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Thread: Spiderwort

  1. #1

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    Spiderwort

    The flower was found growing wild on the side of the road. These were taken after I got it home. Any comments or suggestions?

    Spiderwort

    Spiderwort

  2. #2

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    Re: Spiderwort

    In a perfect world, Kevin, assuming you were using shooting with a tripod to give you such a low shutter speed, I wonder if this would have been a suitable candidate for taking a couple of shots at different focus points then combining them.

    But that also assumes that you have suitable editing software. And that you were in windless conditions. When taking something home, I tend to prefer shooting indoors close to a window, and/or have some extra light source.

    I also have a few printed backdrops which can help, unless a plain black or white, etc is required.

    With the second image, you do have a few background problems with those bright, and distracting, spots. Which is something which often occurs and doesn't get noticed in time. I often get this same problem with 'in the wild' shots.

    Cloning and selective brightness reduction my help to reduce them. Otherwise, I would consider cropping tighter to concentrate on just the flower centre, which is in good focus.

  3. #3

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    Re: Spiderwort

    Thank you Geoff F. Tried cloning on the second image, but selective brightness is not an option at the moment. Aperture is the best I have but I am looking. Still a noticeable improvement I think.

    Spiderwort

    Your idea for the first image sounds interesting. I have seen images made by combining multiple shots, each with a different focal point, into one. Not sure where to start with that. What is that process called, or is there any software would you recommend for doing it?

  4. #4

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    Re: Spiderwort

    The process of combining more than one focus point is normally referred to as Image Stacking or Focus Stacking.

    There are a number of programmes specifically for this purpose.

    But the last time I tried them, one wouldn't work on my computer, one was too expensive and another produced disappointing results. However, some people seem to get good results from most of the suitable software.

    Now that I have editing software which has Layer Alignment as a standard feature I have returned to more experiments with this method.

    You need subjects without movement so you can get fairly close to correct alignment of shots to start with.

    I usually shoot Raw then convert using identical settings (auto synchronised) and arrange the shots as layers.

    Then I am able to Auto Align and Auto Blend the layers so the sharpest areas of each layer are selected. But sometimes I prefer to add masks to the aligned layers and edit by hand instead of auto blending.

    If you search for Image Stacking you should find plenty of detailed information.

    Incidentally, I was shooting a plant today with this method. Indoors with lighting and a printed image for a backdrop. I had carefully selected and removed the best bit of my plant which was placed in a small plant pot to hold it steady.

    I carefully removed any damaged leaves and adjusted for the best angle. Then decided that my background, which was attached to a piece of plywood, needed moving slightly. And, of course, the plywood fell forwards which cut off the plant stem.

    Eventually managed with a new stem.

  5. #5

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    Re: Spiderwort

    Thank you for the information Geoff F. I will be looking into your suggestions. I have been playing with the extension tubes the last several days and I am beginning to feel a need for some additional DOF. Sorry about your shot being ruined but appreciate the information about the effort you put into it. Does the printed image used for the backdrop help with picture alignment when stacking?

  6. #6

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    Re: Spiderwort

    The background is really just a case of having something other than a distracting house wall etc. And you can then prevent and reflection problems.

    Be it a print, not glossy paper, or a piece of black cloth etc which some photographers like to use.

    This is the set up that I am currently using as an experiment.

    http://i45.tinypic.com/25p0oj7.jpg

  7. #7

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    Re: Spiderwort

    Firstly, Kevin, nice shots. Shoot, shoot, shoot and then some mre and you will get perfect results. Already very good imho.

    Thanks Geoff for the home shooting pointers. The only time I took a wild flower home it had wilted within the 10 minutes or so it took from plucking to reaching home. That was the last time I did that.

    How do you keep them fresh for home shooting?

    The setup looks like something I could do easily. Why the monster light?

  8. #8

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    Re: Spiderwort

    The light is actually only 300 watt equivalent and produces a rather gentle natural daylight effect. Recently, I have been adding a single bulb (100 equivalent) on the opposite side.

    These are cool bulbs which produce very little heat. The main idea was for photographing chilled insects. About an hour in a refrigerator slows them down sufficiently to get a couple of shots from angles which are often hard to achieve. For identification purposes.

    With insects, I need a good depth of field (F14) and a reasonable shutter speed because although they move slowly they still move so I add a bit of flash as well for them. Usually an exposure compensation of around -2 seems to work OK.

    My experiments include placing an insect on a leaf and using the printed background or, as an alternative, covering a small shallow container with leaves and placing the insect on the greenery.

    But setting up etc has to be done in advance because there is often only a few quick shots before they start to warm up and decide that they are 'bored with this game' then fly off through the open window.

    Here are a couple of examples, originally posted in the Insects thread.

    http://i50.tinypic.com/2e4yzyo.jpg

    http://i48.tinypic.com/2e6c5e8.jpg

    Still experimenting though.
    Last edited by Geoff F; 8th May 2012 at 07:03 PM. Reason: links added

  9. #9

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    Re: Spiderwort

    Thanks for the additional info.

    Will be getting a macro lens tomorrow. Though almost everything I shoot is always outdoors, will certainly put something up in the spare room. At least it will help with improving my lighting skills if nothing else.

  10. #10

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    Re: Spiderwort

    Thank you Bobobird for the comments and thank you again Geoff F for the helpful information.

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