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Thread: Argh! This flower!!!

  1. #1

    Argh! This flower!!!

    I love this flower but, try as I might, I just never feel like I capture all of its subtleties - colors - details - delicacy. How would you get it? What would you do?

    Maybe it's too complicated to get the whole thing at once and I need to focus on the particular characteristic that I'm trying to capture??

    I have another one for my PAD #4 entry. I'm going to try again tomorrow with a different background and a different light. btw, how do you avoid highlights without getting a shadow of a photo? Also, about spot metering - is it always taken from the center or from where my focus point is? (I have a Canon 450D.)

    Help,..... anyone? anyone.....?!

    Argh! This flower!!!

    Argh! This flower!!!

    Argh! This flower!!!

    Argh! This flower!!!

    Argh! This flower!!!

  2. #2

    Re: Argh! This flower!!!

    Also, about spot metering - is it always taken from the center or from where my focus point is? (I have a Canon 450D.)
    Katy, certainly not. You can lock the exposure. On the XSi/450D, focus first (locking the focus by holding the shutter half down). Next, aim the camera where you want to lock exposure and press the (*) button on the top, back of the camera (AE Lock). Exposure is locked. Then, recompose and take the picture. [page 88 in the manual]. If you’re doing a close-up shot, watch the depth-of-field because recomposing could have an undesirable effect on the subject.

    I like the 2nd and 3rd images above. They appear a little dark and lacking vibrancy. Probably down to trying not to lose detail by blowing highlights. The AE lock should help with this. I always think flowers are enhanced with moisture. I use a craft dropper and water to strategically place droplets. Antonio once suggested I use glycerine instead of water but I have never tried it.

    Rob is the flower king in my opinion (the title Flower King has nothing to do with his pink camera) so he willbe able to provide much better advise than I can

    Steve

  3. #3
    dragonaxe's Avatar
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    Re: Argh! This flower!!!

    #3 is my favourite. Perhaps a plain background would have been a little less distracting, than the patterned one you used. Other than that I think it's great!

    What was the feeling that you wanted to convey with the picture?

  4. #4

    Re: Argh! This flower!!!

    Hi, Steve! This is what happens when you don't read the manual straight through. I just, also, found pg. 94 and mirror lockup. THAT will help! (I think.) Sooooo, I should AE lock on which part of this flower??? The white part? This has opened up another yummy can of worms....

    You know, I just can't learn everything at once. I've read an awful lot but some of it went in one ear and right out the other. BUT, this is great because, now, I'm ready/needing to learn this.

    I'll fiddle around with all of this, tomorrow!

    Thanks mucho much!

    Katy Anthing/anyone else......???

  5. #5
    Sam Smith's Avatar
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    Re: Argh! This flower!!!

    Just read the signature..

    Kay, In my line of work which equipment maintenance managment we see eveyday where poeple refuse to anything because they are not sure it will work. If we would at least try something and it doesn't work we know what not to do next time. So it will shorten the list of things we need try. Learning by failing is all part of the process. All the best photographers were once where are today. So keep trying, keep practicing and never give up. You will have your see the light experiance with this flower.

    Sam
    Last edited by Sam Smith; 4th October 2010 at 10:20 PM.

  6. #6
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Argh! This flower!!!

    Hi Katy,

    Well you did ask ...

    #1 I find the thing running across bottom right corner is too distracting, there are too many competing textures.

    #2 Only two textures this time, but they still compete, also the colours don't complement, nor match each other too well. I might try it with the stalk coming into frame from a corner perhaps.

    #3 three textures again, I'd prefer to see all the bloom too - just lost the top tip, but it is still a nice picture.

    #4 the bloom strikes me as a little too of centre from the vase and the 'soft smudge' vignette doesn't help on the petal top left.

    #5 My favourite; one subject, one texture, no distractions, nice and sharp, well exposed.
    The only (literally) minute problem is what looks like an odd red pixel or two that are stuck 'on' - in line with stem, but above the bloom.

    I feel I have been very negative twice today now, please forgive me

    I do hope you find it helpful though,

  7. #7
    Clactonian's Avatar
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    Re: Argh! This flower!!!

    Katy I think your shots would benefit from a plain background. Your current backgrounds are far too distracting. Unless you are shooting deliberately for an high key image, a darker, plain background will help.

  8. #8
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    Re: Argh! This flower!!!

    The 3rd photo definitely captures enough and does not distract by cropped edges. The second and fifth are unique angles with the fifth being more interesting. The fourth is overwhelmed by the color of the vase.

  9. #9
    Peter Ryan's Avatar
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    Re: Argh! This flower!!!

    I love number 5 Katy.

  10. #10

    Re: Argh! This flower!!!

    Okay!!! Thanks, Guys!!

    I have lots of encouragement coming my way and absolutely WANT the critique. How else can I learn???

    Instead of replying to everyone. I'm just going to take all of your excellent advice and try again, tomorrow.

    Unless........anyone else? Go for it!

  11. #11

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    Re: Argh! This flower!!!

    Hi Katy,

    Spot metering gives a lot of control - but - people need to understand how it works, or their exposures will literally be a lottery. I wrote some quite long posts about it here - you might find it interesting (or you might not - hard to know really!).

  12. #12

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    Re: Argh! This flower!!!

    Argh! This flower!!!

    Any better?

