Study Group 2

Les Lincke

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Title:   Flying Eagle

Goal:  To capture action photos of animals.

Source:   Nikon 810 with a Tamron 150-600 mm lens fully extended w/o tripod.

Technique:   Photo taken near my home in Ft. Myers, FL.

Processing:   Lightroom 5

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

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

Review by Lisa A., 12-13-2014
What you have captured of the eagle is sharp. You have good detail in the feathers. You have captured the talons well. However, I want to see more of the bird’s body. I see more sky and tree than eagle. Perhaps a wider shot would have given you that. In post processing I would also target the eagle’s eyes to make them pop just a bit. A curves adjustment might help.
N=2, T=2, P=2, E=0, Total=6
Review by Rick C., 12-8-2014
The basics for the image all look solid. The primary focus is good and depth of field looks fine for the subject and conditions. Your choice of shutter speed was solid for freezing the flying eagle. I’d like to know if you have more room in the original and why you chose this particular crop. While I appreciate leaving room in front of the eagle to allow it freedom to move, the strong crop on the right side eliminates much of the subject without, to my mind, improving the story. The issue to me, is that the image is about the flight of the eagle and so I want to see the entire eagle, as opposed to other images, such as Butch’s egret from November, where the story was about the capture and feeding behavior and so the extreme crop was appropriate. The slight clip on the raised wing may be an edge of the frame issue rather than a post capture cropping decision. I find that I am always better off if I use the center focus point and frame loose when trying to capture moving subjects. They are dead center on the initial capture, but the modern sensor density typically makes it a simple matter to crop post capture to something more pleasing. An additional benefit is that the central focusing point is almost always the most sensitive as far as tracking and speed of focus goes, so my percentage of sharp shots goes up as well. The trick is to keep that center point on the face when the subject is moving towards you and on the neck or an area of shoulder in about the same plane as the head when the subject moves across your field of view. Of course, use Tracking, Servo or whatever mode the camera has for follow focus on a moving target. As a minor point, watch the whites carefully. You are actually clipping on several points on the eagle’s head. In LR you will want to keep the brightest whites at 95% or lower. I recommend 93% or lower. In Elements or Photoshop it would equate to keeping the color values at 248,248,248 or lower (95.5% in LR) with 242,242,242 often safer (95.1% in LR). The detail in the dark feathers is excellent. Given the gray sky you had, you did a very commendable job on the overall exposure.
N=2, T=3, P=2, E=0, Total=7
Review by Butch S., 12-17-2014
This a cool eagle shot. Nice and sharp. That is a hard thing to do with a fully extended 600 mm lens hand-held and a moving subject. The one thing that I wish is that we could see more of the eagle. If we could see as much of the right wing as we can see of the left, this would be a fantastic shot.
N-3, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total=7

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Title:  Hippo Romance

Goal:  To capture interesting wildlife images.

Source:  This photo was taken in Serengeti NP, Tanzania. These were two Hippos together among a large herd.

Technique:  Nikon D7000 camera with 18-300 mm. lens at 300 mm. at 1/350, f 5.6.

Processing:  Lightroom 5

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

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

Review by Lisa A., 11-23-2014
This is a great nature story. You were fortunate to witness this frolic. The shot is well composed. The vignettes pull my eye to the center of your image. The water ripples at the top lead the eye around to the hippos. Technically the one thing I notice is the gums are a bit blown. A bit of post process dodging/burn would have reduced the brightness. I hope you share more of your adventure to Tanzania in future months.
N=3, T=2, P=3, E=0, Total=8
Review by Butch S.,11-22-2014
Nice image, good interest. Sharp. Good shot. The only thing that I think that you may want to consider is to back off a bit on the vignetting. Rick C's earlier comments, I believe, apply to dodge and burn vignetting. Rick C what about subtle vignetting that is used to simply to keep the eye on the image without making the observer conscious of the vignetting?
N=3, T=2, P=3, E=0, Total=8
Rick's reply: (12-8-2014)

Butch, you are on the right track. While use of a vignette is not against ND rules, it is very difficult to keep them subtle enough that they are not noticeable as such. In general, the better approach would be to use either the Burn Tool set for the tones you would be working on (e.g., highlights) and a low opacity to darken selected areas. In Lightroom you would do this with the Adjustment Brush using a negative exposure value. For LR, I recommend starting a little heavier (stronger) on an adjustment than you feel is needed so that you can more easily the affected area. Once you are happy there you can back off on the controls for the effect to scale it back to what you actually feel is appropriate. Remember to, that you can have multiple adjustment points for the Adjustment brush each with its own unique settings. You can therefore easily apply a stronger adjustment in one area and a similar, but weaker adjustment in a second area and control the strength of each independently. An alternative method of dodging or burning in in Photoshop or Elements is to add a layer filled with middle gray and then change the Blend Mode for the layer to Overlay. Next paint on the layer with white to lighten (dodge) an area of the image or black to darken (burn in) and area of the image. You control the effect with the opacity of the brush as you paint. I recommend starting with a low opacity and using multiple passes over an area to build up the effect slowly rather than trying to get it right on the first shot.
Review by Belinda K., 11-26-2014
They appear to be laughing which makes me laugh! It seems to have been a bright day, and you must have been quite a distance from them (I hope). It is a nice capture of their interaction, and the only improvement I recommend is darkening or shading the area inside the mouth. Doing that might reveal more of the very large, impressive teeth.
N=3, T=2, P=3, E=0, Total=8
Review by Rick C, 12-7-2014
Good focus and depth of field. The exposure also looks good with detail still holding in the paler skin inside their mouths. There is a very slight amount of motion blur likely due to the fact that you were only able to get 1/350 sec. These things are spontaneous and it is often hard to anticipate and preset the camera setting for them. In general, however, you will want a minimum of 1/500 and preferably 1/1000 for stopping fast action. The composition looks fine as you present it. You alone know how warm the lighting was at the time. My sense in looking at it is that there is a warm based color cast overall. In part it is based on the fact that the flesh on the indie of the mouth should be a pale pink, much closer to a white. If you have Photoshop try running Auto Color and see if the result look better to your eye. In Lightroom you would pull your temperature slider to a cooler light (higher number). You may need to adjust tint as well.

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