Study Group 2

Bogdan Bricelj, MPSA, EFIAP/g

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Title:  Life-threatening 2 

Goal:  Geting a nature story in macro world.

Equipment/Source:  Panasonic FZ-50, 270 mm on built in lens + macro-adapter +2, ISO 100, F5,6, 1/400s Manual Exposure, flash, handheld. 
Technique:  Another spider story. Indeed it was captured some days before that one from June. Here I was focusing on the spider. I didn't even notice the grasshopper at the first moment. After two captures the grasshopper was caught and dead. Here I've got the idea for June's photo. (Note: below as a reminder) I thought it would be better to have grasshopper in focus. Do you think that the August photo is better?

Processing:    Crop, highlights and contrast correction with levels and curves and some selective burning and dodging in Photoshop Elements, noise removing in Nindja noise. 

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

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


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Title:  Marmots Dancing

Goal:     Geting some shots from the life of marmots.

Equipment/Source:  Panasonic FZ-50, 100 mm on built in lens, ISO 100, F4, 1/500s Manual Exposure, handheld.

Technique:  Two weaks ago my wife and I spent three days under Grossglockner, the highest mountain in Austria. There live a lot of marmots and some are not so shy as usually. We have tried to get some unusual photos. On this two stand on there rear legs, like they were dancing. The third marmot was looking at them. We have succeed to catch such situation just once.

Processing:    Crop, selective burn of background, 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.

Your timing was excellent.  Your lighting is excellent and you held tricky exposure of dark areas and light areas extremely well.  The two marmots play fighting does make it look like they are dancing.

Your adjustments helped the image but I feel you did not go far enough.  The marmots would stand out better if you open up the shadows on the camera side of the marmots and selectively darkened the mountain background even more.

Your cropping has focused the viewer nicely on the trio.

N3, T2, P3, E0, Total 8

Review by Fran M.
I love to see photos of interesting animal or bird behaviour. The late afternoon sun has highlighted and textured their fur, as well as giving a wonderfully warm colour cast against that snowy mountain background. Good story in the image. Lovely.
N-3, T-3, P-2, E-0, Total-8

Review by Andy H.
Good to see some action in this image, so often these types of animals just stare back at us. The interactive story is there. The image is sharp, well compose, good DOF and has some impact.
The exposure here was difficult with the low sun to the right. There was another interesting angle if the shot had been taken from the right, but it was probably impossible due to terrain.
N-3, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-7

Review by Dennis H.
Good nature story with interacting marmots. Nice lighting with good fur detail. Centre marmot could use some lightning of body and head to bring out more detail. Well captured.
N-3, T-2, P-3, E-0, Total-8

Review by Bruce F.
Patience in nature photography is a perquisite. Thus, I like that you spent a lot of time watching them and trying to capture some interesting behavior. I think you did accomplish your goal of catching some unique behavior. I just think that visually and photographically the image doesn’t convey this behavior clearly and succinctly as it could. The main reason is the centrally place marmot has its back to the viewer; the onlooker is merged into the body of the centrally placed marmot. Ideally, you should have a little separation here. I know the moments happen fast, and it’s difficult to catch them position correctly. However, the viewer only see the image, not what you have to do to get the image—in fact that doesn’t really matter to them.
Another thought is the side lighting late in the day isn’t doing you any favors, because the faces of the two marmots, the onlooker and the face of the one facing the viewer are a bit dark, and need a little more light to easily see their faces and their expressions.
Regarding this fact, I would have carefully consider my positioning especially as regards to the direction of the light. I think front lighting would have worked better. Your view does show the mountains and the environment, which adds context to the image. Being that you spend a lot time with them, and they were cooperative to some extent. I think to visually show this behavior, front lighting would work better in empathizing their faces and expressions. This is what you really are after. This is what tugs at the heartstrings of the viewer.
Still, with an adjustment brush or Viveza target adjustment in your workflow, I think you can lighten their faces considerably. Which would improve the image. 
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.