Study Group Two

Tom Brott

Title:  Katmai Bear
Goal:  My goal was to photograph the bears of Katmai National Park at Brooks Falls.
Source:   Canon 6E, f6.3, 1/500 sec, ISO 800, 100-400mm lens at 400mm, WB - sunny, handheld.
Technique:  I was photographing the bears catching salmon when this bear walked out of the river to the far bank in the shade to eat his catch. I switched my ISO from 100 to 800 to compensate for the shade.
PS6 from raw to jpg. Some cropping and lightened shadows slightly.

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
Bears terrify me. Fortunately people like you willingly take their pictures for me! This is a nice catch and I’m sure the bear thought so. For it to be taken hand-held, and in spite of lighting issues, you captured the bear’s natural behavior and many details through the tearing action: teeth, interior of the mouth, and the claws. You corrected lighting/shade which helped expose details, but to me it seems almost too bright with hot areas on the fish and some unnatural greens. I would try to find a happy balance with the tones and dial back the brightness slightly. Slight sharpening might give more definition to the wet fur from mid-back through the hip. Nice nature-in-action.
N=3, T=2, P=2, E=0, Total=7
Review by Butch S., 8-11-2014
I like the nature story, seeing a brown bear eating salmon in the water is well published, but seeing a bear eating salmon away from the river, especially in a lush tangle of greenery is eye catching. The technical aspect is good. Colors are appropriate. Sharpness is dead on. The depth of field really rewards the viewer with an interesting back drop of greenery. I like the sharpness of this background, other images may take a blurred background, but this one is the better for its sharp background. The pictorial quality is a subjective call. Personally I want to see the face and eyes of the animal/bird I am shooting. It sometimes comes easy with the critter being cooperative, other times the critter is just one hard headed, no good …. The latter happens a lot. I wish your bear were facing the camera so we could get a total feeling or the bear. With the bear facing away, my eye was not drawn to a scene that was complete, rather I see the red of the salmon and have to deduce what is going on. Again, if the bear does not cooperate, you can only get what you can get.

N=3, T=3, P=1, E=0, Total=7

Review by Rick C., 8-20-2014
I find this to be a story nature image with a very solid nature story. All of the technical aspects look to be well handled. I like the fact that you bumped the iso to deal with the shade. Maintaining the shutter speed here was critical. Color and tone look good, so you have adjusted for the white balance well. I’m not sure how much you pulled back on the whites or highlights sliders when converting the raw file, but it may be worth seeing if some additional pull back can bring even more detail into the side of the salmon. If you were all the way on the minus side, try using the History Brush set on a Blend Mode of Multiply and a very low opacity and try making one or two light passes over the lightest portions (a selection of the light tones may help to constraint the brush strokes). This is legal in nature and is viewed as just another way of burning something in. I suppose the one which item was that it was kind enough to turn around and eat the fish facing you, but that is a pretty minor nit in an excellent capture.

N-3, T-3, P-3 = 9

Review by Bogdan Bricelj, 8-21-2014
Interesting wildlife photo. For me the background with grass is too busy. The eye of the bear is hardly seen from the side and I'm not sure whether it's sharp enough.
N=3, T=2, P=2, E=0, Total=7

My name is Tom Brott and I live in Cape Coral, Florida.  I started taking pictures back in the late 1960’s and have been shooting ever since.  I started to get serious about seven years ago when I fell in love with digital imaging.  Since then I have taken several courses and joined Fort Myers Camera Club, Florida Council of Camera Clubs and PSA.  I feel my photography has improved  with my club affiliations and am seeking to improve even further.

I currently shoot with a Canon 6D and have a wide variety of lenses to accompany the camera.  I shoot in RAW  format, feel comfortable using  the manual mode and primarily use Photoshop from CS6 to edit when needed. I am looking to enhance my Nature Photography as I have many great opportunities living in Southwest Florida and being  so close to the Everglades National Park  and Big Cypress Preserve.