Study Group 2


Bogdan Bricelj, GMPSA, EFIAP/p (A)

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SEPTEMBER 2021 ROUND
Title:    Landing of Swans

Goal:   Observing behavior of swans.

Equipment/Source:   Nikon P950 at 500 mm on built in lens, shutter priority 1/1250, F5.0, ISO 100, handheld.

Technique:   On a lake near Ljubljana (Capital city of Slovenia) there are more then 100 swans. It's a perfect place for observing them. You must just come early in the morning. Here I've captured landing of three swans in contra-light.

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

Score this image: NO


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

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

Nature Story:
This is a strong nature story. You have really captured the feeling of strength of the birds, and water action. This is a very dynamic image.

Technical Quality:
The swans stand out beautifully from the background. You have certainly made the most of a very difficult lighting situation. The action is stopped perfectly, and nothing seems over sharpened. I suspect that anything else you could do to “improve” this image would take it beyond the Nature Division rules.

Pictorial Quality:
In a perfect world, I would like to see the head of the center swan showing above the body of the leading swan, and slightly less distance between for front 2 and the back swan. Having said that, there is still loads of impact and interest here. I like that you left plenty of room in the frame in front of the birds, so that they have room to move.

No score as requested.


This Review is written by: Jodi S.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
You have capture the water and landing style nicely with this picture. The lighting creates a sharp contrast of the white swans in the early morning light, but the image is still a bit dark. I am not able to see the features of the faces of the swans.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
You mentioned you used contra lighting to adjust for the early morning light. I'm not familiar with that technique but am intrigued. Unfortunately, the image is still too dark. It does appear you have very little noise even with such a dark picture. Bumping the ISO may have allowed a bit more light while keeping you at a shutter speed to keep the action.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
This is a refreshing image with the water droplets glittering in the early morning light nicely. The wings and feet of the birds are impressively sharp catching my interest, but as noted before, the image is a bit too dark.


This Review is written by: Larry T

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
The capture here clearly shows 3 swans about to land on a lake. While this is an interesting image, and one which I’m sure you are pleased with I do not feel that it is strong nature story. Birds regularly fly and eventually land and it is a normal part of their daily activity. They are not being pursued, they are just landing. A strong nature story must move beyond ordinary activity.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
For me the image is a bit dark. I applaud your use of a high shutter speed to capt ure the action but you easily could have raised the ISO to somewhere in the ISO 500 range and this would have put more light on the subject. I am not suggesting that you make this into a broad daylight image and completely change the mood but getting just a bit more light on the birds or even opening the shadows just a bit would have stronger.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The composition, for me comes down to a personal choice. I can understand leaving it as shown and showing the environment aspect. On the other hand, I would crop some of the water from the foreground to move the subject birds out of the center of the frame. Conversely, you could reverse that and crop from the top and achieve the same thing.


This Review is written by: Charlie Y

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Interesting image, wonder if it's landing or it's taking off? I meant what cause those water splash in the air, none of the swans has touched the water surface yet.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Not sure if P950 has adjustment +/-, this image shows overexposed on highlight, -20 will fix it in LR or raw, white color subject is just easy to over-exposed.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Image is interesting, and balanced. nice.


This Review is written by: Pinaki S.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
It is a beautiful nature action photograph. Good Work.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Middle swan's forefront wing is slightly out of focus. The beak color and eyes of the swans are not visible.
This image has been shot at ISO 100 that means the Raw file has a lot of information allowing a lot of fine tuning in the post processing.
Love the fact that the water droplets are frozen ,nice fast shutter speed.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The overall image looks a little bit darker. I am not sure why that was chosen but I would think that with more white swans and a dark background would have added
more drama to the image. Would have straightened the horizon a bit.


This Review is written by: Bogdan B

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
It's nice contact between mother and the child. But by ND definition all horses are not allowed except of mongolian wild horse. But these are some other.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Sharp photo, good lightening.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
A little bit tight crop. I would leave some more space on the top.




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AUGUST 2021 ROUND
Title:   Grey Heron with Mole

Goal:   Waiting for heron to catch a prey.

Equipment/Source:     Nikon P950 at 700 mm on built in lens, shutter priority 1/1000, F5.6, ISO 100, handheld.

Technique:   I've seen a grey heron on the meadow waiting for a prey. I've come near with the car and opened the window for shooting. Heron was walking to and fro for a long time. It has take more then 30 minutes until it stroke it's beak in the ground and pull it out with a mole.

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

Score this image: NO

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 nature story is there though blocked somewhat by the strong backlighting and shadow on the near side of the Heron and mole. I feel I can discern it adequately but other may find the shadows too deep.

I feel you did well with the basic capture in this lighting. I feel we need to rebalance the luminosity in the image and pull the greens back down to a more reasonable level of saturation from where the extreme contrast has pushed them. Admittedly this is mor difficult to do working with Elements as opposed to photoshop.

The framing of the image is somewhat central and static but at the same time understandable for the subject and its pose. If the image would take it, I am inclined to suggest cropping it a bit tighter from the top and possibly from the right edge. That would move the Heron’s head up in the frame and the entire Heron would feel less centered. It would also eliminate some of the bright specular highlights coming of the dew on the grass in the background.



This Review is written by: Adrian B

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
A bird with its catch - yes fine nature story for me.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Your subjects are sharp....but in shade. I am sure you could have processed this differently to achieve what your eyes saw (which would have adjusted for the strong backlighting and shadow areas). So as presented, i do not feel the image works as well as its potential should

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
The above technical issues do not help, but also your timing with the mole in front of the b irds face is unfortunate - a different timing may have had it to the side or even eating it.
This Review is written by: LC B.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
Nice hunting story: hunting herons are fun subjects.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I think the story is hampered though by the harsh lighting. A gradient mask on the upper grass would be a thing to try for the top half and then some selective dodge/burning on the bird and surrounding grass. The focus is pretty sharp, but it’s hard to grasp the story.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
I’m usually one to want negative space around the bird, but because you’re fight ing with all the green for the viewer’s eye, I think a tighter crop would really help to better frame your story.
This Review is written by: Nirmalya B.

NATURE REVIEW OF THE IMAGE
The photograph definitely pays the prize of perseverance of the photographer and a good nature story captured.

TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Perhaps the time of shooting was not appropriate and the harsh light created highlights and hard shadow on the subject.

PICTORIAL REVIEW OF IMAGE
Glittering grasses in the background are deviating attention from the subject. Otherwise it is a nice composition which filled up the frame.




Biography

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.