“It is better to inspire than direct." —Sheryl Sandberg

Critic's CornerFall Blooming Crocus

Nature's beauty cannot be expressed more perfectly than in its flora.
- Flowers and plants in any state, from natural to arranged, outdoor or indoor.
User avatar
Charles Haacker
Mentoris Tertius
Mentoris Tertius
Posts: 987
Joined: Mon May 01, 2017 7:20 pm
Reputation: 91
Location: Lincoln, Nebraska, USA
Social Media Opt-In: No
Editing option: No, please do not edit my images
Contact:

Fall Blooming Crocus

Postby Charles Haacker » Wed Oct 18, 2017 1:00 am

Out little family has now moved into an actual house with lawns fore and aft. For our next trick we shall attempt to unpack. We discovered there was a small patch of very tiny flowers popping out of the front lawn. By the time we noticed them they were chewed up, but this one was still pretty good. I'd say that at life size you could cover it with a U.S. nickel. I was attracted (as usual) by the low afternoon sun causing the glow. I got in close, this hasn't been cropped much, and I'm kinda forced to shoot straight down these days as it's one position I can recover from. :doh: I'm identifying it as a crocus but it's a lot smaller than others I've photographed.

There are two versions of the same shot. The first is pretty much as shot, at f/4.0. The thing is so small and so close to the grass directly below it that I was concerned that even f/5.6 would resolve too much background, but then I discovered that while my focus was nice and sharp on the pistil, the raised petals had gone soft at the edges. Well, poo. I was also bothered by that one bright grass blade going diagonally up to the upper right quadrant.

I decided I had to delete the grass blade and apply a filter to the thing to make it look either sharper or at least overall blurry. I did this in Photoshop, and I think the filter I ended up with was watercolor. Maybe. Not sure.

I like it. Wadda you think?
Attachments
DSC00108.EMlr.jpg
DSC00108-Edit.EMlr.jpg
Friends call me Chuck. :photo: This link takes you to my Flickr albums. Please click on any album to scroll through it.
(I prefer to present pictures in albums because I can put them in specific order.)

All the great photographers use cameras! No, really. :|

User avatar
Psjunkie
Mentoris Dominus
Mentoris Dominus
Posts: 595
Joined: Sun Apr 17, 2016 4:20 am
Reputation: 31
Social Media Opt-In: No
Editing option: Yes, feel free to edit my image
Contact:

Re: Fall Blooming Crocus

Postby Psjunkie » Wed Oct 18, 2017 2:03 am

I believe you accomplished your goal..I would suggest getting rid of the bright spot left, maybe even the two brighter spots closest to the flower 5 an 7.

User avatar
LindaShorey
Mentoris Quartus
Mentoris Quartus
Posts: 894
Joined: Sun Apr 17, 2016 11:50 am
Reputation: 95
Location: Yakima, WA
Social Media Opt-In: No
Editing option: Yes, feel free to edit my image
Contact:

Re: Fall Blooming Crocus

Postby LindaShorey » Wed Oct 18, 2017 1:14 pm

The depth of field issues with extreme close-ups of tiny subjects makes me wary of even attempting a photo (tripod...what's that??). Your watercolor darkened the background blacks and made the petal colors pop a bit more. I like the result. Two things you might consider trying: a square crop and a vignette - both would make your delicate, aging beauty stand out more from the busy background IMO.

Have fun unpacking! :D

(edit - Chuck said I could post this. Some folks don't care for square crops under any circumstance. I find it to be a pleasing look with a single circular-patterned flower bloom. Between the two wall groupings I have shown in a pM topic, I have three square frames. None have flowers at the moment, but they seem to compliment many images.)
Attachments
chuck DSC00108-Edit.EMlr.jpg
chuck DSC00108-Edit.EMlr.jpg (218.77 KiB) Viewed 136 times
"What's important in a photograph and what isn't." http://photographylife.com/whats-import ... -what-isnt

User avatar
minniev
Mentoris Secundus
Mentoris Secundus
Posts: 1318
Joined: Sun Apr 17, 2016 3:55 am
Reputation: 117
Location: Mississippi
Social Media Opt-In: Yes
Editing option: Yes, feel free to edit my image
Contact:

Re: Fall Blooming Crocus

Postby minniev » Wed Oct 18, 2017 6:50 pm

Charles Haacker wrote:Out little family has now moved into an actual house with lawns fore and aft. For our next trick we shall attempt to unpack. We discovered there was a small patch of very tiny flowers popping out of the front lawn. By the time we noticed them they were chewed up, but this one was still pretty good. I'd say that at life size you could cover it with a U.S. nickel. I was attracted (as usual) by the low afternoon sun causing the glow. I got in close, this hasn't been cropped much, and I'm kinda forced to shoot straight down these days as it's one position I can recover from. :doh: I'm identifying it as a crocus but it's a lot smaller than others I've photographed.

