Ad
Ad
Ad
Pages: [1]   Bottom of Page
Print
Author Topic: Conversation  (Read 2245 times)
Rob/L
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 7


« on: August 24, 2011, 05:16:08 PM »
ReplyReply

Having followed these pages for a while and seen the expertise of the members of this forum I thought I might hopefully stand to learn by taking the plunge and putting something up here for comment.

I really like this image, which was shot on a cold, windy early spring day. It may seem fanciful but the flowers look to me as though they might be characters nodding their heads or having a conversation with each other.

I tried to make the colouring reflect the soft, rather cold light. Although I can see there are some technical problems with this picture (there's some highlight clipping and so on) I like the arrangement, even though it might be considered a little too busy for good composition. I wonder if there are any views on this? Is there a better way to catch the idea of a crowd in a simpler, more striking composition?

Rob
Logged
louoates
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 783



WWW
« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2011, 08:14:27 PM »
ReplyReply

These are interesting flower shapes. For me, the challenge of such shots are the depth of field choices. I'm usually not satisfied by having one thing or group in sharp focus and out of focus somethings in the background and foreground. It's more pleasing, at least to my eye, to have just one of those planes out of focus, usually the background.

Logged
degrub
Guest
« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2011, 09:01:24 PM »
ReplyReply

i think i would smear some petroleum jelly on a filter to blur all of them rather than calling attention to just the few in the focal plane to put more "mystery" into the shot.
Frank.
Logged
pegelli
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 609



WWW
« Reply #3 on: August 25, 2011, 01:06:48 AM »
ReplyReply

Good start and I like these "selective dof" type pictures.

Only comment would be that I always try (so beware for cliche's) to have the flower/object that attracts the most attention in the frame sharp. In this case the flower that attracts the most attention is the brightest one just left/below the middle. So I would have put the prime focus there when rendered like this.

The other thing you could do (in PP) is burn that one slightly, and dodge (lighten) the ones that are now in focus.

Hope this is helpful.
Logged

pieter, aka pegelli
JohnKoerner
Guest
« Reply #4 on: August 25, 2011, 05:57:24 AM »
ReplyReply

I think there are way too many distracting (and irrelevant) components in the background: the tree, the horizon, branches, grass, etc.

For flower shots to work IMO "simplicity" of background needs to be achieved, not "busy-ness" of background, and this includes selective DOF shots.

The image is just too confused and cluttered ...
Logged
Rob/L
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 7


« Reply #5 on: August 26, 2011, 07:18:21 AM »
ReplyReply

Thanks for those comments. I'll try to find time to play around with the ideas you gave me Frank and Pietr. Obviously I can't re-focus but I could apply some dodge/burn and try to add a little blur in post processing.

John, I think your comment gets to the point I had in mind when I posted this, which is how to somehow capture the "busy-ness" of a scene like this without the picture losing impact from being too cluttered. (It felt to me at the time almost like some sort of group portrait or crowd scene, only in miniature.) Maybe it could achieve that with fewer background and near-foreground objects and some motion blur to the flowers.

I appreciate you guys taking the time to give some helpful feedback.
Logged
John R
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1040


« Reply #6 on: August 26, 2011, 07:49:56 AM »
ReplyReply

Most everything has been said. It looks as though you are beginner, so I will only add a few points.

The lens you are using is also a factor. I note you are using a 20mm Panosonic, which I believe is about equivalent to 35mm in FF terms. This is more suited to large areas of flowers, like patterns or whole flower beds. You may want to try a longer lens so that the view is narrower and the DOF shallower.

Every element in your image matters and has to be balanced. So a fence post, flower stem, white areas of sky, other flowers and their shapes, their positions, whether vertical or horizontal, etc, counts and has to be balanced. Even out of focus blobs are a shape or colour factor and have to be balanced. Look for these things and try to balance them. You may find this hard at first, but as you learn, you will unconciously absorb what you have learned. So as you go, shoot what moves you.

My personal view is that you should keep post processing to a minimum and really learn how to capture what you want.
« Last Edit: August 26, 2011, 08:24:54 AM by John R » Logged
JohnKoerner
Guest
« Reply #7 on: August 27, 2011, 01:24:02 PM »
ReplyReply

John, I think your comment gets to the point I had in mind when I posted this, which is how to somehow capture the "busy-ness" of a scene like this without the picture losing impact from being too cluttered. (It felt to me at the time almost like some sort of group portrait or crowd scene, only in miniature.) Maybe it could achieve that with fewer background and near-foreground objects and some motion blur to the flowers.

