Study Group 2

Les Lincke

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Title:   Hartebeest With Calf

Goal:   To get an Acceptance in competition.

Equipment / Source:   Raw w/ Nikon 7000, 18-300 mm lens at 250 mm. ISO 400; F 5.6 at 1/350.

Technique:   Taken from a Range Rider on safari.

Processing:   Cropped, sharpened, saturated on PS.

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

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

Review by Butch S., 7-20-2015
A very good and interesting nature shot. Nice and sharp. Suggest that the calf be dodged a bit where in shadow. Would like to see the cow and calf more to right so that there is less wasted space on the right. Also, consider rule of thirds. To me, more space to the left is not so bad since the third animal is looking int that direction.
N-3, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total=8
Review by Bruce F., 7-20-2015
This has the potential to be a great image. The one thing really holding in back is the merger with the hartebeest on the left, perhaps a calf from last year. Why? It’s the merger; this merger ruins a great moment of the young suckling underneath the mother. The image would be so much cleaner visually without this third hartebeest. I am tempted to clone it out. It would not qualify for nature category. But still, it would be such a better image, pictorially! It’s nature photography after all, and for something like this it makes such a great difference.
As a photographer I would be whispering to this third hartebeest to move and get out of the way. If not possible, I still would have move myself to clear the merger, so at least the third hartebeest body parts would not touch the other two hartebeests—the mother and youngster.
The other problem that I have is with the post processing. The hide of the mother and third hartebeest’ face and body are clip and blown out--places where at least one channel is clipped. I would re-process the raw file, pulling back on the highlights, and reducing some of the saturation. Even with this low lighting, it’s just too hot, too strong, and needs to be dialed back. The lighting is too hot. The youngster feeding, even along its back has some fur texture. That’s what I want is the texture of the hide to show, if there is no fur texture, then, it’s too hot, and exposure and highlights in the raw file need to be reduced. A bit too warm, maybe, that’s because the blue channel might have been clipped. Look at the histogram in the raw file and get the highlights back, so the right edge is not clipped. You’ll have a much more pleasing image.

I dearly hope you have one without the third hartebeest, with the same suckling position of the calf. Maybe, it’s there in your series, and you haven’t seen it yet. If not, one without any mergers would be better, and correct processing would help even this image.
N-3, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total=7
Review by Rick C., 7-23-2015
The nursing behavior definitely adds to the nature story here. Primary focus and DOF look OK. The exposure is a touch hot as we are losing the detail in the calf’s butt. This is small enough that I don’t feel it to be critical. There is a definite warmth here. If you were shooting very early or late, then the color of the lighting is natural. Whether a judge would take the longer shadow into account and assume that is more of a toss up. The angle we have is unfortunate as the mother’s nose merges with the second adult’s butt and its leg is coming out of the calf. There is little you could about it when working from a vehicle on safari, but it will be a factor in scoring. I do agree that cropping some on the right side will strengthen the composition. Good execution for the conditions.
N-3, T-3, P-2 = 8 (We need the separation of the three animals to get closer to the potential.)
Review by Andy H., 7-24-2015
Good strong image with lots of story. Looks to have been taken in strong light. Image appears a little soft and movement in the horns. Colour balance doesn't feel right. DOF, I would have liked the one at the back to be sharp or separated from the pair at the front. Do you have a little more foreground you could add?
N-3, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total=7
Review by Dawn C., 7-29-2015
Fabulous nature story and I love how the Mom's eyes directly engage the viewer. The positioning of that third Hartebeest takes away from an otherwise excellent shot. Could you have moved a little to the left without disturbing the animals? That might have given some separation between that animal and the nursing pair. Consider cropping off some of the grass to the right. The harsh lighting added its own challenges-the blacks looked clipped on my monitor. I don't know if you can bring out any detail in the horns.
N-3, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-7

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Title:   Ol' Blue Eyes

Goal:  To take bird photos which will achieve an Acceptance in competition.

Equipment / Source:   Nikon with 150-600 mm lens at 600 mm; 1/400 sec.; f 6.3; ISO 2800.

Technique:   Hand held

Processing:  Cropped and sharpened.

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

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

Review by Andy H.m 6-13-2015
Thats some eye! Exposure good, nice colour, sharp, DOF - I would have liked to have seen the wing nearest us in focus. Could you have stepped up the f number and sacrificed the ISO or speed? Tripod?
Could you have given a little more space on the RHS. Acceptance level, not my call, I'm sure Rick will advise.
N-2, T-3, P-2, E-0, Total=7
Review by Butch S., 6-16-2015
Nice clean headshot. Shows off the birds beautiful eye and interesting bill. Nice Bokeh. I do wonder what are the white things at the end of the bill? Looks like feathers. I agree with Andy in that I would like to see the shoulder in focus but understand that could be difficult if the wings are outstretched as they are oftentimes with cormorants.
N-2, T-3, P-2, E-0, Total=7
Review by Dawn C., 6-20-2015
Nice portrait of a cormorant. The blurred right shoulder is a bit distracting, but you kept the entire head and long bill in nice focus. By the feathers on his bill he apparently was doing some preening. Capturing that action would increase the story value for nature competitions.
N-2, T-3, P-2, E-0, Total=7
Review by Bogdan B., 6-20-2015
Les, I'm sure, that you will rich your goal with acceptances. The photo is sharp, properly exposed and with blurred background. You have very calm hands to capture 600 mm handheld at 1/400 s. Yes, the feathers are on the beak.
N-3, T-3, P-2, E-0, Total-8
Review by Tom B., 6-25-2015
Good head shot. The upper 2/3 are really right on with clarity and detail. I also find the blurred wing distracting. The feathers on the end of the beak do not bother me as I find that most cormorants out of water appear to have those fine feather on the beak from preening.
N-3, T-3, P-2, E-0, Total=8
Review by Rick C., 6-26-2015
This is an excellent portrait of a Double Crested Cormorant with breeding color in the eye. All of the basic technical aspects look good. The pose is fine. The feathers stuck to the beak from preening add to the interest value. The main nit is that the near shoulder is a mild distraction where it is out of focus. It is still an excellent study.
N-2, T-3, P-3 = 8

I live in Ft. Myers, FL. and Blowing Rock, NC. I am a retired business executive who travels extensively and enjoys photography as one of my many hobbies. I also participate in the PSA Travel Study Group. I look forward to being involved in this nature group.