Study Group 2

Bogdan Bricelj, GMPSA, EFIAP/p

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Title:    Black-winged Stilt Flying

Goal:   Capturing flying birds. 
Equipment/Source:  Panasonic FZ-50, ISO100, 420mm, F7,1, 1/1000 s handheld.

Technique:   One summer photo. Birds Black-winged Stilt live in Slovenian Natural park Secovlje. Birds are very nice to see from a distance. But when you come near, they are attacking flying toward people and chatter. They fly fast and it’s not easy to capture them. This is one of rare successful photos. I like it, because the bird has opened beak due to chattering.

Processing:   crop, contrast improvement with levels and curves in Photoshop Elements, noise removal and sharpening with Nik. 

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

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Title:    Fly on Thistle
Goal:   Capturing insects in interesting enviroment.   

Equipment/Source:  Panasonic FZ-50 with macro adapter, ISO100, 300mm, F5, 1/640 s handheld.  

Technique: Flies are commonly not very popular by people and also not at juries. But when you look at them from a short distance, they are quite interesting with red eyes and antenna on its head. This I have captured on a thistle, which is an interesting enviroment for insects.  

Processing:    crop, contrast improvement with levels and curves in Photoshop Elements. 

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

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

Review by commentator Dan C.

While this is not really much more that a “Here I Am” shot, in some cases that does provide a valid nature story, though not always strong.  This usually happens with an uncommon subject but also happens with small subjects suddenly made large so it shows detail we do not normally see even if the subject itself is common.  This is one such image.

Pictorially the image is well composed and its background works well.

Technically I feel you can reduce the brightness of the silk in the thistle to provide more texture and to reduce that bright areas competition with the fly itself.

N2, T2, P3, E0, Total 7

Review by Larry T.
The nature category requirements state that the image must contain a story line and that animal behavior must be more than just showing ordinary behavior. In my opinion this image does not develop a strong story line.

Your exposure seems to be accurate and the flower does not have any blown highlights. However for me the DOF is the issue. Several of the legs and are not sharp and the wings definitely contain blur. Generally this type of image requires a higher Fstop perhaps as high as F11 or 16 to keep the insect sharp.

The overall composition is pleasing with the fly positioned slightly off center. You have even created a slight diagonal to enhance interest. The background is a beautiful neutral with no distracting elements that results in a reasonable almost 3 dimensional look.
N-2, T-2, P-3, E-0, Total-7

Review by Georges D.
I love macrophotography and this photo is really nice.
Good lighting and soft background.
However, I know it is difficult to have most of the insect in focus, even with a F22 or F32 aperture. It would be more powerful if the insect body had a wider area in focus.
N-3, T-2, P-3, E-0, Total-8

Review by Robert D.
Nice capture of this fly with a monotonous greenish background. The focus is good on the head to the shoulders, but the rest is fuzzy. Depth of field is always a problem with macro images. This could be better with a smaller aperture and perhaps focus stacking if the fly would stay still. Never seen this !. A tripod is a necessity unless you are using flash. I get good results with a 100mm macro and ring flash. I use a small aperture and this allows hand held shots in any environment. I think the composition would be improved by cropping the image to exclude as much as you can of the blurred flower and position the fly more horizontally. N2 because of “here I am” shot.
N-1, T-2, P-1, E-0, Total-4

Review by Andy H.
Another good macro/insect shot. Keeping the camera focal plain parallel to the insect helps to the insect in focus. Sharp throughout just the wings that add some distracting blur to the image. Good DOF and tones. I might have toned down the background green a little but the rest of the tones are fine. Crop a little more of the OOF thistle at the bottom? Has impact not sure why flies get a bad press they are interesting close up.
N-2, T-2, P-3, E-0, Total-7

Review by Dennis H.
Good capture of fly on thistle. Nice colour and detail on head, body and front legs. Nice background. I feel image could be improved by darkening bottom righthand corner.
N-3, T-2, P-3, E-0, Total-8

Review by Natalie M.
Nice close up portrait with the thistle adding an interesting texture to the scene. There is good detail around the eye and hairs on the body, however I have found the most successful macro shots to have the leading edges in focus, in this case the closest wing and legs. Depending on how close you were to the subject this may have needed f10 or upwards, while still trying to maintain that good clean background, which has isolated the subject well.
N-2, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-6

Review by Suman B.
Capturing the common fly isn’t something which as a macro photographer I’m aspiring for. Initially when I started my macro journey I was looking to grab one but then looking at the options available found it rather inconvenient and non-challenging as it mostly stays put on the flowers. While other macro elements are constantly on the move and hence recording their behaviour in action is more challenging which you will discover I hope! Nature story wise I don’t find these fly to be in eating or other behavioural action. Rather it’s a here I am shot. Technically executed well with the colour noise kept at minimum with the 100 ISO setting and the eye reflections which is quite common among starters muted. With a handheld shot this steady is to be appreciated. Seeing the muted reflection on the fly’s eye indicates either it is a cloudy day or is shot within shadow which is good. Technically a perfect 3. However I find the blocked shadows in the lower part of the fly to be something you should take care. Since you didn’t share your exposure metering mode I conjure it must be of a matrix nature which is not the mode I would have opted for. I would advise you to either go for a centre weighted or Highlight-weighted metering mode which gives a better exposure for the fly.
N-2, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-6



Bogdan Bricelj was born in the year 1958 in town Jesenice, Slovenia. He graduated at Faculty of electrical engineering in Ljubljana. He was working for 9 years in steel factory as service engineer. Since the year 1990 He’s manager and co-owner of a computer company.

He was learning the art of photography and developing of black and white photos in the photo school in primary school. After that he passed over to slides. In 1973 his first slide was accepted on a state exhibition. More than thirty years he had an ordinary Praktica without any electronics on all his journeys. 

He bought his first digital camera in the year 2004. All these years he uses compact cameras with large zoom. In his opinion photographer is more important then the camera like driver is more important than the car. Although digital photography allows a lot of possibilities of photo modifying, his photos are as much as possible pure representation of the moments captured. He prefers to make photos of nature: animals, flowers and landscape. He also likes macro and underwater photography. His other preferred theme is sports, especially outdoor sports like skiing, ski jumping, kayak and swimming. Mostly he goes photographing together with his wife Danila. 

In the year 2005 he joined to the photographic club Fotografsko drustvo Jesenice. He’s sending his photos to many exhibitions worldwide. Until the end of the year 2018 he has got 226 awards. Until now he has made 29 exhibitions of his own. In the year 2018 he has got title EFIAP/p and in 2019 GMPSA as the first Slovenian photographer. 

He was the president of photographic club since 2009 to 2017. In these years the club was first or second most successful club in Slovenia.

His photographs were published in many Slovenian and foreign books, magazines and other publications. He has written also four articles for PSA Journal. He’s especially proud, that also National Geographic has published his photos.