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Thread: Oriental Lily

  1. #1
    Ken Curtis's Avatar
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    Oriental Lily

    I went outside after the rain stopped and photographed some of my wife's flowers. I used several techniques for this image. The first thing I did was to take multiple shots at the same exposure where the in-focus point was slightly different in each. I started with the flower pistils and worked towards the back of the petals. Those shots were merged with Photoshop to keep only the in-focus parts.

    Unfortunately, some of the other flowers showed through behind the main flower, which was distracting. To fix that, I selected the background, darkened it and applied a movement blur to it. Lastly, I added a textured overlay to the background. That was enough to keep some color in the background but make it less distracting than before.

    I would appreciate hearing any suggestions.

    Oriental Lily

  2. #2
    DanK's Avatar
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    Re: Oriental Lily

    Very nicely done. The stack came out very well, without the halos one sometimes gets. The only part I don't care for is the texture on the background. It looks artificial, and i find it distracting, diverting attention from the flower. I'd try removing that one step.

  3. #3
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    Re: Oriental Lily

    Hi Ken, the flower is magnificent and I like what you are doing to make the background easier on the eyes. I think the problem is that, being both unusual and detailed, it takes the eyes off the subject.

    For example, the stem of the flower is out of focus and that is perfectly fine, but then the background behind it is in focus so it doesn't blend as well as it could.

    I would apply enough lens blur to the background to match the blur level of the stem. You wouldn't want to lose all of the color and texture but rather soften it to the point where the image has realistic bokeh.

    <EDIT> After reading Mike's reply (below) I looked at the image from a different perspective and thought how much I liked the background and the reason it didn't quite fit. It is the stem of the flower that throws it off more so than the background. Is it possible that the stem was more in focus before post-processing?

    If the entire image were sharp, I feel that the background would work and perhaps dramatically so. If the stem can't be in focus, what if it were removed entirely, leaving the sharp flower against a subtle but sharp background?

    An excellent use of focus stacking technique!

    Also, could we drop the watermark? It really pulls the eye off an otherwise outstanding image.
    Last edited by FrankMi; 3rd August 2012 at 02:00 PM.

  4. #4

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    Re: Oriental Lily

    Perhaps the effectiveness of the background depends on what you are trying to convey. When I first saw the image without the benefit of your very interesting explanation of how you made it, I thought the background was glass or other relatively clear material that was lit artificially from behind. I like the in-your-face style of the entire image, which for me is enhanced by the background. On the other hand, Dan's and Frank's suggestions would surely produce an image that I would like just as much though for different reasons.

  5. #5
    Ken Curtis's Avatar
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    Re: Oriental Lily

    Thanks to all commenters so far.

    Frank, the stem was out of focus. I first made the image without the stem and thought, it is just a flower sticking out in space and too much in your face. That is when I went back and cut it in. Doing so seemed to help. (As and aside, I think the stem belongs to this flower, but it seems strange not to be more over to the right side.)

    I do like the suggestion to blur the texture and will give that a try when I have a free moment.

    I prefer to leave copyright notices on images when posted on public websites. I put that notice on all the images I post on Facebook. From what I have heard, many people believe that if they find it on the Internet, it's free and they can use the image anyway they choose. I understand that the notice does detract from the image and would not include it on anything printed or sold, but I want to explicitly mention that this image should not be copied (not that that would really stop anyone). Comments?

  6. #6
    TheArcane's Avatar
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    Re: Oriental Lily

    You have to be very careful when "photoshopping" anything, because most of the time any person who knows how to do it properly will be able to see instantly what you did wrong, and most people who don't know how to do it properly will at the very least think your picture looks "wrong" in some way.

    I find the color and the texture of the background distracting. I don't have a problem with the blurred stem being in the composition, but as mentioned by Frank it doesn't match the rest of the image because your background is so sharp. Usually in close portraits of most things you want a background that is fairly blurred and non-distracting. The flower itself is very nice however, and I think if you just fine tune your post processing skills, you may end up with a nice piece.

  7. #7

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    Re: Oriental Lily

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Curtis View Post
    I want to explicitly mention that this image should not be copied (not that that would really stop anyone). Comments?
    In my mind, you made the best comment that could be made, that adding the copyright information won't stop anyone from copying the image. Anyone who wants to use the image illicitly will simply get rid of your copyright information.

    Perhaps the best thing to do is post images that are no larger than the native resolution of your monitor. Doing so allows all of us to view a larger image that is still so small that it has no practical use other than when viewing it on a computer, a television or when using a digital projector.

  8. #8
    Ken Curtis's Avatar
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    Re: Oriental Lily

    Thanks to all who commented. Sometimes I get so wrapped up in what I am doing, I can't see what I should. I blurred the background and the image is significantly improved. Thanks for the suggestions everyone - much appreciated.

    I removed the copyright notice too.

    Here is the new version.

    Oriental Lily

  9. #9

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    Re: Oriental Lily

    That version really is a very special image. Now that I see the change recommended by others, I agree that the image is dramatically improved.

  10. #10
    JPS's Avatar
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    Re: Oriental Lily

    Hi Ken,
    I think the adjusted picture is fantastic, well done.

  11. #11
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    Re: Oriental Lily

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Curtis View Post
    Thanks to all who commented. Sometimes I get so wrapped up in what I am doing, I can't see what I should. I blurred the background and the image is significantly improved. Thanks for the suggestions everyone - much appreciated.

    I removed the copyright notice too.

    Here is the new version.

    Oriental Lily
    Now that really pops! One of the most dramatic flower images I've seen!

  12. #12
    dje's Avatar
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    Re: Oriental Lily

    Beautiful image Ken, well done. It almost looks 3D to me !!

    Dave

  13. #13
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    Re: Oriental Lily

    Ken, I would love to see this image with the background almost totally blurred as I think it still distracts from the outstanding flower stack.

    Grahame

  14. #14

    Re: Oriental Lily

    I think the second version of your image is lovely.

    Something else I now have to add to my own 'to try' list!

  15. #15
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    Re: Oriental Lily

    yeap, the 2nd edition is definitely better

  16. #16
    Ken Curtis's Avatar
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    Re: Oriental Lily

    Thank you all for the feedback. It really helps.

  17. #17
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    Re: Oriental Lily

    Ken - the new image is stunning. Well done. I'm just learning photoshop - I'd love to know just how you did it.

  18. #18
    Ken Curtis's Avatar
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    Re: Oriental Lily

    Cliff. send me a private message giving me your email address. It's too hard to explain everything, but I can send a few notes that may get you started. I am using Photoshop CS6, but I think CS5 and possibly CS4 have the same capabilities. I do not know whether Photoshop Elements has the capabilities.

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