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Thread: Break of Day

  1. #1
    WJT's Avatar
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    Break of Day

    Here is a few shots from the weekend which I would like some feedback on. Taken very early on a misty morning in low light. Subject is a Calatrix, one of our many wonderful flowers. The dew makes an interesting shot but I'm not sure if I have done it justice.

    Break of Day

    Break of Day
    Last edited by Dave Humphries; 14th June 2012 at 10:24 PM. Reason: fixed broken img tag

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Break of Day

    Hi Wayne,

    For some reason, the subject isn't jumping out and grabbing me, not sure if it is a lack of Local Contrast Enhancement, or just under sharpened on subject compared to background.

    You might want to do something with the (iso4000) noise if applying 'more' sharpening to the background though.

    The second in particular, being less busy and with simpler composition should 'work' better than it does with the nice sunlit water drops and clear difference of focal plane between subject and background.

    Were they shot RAW?

    btw, I fixed the broken img tag in your first post and got rid of the now unnecessary second post

    Cheers,

  3. #3
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    Re: Break of Day

    Thanks for the comments Dave, I know what your saying and struggled with this myself. I have been trying to get a good shot of this flower for some time but want to do it outdoors and natural. This means the background can be distracting. To use a bigger aperture however also means not getting the detail so Im going to have to keep experimenting. The light in this case was very soft which may have something to do with the lack of sharpness. I am tempted to take some black felt out bush with me and set up a back ground to see if I can get what Im after.

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    Re: Break of Day

    Hi Wayne, This is an excellent image with a lot of potential!

    By the same time, this is also one of those extremely busy subjects that are difficult to capture well. My feeling is that you will need to get better separation between the subject and the background.

    One approach is to minimize or eliminate whatever is in soft focus and leave the subject sharp and the background blurred with very little 'half in focus' middle ground. If more separation is needed, then you can turn to reducing the background contrast and/or going for a complementary colour tone in the background.

    For example, the first one has better colour tone differences but the half-in-focus elements confuse the line between subject and background.

    In the second one, the focus differentiation is better but the identical colour tone in the background dulls the subject impact, particularly on the right side of the image.

    Is it possible to get the second subject with a primarily soft green background that complements the sharp green part of the subject? If you can't get the elements to line up in-camera, you might need to get two shots; one of the subject in sharp focus and another of the background blurred and combine them in post processing.

    Hope this helps!

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    Re: Break of Day

    One “trick” I know of for macro backgrounds is to make a large print of some out of focus foliage.

    Mount it to a piece of foam core and there you go.

    Saves a lot of time in post.

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    Re: Break of Day

    Frank and Terry, very helpful thank you both. This is an ongoing challenge to me as I have been very keen for a long time to nail this flower and this opportunity with the soft light, dew and no wind is as good as it gets, but in retrospect and with all the feedback it is the back ground and point of focus which has been the downfall of these shots. Like Frank says it is very busy also. I have posted another shot from the same shoot which has less going on and a clearer back ground, let me know if this is better or any feedback, particularly on the focus.
    Break of Day

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    Re: Break of Day

    Quote Originally Posted by WJT View Post
    Frank and Terry, very helpful thank you both. This is an ongoing challenge to me as I have been very keen for a long time to nail this flower and this opportunity with the soft light, dew and no wind is as good as it gets, but in retrospect and with all the feedback it is the back ground and point of focus which has been the downfall of these shots. Like Frank says it is very busy also. I have posted another shot from the same shoot which has less going on and a clearer back ground, let me know if this is better or any feedback, particularly on the focus.
    Break of Day
    Hi Wayne,

    Yes this solves a lot of the problems, but needs at least one stop less exposure to prevent the red channel blowing.

    then it just needs a decent sharpen after the downsize to make it pop on the web drops.

    One suggestioon might be to flip it horizontally, I have a feeling it'll look better that way round (to us, if not you, because it'll seem 'wrong' )

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    Re: Break of Day

    Hello Wayne
    I too think this is a good shot with a lot of potential, It is indeed a beautiful subject.
    Looking at your second image, a couple of things strike me immediately, the shallow dof while separating the subject from the background a little, has caused the further parts of the flower to blend more into an over bright background. It makes the subject hard to pick out. Would it be an idea to increase the dof a little and do what is possible to darken the background considerably? selection would be tedious but not impossible!
    Your last shot,
    One suggestioon might be to flip it horizontally, I have a feeling it'll look better that way round
    Very good idea!
    A little too bright perhaps...., but background separation is great !

    Good Work

    Phil

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    Re: Break of Day

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Humphries View Post
    Hi Wayne,

    Yes this solves a lot of the problems, but needs at least one stop less exposure to prevent the red channel blowing.

    then it just needs a decent sharpen after the downsize to make it pop on the web drops.

    One suggestioon might be to flip it horizontally, I have a feeling it'll look better that way round (to us, if not you, because it'll seem 'wrong' )
    Thanks Dave,
    I tried flipping it but it didnt work for me. This version has a little more contrast and a little less exposure. I think it helps. Break of Day

  10. #10
    WJT's Avatar
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    Re: Break of Day

    Quote Originally Posted by Quinn View Post
    Hello Wayne
    I too think this is a good shot with a lot of potential, It is indeed a beautiful subject.
    Looking at your second image, a couple of things strike me immediately, the shallow dof while separating the subject from the background a little, has caused the further parts of the flower to blend more into an over bright background. It makes the subject hard to pick out. Would it be an idea to increase the dof a little and do what is possible to darken the background considerably? selection would be tedious but not impossible!
    Your last shot,

    Very good idea!
    A little too bright perhaps...., but background separation is great !

    Good Work

    Phil
    thanks Philip,
    I do like that picture but the background does spoil it. If I did have the skill to fix it I probably wouldnt have the patience but I do agree and would love someone to do it for me. If the picture was taken a 100 ISO instead of 4000 it would be worth having a go.

  11. #11
    Quinn's Avatar
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    Re: Break of Day

    You know noise reduction software is very very effective these days, and noise is less apparent in images that aren't too big.
    How about putting a sheet of something behind the stem next time. Total background separation and if you wanted to put in an appropriate back drop PP, selection would be a lot easier especially if your lucky enough to have CS5.
    Just an idea!
    Keep it up!
    Phil

  12. #12
    WJT's Avatar
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    Re: Break of Day

    Quote Originally Posted by Quinn View Post
    You know noise reduction software is very very effective these days, and noise is less apparent in images that aren't too big.
    How about putting a sheet of something behind the stem next time. Total background separation and if you wanted to put in an appropriate back drop PP, selection would be a lot easier especially if your lucky enough to have CS5.
    Just an idea!
    Keep it up!
    Phil
    Thanks Philip, I am now curious and will look further into your comments. I like the idea of having a back ground fo macros as it will save me a lot of PP hard work and define my chosen subjects nicely.

  13. #13
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    Re: Break of Day

    As a learner I sometimes use telephoto to get what I want. I have a Fuji HS20 and took this today at x30 because it was impossible to get any nearer.

    The second is another technique I use, a piece of card held behind. I had to crop my thumb out of this otherwise the photos are untouched.
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