Study Group One

Sharon Prislipsky

Upload Image and Description

  • Title:  Bison Wallow
  • GoalThe Lamar Valley of Yellowstone NP is home to a thriving herd of bison. They often appear to be slow moving, lethargic creatures, so visitors to the park sometimes do not realize that they can move at high speed and turn on a dime. I wanted to capture action, so I positioned myself within range of a herd and observed over the course of several days to capture this image. This is a typical grooming behavior designed to remove ticks from the hide.
  • Source: Canon D7; Canon 100-400mm lens.Focal length was 390 mm, ISO 800; f/ll; shutter speed 1/1000 sec.
  • Technique:  The camera was positioned on a beanbag mounted in the door of a truck.
  • Processing:  Lightroom: Lightened shadows, adjusted hue and saturation (yellow and green), Photoshop: added light on the wallowing bison; returned to Lightroom for cropping and noise reduction

Study Group Comments and Scores (N, T, P, E, Total)

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

Review by JonA, 10-13-13
You have captured the scene and action well - freezing the fur on the buffalo's leg as he wallows. I think you have overdone the lightening of the wallowing buffalo as it has over-lightened the dust cloud.
N-3, T-2, P-2, E-0 - Total - 7

Review by TomP, 10-18-13
Great perspective on an animal that, as you indicated, is often seen as lethargic. I recently shot a bison in South Dakota's Custer State Park, and he was so placid, I was able to approach him slightly on foot - stupid of me, I know. d;¬{D I think you overdid the dodging - that sounded funny - as it makes the quiet one seem too dark. Perhaps it would have been better to crop closer to them so that more was visible, or dodge the quiet one as well.
N=3 / T=2 / P=2 / E=0 / Total = 7

Review by ConstanceK, 11-18-13
Let me start by saying, I love Yellowstone and can't wait to go back someday. Photographing Bison is a challenge. This is a good image - better than if they are just sitting there as they often do. I applaud your patience waiting for the action. If you have the cropping room, I'd crop tighter. There is too much space/grass on the right side. In fact, if you have the room I'd crop much tighter all around. Adding light to the wallowing bison works but I'™d like to see some light on the other bison's face too… as he is part of the story/image and remove some of the brightness on the grass below the wallowing bison. Highlighting the grass does not help the image. Fun shot. Thanks for sharing.
N=2, T=2, P=2, E=0, Total = 6

Review by Dan C., 12-1-13
The action and the story is excellent. Your lightening of the wallowing bison did not work and draws attention to itself as an added element. While the technique helped you tell the story you intended to tell, the way it was handled essentially removes it from contention in a competition. The technique of selective lightening and darkening is allowed by the PSA nature definition but any such adjustment must appear natural. While not written in the definition, it is not sufficient for it to appear natural to you, it must appear natural to the viewer.

Surprisingly with this image, your technique does appear more natural with some judicious cropping. Try taking some off the right and the bottom so the tip of the wallowing bison is at the lower right 1/3 point. Also add some sharpening to the image after cropping and resizing. The cropping also focuses the viewer better on the wallowing bison.
N=3, T=1, P=2, E=0, Total = 6


Although I have always been interested in art and photography, I have been actively working to become a capable photographer for about five years. That is when I got my first DSLR camera and began to develop a passion for it. I do not think of this as a hobby, but rather as a serious art form. I live in Arkansas, which is known as "The Natural State" so I have a lot of opportunity nearby. I also travel quite a bit throughout the U.S., mostly to natural areas where wildlife is abundant. I like to photograph flora, insects, animals of all types, and scenics. I am president of our community camera club and belong to two others in the area. My current goal is to capture better images of birds in flight, butterflies and other insects.