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Thread: Peonies

  1. #1

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    Peonies

    I know how you all look forward to my floral shots so here is the latest batch:

    1. 1/4s: f16: ISO 200: 18mm: Matrix -1/3
    Peonies

    2. 1/4s: f16: ISO 200: 18mm: Matrix -1/3
    Peonies

    3. 1/40s: f13: ISO 200: 200mm: Matrix -1
    Peonies

    4. 1/50s: f13: ISO 200: 120mm: Matrix -1
    Peonies

    C&C welcome
    Thanks
    Wendy

  2. #2

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    Re: Peonies

    Hi,
    I'm ready but...I don't see anything!
    Radu Dinu

  3. #3
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Just add 'MacKenzie'

    Re: Peonies

    How are you processing to get that muted effect, as in Nos 2, 3 & 4. I've seen you do it in others recently. I like it.

    Not so keen on #1 in this set. All that woodwork detracts from the main subject. #4 is 'just' a flower (but maybe that says something about my skills as a gardener, more than anything). #2 and #3 are more full of interest. I love the colours and tones on of the leaves and their background in the lower half of #3. In #2, it looks as if you've handled a lot of light and shade very well.

  4. #4

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    Re: Peonies

    Hi, Wendy;

    Some great colors, and great mood. I agree with Donald about the distractions in #1, maybe a tighter crop, focused on that flower that's now at the lower-right 1/3 point? #3 is my favorite: I like the little cluster of blossoms with all the buds ready to go. I kind of agree about #4: for a close-up of a single flower, maybe sharpen it up and add contrast. It's very pretty, but the soft treatment and pastel-like colors don't seem to fit well with a close-up study.

    Cheers,
    Rick

  5. #5

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    Re: Peonies

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    How are you processing to get that muted effect, as in Nos 2, 3 & 4. I've seen you do it in others recently. I like it.

    Not so keen on #1 in this set. All that woodwork detracts from the main subject. #4 is 'just' a flower (but maybe that says something about my skills as a gardener, more than anything). #2 and #3 are more full of interest. I love the colours and tones on of the leaves and their background in the lower half of #3. In #2, it looks as if you've handled a lot of light and shade very well.
    Thanks for the feedback Donald: That muted effect you mention is partly due to my ongoing struggles with the camera and my technique. I very seldom get something that is sharpley focused.
    My PP technique is pretty well just diddle around till I like it, but there are a few things I've been doing different lately. #3 is pretty close to out of camera. The light was really nice. I believe in #2 & 4aside from the things mentioned below, I also toned down the luminance and saturation of the greens which seemed to overpower the flowers.

    I have also quit cranking up the contrast in many (not all) colour shots especially on flowers. Another thing that I have been doing is accepting the default "Lighten Shadows" setting in the Elements "Shadows & Highlights" function. It defaults to raise shadows by 25%. I like the look and seeing as I always seem to be dialing in negative EC to prevent blinkies this seems to help lighten things up, and I like it. Tomorrow that could change though. Still experimenting. When it comes to florals, I can visualize what I want, and I'm getting closer, but still not there. I'm going for detailed but soft looking. Now if only I could get the detail.

    Wendy

  6. #6

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    Re: Peonies

    Quote Originally Posted by ScoutR View Post
    When it comes to florals, I can visualize what I want, and I'm getting closer, but still not there. I'm going for detailed but soft looking. Now if only I could get the detail.

    Wendy
    Hi, Wendy;

    Do you have any examples, like from a book or site, that are close to what you're trying to achieve? When you say, "detailed but soft looking," do you mean sharp contrast edges, but low overall contrast? To me, "detailed" and "soft" are nearly opposites: in PP, I equate them to "sharpen" and "blur." But that probably isn't how you're using the terms.

    Cheers,
    Rick

  7. #7

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    Re: Peonies

    Quote Originally Posted by rick55 View Post
    Hi, Wendy;

    Some great colors, and great mood. I agree with Donald about the distractions in #1, maybe a tighter crop, focused on that flower that's now at the lower-right 1/3 point? #3 is my favorite: I like the little cluster of blossoms with all the buds ready to go. I kind of agree about #4: for a close-up of a single flower, maybe sharpen it up and add contrast. It's very pretty, but the soft treatment and pastel-like colors don't seem to fit well with a close-up study.