I am still learning too, Rob, just trying to share some ideas I have read and applied to my own satisfaction.

I think, in general, the idea of macro shots (or even "flower" shots that aren't ~ 1:2) is to isolate the subject from the background, not to have the background "take away" from your subject. I also believe many of the kinds of shot you are experimenting with (where one flower is in-focus, while the rest are not) can be tough to take in convincing manner. Here is an example of such an image I took:


Skyflower

It may not be the best image ever, but essentially I have "one" flower in-focus ... with the rest being a blur. In this case, my "background" was composed of thousands of blades of grass, which could have created a confusing mass of "lines everywhere" but because I chose a moderate f/stop of 7.1 (and had a longer focal length of 180mm), most of my background was blurred. In fact, John R. mentions this as a key element to getting a blurred background, using a longer lens, and I too wrote a blog post about this very subject, entitled "Size Matters"

And yet, even with the same lens, if I narrow the aperture to f/14 I too will bring in more background to my shots:


Pink Purselane

In this shot, I wanted to have more of the flower in-focus (which I achieved), but it was at the cost of blurring the background nicely.

However, a way in which to get the best of both worlds (blurring the background and getting alot of your subject in-focus) is of course focus stacking. With focus stacking, you can use a wide aperture (say, f/4.5, and take multiple photos of the same subject ... then blend them all together ... and get a very sharp full subject and a very blurred background bokeh as well:


Scarlet Milkweed

This was a 6-shot stack of a Scarlet Milkweed, taken @ f/4.5, where I was able to achieve BOTH a very creamy totally-blurred background and a high degree of subject focus. However, for your purpose of trying to get only one spot of your subject in-focus, while blurring the rest of it, I agree with John R. that using a longer lens will bring you better results.




I appreciate you guys taking the time to give some helpful feedback.

Sure thing & hope this helps,

Jack



.
Logged
louoates
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 783



WWW
« Reply #8 on: August 27, 2011, 05:42:41 PM »
ReplyReply

I thought I'd throw in two of my flower shots to further illustrate some different ways to get shift emphasis away from extraneous elements. John's examples are marvelous in that they get rid of what is distracting while still retaining an excellent representation of that particular kind of flower. A lot depends on how far from a "standard" shot you want to go. I originally hated both of my shots here because they were boring flower shots that any point and shoot wielder could get by the dozens. The more I looked and worked with them the more interesting they became, at least to me. These two sell fairly well at art shows, if that's a criteria that's important to anyone. The interesting point is that many of my other flower-based photographs go way beyond the manipulations shown here with no problems with sales either. ??
Logged
Slobodan Blagojevic
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 6183


When everybody thinks the same... nobody thinks.


WWW
« Reply #9 on: August 27, 2011, 06:01:20 PM »
ReplyReply

... This was a 6-shot stack of a Scarlet Milkweed, taken @ f/4.5, where I was able to achieve BOTH a very creamy totally-blurred background and a high degree of subject focus...

A very nice result and a very nice idea (focus stacking + large f/stop). Great job!
Logged

Slobodan

Flickr
500px
John R
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1040


« Reply #10 on: August 27, 2011, 06:39:11 PM »
ReplyReply

John K, lovely images. You have me convinced that I should at least try CS5 for stacking purposes. I don't have a copy yet. With Zerene, all I ever get is artifacts and ghosting. I can think of many shots I would have saved if I had stacking and it works as well as it appears to have for you and many others I have seen.

I was looking through my files for samples that more closely mirror Rob's original. When and if I find one, I will post it. But to be quite frank, Rob, photography is also about learning and knowing what can be achieved with your lenses and technques, and moving on and trying something different if it appears you can't accomplish what you have in mind. If there was no stacking software, we would have to move to another subject and look for a better background, ie, if you can't photograph that cluster of white flowers in a pleasing and satisfactory manner, for whatever reasons, then move to another cluster or subject. And I would say, this should be your first response in most cases. That particular angle and the background you chose look way to busy to escape your 20mm lens. So as a beginner, I would say, to start, be very mindful of your backgrounds. This alone will greatly improve your images.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2011, 06:44:16 PM by John R » Logged
JohnKoerner
Guest
« Reply #11 on: August 28, 2011, 10:50:29 AM »
ReplyReply