There are two versions of the same shot. The first is pretty much as shot, at f/4.0. The thing is so small and so close to the grass directly below it that I was concerned that even f/5.6 would resolve too much background, but then I discovered that while my focus was nice and sharp on the pistil, the raised petals had gone soft at the edges. Well, poo. I was also bothered by that one bright grass blade going diagonally up to the upper right quadrant.

I decided I had to delete the grass blade and apply a filter to the thing to make it look either sharper or at least overall blurry. I did this in Photoshop, and I think the filter I ended up with was watercolor. Maybe. Not sure.

I like it. Wadda you think?


I do like the image, and yeah, I know about the trickiness of huddling over a tiny flower. Its colors and glow are lovely. I run into the same challenges with trying to get more of a flower in focus and will have to eventually set out to learn some new strategies for that. In this case, the "heart of the matter" is sharply focused and for my eye, that is satisfactory, and usually what I do too.

Linda's square crop works nicely.

Another trick that is interesting to play with in LR on flower shots is blacking out everything put the flower and stem using the adjustment brush with the auto mask working in your favor. I'm not good at it, but have had some moderate successes, and have seen some really nice stuff done that way by people with better skills than me.
"God gave me photography so that I could pray with my eyes" - Dewitt Jones

User avatar
Charles Haacker
Mentoris Tertius
Mentoris Tertius
Posts: 987
Joined: Mon May 01, 2017 7:20 pm
Reputation: 91
Location: Lincoln, Nebraska, USA
Social Media Opt-In: No
Editing option: No, please do not edit my images
Contact:

Re: Fall Blooming Crocus

Postby Charles Haacker » Wed Oct 18, 2017 8:23 pm

Psjunkie wrote:I believe you accomplished your goal..I would suggest getting rid of the bright spot left, maybe even the two brighter spots closest to the flower 5 an 7.
Thanks, Frank, and I agree those spots could stand knocking down at least. I hesitate to remove them altogether, but I'll try it and see.
LindaShorey wrote:The depth of field issues with extreme close-ups of tiny subjects makes me wary of even attempting a photo (tripod...what's that??). Your watercolor darkened the background blacks and made the petal colors pop a bit more. I like the result. Two things you might consider trying: a square crop and a vignette - both would make your delicate, aging beauty stand out more from the busy background IMO.

Have fun unpacking! :D

(edit - Chuck said I could post this. Some folks don't care for square crops under any circumstance. I find it to be a pleasing look with a single circular-patterned flower bloom. Between the two wall groupings I have shown in a pM topic, I have three square frames. None have flowers at the moment, but they seem to compliment many images.)
I like your square version, Linda. I'm surprised I didn't try it since I used to shoot tremendous amounts of 6x6 cm and often leave the images square.
minniev wrote:I do like the image, and yeah, I know about the trickiness of huddling over a tiny flower. Its colors and glow are lovely. I run into the same challenges with trying to get more of a flower in focus and will have to eventually set out to learn some new strategies for that. In this case, the "heart of the matter" is sharply focused and for my eye, that is satisfactory, and usually what I do too.

Linda's square crop works nicely.

Another trick that is interesting to play with in LR on flower shots is blacking out everything put the flower and stem using the adjustment brush with the auto mask working in your favor. I'm not good at it, but have had some moderate successes, and have seen some really nice stuff done that way by people with better skills than me.
Thanks, Min, and once again Welcome Back. I kinda like having some background for context, but I'm not averse to doing what you suggest. I'd probably take it into Photoshop to do it, though. I find using the adjustment brush sometimes tedious, and I've run into the holes-in-the-mask issue (tiny Swiss-cheese holes that look like noise) when using auto mask. I couldn't figure out what was causing the problem until I saw an Anthony Morganti tip on it. Apparently it's a Lightroom glitch. They may since have solved it but meantime I've gotten into the habit of not using auto mask but that makes it even more tedious, so if I have a lot of fine edging to do I will take it into PS and use the more precision tools there. I you don't have Photoshop (or Elements) then you are correct: it can be done in LR but I find it hard.

