Study Group 2

Bogdan Bricelj, MPSA, EFIAP/g

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Title:   Ring of Bullfinches

Goal:   Capturing social life of birds
Equipment/Source:   Panasonic FZ-50, 280mm on built in lens, ISO 100, F5, 1/640s Manual, handheld, cloudy.
Technique:  After new snow my wife and I have gone to nature. We have found a group of Bullfinches often coming to a snowy tree. They were usually flying together.

Processing:  Crop, color cast, 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:  Death on Autumn Crocus

Goal:    Capturing spider with victim. 

Equipment/Source:    Panasonic FZ-50, 420mm on built in lens, macro converter, ISO 100, F6,3, 1/400s Manual, handheld. 

Technique:   Visiting nearby meadows I have found this spider on a beautiful flower.

Processing:    Crop, contrast correction with 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.

An excellent shot.  The crab spider is tack sharp.  It would be nice if the fly’s abdomen was equally sharp but at this magnification sufficient depth of field is impossible without focus stacking.  Unexpectedly finding it in the meadow and the potential motion of the subject makes focus stacking an unrealistic option.  

Here in New England the crocus is one of the earliest spring flowers so your image adds additional story value for me.

Your pictorial arrangement is also good here. I did do my normal check of flipping horizontal but decided it did not improve the image enough to recommend it.  It did make it easier to get into the image since I was not blocked by the out-of-focus crocus petal in the lower left but it also made the out of focus fly more obvious. I felt that was a greater flaw.

N3, T2, P3, E0, Total 8

Review by Andy H.
Interesting capture. A 3 for story. Technically the image has several issues, in my view.
Exposure is fine but for me there is not enough of both subjects in focus. Perhaps taking the image from more to the left and having the spiders body parallel to the focal plane would have improved the image. The colours are very intense and while probably a true representation the flower distracts me. The image has impact but possibly too much. I would be inclined to desaturate the flower.
N-3, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-7

Review by Dennis H.
Good nature story of spider capturing bug. The spider's head and insect appear soft and lack detail. Highlights could be toned down and I would crop more from left hand side of image.
N-3, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-7

Review by Bruce F.
The nature story is there, a powerful story of predator capturing prey. What’s missing is depth of field! I believe you need both the spider and fly sharp. You cannot get both subjects sharp by hand holding, you need a tripod to use smaller apertures. The subjects are in good light and pretty stationary, so it’s could possible to go with a smaller aperture and sacrifice shutter speed, or even bump up your ISO setting to obtain more depth of field.
Hand Holding is limiting your photograph, invest in a good tripod, and use your depth of preview button to see the zone of sharpness, and to increase depth of field. Or bump up your ISO a few stops and increase you aperture to f11 or f16, then you won’t need to sacrifice shutter speed.
Also, I would tone down the bright areas in the flower; they draw the brain to them because they are very bright, away from the nature subjects.
Another suggestion is to take a diffuser into the field with you and shade the situation, creating soft diffused light, making the colors pop.
Tripods slow you down and make you carefully consider the composition as well as depth of field. The idea is to make images rather than taking them. 
N-3, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-7

Review by Maria K-L
I like dynamic lines and colors in your image.
Nature story is strong but without title I was a bit confused what is happening there.
Due to harsh light there are few shadows which do not work well here in my opinion.
Maybe shelter the scene from the sun would help. With diffuse light details would be seen better as well.
N-3, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-7

Review by Suman B.
showing the flower here accentuates the picture as it states the situation in which the kill happens. in the bottom-right hand the green shows pixelation or offshoot colour pixels which may be the result of the macro adapter being used. It also explains the shallow depth. however I am of the view that tripod usage is not needed as these spiders often drag their kill inside the flower and you would miss a lovely shot looking through the viewfinder and adjusting depth. however I can suggest another way to sharpen the shot and that is by taking multiple shots moving the lens barrel tad + or - and afterwards processing through stacking software (e.g. zerene stacker). I also must congratulate you for making the eyes of the spider tac sharp as I know first hand how hard it is while shooting. I would recommend the use of a diffuser and some balancing flash light for such macro shots as flash balances hard day lights.
N-3, T-2, P-2, E-0, total-7


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.