I thought I'd throw in two of my flower shots to further illustrate some different ways to get shift emphasis away from extraneous elements. John's examples are marvelous in that they get rid of what is distracting while still retaining an excellent representation of that particular kind of flower. A lot depends on how far from a "standard" shot you want to go. I originally hated both of my shots here because they were boring flower shots that any point and shoot wielder could get by the dozens. The more I looked and worked with them the more interesting they became, at least to me. These two sell fairly well at art shows, if that's a criteria that's important to anyone. The interesting point is that many of my other flower-based photographs go way beyond the manipulations shown here with no problems with sales either. ??

Thanks Lou, and interesting ideas of your own. I think the juxtaposition of "thorns and flowers" is what creates appeal in the second image.




_________________________________
_________________________________




A very nice result and a very nice idea (focus stacking + large f/stop). Great job!

Thank you very much!




John K, lovely images. You have me convinced that I should at least try CS5 for stacking purposes. I don't have a copy yet. With Zerene, all I ever get is artifacts and ghosting. I can think of many shots I would have saved if I had stacking and it works as well as it appears to have for you and many others I have seen.
I was looking through my files for samples that more closely mirror Rob's original. When and if I find one, I will post it. But to be quite frank, Rob, photography is also about learning and knowing what can be achieved with your lenses and technques, and moving on and trying something different if it appears you can't accomplish what you have in mind. If there was no stacking software, we would have to move to another subject and look for a better background, ie, if you can't photograph that cluster of white flowers in a pleasing and satisfactory manner, for whatever reasons, then move to another cluster or subject. And I would say, this should be your first response in most cases. That particular angle and the background you chose look way to busy to escape your 20mm lens. So as a beginner, I would say, to start, be very mindful of your backgrounds. This alone will greatly improve your images.

Thank you John R. I have found the Adobe stacker to be excellent and to give me a whole new world of creative opportunities. The potential for taking advantage of both full-subject focus and a creamy bokeh offers unlimited possibilities

In the end, I agree with your advice to Rob on shooting macro shots: always mind your background (which, really, is the same advice as when shooting a gun )

Cheers!

Jack

.
Logged
Riaan van Wyk
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 682



WWW
« Reply #12 on: August 28, 2011, 01:38:38 PM »
ReplyReply

Hi Rob and welcome to LuLa. It's a great place to be.

I think I can see what you tried to capture here, problem for me is the foreground that blocks my eye to view the flowers and when I eventually see them, the dark pole distracts my eye there. The DOF on the flowers would otherwise not bug me.
Logged
pegelli
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 609



WWW
« Reply #13 on: August 28, 2011, 03:05:28 PM »
ReplyReply

Good discussion on backgrounds here.

Here's an example that worked because it was quite even (a grass lawn) as well as far away.
So I could use a relatively close aperture (f 7.1) to get some dof on the flower and the bud itself:
(click to see larger)

Other technique is obviously to do away with the background completely  Grin :
(click to see larger)

So John R, hope this helps you to show us more
Logged

pieter, aka pegelli
JohnKoerner
Guest
« Reply #14 on: August 29, 2011, 03:45:06 AM »
ReplyReply

Love that first image, Pegelli, very nice Smiley

Jack


.
Logged
Rob/L
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 7


« Reply #15 on: August 31, 2011, 06:46:49 AM »
ReplyReply

Some beautiful images here and very insightful discussion. One thing this has brought out to me is that the degree subject/background separation needed to make a subject like this really stand out is probably stronger than I had realised. The main compositional point about watching the background as much as the foreground is well illustrated by the images that have been posted - thank you very much!  I read your blog post Jack and I'll certainly be looking again at choice of focal length in these shots as well.

I suppose the original question I had in mind was about how to capture the flowers as a group. In my imagination of the original scene that was before me, they seemed almost as if they were talking to each other (hence I chose to call the thread "Conversation"). I wonder if a better approach here might be to try to emphasise the arrangement as a group, rather than getting in so close on the individuals. I found this shot that I took on the same day and thought that it does go some way towards isolating the flower group because of the colour contrasts, and I find the geometric arrangement of the leaves and flowers quite appealing. It's a lot more static though and still quite busy.
Logged
Pages: [1]   Top of Page
Print
Jump to:  

Ad
Ad
Ad