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mtngal Mar 5, 2008 11:14 PM

I'm not completely happy with anything I took today. I could use some suggestions to improve, or if they aren't as sad as I think they are, let me know.

I like the idea of this one, but think I missed the focus just a bit. Composition isn't the greatest - the bee moved right before I took the picture. I think the exposure is OK but not brilliant. The lighting was difficult because of too much dynamic range, and harsh noon sun along with some left-over marine layer haze.

This was the one I was originally going to post under the challenge, but for some reason, I don't like the way it came out. Not quite sure why.

I think this might be just way beyond the camera's capability or something like that. The camera also backfocused (I was using an AF lens for this one) and I'm sure that didn't help.

So what would be your suggestions (other than shooting at a different time of day) to try to improve them? Or is this just a hopeless topic/situation?

bigdawg Mar 6, 2008 12:23 AM

A different time of day and different light will help these. Some are backlit too much and the one is too bright and hash light for a good exposure. Just what I see. Some pretty blooms though!


Rodney9 Mar 6, 2008 12:24 AM

Well what do I know, I like the first and always love shots like the last that take you somewhere ?
For flowers I find the early morning light to be best and with usually less wind.


Lyrics51 Mar 6, 2008 1:48 AM

Harriet, I know what you mean. There are a lot of times I have seen a great scene but was unable toreally capture it,especially with trees. I wonder if there aren't two problems. The first is that part of the scenes attractiveness is in its 3 demensions that can't be duplicatedin a camera. The second is that its hard to find of center of attention with so many blooms. Your first shotis better in that way.I wonder if it wouldn't be better to focus on one bloom or a cluster of them with the others all blurred. That would be difficult with such a great amount of light at noon. The other possibility would be to get the whole tree as the subject and have it set off against a differentcolor background. However it is unusual tofind that in nature and even more difficultto move the tree!I have a lot of really pretty"snow onpines" pictures, but they lack something. Here is an example. It has some nice elements, but it doesn't grab you.

In this one I tried to set the tree off by using the sky as a background, but I still don't think it is a particularly good picture. In this case maybe the background is just to boring?

Anyway there are some thoughts about it. When you find the formula let us know. And maybe there is someone else who can give us some ideas on how to do it. Then again since it's this months challenge nobody wants to share secrets until April!


Wingman Mar 6, 2008 8:39 AM

Harriet: I agree about the focus (lack of) on image no. 1). However, if you were to crop it to include just the left 3rd of the image, I believe you 'd have a (bee)keeper:-). Trees are tough subjects since there is so much "clutter" in the way of branches and leaves--but that's what makes a tree a tree.

Glenn: Your image no. 2 is great one--you should enter it in the challenge.


DigitalAddict Mar 6, 2008 10:04 AM

Those are some lovely shots. I had a similar experience last year when using my DA 70mm pancake. This year I plan of using the 50mm F2.8 macro with tripod and all that (assuming there will be no wind).

Look at the bright side: you have really beautiful weather out there. It will be May until we see something like that. FYI, we have -15F for the min and 14F for the max at the moment.

penolta Mar 6, 2008 12:47 PM

Early morning light is better, but it is possible to get a better balance in the type of lighting you have. You need more frontal lighting to balance the backlight. You can try fill flash (I have had success with the built-in flashinmany of the closeups I have posted here), or carry a white piece of paper or cardstock that you can use as a reflector to add frontal illumination to the subject. You can also use the white paper as a diffuser for the flash, if needed. Simple solutions, but effective.

bper Mar 6, 2008 3:42 PM

Harriet - This kind of stuff is the exact reason why I am playing with HDR. EverytimeI try to shoot atree with white flowers, I blow it. Here's what I am trying now and nothing is in bloom here yet, so I can't play with anything. You need to use a tripod and your auto bracketing. Set it to bracket at 1.5 +/-, that way you have a three stop latitude -1.5/0/+1.5 (the new K20D does 5 shot AB, to me that would be a plus). There are lots of HDR programs out there and try playing with one and see what you think. It has also been suggested you can do this with one raw file, but I haven't had as good aluck that way.

Let me say that I am no expert and at this point am in the play and learn stage. But, I think it holds the best hope for this type of shot. Now if it were a landscape shot with a bright horizon or lake, then maybe a graduate filter would work better or as good.

At this time I am playing with Picturenaut, but have played with a couple others over the last year. Picturenaut requires you shoot JPG's. The problem is I never have my tripod ready when I run into a good practice picture for HDR. I bought a new lightweight tripod that I intend to always have with me now, so we'll see. File this in the "for what it's worth department"- Bruce

ennacac Mar 6, 2008 7:14 PM

What the heck are those things, they look like the things we called flowers before the Ice Age came to the Midwest. -7F here and going down for tomorrow!

The left side of #1 is in great focus, you just didn't have enough depth of field to cover the entire image. If you took them in RAW, go back and pump up the contrast a bit and change the exposure and you should be good to go.


snooked Mar 6, 2008 7:49 PM

1 Attachment(s)
With the lighting you had I wold try fill flash. Take multiple shots with different Aperture Priority setting so you have a choice of what is in focus when you look at them on the computer.

With the photos you have I would use photoshop shadows/highlights and lighten shadows by about 25%, darken highlights about 10% or to your taste. I find darkening the highlights brings out the details in white birds and flowers.

I find with a subject that is not going anywhere it pays to take many photos with varied settings. Most will be junk but most often one or more will stand out from the others.

Hope you do not mind, I tried the photoshop on your first photo. Would have worked better on RAW or larger JPEG file.


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