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Thread: Elixir and Stones

  1. #1
    Shadowman's Avatar
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    Elixir and Stones

    Slice and Dice Me, trying a bit of still life.

    Olympus EPL1
    f/5, 1/4s, ISO200, 36mm

    Elixir and Stones

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    Re: Elixir and Stones

    Hi John, I haven't done any still life myself, but do like your subjects.
    I'll slice and dice as best I can:
    The background has some distracting wrinkles and the texture doesn't help. It also seems to be more in focus than your subjects. Maybe stop down some, focus a bit more to the front, and/or move the background further away. The brown spot uppper left corner doesn't fit.
    Rather harsh specular highlights on the bottle and hard shadows on your stones. Softer light could smooth out the bright spots on the bottle. The black background shows through the narrower parts of the bottle and kind of muddies the translucent elixir. I read somewhere you could cut out a white card to match the profile from the cameras pov and place it behind the bottle, to both block the black, and get the best color for your liquid.
    What type of lighting/ setup did you use here?

  3. #3
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Elixir and Stones

    Hi John,

    Mike has covered everything pretty well, so my only general advice is that with still life, the normal rules apply - and then some.
    e.g.
    look around the frame and make sure everything in the shot actually 'contributes'
    make sure the subject is in focus

    plus
    you're completely responsible for the composition and lighting, so play with them until you're happy, or they're as best you can get

    sliced and diced enough?

    Looking forward to the next one,

  4. #4
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    Re: Elixir and Stones

    Quote Originally Posted by Myk View Post
    Hi John, I haven't done any still life myself, but do like your subjects.
    I'll slice and dice as best I can:
    The background has some distracting wrinkles and the texture doesn't help. It also seems to be more in focus than your subjects. Maybe stop down some, focus a bit more to the front, and/or move the background further away. The brown spot uppper left corner doesn't fit.
    Rather harsh specular highlights on the bottle and hard shadows on your stones. Softer light could smooth out the bright spots on the bottle. The black background shows through the narrower parts of the bottle and kind of muddies the translucent elixir. I read somewhere you could cut out a white card to match the profile from the cameras pov and place it behind the bottle, to both block the black, and get the best color for your liquid.
    What type of lighting/ setup did you use here?
    Hi Mike,

    Thanks for the criticism, I could see the errors but was concentrating on getting the bottle in focus. The background and support were makeshift arrangements, waiting for my light tent to arrive. The lighting was an LED lamp positioned about two inches from the bottle and I have been experimenting with using a flashlight on either side for now. The room had standard incandescent lighting but not enough to illuminate the still life. I'll give it another go.

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    Re: Elixir and Stones

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Humphries View Post
    Hi John,

    Mike has covered everything pretty well, so my only general advice is that with still life, the normal rules apply - and then some.
    e.g.
    look around the frame and make sure everything in the shot actually 'contributes'
    make sure the subject is in focus

    plus
    you're completely responsible for the composition and lighting, so play with them until you're happy, or they're as best you can get

    sliced and diced enough?

    Looking forward to the next one,
    Dave,

    Thanks for the comments. I have been trying different setups, I actually like it when I have to spend more than a few minutes on a project. Usually I concentrate on landscapes, cityscapes, and street photography and you don't have a chance to modify your backgrounds, at least physically. As Mike pointed out my focus seems to be a bit off and it is clearly visible in this photograph. It appears to be in focus on the viewfinder but when I print the image the distortion is clearly visible.

    Elixir and Stones

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    Re: Elixir and Stones

    Here are two more where the bottle is placed against a brighter background. In the first photo, the focus was actually on the disk to the right.
    Elixir and Stones

    In the second photo, I was focusing on the bolttle but the magazine cover appears more in focus.

    Elixir and Stones

    in the photograph from my first post, I was using a 4/3rds Olympus camera that has multiple focusing points. In the two photographs from this post I was using a Nikon D60 which only has three focusing points.

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Elixir and Stones

    Quote Originally Posted by Shadowman View Post
    Dave,

    Thanks for the comments. I have been trying different setups, I actually like it when I have to spend more than a few minutes on a project. Usually I concentrate on landscapes, cityscapes, and street photography and you don't have a chance to modify your backgrounds, at least physically. As Mike pointed out my focus seems to be a bit off and it is clearly visible in this photograph. It appears to be in focus on the viewfinder but when I print the image the distortion is clearly visible.

    Elixir and Stones
    Hi John,

    So what did you focus on here?
    If the watch face (and not strap), you may have a 'back focus' problem at these distances with that lens/camera (if using AF)

    The strap, and camera behind are clearly sharper in this one.

    If, seeing a subsequent post, you have multiple focus points, you need to find a way to make sure only one that YOU choose is being used.

    Good luck,

  8. #8
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Elixir and Stones

    Quote Originally Posted by Shadowman View Post
    Here are two more where the bottle is placed against a brighter background. In the first photo, the focus was actually on the disk to the right.
    Elixir and Stones

    In the second photo, I was focusing on the bolttle but the magazine cover appears more in focus.

