Study Group 2

Bogdan Bricelj

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Title: Little frog on mother's head

Goal:  Getting some interesting photos of little frogs 

Equipment/Source:   Panasonic FZ-50, 420 mm on built in lens with aditional macro lens, ISO 100, F3,7, 1/400 s Shutter priority, hand held

Technique:   During a walk through a forest, my wife and I have found a lot of very small frogs, swimming and jumping. It was very dark there, so we had to make photos by flash. We have tried to find some interesting situations. One of them was when this little frog has climbed on her mother's head. It was just for few seconds.

Processing:  Increasing contrast with levels and curves, selective burning in Lightroom, cropping and sharpening 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.
Really nice capture. Great colors and composition. I noticed a couple of black dots toward the left of the center. I imagine these were in the water. I suggest cloning or healing them out of the photo. They are a bit of a distraction to an otherwise lovely photo. I gave you a 2 instead of a 3 simply due to the dots.
N-3, T-2, P-3, E-0, total-8
Review by Les L.
Very good job of a difficult shot. On first look I missed the little frog. Wonder if you could burn one of the frogs a bit more to show separation?
N-3, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-7
Review by Butch S.
Nice portrait shot of a frog. Focus and colors are good. The eyes are well shown.
N-2, T-3, P-2, E-0, Total-7
Review by Jerry S.
The behavior of the frog seeking protection on the back of a parent is a nature story that eludes me because I am not familiar with the actions of frogs but it creates an interesting nature image. Focus is good on the eye of the adult but the image has inadequate depth of field. The inadequate DOF causes the legs of the juvenile to blend into the back of the adult and the green leaf mottles the back of the smaller frog. Shooting with flash should provide sufficient light to get the necessary DOF.
N-3, T-1, P-2, E-0, Total-6
Review by Andy H.
Well seen image, exposure good, colour balance of the frog is fine, sharp were it's in focus.
Would like to have seen more of the image in focus, DOF, for me, is too shallow. Composition is good. Cropping a little more on the left and or removing the spot would have helped. Difficult I know, but the green leaf at the top is a distraction and too vivid., it also appears to be 'bleeding' onto the back of the small frog.
N-3, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-7
Review by Mary W.
Very nice nature story with both mother frog and baby frog in focus. I like the lighting and composition of this image. It is sharply focused and with beautiful details on both frogs skin and eyes. I also like the clarity of this image and color tonality. It could be better if the black spot on left of image is removed.
N-3, T-3, P-3, E-0, Total-9
Review by Bruce F.
Parent and young interactions are strong subjects for nature imagery. The young frog on top of the parent here is no exception. Depth of field is pretty good, the left eye of the mother seems to be a little soft, and so one stop smaller aperture might better choice. Although, I do like the selective focus aspect of the background being blurry; this helps isolates the subject and give the subject more impact. The legs of the young one with a smaller aperture selected could be render sharp, adding to the story of the young one clinging to the parent.
Pictorially I do believe that there as some sensor dust spots on the right side of the image that should be cleaned up. There also are some light circle areas, perhaps reflections, which also should be cloned out. This would remove distraction to the good nature story. I would also tone down the bright green leaf on the top of the image. Being bright green it draws the eye away from the frogs.
One other point is that if you could have gotten down at the eye level of the frogs and had the young one peaking over the parent, you might have had a more dramatic image. I realize this might not have been possible, for they might have jumped away and you could have lost the shot.
Flash lighting is handle well, although I might have used a diffuser on the flash head to soften the light a bit-reducing so of the harsher than daylight light.
N-3, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total=7
Review by Cindy M.
Very sharp image. DOF is quite narrow, but it works with the position of the frogs. The eyes are sharp and that’s what’s important. The green leaf in the background seems to be bleeding into the other small frog. The leaf seems to me a little distracting. Maybe a different angle could have removed the sight of the leaf. Flash looks natural although the frog on top could have been lightened a little more.
N-2, T-3, P-3, E-0, Total=8
Review by Rick C.
The exposure and point of primary focus look reasonable. The F3.7 setting for aperture is on the shallow side for a subject of this type. I know some may wish for a bit more DOF on the far side of the mother's head and the smaller frog, but I think we may be able to get away with it here. The green leaf in the BG is a bit distracting because the color jumps out. I would be inclined to burn that in a little. The angle of view is creating an issue in that we can see past the mother's jaw line to what is likely part of her leg or belly below. The way it lines up does, for me at least, constitute a distraction from the primary area of interest. There is also a black dot that looks like a dust spot to her left at about eye level. it may be a gnat, but if you aren't certain I would be inclined to consider it a dust spot and remove it. The balance on the flash exposure has been handled well.

