Study Group 2


Lisa Auerbach

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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


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SEPTEMBER 2014 ROUND
Title:  Pinkies

Goal:   Capture birds in their natural state.

Source:  High Island Rookery

Technique: Each spring through early summer High Island Rookery near Galveston, TX welcomes birds on their migration routes or those which lay and hatch eggs. These spoonbills were taken there. I used a Canon 70D on a tripod. Settings were manual mode; f/14; 1/160/ ISO 500. My lens is a Sigma 50-500 @ 500mm. I used partial metering.

Processing:  post processing in Adobe Bridge, then adding a curves layer in Photoshop CS6 and changing the default to a medium curve.

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

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

Review by Butch S., 9-8-2014
I really like the Roseate spoonbills. I like your background, which is unusual. I have a son in Houston and will be looking to visit this rookery. Nice shot.
N=3, T=2, P=3, E=0, Total=8
Review by Les L, 9-5-2014
Nice image. Close crop and Spoon Bills are sharp. Would improve image if both birds were facing camera.
N=2, T=3, P=2, E=0, Total=7
Review by Bogdan B., 9-20-2014
Your spoonbills are really cute. The eye is sharp. I miss some legs of the right one. Due to small aperture and big DOF the background is a little bit disturbing. But I know, you can't position the birds as you would like.
N=2, T=3, P=2, E=0, Total=7
Review by Tom B., 9-29-2014
Nice image. sharp and clear with good detail especially in the feathers. would like to see the face of the front one and also part of the leg is chopped off.
N=3, T=2, P=2, E=0, Total=7
Review by Rick C., 11-7-2014
The exposure and primary focus are both on the money. Getting two together and interacting is a plus. Being able to see both faces would strengthen the image further. The background clutter and branch in the foreground are extraneous elements that weaken the image, but outside of darkening them there isn’t much you can do about them post capture. It may have been useful to drop the aperture to f11 or even f8 to narrow the depth of field and lessen the sharpness of the surrounding elements. It may also be worthwhile to try for a different angle or framing on a second shot after you get this first one when you have a nice subject like this. I’m sure you did that and look forward to seeing more from your trip here.

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