Study Group 2

Tom Brott

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Title:  Cormorant with catfish

Goal:  To capture nature in action at the Venice (FL) Rookery

Source:   Canon 7D MarkII, f5.6, 1/2000sec, ISO200, 100-400 lens at 400mm, WB=Cloudy, Hand held

Technique:  It was a very cloudy / overcast afternoon and I was trying to capture some action images. It was a constant battle of the cormorant trying to swallow the catfish. The battle lasted about 20 minutes with the cormorant giving up and releasing the catfish. This is one of the better images of that battle. It was nice to find a catfish that was not all black with no detail.

Photoshop Raw, Lightened and cropped.

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

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

Review by Butch S., 1-12-2015
Great shot! good "action." All looks good to me. You are right, the speckled catfish adds to the interest. The Cormorant's eye is well captured. Nice. I did not give a 1 for Score E because I think that such is reserved for shots of unusual animal behavior and, though not common, Cormorants can be seen in the consumption of fish. Rick, what is the common standard? Tom, how do you like the 7D II? Was the 100-400 the new SI II?
N-3, T-3, P-3, E-0, Total=9
Review by Lisa A., 1-14-2015
What a great action/nature story. You have captured both bird and fish quite well. I like the main subject but also like the water drops that appear. It is well composed with the blue eye at a power point and the shadow on the water curving around, leading the eye. The only thing I’d like to see is a bit more detail in the neck feathers of the cormorant. Perhaps a slight curves adjustment would give that.
N-3, T-3, P-3, E-0, Total=9
Review by Les L., 1-15-2015
This image meets all my criteria of an excellent nature photo i.e. good light, good compositional arrangement and exceptional subject matter.
N-3, T-3, P-3, E-1, Total=10

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Title:  Bobcat in tree

Goal:  Capture an image of the bobcat in a tree

Source:  Canon 6D, 400mm, f 5.6, ISO 400, + 2 steps, WB = shade, Handheld

Technique:  I was exploring Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary looking for photo ops and came across this bobcat in a tree.

Processing:  Adjusted in Photoshop Raw, Cropped and sharpened

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
The bobcat’s eyes are great. The fur is crisp and clear. His face has great detail. However the image is processed a bit too much. A softer touch would have given you better background. This is a great nature story.
N-3, T-1, P-3, E-0, Total-7
Review by Bogdan B., 12-13-2014
Tom, you have got an interesting meeting. I like the cat's relaxation with the legs in the air. Exposition is good and the cat's eyes are sharp. You could just dodge it's face a little bit.
There are some disturbing branches on the photo: one thick behind the cat's head, the left one, which is out of focus and some thin behind the head.
N-3, T-3, P-2, E-0, Total-8
Review by Butch S., 12-17-2014
Interesting image. Bobcats are a skittish sort, so to see one is not common. The cat is nice and clear. The green branch on the left and foreground detracts from the focus on the cat. A crop may have helped, but would give you an odd image size and put the cat's ear on the image edge. I like the textures of the cat fur and tree bark, adds interest to the image.
N=3, T=2, P=2, E=0, Total=7
Review by Rick C., 12-17-2014
You have captured a rare moment here. Seeing Bobcats in the wild is a treat. Being able to get a good shot of one is very special. The technical aspects of the shot (exposure, focus and depth of field) look good to me for the equipment you were using. This is probably one of those places where we would all be wishing we had a 400 F2.8 to control the environment even better where it tends to be on the cluttered side. The two points of distraction are the branch in back of its head and the darker broken piece sticking in from the top right. For nature, you can’t do anything about them that would be effective. In this case darkening them would not help all that much (in my opinion) and using negative Clarity is contrary to ND rules (as it is like using a blur to obscure something). For the conditions and lens that you had you did quite well. If you will use the image in a PID competition, then consider cloning out the broken off branch hanging down from the top right. The rest of the clutter isn’t worth trying to fix.

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

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.