I should tell all of you that I unashamedly use a camera feature that on my Sony is called Lock-On Autofocus. It's on my Nikon P7XXX series too but called something else I think. I discovered it some time ago and find it very useful when attempting to follow focus on something moving, such as a flower in a breeze. It has its limitations (it will lose the track if the object blows out of frame) and I freely admit that I will usually power through 4 or 6 frames in order to hopefully get something sharp, but it has the remarkable ability to not only follow a small object moving horizontally and vertically in the frame, but also can track some depth as well. It's far faster than I ever was in my prime, and lets me get shots I think would otherwise be impossible. That's how I got these buttercups in deep shade in a light breeze, using a combination of Lock-On Autofocus, "floating" ISO, and aperture priority at f/8. The big Sony cracked off 1/250 @ ISO 1600 to make the shot.
ImageButtercups! (Do You Like Butter?) by Charles Haacker, on Flickr
Friends call me Chuck. :photo: This link takes you to my Flickr albums. Please click on any album to scroll through it.
(I prefer to present pictures in albums because I can put them in specific order.)

All the great photographers use cameras! No, really. :|

User avatar
LindaShorey
Mentoris Quartus
Mentoris Quartus
Posts: 894
Joined: Sun Apr 17, 2016 11:50 am
Reputation: 95
Location: Yakima, WA
Social Media Opt-In: No
Editing option: Yes, feel free to edit my image
Contact:

Re: Fall Blooming Crocus

Postby LindaShorey » Wed Oct 18, 2017 8:58 pm

Fantastic tip for the lock-on autofocus, Chuck. The cheerful buttercups are beautiful!
"What's important in a photograph and what isn't." http://photographylife.com/whats-import ... -what-isnt

User avatar
St3v3M
Key Founding Member
Key Founding Member
Posts: 2280
Joined: Sun Apr 17, 2016 1:02 am
Reputation: 101
Location: 35,000 feet
Social Media Opt-In: Yes
Editing option: Yes, feel free to edit my image
Contact:

Re: Fall Blooming Crocus

Postby St3v3M » Sun Oct 22, 2017 5:18 am

I would say I like the first, but prefer the second and Linda's crop even more. What I find even more fascinating though is the light you achieved while shooting such a small thing. I'm bad at taking images in the proper light so I usually end up bending over a flower in mid-day and cause a huge shadow over the entire thing. It might be a good thing overall, but I generally like sunlit images and am dismayed that I can't get close without blocking the whole thing.

And never be ashamed to tell us a tip, we live for learning new things! I use a foamy garden mat to kneel on and hope it helps! S-
"Take photographs, leave footprints, steal hearts"

User avatar
Charles Haacker
Mentoris Tertius
Mentoris Tertius
Posts: 987
Joined: Mon May 01, 2017 7:20 pm
Reputation: 91
Location: Lincoln, Nebraska, USA
Social Media Opt-In: No
Editing option: No, please do not edit my images
Contact:

Re: Fall Blooming Crocus

Postby Charles Haacker » Sun Oct 22, 2017 2:38 pm

LindaShorey wrote:Fantastic tip for the lock-on autofocus, Chuck. The cheerful buttercups are beautiful!
Thanks, Linda. I incidentally do love butter! :)
St3v3M wrote:I would say I like the first, but prefer the second and Linda's crop even more. What I find even more fascinating though is the light you achieved while shooting such a small thing. I'm bad at taking images in the proper light so I usually end up bending over a flower in mid-day and cause a huge shadow over the entire thing. It might be a good thing overall, but I generally like sunlit images and am dismayed that I can't get close without blocking the whole thing.

And never be ashamed to tell us a tip, we live for learning new things! I use a foamy garden mat to kneel on and hope it helps! S-
I like the square crop as well. As to the light, I think it was getting about 5-ish so the sun was low and off to my left front as I recall, causing that lovely backlit glow. It's still full sun and therefore not considered by many to be "proper light," but honestly I have never worried about it. I just try not to overexpose and then pull up the shadow. I was bent double to make this but my shadow was going down to my right. I have a couple of those garden kneelers and I can get down all right, but I have a LOT of trouble getting back up (it's embarrassing actually). :oops:
Friends call me Chuck. :photo: This link takes you to my Flickr albums. Please click on any album to scroll through it.
(I prefer to present pictures in albums because I can put them in specific order.)

All the great photographers use cameras! No, really. :|

User avatar
St3v3M
Key Founding Member
Key Founding Member
Posts: 2280
Joined: Sun Apr 17, 2016 1:02 am
Reputation: 101
Location: 35,000 feet
Social Media Opt-In: Yes
Editing option: Yes, feel free to edit my image
Contact:

Re: Fall Blooming Crocus

Postby St3v3M » Sun Oct 22, 2017 5:19 pm

Charles Haacker wrote:... but I have a LOT of trouble getting back up (it's embarrassing actually). :oops:

I've decided not to get older. I'll try it and keep you updated on how it goes! S-
"Take photographs, leave footprints, steal hearts"


Return to “Flowers & Plants”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests