Study Group 2

Bogdan Bricelj, MPSA, EFIAP/g

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Title:   Life-threatening

Goal:  Geting a nature story in macro world

Equipment/Source:   Panasonic FZ-50, 420 mm on built in lens + macro-adapter +3, ISO 100, F8, 1/500s Manual Exposure, flash, handheld.
Technique:  I've found some interesting spiders in a nearby place. I've spent some afternoons for capturing them. Once a caterpillar jumped near it. Capturing the spider I didn't notice it, so it was unsharp and right on the edge of the photo. Very soon spider jumped on it and killed it. That has given me an idea to wait for another similar situation.

Some days later, there was a smaller spider. And really a grashopper has jumped between me and the spider. I've succeed to make 3 photos with grasshopper in focus. Then the caterpillar turned around. The spider has noticed it and tried to catch it. But it was not big enough and not enough experienced so the caterpillar succeed to escape. This is one of three photos.

Processing:    Rotate, crop, highlights and 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)

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Title:  Ober Brothers

Goal:    Geting images of wild animals in Bavarian Forest National Park.

Equipment/Source:   Panasonic FZ-50, 420 mm on built in lens + teleconverter 1,6, ISO 100, F5, 1/320 s Manual Exposure, handheld.

Technique: This year my wife and me have gone to a photo trip in Bavarian Forest in Germany. Obers are anusual animals, but they still live in some parts of Europe. These were resting when the sun is setting. Beside warm light I like their similar position.  

Processing:   Crop, highlights and 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 Dan C.

The Ober name is a new one for me but from the characteristics of the bovines I came to the conclusion that Ober in this context is a local common name for the European Bison, European Wood Bison, or Wisent.  Your lighting is excellent and you held tricky exposure of dark areas and snow extremely well.

Generally the pose would render the nature story of this image weak.  Because of the differences between this species of bison and the more familiar American bison, the story value is stronger because it clearly shows the flatter face and forward leaning horns that distinguish this species from the other species.   That is why I gave it a 2 for story instead of the 1 more typical of a here I am shot.

I feel the image is stronger as a vertical from both a pictorial viewpoint and a nature story viewpoint.  The change in aspect ratio eliminates dark areas that to not really add to any story and are not needed pictorially.  It also focuses the viewer better on the distinguishing differences.

N2, T3, P2, E0, Total 7

Review by commentator Rick C.

This is interesting. I am familiar with the European Wood Bison or Wisent but haven’t herd the term “Ober” before. Do you know if that is just another name for the European Bison or if it is a separate mammal?  It is interesting how the horns are longer and more inwardly curved than those of the American Bison. I really like the lighting on this pair. It brings out rich detail in their fur. I can see into the shadows just a bit, but wouldn’t worry about opening them up a little more. I think you have room for that without making things look off relative to the lighting. Excellent overall exposure between the dark fur and the snow.

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

Review by Dennis H.
Good capture of 2 Obers in snow.
Nearest Ober requires lightening of shadow areas to bring out detail in coat.
Background very dark.
N-2, T-2, P-2, E-0, total-6

Review by Andy H.
This is an animal I have no knowledge of and interested to see the image taken.
Good capture of the two animals together. Good colour and DOF. Some selective brightening of the main body would be beneficial. I find composing this type of shot quite difficult. Do you go for the head on, side on or 3/4 shot? If we could have seen the eyes i would ave scored it more highly.
N-3, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-8

Review by Fran M
The boys are well separated from their background by both colour and depth of field. The repetition of pose also helps the composition. The story is of ruminants resting. If it had been my image, I may have lightened the edge of the face of the foreground animal to separate it more from his brother.
N-2, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-6

Review by Maria K.
Nature story is portrait. Very nice quality and direction of the light helping to show details of the fur.
I would suggest lightening shadows to get more details.
Composition with repeating position is good. Crop of the back of their bodies do not bother me but I would like to see more expression. The second animal has head turned away. 
N-2, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-6

Review by Bruce F.
The animal name should be the established scientific one, at least if entered in future nature competitions. Nature titles should describe and enhance the visual story of the image. Regarding the image itself for the title is really secondary, I feel that it’s a bit static. The both bison’s eyes are closed; they are laying quietly in the sun and on the partial snow covered ground, not moving or doing anything in particular—other than sunning themselves. That’s the entire nature story. Not sure how you could photograph this quiet sunning themselves nature story. I think the head angle, particularly of the back bison, is not the best for its looking slightly away. Maybe, showing a front or head-on angle or more of the habitat would be more interesting and visually exciting. The story isn’t strong enough or captured with an exciting composition to take it beyond a record shot. Technical aspects are OK. White snow and dark brown bison are exposed properly. 
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.