Study Group Two


Kathryn Engle


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JULY 2014 ROUND
Title:  Brown-headed Gull
Goal:   To capture gull in flight
Source:  Nikon D700 w/300mm lens (28-300).
Technique:  As gulls flew by, just pan, focus and click and continue until catch one in focus.
Processing:  Some LR cropping and sharpening.

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
This is a stunning close-up. It’s a beautiful gull with wonderful details captured. If hand-held, it is impressive that you were able to capture such focus of head and feet. The only thing that slightly bothers me is what is in the foreground to right. I assume that it is another bird in flight but I feel like it would be better pushed farther out of focus to blend into the background. To me, it is only a slight distraction from the overall impressive image.
N=3, T=2, P=3, E=0, Total=8
Review by Tom B., 8-7-2014
I like the color, clarity and sharpness of this bird. I agree with Belinda that the lower right is a bit distracting. The only suggestion I would have is that perhaps a faster shutter speed could have been used to stop the wing action. Both wing tips are not as sharp as the rest of the image.
N=3, T=2, P=3, E=0, Total=8
Review by Butch S., 8-11-2014
I really like the nature story that this image tells. We all have seen millions of gulls in our lifetimes, and there has been little connection between them and us.Your image demands that the viewer look at the head and eyes of the gull. And, there lies the opportunity to connect. I wonder what is going on in that gull’s head, what is the gull seeing, does the gull think only about its next mouth of food, etc. I never would have thought of asking those questions without the opportunity to stop the gull long enough to make an acquaintance with it.Technically all is Ok with me. The softness of the ends of the wings does not distract from the image as far as I am concerned. In fact, the softness connotes that the gull is moving relative to its surroundings. And that is exactly what was happening.The composition suffers just a small bit from something you probably couldn’t control, i.e. the presence of many other gulls. So it looks as though the background has gull parts in the lower corners. These are a bit distracting. This being a Nature image, you can’t just wipe these away. However, these gull parts are not so disturbing so as to diminish the other qualities of your image, just wish they weren’t there.
N=3, T=3, P=3, E=0, Total=9
Review by Bogdan B., 8-21-2014
You succeed to get sharp image of the bird in flight. It's good exposed. Distractive parts I would decrease with tighter cropping. The bright part lower right I would selective darken a little bit. Although unsharp background, it's a little distractive crossing of upper wing with horizon (mountains).
N=3, T=3, P=2, E=0, Total=8
Review by Les L., 9-5-2014
Great job. I wonder how many images you took to capture this gull? what was your ISO and did you use auto focus? Excellent aperture setting to put the gull in such sharp focus and the background out of focus. Congratulations! If only the gull had a fish in its beak, I would have to rate it a point as 'exceptional'.
N-3, T=3, P=3, E=0, Total=9

Review by Rick C., 8-20-2014
You have me fascinated. Where were you when you photographed this? Brown-headed Gulls are native to Asia and I am not aware of any resident US populations. Even one blown off course enough to be out on the west coast should be creating a stir among the birders. Now to the details of the image. I like the sharpness and wing position in theis flight shot. I do not mind the slight upward angle, we are conditioned to expect to look up at flying birds. The background is a little noticeable, but does not take away from the image in my opinion. The extraneous wings and parts of the other birds are, on the other hand, somewhat more of a visual annoyance, particularly where the light hits a white portion. It looks like you have tried to tone things down a bit and that is all you can do under the nature rules. If you will use this in a general, PID competition, you can clone those odd parts out. The exposure looks good for the most part, though there seems to be some slight clipping right at the shoulder. You would need to check the original file to see if there is detail in that section. If there is, you can burn it in or darken in the Camera Raw by pulling back on the Highlights slider. If there is no detail there, I would not darken the area. It isn’t that big a flaw and having a darker area with no detail will pull a viewer’s eye faster than a bright area with no detail. The “expect” it when it is bright. They are puzzled by it and come back to it when it is a more normal tone. An excellent flight shot and solid capture.

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


I got involved with photography about 5 years ago and purchased a Nikon D200. I started with a few online courses on basic photography. Then one of the instructors on an online class offered us a photography workshop and tour for half price and about half of us decided to take him up on it and met in Tampa, FL. That was just the start.

I come from a computer background having had been a developer in Geographic Information Systems in Idaho and Alaska. I am now retired so have more time to learn about photography and photographic processing. I want to be able to take my photography to the next level and thought PSA would be a great way to help me on that path. I am a member of both the Boise Camera Club and the Camera Club of Eagle. The Boise Camera Club is associated with PSA so that is how I originally heard of the organization.

I love many areas of photography: nature, landscape, cultural, and travel.

I love travelling and I love photography and I am now am trying to incorporate these two favorite past times as much as possible.

Now I have a Nikon D700 and am looking into upgrading that as well. My main lenses at this point are my Nikon 24-120mm, 12-28mm, 28-300mm, 80-400mm, thus I have a fairly wide range.