Study Group 2

Bogdan Bricelj

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Upload Image and Description

Title:   Red Spotted Beetle

Goal:    Getting fine macro images for acceptances on ND exhibitions.

Equipment/Source:   Panasonic FZ-50, 240 mm on built in lens, macro converter, ISO 100, F6,3, 1/320s Shutter priority, flash, hand held

Technique:   Capturing a beautiful beetle as sharp as possible.

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 Manu R., 8-19-2015
Beautiful subject with striking red colour. Sharpness at the eye is good with catchlight- from flash. Foreground of especially the green colour is distracting. There is boxed effect too some more space in the front might have added value.
N-3, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-7
Review by Les L., 8-19-2015
Very good image of the beetle and I like the bright color. The out of focus green leaf and rocks in the immediate foreground are very distracting.
N-3, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-7
Review by Butch S., 8-20-2015
Your have captured a beautiful beetle and it is in focus. I agree with Manu and Les that the foreground is distracting and also it covers up some of the Beetle's legs. Would a higher angle of view avoided these problems? The color is nice and the background has great Bokeh.
N-3, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-7
Review by Mike P., 8-21-2015
I agree with the comments about the foreground being out of focus. Nice rich red color and sharpness on insect itself. I felt it lacked a "nature story" element and was more a "here I am" shot than anything particularly dramatic. I think this could have been improved if you had captured the insect actually doing something -- standing up, eating a leaf, crawling along a thin twig, etc.
N-2, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total=6
Review by Bruce F., 8-21-2015
I think that the beetle is well captured, sharp throughout, except for the rear end of the beetle, which is a minor point. In most nature images natural light or natural light plus fill flash is better than having majority of the light provide by the flash. As in this case the harsh flash reflects back hot spots on the beetle, especially where there is water, on the legs and the side of the beetle. Maybe, using some kind of soft box, to soft the light would be helpful. Or use natural light and a reflector to bounce light into the beetle, would provide a more natural look.
I also think that the foreground is problematic; the brown or tan leaves could be tone down, but really the green in the right lower corner is an issue. This green color is different than the other colors and disturbs the other hues of red and brown in the image. It’s an eye catcher! Thus, stands out. If I could have moved the green leaf without disturbing the beetle before capture, I would have done so, difficult I know. This depends on the wariness of the beetle. Another way, would have changed my angle to eliminate the green leaf from the frame.
Overall, sharpness very good, and the image does really show what a Red Spotted Beetle looks like. Some pictorial points made above could make the image even better.
N-3, T-2, P-1, E-0, Total-6
Review by Andy H., 8-22-2015
Not sure of the story here. Exposure is good, colour balance looks OK. There are sharpness issues, the back, rump and legs closest to you are not sharp due to inadequate DOF. The beetle is too tight in the frame for me and I find the out of focus material in the foreground distracting.
N-2, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-6
Review by Jerry S., 8-24-2015
The bettle colors are dramatic and well captured. Right antenna and left rear leg are out of focus and the out of focus foreground distracts from the overall image. Focus stacking could be considered when the size of the insect exceeds the DOF. A neutral density filter to push the f-stop into the 20 range is another alternative to increase DOF. The nature story appears to be “look at me.”
N-2, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-6
Review by Dan C., 8-25-2015

You definitely captured a sharp, detailed image of this insect.  Your low point of view works very well in your favor. The only Coleoptera (Beetle) with short elytra are rove beetles and the head and antennae are wrong for the rove beetles.  This insect also is showing developing wings (arrow), which indicates this is a larval stage insect that has incomplete metamorphosis, most probably a Hemiptera (True Bug) in about the second or third instar stage.  Each time it sheds its skin, it looks more and more like the adult. A beetle goes through complete metamorphosis where the larval stage is a grub that pupates before a fully formed adult emerges.  The head structure indicates this may be one of the predatory bugs.

From an image standpoint, I generally prefer living subjects to face me to increase my involvement with the subject.  I become more than just an observer.  I would not recommend that here because the out of focus green foliage would act as a strong distraction in spite of the strength of the red to draw attention.

N2, T3, P2, E0 – Total 7

Review by Dawn C., 8-28-2015
I love this little guy - lots of personality. I like how the beetle's head is cocked toward the camera. Lovely detail, but it would be great with a touch more depth of field for the body and legs. Dropping the power on the flash might help tone down the highlights to make the lighting look more natural.
N-2, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-6


Upload Image and Description
Title:   We are both hungry

Goal:    Capturing birds in the nest

Equipment/Source:   Panasonic FZ-50, 420 mm, ISO 100, F6,3, 1/500 s, flash used, Manual, hand held

Technique:   Capturing hungry tits in the nest in stone made wall. I'm not sure, whether I can enter them to nature exhibitions.

Processing:   Contrast and color corrections with levels, curves and selective increase of luminance in Lightroom, crop and aditional sharpening in PS Elements.

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

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

Review by Manu R., 6-14-2015
Image has high natural history value. Chicks in natural habitat with the mouth open showing tongue!Good capture. Clarity is on the lower side with the two chicks merging each other. Wish the eyes of the bigger chick were visible. Probabaly a tight crop with a square format would have been more effective.
N-3, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total-7
Review by Andy H., 6-13-2015
Nicely seen shot. Difficult, tight location. Focus is in the right place. Would have been nice to get the catchlight in the chick on tops eye. How much the wall adds to the image I'm not sure, it is needed but could a crop help? Exposure, DOF, colour, sharpness right, in my view.
N-3, T-3, P-2, E-0, TOTAL-8
Review by Butch S., 6-15-2015
Really interesting. What kind of birds are these? Technically this is a good image. A bit of exposure adjustment may help show the eyes of the bird on top more and that could add to the pictorial quality.
N-3, T-3, P-2, E-0, Total=8
Review by Dawn C., 6-20-2015
Love how the stone wall frames your subject. Great story. Wish the lighting were better - with no catch light in the upper chick's eyes, they look vacant.
N-3, T-2, P-3, E-0, Total=8
Review by Les L., 6-17-2015
Really interesting shot. A relative high degree of difficulty recognizing the distance, still good focus, exposure, color. Good job.
N-3, T-3, P-3, E-0, Total=9
Review by Tom B., 6-25-2015
Nice shot of the birds. Good exposure and depth of field. I find that there is a bit too much wall and the birds tend to get lost.
N-3, T-2, P-2, E-0, Total=7
Review by Rick C., 6-26-2015
The nature story is excellent in this image. I understand your concern over the hand of man. It is difficult to say for certain. Judges who tend to interpret the rules literally may well disqualify the image. Judges who are more flexible will note that the nest is obviously there by the action of the birds and, even if it isn’t their “normal” habitat for nesting, the judge would allow it. I would say it would be worth trying in at least one or two competitions just to see how it is received. From a technical standpoint, the focus and depth are excellent. I fell it is just a little on the under exposed side, at least on the birds themselves. I would be inclined to try to open the detail on the two chicks up a bit more. It has an obvious flashed look to it and that will be something a judge would likely treat as a defect. Keep chasing these opportunities, just don’t keep the parents away from the nest. N-3, T-2, P-3 = 8


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.