Study Group 2


Lisa Auerbach

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JANUARY 2015 ROUND
Title:  Muscovy

Goal:   Taken at Landa Park near New Braunfels TX. The duck was as curious about me as I was of it. It waddled near me. I got low to capture a face to face image.

Source:  Landa Park in New Braunfels, TX

Technique: Canon D70; Tamron 70-300mm lens;f/3.2;1/500;ISO 125; spot metering

Processing:  I used Adobe Bridge to soften highlights, increase shadows and clarity. Cropped in PS6

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

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

Review by Butch S., 1-12-2014
Interesting shot of a Muscovy. Nicely in focus. Color is realistic. Crop is easily seen as intentional to focus attention on the duck's head. There is distraction at the bottom caused by what is believed to be another duck. Might try a local burn to blend in better with the background. The duck's eye, at first glance, appears to have a portion which is "blown out" but enlargement shows that the eye is simply covered with a a white foamy substance. Just as nature would have it!
N-2, T-3, P-2, E=0, Total=7
Review by Les L., 1-15-2015
Tack sharp, well cropped image of Muscovy. Only improvement would be to darken out the white at the bottom of photo.
N-3, T-3, P-2, E-0, Total=8
Review by Tom B., 1-24-2015
Lisa, Good image and tack sharp. Good details in the face and feathers especially as seen when blown up. Only suggestion as the others have said is to darken out the background duck.
N=3, T=2, P=3, E=0, Total=8
Review by Bogdan B., 1-26-2015
Good face to face photo. I have nothing to add to the previous comments.
N=2, T=3, P=2, E=0, Total=7
Review by Rick C., 1-26-2015
Focus and exposure are right on the money.. The depth of field is well handled. The head turn is a plus as it provides the viewer with a clean view of the subject in profile. The two negatives are the foaming at the eye, which may be a health issue for this particular bird (I haven’t seen similar foaming in other Muscovy’s. I have seen it in tortoises as a cleansing reaction when they have grit in their eyes.), and the bright out of focus area in the background below the bill (which may be another bird’s head.). The bright OOF area is the bigger issue from a pictorial perspective. Excellent work on the basic capture and in getting down at the duck’s level to make it.

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


Review by Kathryn E., 1-30-2015
A face only a mother could love but a very interesting face. The image is sharp with good focus and exposure. I also agree only issue is that white spot could be darkened down a bit.
N-2, T-3, P-2, E-0, Total=7


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NOVEMBER 2014 ROUND
Title:  Nectar Found

Goal:  To capture bees in their natural environment.

Source:  Houston Arboretum

Technique:  Canon D70; Canon prime lens 50mm;f/3.2;1/500;ISO 125; spot metering

Processing:  Adobe Bridge and Photoshop- mainly for contrast and clarity.

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

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

Review by Butch S., 11-22-2014
We have two fire bush plants in our yard and the bees do love them. Your capture of this bee plant relationship is right on. Sharpness is good, without being to sharp. The background is pleasant without being too intrusive. I see there is some detail in the bee's left wing, maybe a bit of dash burn would be worth a try to subtly bring out the wing veins. A polarizing lens filter may help with light reflection on the right wing, sometimes it does and sometimes not depending on light direction. All in all a good shot!
N=3, T=2, P=2, E=0, Total=7
Review by Belinda K., 11-26-2014
Very colorful closeup. With exception of the stems on right, you got a good shot. Bees aren’t easy subjects, except those beginning to die which cling to blossoms. Sadly, they make it easier. Unobstructed backgrounds can be hard too. You move, they move and often into the thick of the blossoms. The stems to the right are a little distracting to me. Composing from a different angle might help. To me, the bee would be better placed near one of the thirds lines to the right, and then the flowers offer leading lines. You would need a lower angle, and the question is, how low can you go! and you might have picked up more unwanted foliage. Resolution is lost when I try to view the image larger, but maybe it’s due to the image being cropped for closeup. From the smaller image, it appears that your focus is spot on; additionally, I think your tech settings were on target.
N=2, T=3, P=2, E=0, Total=7

Review by Bogdan B., 12-13-2014
Bees are really hard to capture, because they are fast and often move between blossoms. That's also the reason, why it's not easy to make the photo sharp. At the time of sharpening it can move. The image is good exposed, but the eye of the bee is not sharp enough. It seems, that the spot of sharpening was on the flower.

I agree, that there's not enough interest on the right side of the picture. I would crop it into portrait mode, including just the left side of the photo.
N-3, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-7
Review by Rick C., 12-7-2014
The exposure is well handled. Primary focus looks good, though the abdomen of the bee seems a bit soft. That may just be do to the lack of detail in that area. The head and thorax both look good. The composition is reasonable. I do not find the surrounding vegetation to pull my eye from the subject. I do think an angle that showed off the bee’s face and / or a plant whose color was not so intense as to almost over power the subject would be ways to strengthen the image further. Keep at it. You are definitely on the right track for your stated goal.
N=3, P=2, T=2, E=0, Total=7


I bought my first DSLR Canon Rebel (with a kit lens 18-55mm) about 6 years ago with a self-imposed rule that I would not upgrade until I had learned something about photography.  I participated in many workshops, but it wasn't until I joined the Houston Camera Club that I started to really think about what I am shooting. 

I recently bought a Canon 60D and a Tamron 18-270 lens.  I enjoy nature photography yet try to learn as much as I can about the other competitive categories. 

I use PhotoShop CS6 to edit photos and consider myself an intermediate photographer.