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Thread: Yellow Flower with Hover Fly

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    John C's Avatar
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    Yellow Flower with Hover Fly

    Here is photo taken with the Sony A350 and 50mm macro. I think this is a hover fly. Its really hard to get these guys in focus. The fly doesn't stay still for long; the breeze moves the flower; and I'm a little shaky - thank Sony for their image stabilization. This photo was taken in full sun, so I could just barely get the fly and the flower within the exposure. The photo was taken in Raw and converted using Raw Therapee with a little capture sharpening and exposure adjustment. I saved the file as a .tif and did the rest of the processing in Picture Window Pro. I brightened up the fly a bit and did some basic sharpening - bilaterial, I think. I also used a brush to lighten the bug a bit more by hand. Still, its only fair. I wish the head was more in focus.

    DSC00380-1-1-1.JPG

    dsc00380-1-1-1.jpg
    Last edited by Dave Humphries; 27th July 2009 at 08:11 AM. Reason: add image inline

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Yellow Flower with Hover Fly

    Hi John,

    Not a bad effort at all, you should see most of mine

    From the EXIF data:
    Camera Make: SONY
    Camera Model: DSLR-A350
    Image Date: 2009:07:26 11:15:09
    Flash Used: No
    Focal Length: 50.0mm (35mm equivalent: 75mm)
    Exposure Time: 0.0005 s (1/2000)
    Aperture: f/4.5
    ISO equiv: 100
    Exposure Bias: -1.30

    White Balance: Auto
    Metering Mode: Matrix
    Exposure: aperture priority (semi-auto)

    If the exposure adjustment you applied in PP was to brighten things up, that could be because you seem to have had -1.3 stops of exposure compensation set. I'm not sure if that was deliberate, or if, like I ALWAYS do, it got left in from a previous shoot and hadn't been reset.

    I note that the aperture is only f4.5 which explains the narrow depth of field as seen by the middle being in focus but head and tail not. As t happens, focus is in just the right spot for the head to be sharper than the tail if only you'd used f11 or f16.

    The downside to those apertures being the need for more light, but it sounds like you almost had too much from your comments.

    If you find yourself able to take a similar shot again in the same bright sunlight, try manual and set ISO400, 1/1000 and f16 and check what the metering suggests you need do to expose properly (or take a shot and check the histogram).
    Or Aperture Priority, set f16 and juggle the ISO to get a shutter speed of at least 1/1000, you should only need above that speed if trying to capture them in flight.

    However, I'm no expert at these type of shots, merely someone who's about 25 shots ahead of you in experience, so if Geoff F or Jim B come up with alternative ideas, I'd back theirs over mine.

    I quite like the crop/composition too and you avoided a confusing background, so well done.

    Hope that helps,
    Last edited by Dave Humphries; 27th July 2009 at 08:37 AM.

  3. #3
    David's Avatar
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    Re: Yellow Flower with Hover Fly

    Hi John - Good attempt. I'd endorse Dave's comments, especially about aperture. To get these images in focus you really need to work with apertures of f11 to f22. I've recently posted something similar (see Cretan Images) and I used f22 on both. If light becomes a problem then you have to increase the ISO setting. The other point about taking shots like these is that you have to have patience, not something that I possess in abundance.

    Cheers

    David

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Yellow Flower with Hover Fly

    Another point if you are fearful of upping the ISO is that something like Neat Image can very effectively remove most noise without damaging the detail too much.

    Whereas, from a single shot, you cannot increase/restore missing depth of field.

  5. #5
    Jim B.'s Avatar
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    Re: Yellow Flower with Hover Fly

    Hi John,
    Nice shot.Not much to add to what both Daves have said.DoF is very shallow with macro lenses try and keep the focal plane parallel to your subject and as stated f/11 is a good starting point to get your focus a little deeper.
    I'll second the suggestion of using Neat Image for noise reduction,it works quite well.Only other thing I can think of is you might want to look at a flash set up to keep your ISO in lower ranges and help with freezing motion.
    Regards,
    Jim
    Last edited by Jim B.; 3rd August 2009 at 05:45 PM.

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    John C's Avatar
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    Re: Yellow Flower with Hover Fly

    Thanks for the comments.

    I think it was a case of - take the picture now before it flies away. I had just taken a photo of a glass decoration - a disk - and I wanted a blurry background. I saw the fly and moved closer and closer taking four photos rapidly. This was the best one. When heading out to take flower photos, I usually have the camera on a tripod and end up taking photos at a range of apertures, not being sure how much depth of field I want. Of course, that doesnt work too well with the bugs. They tend to move too fast. In this case, for some reason, I left the tripod behind. However, I probably would not have gotten this photo if the camera was on a tripod.

    I have Neat Image. Its works fairly well on the noise reduction. For low ISO photos like this one, I use the luminance noise reduction in Raw Therapee, which does a decent job.

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