Study Group 2

Bogdan Bricelj, MPSA, EFIAP/g

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Title: Hair-like clouds  

Goal:     Capturing unusual clouds

Equipment/Source:    Panasonic FZ-50, 70mm on built in lens, ISO 100, F3,2, 1/250s Shutter priority, handheld.

Technique:  One early morning during summer holidays in mountains I noticed very unusual clouds. They looked like hair.

Processing:   Crop, contrast correction with levels and curves in Photoshop Elements, noise reduction in Nindja-noise.  

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

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

Review by Commentator Dan C.

A nice shot.  The unusual clouds at sunrise give you an adequate but not strong story. 

Your silhouetted landform works well with the normal computer background but would fall apart under most projection situations.  I suggest opening up the shadows slightly to add in a bit of detail in that area.  That lets the image work with any background and adds a bit more to the nature story.

I admit I did do my normal check of flipping horizontal but decided it did not improve the image enough to recommend it.  It did help hold me in the image better but I felt it weakened the importance of the clouds.

N2, T2, P3, E0, Total 7

Review by Andy H.
I alway struggle with critiquing 'landscapes' as nature. its an interesting capture but what more can I say.
Technically I would have tried to recover some of the foreground, there is detail there and some recession. The composition is good with the foreground framing the sky.
N-2, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-6

Review by Suman B.
I alway struggle with critiquing 'landscapes' as nature. its an interesting capture but what more can I say.
Technically I would have tried to recover some of the foreground, there is detail there and some recession. The composition is good with the foreground framing the sky.
N-3, T-2, P-3, E-1, Total-9

Review by Dennis H.
Nice early morning cloud scene. I feel by lightening the foreground the image could be enhanced. It's an unusual cloud formation with interesting colours.
N-2, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-6

Review by Maria K-L
The clouds are interesting.
I would like to see more details in the clouds and in the mountains, especially for the nature photo.
Mountains siluette might work too but then the clouds should be much more pronounce in the frame.(less mountains etc)
The image looks to me a bit soft may this was effect of noise reduction.
N-2, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-6

Review by Bruce F.
I was not familiar with your camera, so I looked up. The reason I did is there is a lot of blocking up in the shadow detail. This camera body was made in 2006 and is only at 10.1 mb, and this explains the shadow detail blocking up. Newer digital models would have better dynamic range, and the shadows would be rendered much better. Also, I think I would have cropped down to the red clouds or just above them, creating even a more panoramic format. I think the dark rock formation on the left, especially on the top of the image adjoining the empty blue sky portion, is very heavy. There isn’t a counter balance to its heavy weight, so that’s why cropping it out would change the composition and improve it.
I might crop off the entire left side… at least look at it.
Also, tell us something about these clouds, and how they are formed, that the nature story and your title is visually descriptive, but lacks any nature information. It’s also a more of a pictorial image unless you add the nature and meteorological detail to the title.  
N-2, T-1, P-2, E-0, Total-5

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Storks in nest

Capturing a storks family in nest.

Panasonic FZ-50, 420mm on built in lens, ISO 100, F9, 1/640s Shutter priority, handheld.
A photo friend from a nearby town told me for a Stork family nesting in their town. I have gone there two times. This is one of the best photos.

Crop, contrast correction 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 Rick C.

The lighting was not your friend here. Your primary focus on the adult looks good to me. The DOF is falling off a bit and the back juvenile could use a little added sharpening. The main issue is the strong contrast and heavy shadowing on the near sides of the adult and one chick. I don’t think this is something that you can handle in post. Can you find an angle of view where you can get the light coming over your shoulder at some point in the day? Even better if it is early or late light as that will soften what shadows there are. This is definitely a situation worth more visits and some extra shooting.

N-3, T-2, P-2 = 7 (T-2 Can use a bit more sharpening on the back chick. P-2 The lighting angle is not working for you leaving key detail in the primary elements blocked up in shadow.)

Review by Les L.
I like the way the 3 storkes are all facing the viewer but would suggest that their faces be lightened some.along with their bodies.My personal preference would be to crop the bottom and both sides to make the subjects a greater part of the picture. 
N-2, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-6

Review by Mike P.
This had the potential for being an excellent shot. A couple of comments that might make it stronger in the future: First, the shadows on the back of the bird on the right appear too dark. I suggest adjusting the shadows overall to bring out more detail. Second, there appears to be a little bit of a head hidden on the left. It seems lost and a bit messy there. Maybe you could have gotten a different angle to avoid it in the future. And third, while it's a nice portrait, it doesn't convey a strong nature story element to me. The birds seem to be just standing there with their beaks open. Wish there had been a more enticing element to elevate the story value.
N-1, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-5

Review by Butch S.
Nesting storks are always of interest in this part of the country. The nature value, from my point of view, is high.

