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Old Feb 13, 2011, 5:23 PM   #1
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Default FZ35 - amaryllis buds, not yet in bloom

My subject material is pretty limited these days. We continue to have amaryllis bulbs shooting stalk for new blooms. Two are in the final stages of buds, ready to burst the bloom.

I have two sets here. The first is a bud on a stalk that is nearly ready for blooms. The second is a couple of days behind, where the buds are still pretty tightly packed in the stalk. Both are in a south window. The bulbs are very fragile with the long stalk, and not eager to be moved to a better location for shooting pics. The sun was a bit harsh this afternoon. Without a good backdrop, I had somebody hold a bath towel behind to eliminate the noise and distractions.

The first set of three pics are not as I expected. I tried some shots yesterday, without much success (ended up deleting them all). I tried again today with something better. But, I'm not satisfied. For whatever reason, the shots don't do the subject justice. Perhaps depth of field is the issue, and I need to shoot with A, not P.

The second set are different, but I like them better. Another post to follow.
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Old Feb 13, 2011, 5:25 PM   #2
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Another set of five images of another bud, not as far along.
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Old Feb 13, 2011, 5:28 PM   #3
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Beautiful flower, and a wonderful attempt.

It might be helpful if you could post your EXIF data (i.e., settings). It looks to me as if your depth of field is too shallow (i.e., too small of an F-stop). It also looks as if the camera is focusing on the back drop rather than the subject.

Also the left side of the flower is in shadow. If you can arrange it so that the entire flower is equally lighted, that would probably help.

So I might suggest using the A setting, increasing the F Stop, and either use a spot or manual focus.
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Old Feb 13, 2011, 5:31 PM   #4
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I really like the second set of images, especially 4 & 5, where the subject is better lighted, and the back drop is dark and out of focus. In these pics it seems that the shallow DOF adds some mystery to the image, because we are looking at a single element, and the background is not distracting us.
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Old Feb 13, 2011, 6:28 PM   #5
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This is a really difficult shot. If you increase your f stop too much, you will get too much of you background in focus. Try holding your backdrop further back so it's out of focus. Also, you may try a lighter color backdrop. I really like the last few with the very dark background, very dramatic.
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Old Feb 13, 2011, 9:32 PM   #6
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Roger, it is tricky with this kind of camera, but I'd recommend positioning the background at least several metres behind the flower, and positioning the camera as far back as you have room - I've done still-life shots with my camera on a tripod out on the deck and the food on the kitchen bench, with maximum telephoto. That way you will get the best isolation from the background.

This one had the background about 1.5 metres back and the camera about 3 metres from the subject:
http://forums.steves-digicams.com/pa...life-fz40.html
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Old Feb 15, 2011, 9:57 PM   #7
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I keep struggling with this subject. I shot several images yesterday, but threw them all out. Likewise, the day before.

I made some today. The timing was not good. The only time I could do the shoot was when the sun was brightly coming through the window. It was too harsh.

One of the stalks has now blossomed out, the other still in bud stage. It will be in blossom in the next day or so.

But, the one with the blossoms, getting a good shot just seems to be difficult. I made some shots, AF Macro, and some with Man Focus. I just cannot see the LCD screen well enough to know where the sweet spot exists.

Attached are five shots. One is of the bud, same as the previous shot. I like the previous shots better. The next ones are of the one in blossom. Again, the sun was too harsh for good rendition.

The last one is for informational purposes only. The sun was sharp on the side. In other words, the direct line of sunlight was perpendicular to the axis of lens. The exposure of the shot is terrible. But, what the shot revealed is dust particles on the lens. Other shots when the line was slightly oblique, the problem does not show. But, this series of shots really show up the dust on the lens.

Now, the problem is to clean the lens. Does anybody have a good suggestion? Thanks.
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Old Feb 16, 2011, 11:17 AM   #8
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The second to last image is quite stunning.

One way to avoid the lens spots is to use the lens hood (or your hand) so the sun is not hitting the lens. You should also clean it with a microfiber lens cleaner fabric.
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