    Cheers,
    Rick
    Thanks Rick: I agree with Donald and you about #4. It's just a pretty flower, I think the close up would be much better if sharper. I don't think PP will help that much as it is just out of focus or moved in the wind or a bit of both, but I'll give it a try. It already has 2 rounds of sharpening applied.

    I'm not so sure about #1 though, I really like the woodwork, and want that to be part of the photo. In my mind it set off the flowers and added some context. I may play with the crop a bit and try to get a better balance, but I do want the old woodwork to remain.

    #3 is my favourite too. It's not very often that I manage to translate the original light into the photo, but this time it worked.

    Thanks again for the feedback, it is appreciated
    Wendy

  8. #8

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    Re: Peonies

    Quote Originally Posted by ScoutR View Post
    I'm not so sure about #1 though, I really like the woodwork, and want that to be part of the photo. In my mind it set off the flowers and added some context. I may play with the crop a bit and try to get a better balance, but I do want the old woodwork to remain.
    I think you're on the right track there: IMO, there isn't enough of the building to show that the flowers are part of it, so it distracts. The image now is, "bright flowers, with some wood at the edge." If you rebalance it, you get the story I think you want, "Old woodwork, with fresh flowers to brighten it up."

    Cheers,
    Rick

  9. #9

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    Re: Peonies

    Quote Originally Posted by rick55 View Post
    Hi, Wendy;

    Do you have any examples, like from a book or site, that are close to what you're trying to achieve? When you say, "detailed but soft looking," do you mean sharp contrast edges, but low overall contrast? To me, "detailed" and "soft" are nearly opposites: in PP, I equate them to "sharpen" and "blur." But that probably isn't how you're using the terms.

    Cheers,
    Rick
    Below are links to some examples from this site that I really like. I could be using the wrong terminology. I like the flower to stand out from the background, and I like the flower itself to show all the detail and veining in leaves and petals, without looking harsh or contrasty.

    In some cases it may have as much to do with the type of flower and the colours as with the style of photography, but I think I should be able to get what I'm looking for with any flower or colour. With me it seems, if I get sharp, then it looks harsh and not natural, but if I get soft, then I loose detail.

    A good example is the Yellow Columbine I entered in Mini Comp #93. I like the OOF background, and the colours and the composition, but the flower is just an outline filled in with yellow, there is no detail in the petals.
    Another good example is #4 above. I could sharpen this more, but I think it would just make it harsh looking. The detail and veining is just not there to start with and sharpening would change the photo but not add the detail to the petals. It would more than likely just change the seperation between the darks and the lights and end up looking what I call harsh.
    It seems the answer is to get the detail in camera and soften later if required. I just can't seem to get that detail, which is probably a combination of operator error and perhaps partly the camera and/or lens. I am not sure.

    Rob's Camassia: Camassia
    All of these look detailed but soft to me, and this is the look I like for flowers. Other types of shots are just as relevant, but do not appeal to me as much as this style.

    Jim B's Macro shots: Macro Flowers
    I love the African Daisey. To me it is detailed but soft looking. All the others are also amazing shots, and very detailed, but not the look I am trying for at this time.

    Steve's (Wirefox) Tulips first shot in the thread: More Flowers (No Squirrels)
    the flowers look soft while still keeping the detail in the petals

    Wendy

  10. #10

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    Re: Peonies

    Hi, Wendy;

    I think you're on the right track, that what you're seeing as harsh or contrasty is over-sharpening or posterization. As far as I can see, the examples you gave aren't softened. I think where you'll see apparent harshness is when sharpening too much, or when pushing contrast and getting posterization. If you have an exposure that covers the full histogram, and is in good focus, you'll be able to sharpen just slightly, and have good detail without getting overshoot. I may be wrong, but I don't think you'll need a softening step.

    Cheers,
    Rick

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