Study Group 2

Bogdan Bricelj, EPSA, EFIAP/g

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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)

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Title:  Lunch time
Goal:  Catching a moment of feeding chicks.  

Equipment/Source:  Panasonic FZ-50, 420 mm on built in lens, ISO 100, F3,7, 1/160 s Shutter priority, aditional flash.
Technique:  This is an eight years old photo. I've sent it twice to ND exhibitions. Once it was disqualified and second time organiser asked me to exchange it. Few month ago I've read Rick's article in PSA Journal and decided to show this photo. I know, that ND photos should not show anything made by man. But there are some exceptions. I'm sure, that these little houses are made by man exclusively for birds to easy have chicks. It is a help to the birds, to the nature, so they extend the nature story. I would like to know your opinion. 

Processing:   Contrast correction with levels in Photoshop Elements. 

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

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

Review by Mike P.
I think this is a good capture of a bird feeding its chick. You caught it at just the right moment. The colors are good, the focus is good and I like the composition. I don't think this would qualify as a nature photo in a competition, though. I believe the judges would consider the birdhouse a manmade object constructed to attract the birds. 
N-1, T-3, P-3, E-0, Total-7
Review by Les L.
My feeling is that the image would be disqualified because of the manmade birdhouse. On the technical the picture appears a bit over saturated although it seems to me that many submissions out of Asia are over saturated and receive high marks. I would be interested in others opinion. I'm curious, how did the bird's reflection get inside the bird house?
N-0, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-4
Review by Butch B.
Very beautiful and colored image. Nice clarity and sharpness. The bird is engaged in an activity that is of high interest. Interest is raised by the appearance of the chick.

Your question about the hand of man is one that I find hard to answer. It seems that if the object has become part of the animals habitat then the object does not automatically lead to disqualification. However, i have been told that if a competitor;'s image is tied with your image and if it does not show the hand of man, then deference will be shown to the competitor.

Also, the hand of man and its impact on the image is a very subjective matter. So, you enter your image and see what happens!

I did not deduct for hand of man as the object is a part of the birds environment and is a participatory object
N-3, T-3, P-3, E-0, total-9
Review by Louise H.
If the birdhouse is where the birds live in the wild then I think it qualifies as a nature shot. The birds are living in the house as evidenced by the mother bird bringing a meal for it's baby. I love the colors in the image. The birds could have been a bit sharper but overall a nice nature story. 
N-2, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-6
Review by commentator Rick C.

You captured a good behavior moment with the parent coming in to feed the chick. I think the exposure looks good. Primary focus looks to be on the actual nesting box and so the chick is still sharp but the DOF isn’t holding through the adult. There also seems to be a touch of motion blur on the adult’s head. Lastly, the flash fill is reasonable for the lighting, but has caught the adult’s eye and that accounts for the “green eye” effect. I think you could crop in a bit, eliminating the orange overhang and the bright out of focus bokeh on the right and improve the effectiveness of the composition.

As to your main question, this still shows what most exhibitions or clubs following the PSA definition would consider to be evidence of the hand of man that is not part of the nature story. The reason is that, unlike barn owls, barn swallows, etc. this is not a normal nesting spot for this species, but rather one of convenience (at this time in our history). Yes, this is adaptive behavior, but unlike the use of pilings by pelicans and osprey, etc. they aren’t doing it primarily because human encroachment on their normal habitat has replaced their natural roosting / nesting spots with a manmade alternative, but again, more as a matter of convenience. We may well get to the point somewhere down the road that we will have paved so much of the planet that, at least around our cities, there are no natural nesting spots left and those birds living within a city will only have the option of a man made nesting box, or, like Peregrines, resorted to nesting on manmade structures. When we get there, this would be allowed adaptive behavior and the goal would be to minimize the amount of the hand of man we show. For now, that is not the case.

N-1, T-2, P-2 = 5 (N-1 Good behavior but hand of man does not qualify under the newer adaptive behavior easing of the nature definition, T-2 Slight blurring to adult’s head and eye shine from flash, P-2 Tighter crop would improve effectiveness of composition and eliminate some distractions)

Review by Manu R.
Colourful image with nature story and action. Clarity is on the lowerside and it may not come under nature image.
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 and in the year 2015, his EFIAP/g. He had 17 exhibitions of his own. Since 2009 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.