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Thread: Flowers point of focus.

  1. #1
    gcowan's Avatar
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    Graham

    Flowers point of focus.

    I have made these photos of native flowers, Native Hybiscus is the common name I think.

    I did a quick and rough post production in photoshop but I have the following question. Should the point of focus be on the petals or the stamens. I used a 100mm lens at f2, so a very shallow depth of focus.

    Custom colour balance from grey card.

    Flowers point of focus.

    Canon EOS 1Ds mk111 Zeiss Makro Planar 100 f2. At f2, 1/200 ISO 100 for both.
    This one uses camera sunlight colour balance.

    Flowers point of focus.


    Graham

  2. #2
    rtbaum's Avatar
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    Re: Flowers point of focus.

    When photographing flowers, I try to focus on what I percieve to be the most interesting feature. I feel that in this shot I would have perhaps opened aperture slightly, for greater depth of focus, and reflected light into throat of flower to highlight pistil. Light looks pretty harsh, a diffuser may have been useful. Contrast between the two versions illustrates the utility of the grey card

  3. #3
    FrankMi's Avatar
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    Re: Flowers point of focus.

    Quote Originally Posted by gcowan View Post
    Should the point of focus be on the petals or the stamens. I used a 100mm lens at f2, so a very shallow depth of focus.
    Hi Graham, I prefer to have the entire subject in focus but if I have to choose, I tend to want the 'eye catcher' that attracts the viewer to the image to be in sharpest focus. In this case that would be the pedals owing to their colour, size, and contrast.

    One way you can test for this is to close your eyes for 10 seconds and as soon as you open them identify the first thing that your eye is attracted to.

    When choosing the subject for your image, consider what the viewer’s eye is most likely to be drawn to:
    • Human elements (like a human body) before non-human elements
    • Faces before other human elements, and on the face, the eyes first
    • Large, dominant elements before smaller elements
    • Bright objects over dark objects
    • Areas of high contrast over areas of low contrast
    • Sharp elements before out-of-focus elements
    • Recognizable elements before unrecognizable elements
    • Oblique objects (in perspective) or diagonal lines before flat strait lines
    • Warm colors over cool colors
    • Saturated (vibrant) colors over bland (unsaturated) colors
    • Elements of emotional significance over those with none
    • Isolated elements before cluttered elements
    When you have conflicting elements such as something very large and something small but bright red in the same image, try to get an acceptable balance in the composition between size and color.

    Hope this helps!

  4. #4
    gcowan's Avatar
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    Re: Flowers point of focus.

    Frank & Randy,
    Thanks I see that as in other things there is no one rule.

    These flowers were rather large, so a smaller f-stop to give a greater depth of field would have worked well due to the subject distance. With small flowers such as some of our local natives the subject distance is necessarily short so I will have to get used to choosing the point of focus rather carefully.

    Actually these flowers are on long slender branches and even the slightest breeze caused wild movement. It became a game of pre-focus and wait until the breeze stopped for an instant. I was actually hand holding because I was experimenting with shooting at f2 for the bokeh and high shutter speed; but it did raise the question for me.
    Graham

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    Werner

    Re: Flowers point of focus.

    A photographers translucent umbrella is invaluable for flowers in harsh sunlight. It softens shadows and distributes the light and most importantly it reduces the dynamic range of the scene, eliminating white petal tips and harsh, deep colorless shadows. Colors are truer also because the specular reflections are reduced. The closer the umbrella is to the subject flower, the better.

    As to focus, I have seen wonderful pictures where only the edge of petal is in focus where that was the intent. When very close, only having parts of flowers in focus works, but from the distance you were to the flower it might be better to get at least one of the entire flowers in focus.

    I've also used a circular polarizer on flowers to eliminate specular reflection but sometimes it works too well and flower looks unnaturally flat in tone.

  6. #6
    gcowan's Avatar
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    Re: Flowers point of focus.

    Thanks Werner,
    That would work particularly well if you were trying to do botanical illustration.
    Grham

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    Urban Domeij

    Re: Flowers point of focus.

    When photographing grouped flowers that are not equidistant from the camera, I often tilt, to get them rendered the same, at the same time throwing other areas more out of focus. For many flowers, stamens are prominent and need to be in focus, although often both stamens and petals can be in focus. When a choice is necessary, I tend to choose the most prominent feature. For rhododendrons I think it would be petals in the first place.

  8. #8
    Stagecoach's Avatar
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    Re: Flowers point of focus.

    I think it also depends on the purpose of the image, whether it is as a technical record or an 'artistic' shot.

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