Study Group 2

Maria Korab-Laskowska

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Upload Image and Description

Title:    red trillium portrait

Goal:    to get face of the flower from low angle with not distracting forest background

Equipment / Source:   canon 7D 100 2.8 macro lens

Technique:   laying on the ground and using tripod

Processing:   minimal raw processing:crop, sharpen

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

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

Review by Jerry S.
You captured a very good nature portrait of the red trillium. Focus is excellent and captures great detail in the flower. The red portion of the flower does not appear as intense or saturated as other images I've seen. (They are not native plants for me so I have no direct observation for comparison.) I like the composition and location of the flower within the frame. The only shortfall I see is the color of the background is too close to the color of the leaves. You may wish to desaturate the background to provide greater contrast.
N-3, T-3, P-2, E-0, Total-8
Review by Santford O.
i love the color and the resolution of the flower's reproductive organs is excellent. I believe that a little more is needed in the background information, otherwise you have selected a beautiful specimen.
N-2, T-3, P-3, E-1, Total-9
Review by Maria K
This image is well focused. For me, I like a blurred background which is not so blurred that the context of the subject is in doubt. Technically, I think I would try a little cooler temperature. In my view this image is a little too warm. Finally, I would do some cropping so that the flower is more prominent. The loss of a portion of the leaves is worth experiencing to have a much larger flower. I would not worry so much about centering the flower, because, as you say, this is a portrait.
N-2, T-2, P-3, E-0, Total-7
Review by Azim R.
Nice flower, nice macro.
N-3, T-3, P-2, E-0, Total-8
Review by commentator Rick C.
The red - green color contrast in this image gives it a nice color punch. The exposure looks good for the even, muted lighting. The primary focus seems to be on the three green leaves behind the Trillium flower as the main green leaves seem sharper than the actual red flower petals. The Stamen and pistils also seem slightly soft as if the depth of field was falling of in that area. The composition is pleasing, however the circular out of focus highlights on the left side do pull at my eye... It's hard to say what was driving the focus back to the leaves rather than on the flower, however if there was even a slight breeze that could easily explain the shift in the time it takes to make an exposure. There is a slight greenish yellow cast in the colors, likely from the surrounding vegetation. Whether you choose to correct for it depends on whether you want technical accuracy on the colors or an accurate representation of the flower in its environment. The material on the left edge is somewhat distracting. You can try cropping in to eliminate it if you don't mind losing a portion of the larger leaves. In the field, we used to use a wooden dowel and a couple of jaw type clothes pins with a couple of feet of monofilament attaching them to one another. You wrap the monofilament around what you want out of the way and then clip the clothes pins to the dowel to keep it out of the way while you make your images. Nothing was ever damaged that way.

N2-, T-2, P-2 = 6 (N-2 a good botanical portrait, T-2 a slight softness in the primary flower Focus / DOF, P-2 Slight color cast, distracting elements on left edge)

Upload Image and Description

Title:   Running Skunk

Goal:    Catch skunk running along road before he is gone or turned back.

Equipment / Source:   Canon 7D, lens 300 2.8, 2x converter

Technique:  I spot skunk running along road when driving back home. Luckily I had on my 300 lens with 2x converter on the passenger seat, so I grabbed camera and shoot through the window. He was gone in seconds.

Processing:   Opened a bit shadows and slightly cropped.
I like blue tone of the shadow so did not corrected but maybe should.My focus was on his body rather than on the face so I sharpen head more than rest of the body.

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

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

Review by Les L.
A rare nature catch and as you explained, the tack sharp focus is on the skunk's belly. Nevertheless an interesting photo, sharp with the skunk's front paws in the air while running.
N-3, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-7
Review by Lara K.
Maria, this was a great spur of the moment catch. I like the detail in his paws and the contrast of his black fur agains the road. I have never seen a skunk so close and had no idea what their head looked like until I looked at this picture. I can't tell if he's running uphill or if the picture is slightly crooked?
N-2, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-6
Review by Andy H.
First rule 'always have a camera with you'. This is a classic one chance image and you got it, well done. Considering you took it through the window its remarkably sharp. I can see a little over sharping halo on the face.Exposure is on the animal so I don't mind the blue tint to the snow, others might. Composure, I would like a little more on the LHS. I know that this was a one chance shot but had there been a chance a shot taken more from the left would have looked better. Still better the shot you got than no shot at all!
N-2, T-2, P-3, E-0, total-7
Review by Dawn C.
So glad you had your camera at hand - perfect stop action. Amazing it is that sharp shooting through your car window! Color balance overall (not just the shadows) is a bit blue when viewed on my calibrated monitor.
N-3, T-2, P-3, E-0, Total-8

Review by commentator Rick C.
You definitely saw and seized an opportunity. The action, focus and DOF all are well handled for something that was almost a grab shot based on your description. You probably appreciate that the white of the snow influenced the meter and without compensating the capture is pushed to the dark side of neutral. To address that we need to drop in a Threshold adjustment layer to find the true White and black points of relevance to the image and then use a curve to set those to the proper tonal levels. This will not only correct any residual color cast but also add some nice snap to the image. I have included an adjusted image where this was done.
N-2, T-3, P-2 = 7 (N-2 nice action but behavior not strong enough to lift above strong portrait. P-2 we need to correct the exposure / tonality issue in post. Exposure would generally be a T issue, but given your description it is something that needs correction in post-processing hence the P.)
Review by Commentator Dan C.

Your image has good action that provides nice story value.  Having three feet off the surface helps strengthen that story.  I am glad the road looks like snow since that eliminates one potential problem if used in a competition or international.

Your image does have an overall cyan color-cast that is more objectionable than keeping a blue tint to the shadow.  Correcting for that color cast with Perfectly Clear provides more true colors and makes the road look more like snow.

I also did some cropping to reduce the areas that do not add to the story.

N2, T2, P2, E0, Total 6

Review by Bruce F. 3-26-2016
I like the frozen action of this running skunk specifically the legs or rather the paws, and especially the up turned one, where you can see the pads. The diagonal line of running up hill with the shadow below adds interest and drama. Nice that you left more room in front than behind—good composition.
I would like to see the face a bit more, so I might have used Viveza to light the back fur around the eye, so this area would be more of a visual focal point. I think the blue tone is for shaded snow does emphasize the coldness of the snow. However, as you suggest, I think I would like to have seen the snow white.
An animal that not readily seen especially in the snow, so a fortunate sighting. Overall, well done. It pays to have your camera and lens handy!
N-3, T-3, P-3, E-0, Total-9

Review by Bogdan B. 3-25-2016
You really had fortune to have camera at your hand. And you have done a good exposure, because it's difficult to capture black animal on the snow. I would also remove color cast.
N-3, T-2, P-3, E-0, Total-8


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.