I agree with Bruce the impact of the image would be improved by shooting at a lower angle. The rocks may not have made possible a lower angle, but if possible, a climb further down the rocks closer to the water level may have given you a position that would have been well rewarded.
N-2, T-2, P-3, E-0, Total=7
Review by Rick C., 7-23-2015
You captured a nice bit of action in this one. All of the technical aspects look well handled. Focus and DOF are both good as well. The issue I see is in the composition. For me, this is too centered with our Gull to close to the right edge (visually) given the strength of the motion toward the right. Even though it will eventually go up, I would be inclined to crop top and left to move the Gull to the upper left quadrant. This will preserve the reflection which, while not detailed, adds a balancing element. Both Bruce and Butch have noted the benefits of getting a lower vantage point. Try to avoid shooting down on a subject as much as possible, but never pass up a shot just because of a downward angle.
N-2, T-3, P-2 = 7 (It needs something to strengthen the nature story – but would be good as a pictorial. Cropping will strengthen it pictorially. It is a Herring Gull. Technically there are no “seagulls” only Gulls. It is a bad habit we all have just as calling a Bison a Buffalo.)
Review by Andy H., 7-24-2015
You achieved what you set out to do. Clean, sharp well captured image. There's not really a story here, for me. Technically all seems fine, a little movement in the tips of the wings but I like that. Could crop off some of the upper part of the image as the water adds little. The lower part contains the reflection. Would have liked to see more room on the right and less on the left.
N-2, T-3, P-2, E-0, Total=7
Review by Dawn C., 7-29-2015
Great capture of the bird taking off from the surface of the water. Nice action shot, but needs more story for that extra point. Beautiful detail and tone. Spot-on technical aspects. Recommend cropping so that there is more room in front of the bird for him to figuratively fly into, vice above and behind.
N-2, T-3, P-2, E-0, Total=7
Review by Bogdan B., 8-1-2015
I know, it's much harder to capture an eagle then a gull. But this photo is technically excelent. It's sharp and properly exposed. I like the blue sea and the yellow beak. Cropping up and left will make it better.
N-3, T-3, P-2, E-0, Total-8
Review by Les L., 8-4-2015
I think you have a nice picture here but it lacks action or a sense of purpose i.e.., the Gull has to be doing something. you did a nice job of exposure and focus.
N-2, T-2, P-3, E-0, total=7

Upload Image and Description

Title:  Komodo Dragon running

Goal:   Catch the dragon in motion with tongue sticking out

Equipment / Source:  Canon 7D with Canon lens 7-200 f4

Technique:  Waited low on the ground until the dragon was at the right position. It was hard to get non distracting background because of many photographers.

Processing:  some cropping and added tonal contrast.

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

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

Review by Dan C., 3-13-2015
Your waiting paid off and created a nice image. It could be a bit sharper. Unfortunately those same photographers who caused you problems with the background also knocked this image out of the nature category because of the multiple shoe sole treads all over the ground. These human elements are a knockout punch. The exposed tongue and the leg in the air provide good nature story but not enough to overcome the human elements. Without the foot prints, this would have scored 3 in the nature field.

Pictorially your image has good composition. Your tonal contrast helped but did not go far enough. If you have NIK Viveza 2, use the shadow adjustment slider to open up the shadow side of the dragon. Make fine adjustments with the structure and contrast sliders. The structure slider will bring out the details of the scales better and add the slight additional sharpness you need. You can also use the Shadow/Highlight tool in Photoshop to accomplish the same with the exception of the sharpening.

N-1, T-2, P-3, E-0, Total=6

Review by Patty E., 3-21-2015
Interesting subject, good that you got the tongue out. The shadows are a bit bothersome to me. Perhaps some lightening and clarity would improve the image.
N-2, T-2, P-3, E-0, Total=7

Review by Jerry S., 3-25-2015
The concept for the image is good but the footprints previously mentioned eliminate it from the nature category.

The left rear and right front foot are blurred. The focus on the face is good and the DOF is adequate to achieve sharpness from head to tail. Since the blurred portions are those parts in motion and appear to be within the DOF, it suggests the shutter speed was inadequate to freeze the motion. A shadows/highlights adjustment in Photoshop to reduce the shadows enhances the impact of the skin texture.

The tongue and movement give the image excitement. A very low camera angle, perhaps at eye level, might produce a very dramatic perspective and would greatly reduce the distraction of the footprints.
N-1, T-2, P-3, E-0, Total=6


My photographic interests started in Maryland, 2002, when I joined the National Institute of Health Camera Club. After moving back to Montreal in 2004, I joined Lakeshore Camera Club.

I am using a Canon 7D camera and the following Canon lenses: 24-100L IS f4, 70-200 L IS f 4, macro 100 L2.8, 17-35L f2.8, 300L IS f2.8, extenders 1.4 and 2.0. My post processing workflow includes Bridge or Lightroom, Photoshop CS5 and NIK and Photomatix software.

I came into photography with a love for nature and a passion for the outdoors. My photographic interests started in 2002, and since then I photographed many subjects, ranging from environment and architecture to animals and sports. In 2009 I graduated from a Commercial Photography Program at Dawson College in Montreal. I organize photo tours and workshops and enjoy sharing my regional knowledge and passion for photography.