    Elixir and Stones

    In the two photographs from this post I was using a Nikon D60 which only has three focusing points.
    Hi again John,

    If you have Nikon ViewNX, can you show us, from a screen grab, the focus point(s) used on these?

    Can you do this?
    Elixir and Stones
    Not sure if my picture will display, if not I'll find another.

  9. #9
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Elixir and Stones

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Humphries View Post
    Not sure if my picture will display, if not I'll find another.
    It only showed for me because it was in a Private album (doh)

    Here it is;
    Elixir and Stones
    Last edited by Dave Humphries; 21st January 2012 at 02:40 PM.

  10. #10
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    Backfocusing issue

    Dave,

    Here is the screen shot and yes I was focusing on the watch face.

    Elixir and Stones

  11. #11
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Backfocusing issue

    Quote Originally Posted by Shadowman View Post
    Dave,

    Here is the screen shot and yes I was focusing on the watch face.

    Elixir and Stones
    Thanks John,

    It may or may not help, but with this scene, ideally I would be more careful placing the focus point because within the box, it will tend to focus on the furthest contrast difference and I wonder whether it decided to choose the strap behind instead of the watch face even though to us that's looks most sensible and the largest contrast.

    I also wonder what the significance of the sealed box vs the 'brackets' is?
    Does it indicate it did not achieve focus? (I don't think so)
    Does it indicate something else relating to focus mode selected? (probably)

    Perhaps another Nikon shooter View NX user can advise?

    So in other words, don't worry about a back focus problem yet, it may be another cause.

  12. #12
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    Re: Backfocusing issue

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Humphries View Post
    Thanks John,

    It may or may not help, but with this scene, ideally I would be more careful placing the focus point because within the box, it will tend to focus on the furthest contrast difference and I wonder whether it decided to choose the strap behind instead of the watch face even though to us that's looks most sensible and the largest contrast.

    I also wonder what the significance of the sealed box vs the 'brackets' is?
    Does it indicate it did not achieve focus? (I don't think so)
    Does it indicate something else relating to focus mode selected? (probably)

    Perhaps another Nikon shooter View NX user can advise?

    So in other words, don't worry about a back focus problem yet, it may be another cause.
    Thanks Dave,

    The focus indicator on the Nikon system are all brackets, the left and right brackets open on the sides, and the center bracket as you see above is open on the top and bottom.

  13. #13
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Backfocusing issue

    Quote Originally Posted by Shadowman View Post
    The focus indicator on the Nikon system are all brackets, the left and right brackets open on the sides, and the center bracket as you see above is open on the top and bottom.
    Not in my experience - mine are always closed boxes - we must be doing something different!

  14. #14

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    Re: Backfocusing issue

    John, Thanks for the lighting info on the first, it looked like maybe a flash or two but at 1/4 second a lot of lights could look like that. With flashlights and LED's already in that close, not a lot of extra light to throw away by diffusing it. I look forward to seeing more attempts.
    The actual coverage of the focusing sensor *may* also go slightly beyond the box. In the last pic it could have grabbed the bottom edge of the camera, or the very bottom of the label on the front of the camera.
    I think the brackets in Johns have to do with the orientation of the sensor, and differences between the Multicam 530 AF module and the Multicam 1000; although on both the center point is the most accurate. I have a D5k also and always get closed boxes; but the shape of the box changes depending on the sensor in use :

    af-points.jpg
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Shadowman's Avatar
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    Re: Backfocusing issue

    When you and Dave remove the lens from the camera are the focus indicators the sealed boxes? Mine are brackets. My camera is the D60.

  16. #16

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    Re: Backfocusing issue

    That was the way they show in NX2, in the actual viewfinder they are brackets.

  17. #17
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    Re: Backfocusing issue

    Quote Originally Posted by Myk View Post
    That was the way they show in NX2, in the actual viewfinder they are brackets.
    I was using ViewNX, would there be a difference? I guess there is, on my toolbar the focus point is displayed as brackets.

  18. #18

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    Re: Backfocusing issue

    Apparently, although I'm unsure if it actually means anything other than the focus point info stored with the image files on different cameras is different. Prior to my last post I went through every available focus mode on my D5k and got the same box display for all; except when focus wasn't locked in AF-C, and manual focus.

  19. #19
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    Re: Backfocusing issue

    Last attempts for the week until I return home Friday. The first attempt was a merging of four images using HDR software. The second photo was shot with diffused lighting.
    HDR
    Elixir and Stones
    Diffused Light
    Elixir and Stones

    Still working on the focusing issue.

  20. #20
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Backfocusing issue

    Quote Originally Posted by Myk View Post
    Apparently, although I'm unsure if it actually means anything other than the focus point info stored with the image files on different cameras is different. Prior to my last post I went through every available focus mode on my D5k and got the same box display for all; except when focus wasn't locked in AF-C, and manual focus.
    Hi Mike, thanks

    Yes I think you're right, it must just be the different generations of camera and focus chip.

    I was reading too much into it.

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