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Thread: More help required - flower photos

  1. #1

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    More help required - flower photos

    This time I've attached a group of forest shots, no trees , no birds or animals, designed I hope to both depict an active, fertile forest alive with colour-most of which are electric; some posed against a somber green, some close-ups. No edible fruits, blueberries etc are shown. I'm trying to keep those separate.

    blue-flag.jpg

    bouncing-bet-_edited-1.jpg

    devils-paint-brush.jpg

    field-thistle.jpg

    large-leaved-lupine.jpg

    wild-forget-me-nots.jpg

    I bought PSE8, and have started to use it, and incorporated the suggestions made in the earlier thread.
    Please make comments again.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Dave Humphries; 13th June 2010 at 03:04 PM. Reason: add all the images inline

  2. #2

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    Re: More help required.

    I wanted to add one more photo. It seems to me the white flowers work the least, the blue forget me nots follow a streambed and may work to show the contrast with green background.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  3. #3

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    Re: More help required.

    What camera settings?

    You still have quite a bit of 'noise' in these photos.

    For flowers, and insects, you really do need a good tripod; and preferably use manual focus.

    The highlights are overexposed but there are several possible causes. So, once again, we need to know what camera 'programme' you are using (semi auto, shutter or aperture priority, etc). And did you use any exposure compensation?

    If in doubt about best exposure, I prefer to slightly underexpose then recover brightness during editing. Multi coloured flowers can be a real nightmare to correctly expose.

    For true colours, I find that I get better results by using a Custom White Balance. It does take a couple of minutes to set up but it can make all the difference with difficult colours like dark blue, purple, magenta, etc.

    One other thing is that sometimes, like the Iris, you need to do a bit of 'reconstruction' with the background and remove or change the position of parts of the background; such as those grass leaves on the Iris photo.

    But don't be put off. Taking good flower photos is an art which has to be slowly learned, and all of your photos are of particularly difficult subjects.

  4. #4
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: More help required.

    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff F View Post
    What camera settings?
    Not that I want to encourage people to not bother because Dave'll do it, but ...

    No.1
    Camera Maker: NIKON CORPORATION
    Camera Model: NIKON D3000
    Image Date: 2010:06:07 10:03:20
    Focal Length: 300.0mm (35mm equivalent: 450mm)
    Aperture: f/11.0
    Exposure Time: 0.0050 s (1/200)
    ISO equiv: 400
    Exposure Bias: none
    Metering Mode: Center Weight
    Exposure: aperture priority (semi-auto)
    White Balance: Auto
    Flash Fired: No
    Color Space: sRGB
    Caption: Wild Iris, blue flag, on the edge of wetland
    No.s 2 and 3 no EXIF available

    No.4
    Camera Maker: NIKON CORPORATION
    Camera Model: NIKON D3000
    Image Date: 2010:06:11 10:10:30
    Focal Length: 300.0mm (35mm equivalent: 450mm)
    Aperture: f/14.0
    Exposure Time: 0.020 s (1/50)
    ISO equiv: 400
    Exposure Bias: none
    Metering Mode: Center Weight
    Exposure: aperture priority (semi-auto)
    White Balance: Auto
    Flash Fired: No
    Color Space: sRGB
    Caption: Unknown
    No EXIF for No.s 5 or 6 either

  5. #5
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: More help required.

    Phil, Geoff,

    From the two we can see EXIF;
    iso400, which if combined with a significant crop, would explain the noise.
    Aperture priority, centre weighted and no EC applied.
    Auto WB

    Phil,

    I agree with Geoff, many of these are over exposed, with saturated flowers, you do have to be very careful as it is soooo easy to overload any of the colour channels while possibly still avoiding the blinkies - if you're not checking with that, and the adjacent screen of RGB histograms, you do need to start.

    I would use aperture priority and centre weighted, but review the histograms and blinkies, then take a second shot with -EC dialled in to avoid over-exposing.

    I also think you need to have more of an idea what the subject is before clicking the shutter, then critically look around inside the V/F and observe whether a small lens movement up/down/left/right improves the composition with regard to background distractions - if nothing else, at least make it easier to clone something out in PP.

    Also, better separation of foreground subject from background by more appropriate use of aperture may help, in #5, the background almost looks sharper than the flower.

    Hope that helps,

  6. #6

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    Re: More help required.

    Hi Philjam: Good to see some more flowers.

    I agree about the noise on all these shots. I assume they must be heavily cropped??? If not then I'm wondering why so much noise at ISO 400.


    #1
    I like the Blue Flag, but as has been mentioned, it would be much more appealing if you could have managed to rearrange some of the leaves that are crossing over the flowers. I realize you are going for true life contextual shots, but a little rearranging doesn't hurt.

    #2
    Very nice but it just does not pop. It does not seem very sharp (for whatever reason - there are so many possibilities; camera shake, wind, focus...) and again the noise does not help.