Technically, the image could be enhanced by careful dodge and burning. The image was obviously captured in strong light. The shadows on the birds' neck, heads and bodies hides detail. 
N-3, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-7

Review by Dorothy P-R
I like the image of the birds in the nest. However, it's not a strong nature story as I see it. The picture seems to be a little dark. If they were eating or doing something, would have been a much stronger nature story.   
N-2, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-6

Review by Fran M.
How lovely to see the parent bird with two chicks. I am looking for the roof of the house they are on though, given that the stork is one of only two creatures where "the hand of man" is acceptable in the photography criteria.
N-2, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-6


Bogdan Bricelj, MPSA, EFIAP/g, was born in Jesenice in Slovenia. He graduated at Faculty of electrical engineering in Ljubljana. He was working for 9 years in steel factory Zelezarna Jesenice as service engineer. Since the year 1990 he’s manager and co-owner of computer company 3BM d.o.o. Jesenice.

He took his first photograph when he was five years old. When his parents were away from home, he used his mother’s camera to take a photograph of his younger brother which stood in the middle of the kitchen holding a knife in his hands. After developing of film, his mother wondered when she had taken that picture. He learnt the art of photography and developing of black and white photos in the photo school in the primary school. After that he passed over to diapositives. In 1973 his first diapositive was accepted on State exhibition in Nova Gorica.

More than thirty years he had on all his journeys an ordinary Praktica without any electronics. Gradually he bought a flash, macro rings, one broad-angled objective and two teleobjectives. Most of all he took pictures on trips and mountain tours. Primary he was attracted by small flowers and wild animals. The growing up of his daughter was also one of his favourites themes. When he was young he was experimenting a lot with taking snaps of »moon surface« until his lunar module exploded.

With introduction of digital cameras he started to occupy himself with photography more professional. He bought his first digital camera in the year 2004. He has realised that compact digital cameras have many advantages with respect to classic ones. He has found many new options which were not possible by using classic cameras: sharp photos with perfect depth sharpness, high magnification without objective changing, good macro photography, immediate photographs viewing, faster reviewing and sorting of snaps.

The previous knowledge of photography helps him a lot when testing new cameras and advising, recommending and instructing of their customers how to work with digital cameras. His presentations of digital cameras on Craft-fair in Jesenice and in Photographic clubs were accepted by interest. In the year 2005 he affiliated himself to photographic club Fotografsko drustvo Jesenice. At the end of the year 2008 he acquired the photo title Candidate for Master of Photography from Photographic Society of Slovenia. In the year 2010 he’s got the title PPSA and in the year 2011 he has got the title EPSA. The same year he’s got also the title EFIAP. In the year 2013 he received the title EFIAP/s, in the year 2015, his EFIAP/g and in the year 2017, MPSA. He had 17 exhibitions of his own. From 2009 to 2017 he’s been president of fotographic club Fotografsko drustvo Jesenice.

His photos

Since he has started to take pictures in digital technique, he does not use any other technique. All of his photos are taken with compact digital cameras, mostly with his HP-945 and Panasonic FZ-50. He knows cameras quite good and for that reason he always tries to get out of cameras as much as possible. The knowledge about camera efficiency enables him to get few unsuccessful shots. He expanded the efficiency of his camera by adding teleconverter, macro lenses and filters. Although digital photography allows a lot of possibilities of photo modifying, his photos are as much as possible pure representation of moments captured in the nature. Of course, some of the photos are a little bit beautified by contrast. He makes some cuttings somewhere, especially where he could not approach near by animals. Sometimes it is good to remove disturbing branchlet or reflections of camera¢s lenses from the shot. But it is very strange to him to modify background and various montages. That doesn’t seem to him a real photo.

He prefers making photos of nature: animals (macro, birds, wild animals), flowers and landscape. He captures also underwater photos. The other preferred theme is sports, especially outdoor sports. Compact cameras are there as good as SLRs. His most successful sport photographs are dog’s races and ski jumps.