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Old Mar 25, 2008, 7:19 PM   #11
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Below is the first flower photo I ever took, back in the 70's. I was lying in a field bored stiff, when I unscrewed my 50mm lens and held it up to my Practika backwards for this one shot. As you can see it's not very good from a technical stand point. It's not even in focus. It's also the one picture that people keep asking to buy a framed enlargement of to hang in their homes. And that's what makes a good flower picture. Or a good picture of any kind. If people like it. Or perhaps more importantly, if you like it.
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Old Mar 25, 2008, 7:23 PM   #12
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Well, I'll post the "other" flower shot that I have. It's the one I probably should have submitted. Or not.....

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Old Mar 25, 2008, 11:07 PM   #13
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Interesting thoughts by everyone. I haven't had a chance to look through the two other discussions yet, but I will.

Kjell - thanks for the identification of the flower - I found it interesting that varieties are usually houseplants, since the ones I was taking pictures of are outdoors being used as a steep hillside cover. That hisbiscus you posted is outstanding in my opinion - much better than what I usually take.

Eddy - I like this one better than the other one you posted. I'm sure that there are those who would nit-pick this one, too, in some way.

tjsnaps really hit it on the head, I think. I sometimes get so wrapped up in trying to find the perfect solution that I miss the whole point - there is no formula you can follow to get fool-proof excellent shots. Also, I think I had gotten rather bored with the botanical flowers and was looking for a "new take" on them. I was trying to get more dramatic lighting (as well as having a faster shutter speed with a bigger DOF) but it doesn't seem to be the answer. Here are a couple of more that I've taken - are they any better/more pleasing? Only one of them was a flash picture, the others natural light.

This one is probably my favorite of the next three. It has the feeling of shape, enough DOF to not be distracting, and the natural lighting is nice.

I also like this one, but there's several major flaws that are distracting to me (the intruding leaf on the left and the stem crossing on the right - I could probably clone it out). I like it in spite of these faults (California Poppy found at the botanical garden, not in the wild). The other poppy I took at the same time was straight in shot and it looked really flat. I thought this one had enough of a hint of shape that it was better.

This one isn't exactly about the flower...

If it were, it would have been deleted as the blown-out leaf at the top is horrible.

thkn - I totally agree with you about taking technically correct pictures that are completely boring and without feeling of any type. The vast majority of the snaps I take fall into that category. It's much harder for me to bring that extra intangeable something to a picture - why I'd never make a pro!
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Old Mar 26, 2008, 4:37 AM   #14
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I love the last three pics, specially the 1st.

I agree with bigdawg, flashes makes the colors drab/drained....

Going by you last three, looks like you have learnt what you sought
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Old Mar 26, 2008, 4:51 AM   #15
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I thought about your question again, and cam up with my answer...

We try to capture the essence of beauty into our photographs...I dont know if you will agree

Sharing one flower for you
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Old Mar 26, 2008, 6:38 AM   #16
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The question is fascinating and the opinions varied and useful. I can't see there being a "one size fits all" solution on this question. Flowers and their settings, whether natural or created for the shot, are so varied that we'll all interpret them differently. And what we use one time may not work the next. I normally shoot flowers with a very shallow DOF, but my favorite floral shot I've taken this spring was just the opposite

On this shot, the shooting angle made it work. Much more typical for me are these two. On the first, emphasis was on lighting, some of which was added in PP, an in the other,emphasis was on texture.

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Old Mar 26, 2008, 2:46 PM   #17
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There are a lot of great shot's in this tread.

And I can't say that I have rules about getting a good floral shot.

There are some things that I do try to get, but they are not specific for flowers, and I'm sure you all know or at least use them.

In any way it's an interesting question and made me and a lot more think about it.
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Old Mar 26, 2008, 3:28 PM   #18
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Here are a couple of my favourites, I think angle of view and DOF are the biggest factors for me. I often use a 100-300mm zoom at 300mm and minimum focus distance to limit the DOF (as in this first shot):

An SMC-M 50mm f1.7 wide open:

And this example with a different background (and different lens, the Sigma 24-135mm at 135mm and wide open f4.5):

My wife Annette has great success with tight crops the show only part of the flower, examples can be seen at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/7387618...7600038217071/

I also agree with Dawg that flash must be very carefully manipulated to get good results, something like the macro setup Roy uses will probably work well, as would carefully placed off-camera units.

I also tend to crop more often when shooting these images since it is so difficult to eliminate all the distractions, and I find that part of the creative process here (for me at least) is to look at various crops from the same image file.


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Old Mar 26, 2008, 4:07 PM   #19
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Hi Harriet,
this question is really interesting for me.
Why? Because flower macros and garden pictures are the only reason, why i could suggest to my wife to buy a DSLR. :-)

I have shot over pics from flowers in our garden since three years now (with Oly superzoom). There are some p*cs that look to me quite the same every year.
my wife can name the month, the year and the place (maybe even the minute :-) and the direction from where i shot the pic) for almost every pic i did.

She is not very interested in the pics during the garden season, only the 'better' pics are interesting, because she needs prints, to show them around in her school.
But during late fall and winter, she looks at all the pics, nearly every week.
And she likes them all, not because they are extraordinary, but she remembers every little flower then.

For me they are just nice pics, some more , some less, some are real crap, but as long they show one of her favourite flowers, she is happy, even with the crap pics.

So what i wanted to point out, it is the point of view, how you look at the pics and what you and/or someone else see in your pictures.

Having said that, i am sorry to say, but i don't know what makes a real good flower macro, but if someone can tell me, maybe my pics will get better,my wife will be much more happier
and finally :-) i can buy some new equipment (i need a macro lens, a flash, a ...)

bye alex

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Old Mar 26, 2008, 4:09 PM   #20
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Monza76 wrote:
An SMC-M 50mm f1.7 wide open:

Ira, easy to comment: WOW!

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