    #3
    This one is really bad for noise. It must have been cropped A LOT??? The composition is nice though. I would suggest trying to get closer if possible to fill more of the frame with what you intend as your final shot. If you expect to have to crop a lot then I think you need even lower ISO - 100 or 200 and wait for the light so you can get a fast enough shutter speed.

    #4
    This is my favourite. The lighting is nice, focus appears good, but I'm wondering if it could be sharpened a bit. The background is not too distracting, but again quite noisy. You've also managed to do what I do all the time and that is to cut off some of the petals on the right. I hate when that happens, I always do it on my best shots. Do you know the name of this flower?

    #5
    I like the Lupin too, but again the noise. The colours are very good. The background is not too distracting, but if it were my shot I would be trying it again with a larger aperture to try to blur the background more. This is personal preference. I realize you may want to show everything sharply in context.

    #6
    Forget me Nots, one of my favourite flowers. Lovely to look at but not so easy to photograph or so I've found this spring. The lighting on this looks quite nice, but it does not seem to be very sharp. I can relate to this and I feel for you. I have tried many "Field of flower" shots this spring, and do not have one that I am happy with so far.

    The main thing I am wondering when I look at these shots is why all the noise. If they are large crops, then that is the answer and there is no point looking farther. Just try to fill up more of the frame OR shoot at lower ISO and that should help with the noise problem and allow for cropping. Any noise left after that should be easy to deal with in ACR.

    Just curious how you are managing with Elements. I had quite the struggle with it - still do when trying anything different. If you don't mind let us know your basic workflow with regards to RAW processing, sharpening, resizing and saving.

    Below is a link to a thread with a lot of good info on resizing and sharpening. Personally though, I think if you can get the noise problem licked you will be off to a good start.

    Resizing images

    Hope that helps I really look forward to the next batch, with less cropping and even lower ISO if you can swing it. Let's conquer the noise.



    Wendy

  7. #7
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    Re: More help required.

    I like all the advice here; not only is it useful for Phijam but since I bought a new camera with colour graphs I went out to find some flowers, and mine were a disapointment. Dave's idea of taking one underexposed might be just the trick since I normally expose to the right however there might be a hidden peak in the graph but is indicated if looking more carefully which I tend not to do.
    What speed to avoid use of tripod, I would have thought 1/200 to be fine on up to 200mm lens?

  8. #8

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    Re: More help required.

    well, two things: 1/200 with a 200mm should be ok, but (of course there's a 'but') wind movement often requires a faster time; also with close-up work you easily move out of the focus zone between the moment the AF locks and the shot is taken, so movement blur isn't the only reason to use a tripod. Otoh, insects don't often give you time to set up the tripod etc for a nice shot.

  9. #9
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    Re: More help required.

    cheers Remco; I try to not use a tripod, in fact I'm trying hand held HDR. The main reason is the tripod attracts attention, by the time it is set up I have observers asking questions like; 'I bet that's an expensive camera.'

    It doesn't happen when I take hand held mainly because the job is done quicker although sometimes a tripod is essential.

  10. #10

    Re: More help required.

    Quote Originally Posted by ScoutR View Post

    #4 .... . Do you know the name of this flower?
    Centaurea. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Centaurea

    Philjam,

    I think everyting has been said about the incorrect exposure etc. You might want to try shooting at a different time of day, when the light is not so harsh. Either first thing in the morning, or late afternoon. This one (also of a Centaurea) was shot in the evening. I'm only posting it to show you the difference on the same flower. More help required - flower photos

    Your shots are quite busy. Try to clear away any messy bits of grass etc before you shoot. Whenever I shoot a flower I always put the camera down first and clear away any unwanted stuff from around the flower. Then I have a good look at the scene. It pays off. You could also use less depth of field to get a nice bokeh effect (see my shot) on the background. That way you hide a lot of the intrusive stuff you were not able to get rid of.

  11. #11

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    Re: More help required.

    Hi Guys: I post shots because I find the advice after reading books and your tutorials a really practical way to learn more quickly, especially from mistakes . Remember I've had the camera for only 5 months, and by Nov I'll be up to my you know what in snow. There was only one shot maybe two- the flags and the forget-me-nots where I should have used the 70-300. The iris grow on the edge of a wet land 30 feet steeply down and the wetland is not deep enough for swimming and the bottom would suck me down faster than a rock. I'm now shooting with a tripod where I can using the 18-55 mainly, using an ISO of 100 and setting the white balance, rather than using auto, as well as using my range finder to find out where my focus is. I manually focus and bracket for focus and compensate for exposure. I'll post some soon . Now I'll also start to remove excess grass, but with some the iris for instance that's impossible

  12. #12

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    Re: More help required.

    HI; Wendy: See below for another name. My book lists #4 as a field or swamp thistle. Just a weed but great in its colours. More later about PSE8, but generally I like it. The forget-me-nots are wild and called scorpion grass by another name. One of the books I use not only ID's these plants, but tells you what the aborginals used them for.

    I meant Rob's email which has the latin name.
    Last edited by Philjam10; 19th June 2010 at 11:42 AM. Reason: correctional

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