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Old Jul 31, 2007, 11:15 AM   #1
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I needed some training with blurred backgrounds.
My friends with their dSLRs dont't have any problems with the backgrounds.

So open the aperture wide (f=2.8, align the object and........

Ups, there is something wrong with this tactics!
Forget this object, these dragonflies always sit deep inside the weeds.

Next victim:
Lets take a better background:

or this one:
(FZ5 tele macro no additional lenses - 70 cm distance)

Not bad in this case, but not precisely what I was thinking of.

But changing position helps a lot - this one comes closer to my needs....

A different approach:
Searching an object with a more distant background.
Still f=2.8 (a hard job!) backing off - full tele zoom with minolta achromat #1
My only chance to get little depth of focus.

Turning to find a more distant background:

This was exactly what I was searching for.
DSLRs don't need this distance (around 1m) between the object and the background.
Finding the right location helps with my P&S.

Final step: increasing the distance to the background ;-)

The sharpness could be better - the sweet spot of the FZ5 is at f=5.6.....

..and now for something completely different....

The new FZ18 has a 1cm macro function at the wide zoom end.

So lets test this option with my little toy: Sanyo xacti E6:

First a giant: (35mm film equiv. no add. lenses)

( a different version of my known dragon fly) - more "silver" ;-)

..and now a small robberfly tolerating extreme closeups (appr. 2cm)

again (35mm film equiv. no add. lenses)

So let the FZ18 come.....
This function can be used - even with blurred backgrounds :-)

...but I am not willing to pay again for a new P&S - we need sponsors!

Thanks for viewing!


technique: FZ5, minolta achromat #1 and #2, neat image, high pass sharpening
available light, no tripods

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Old Aug 1, 2007, 9:04 AM   #2
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Looks like you have mastered the blurred background tecnique. They are all great captures, but the second from last is really fantastic. Don't believe I've ever seen such detail and lighting on a dragon's wings before. Excellent !
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Old Aug 1, 2007, 4:00 PM   #3
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All nice shots Sven. Despite shot 1 not having the required effect you wanted its still a very nice capture.

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Old Aug 1, 2007, 6:40 PM   #4
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Nice shots. For 2 and 3 it would have been quite a feat to properly blur a background that close. I have noticed with my shots that even a small amount of cropping will help blur the background. Of course if the subject is off a bit that blurs more also.

It would be best if we could train the insects to always sit on a twig or leaf tip with nothing close.
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Old Aug 7, 2007, 7:38 PM   #5
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Great Pics as Always, Sven.

I oftend do achieve more blurry Backgrounds with PP (through Gaussian blur and using history brush and some more PS tools...)

Too bad this year I couldn't go to meet Dragonflies (in a place which is called the Valley of Hell, Vallone dell'Inferno).
Have so much to do, and neither had time to update into my site the last two trekking galleries...

Nice Holidays to you and every one on this forum
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Old Aug 8, 2007, 12:54 AM   #6
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thanks for the nice comments!

tinosa, search for newly hatched dragonflies - best time: early in the morning on a warm day. Only those ones have this silvery glow. But be very careful, they are very fragile in this phase!

Mark, these backgrounds are extremely distracting. I am using these shots only for documentation (and search for better occasions).

Happy, the idea with the training is quite nice, but I tell you a secret:
There were appr. 30 dragonflies at that location. 25 were very busy, five were resting.
Four of these rested deep in the weeds -- there was no hope with these ones.
The last dragonfly sat close to the branch on the picture above.
Very slow movements conviced this insect, just to move a little bit further.
So you can teach them!!! (tchuanye - Tan has done such tricks too)

Francesco, I hope you will have more time soon!
I visit your homepage frequently and I can wait.
Perhaps I will blur some backgrounds during wintertime, but at the moment I try to follow my rules:
- use available light
- don't crop a 5 Mpixel picture
- no pp modifications

This helps to improve my skills. I miss some chances, but there are enough of them.

My holiday started with one week of illness :-((
But I am fine again!

This is my latest picture from yesterday - dark blurred background ;-)



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