N-3, T-2, P-2 = 7 ( A little greater DOF gets one more on T. Avoiding the body parts under the jaw line would bring the P up.)

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Title:    Wild Garlic in the Forest

Goal:   Flowers ando other plants are seldom in this Study group and also on ND exhibitions. I was trying to capture an interesting flower photo. 

Equipment/Source:    Panasonic FZ-50, 280 mm on built in lens, ISO 100, F3,6, 1/640 s Manual, hand held

Technique:   I've found many flowers of wild carlic in a forest. I was searching for a flower being lighted and others in shadow. I used as wide aperture as possible and long focal length to blur the flowers in the background.

Processing:    Increasing contrast with levels and curves, selective burning in Lightroom, cropping and sharpening in Photoshop Elements.

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

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

Review by Dawn C.
Love the lighting, hint of other flowers, and composition. Tack sharp and excellent exposure.
N-2, T-3, P-3, E-0, Total-8
Review by Butch S.
I like the potential of this shot. I think that a tighter crop so as to get a closer view of the flower would be good. the space to the right isto my mind empty space adding little . By zombie in closer, the flower of focus will really show.

Conceptually, I really like what you are trying todo. This is going to the next level that is above just "taking a picture."

Asia often the case with flowers, really hard to have a real attention getting nature action quality.
N-2, T-2, P-3, E-0, Total-7
Review by Les L.
I applaud your effort on a difficult assignment. It appears to me that the wild garlic is not tack sharp which is a main objective. This may have been caused by the long focal length lens being hand held.
N-2, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-6
Review by Andy H.
Have to agree about lack of flowers in our group and other competitions. I like this image and find it appealing with the one flower lit with the natural light. The exposure, focus and DOF are in my view correct. I'm not sure how to asses the 'story'. You achieved what you set out to do.
N-2, T-2, P-3, E-0, Total-7
Review by Manu R.
Interesting approach to shoot the wild garlic flower. the white flower in the black background makes the subject cathing attention more. The faded back ground flowers, I feel, are not adding
value but distractions. The subject is small at the right hand corner and makes impression of negative space.
N-2, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-6
Review by Butch S.
Your desire to have a flower in light with an under exposed background of the same flowers is fulfilled and gives a very interesting feel to your flower of interest. The flower is sharply focused and well exposed. I think that you should consider a crop to tighten down on the flower. The crop would still leave 3 background flowers to give the effect you are looking for. The nature story is always tough with flowers. All in all a good shot.
N-2, T-2, P-3, E-0, Total-7
Review by Jerry S.
Very intriguing image with single flower focus but other flowers in the background & shadow. Not quite sure what to suggest to enhance the nature story with a flower.
N-2, T-3, P-3, E-0, Total-8
Review by Bruce F
I agree this image is more a pictorial presentation than a nature one. With the background intentionally dark, the habitat or environment is not shown—which is important in a nature photo. Where does the plant live? What is the soil type? What type of environment does this plant live in: the forest or grassland habitat?
The main flower blossom is lite well. Yet, I would like to see the details of the flower more since the background is dark and devote of environmental information. That way the details of the flower structure could be the nature story in itself.
The ghost of other flowers in the background is a good concept, but not necessarily the right technique. I could see some backlighting or low side lighting helping the pictorial elements here.
N-2, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-6

Review by Mary W
I like this image very much; it has sharp focus on the bright front flower with the soft dimmer background flowers. This image has a nice arranged pattern and nice lighting. I especially like the clam and painterly tonality.
N-2, T-3, P-3, E-0, Total-8

Review by Dan C.

Generally you do not see many botany subjects in exhibitions because of the difficulty in creating botanical image that has good nature story value.  With this image you appear to have concentrated on the pictorial aspect rather than trying to add story value.  You did succeed as far as the pictorial value goes.  Your technique of waiting until one blossom was in direct light and the background was in shadow was a good one but you missed some opportunities to add story value.  You can add this story value by opening up the shadows to give a better idea of the habitat and setting, provide more information about the background shapes, and to reveal the stalk of the flower cluster so it did not appear to be floating in mid air.

I used Viveza 2 to open up these shadow areas and provide more information about the plant.  I kept the changes on the light side to try to retain your original attempt while increasing story value.  I also used the structure slider in Viveza to enhance the details of the flower cluster.

N2, T2, P3, E0, Total 7



Bogdan Bricelj 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 has got title EFIAP/s. He had 17 exhibitions of his own. Since 2009 he’s 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.