  13. #13

    Re: Argh! This flower!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    Hi Katy,

    Spot metering gives a lot of control - but - people need to understand how it works, or their exposures will literally be a lottery. I wrote some quite long posts about it here - you might find it interesting (or you might not - hard to know really!).
    Thanks, Colin! This has helped a lot! I got a little bit farther than halfway and need to stop and go experiment.

    We have not succeeded in answering all of your questions. The answers we have found only serve to raise a whole set of new questions. In some ways we feel we are as confused as ever, but we believe we are confused on a higher level and about more important things.
    Oh, my goodness! This made me laugh and laugh!

    I'd suggest that there's no substitute for good old fashioned experimentation - experience - and the asking of specific exposure questions here in forums like this ... slowly it should all start to gel and make sense ... but I don't think that there's any one "magic pill" that can be swallowed.

    I'm afraid (in these threads) to say, "Oh, I see!" because I know that what I think I understand now is all going to be much clearer in a week or two or more, etc.

    That link was really great and so is this one but I can't talk, now, because I'm trying to hold it all in my head and not lose it! LOL!!!

  14. #14

    Re: Argh! This flower!!!

    More of Le Fleur! (as Colin has dubbed it.)

    Gareth, this is what I was going for with the last photo - faded - old fashioned. That was a good question because I'm not quite sure what it is that I'm trying to catch with this flower. I've moved on from this but I would like to know what you guys think of this.

    Argh! This flower!!!

    Okay, I had a serious "pat your head and rub your tummy kind of day" and it's very busy this week; soooo, I'm going to have to just chip away at this situation little by little.

    I put it on white paper but that really is lacking in personality. You can see, though, some of the pretty velvety properties of the flower, though. I think that part of my dissatisfaction comes from the fact that when I get more detail in the white part of the petal, it makes the stamens too yellow and overpowering. It's more subtle in real life and that's what I'm trying to catch. What do I do about that? What does one do when you're trying to get the bride's white gown and the grooms black tux? (Colin, I never saw that answered in the thread you gave me - you just brought up the conundrum of the gray gown or tux. Of course, it's quite possible that you were giving the answer and I missed it. )

    Argh! This flower!!!

    This is too dark (I think) but you can see the texture and line that I'm trying to get in the light part of the petals. Please just ignore the awkward composition. I'm going to try it again, tomorrow on a simpler scrap booking paper.

    Argh! This flower!!!

    This, somehow, is the closest that I got to what I want. The pink on the back of the flower and the yellow in the center is still too strong.

    Argh! This flower!!!

    OKAY, SO.... I still need to work on it, myself, but does anything come to mind that I should know about? Any epiphanies, anyone? Do you mind me asking again? Thanks!

  15. #15
    PopsPhotos's Avatar
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    Re: Argh! This flower!!!

    I, for one, certainly have no problem with you asking again (and again and ... ) I learn when other people ask questions I haven't yet thought about.

    Pops

  16. #16
    dragonaxe's Avatar
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    Re: Argh! This flower!!!

    the bride and groom conundrum is easy...just expose for the brides dress cos no-one gives a monkeys what the groom looks like!

  17. #17

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    Re: Argh! This flower!!!

    Hi,
    In my opinion a flower is linked by light not by dark(by clean not by dirt).That is one face.Another face is that a flower in a vase is a dying flower.Both faces You see below.

    Argh! This flower!!!

    Radu Dinu

    PS I do many mistakes in English(in French too) so I think La Fleur not Le...
    Last edited by Radu Dinu Cordeanu; 6th October 2010 at 06:26 AM.

  18. #18
    RockNGoalStar's Avatar
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    Re: Argh! This flower!!!

    I think you captured the flower beautifully in your third shot. I like the fact that there is a little bit of interest in the background but the flower is definitely centre of attention.

    I think the extra contrast that Colin has added to the picture really makes the flower stand out...

  19. #19
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Argh! This flower!!!

    Hi Katy,

    Original:
    Argh! This flower!!!
    I like it, but still found the texture of whatever the book was on, a distraction; so I cloned it out
    Edited:
    Argh! This flower!!!

    Original:
    Argh! This flower!!!

    Taking your comments about wanting less overpowering yellow stamen and to enhance the texture (velvety properties), how does this look?
    Edited:
    Argh! This flower!!!

    Elements 8; wiped a desaturation and dodging brushes over the stamen.
    Burning down the highlights in the vase a little.
    Then duplicated the flower to a new 'behind' layer, Local Contrast Enhanced that with USM, then erased the petals on the top image, revealing the ones behind with better 'velvety'

    The basic 'lesson' here, if there is one; is that if you know what's wrong with it (as you did), then a few minutes PP can usually fix it.

    Hope they help,

  20. #20

    Re: Argh! This flower!!!

    Gareth, this is what I was going for with the last photo - faded - old fashioned
    This is by far the best shot compositionally. We could argue whether the top of the bloom should have been cropped but i dont think that is the point. You wanted a faded old fashioned look but you have an immediate conflict. The aged tomb versus the bright new flower. You can take advantage of this contrast. At present the whole image looks as if the white balance is way off (although I do understand what you are trying to do). Personally I would have kept the bloom white and crisp and gone to town on ageing the tomb. How? Well it is pretty easy to get the WB right (even easier if you shoot RAW) and it is also pretty easy to select the flower head. Adjust levels, curves and USM to get a crisp petals. That done, reverse the selection and and use levels and curves to get a soft feel to the book. Then use the saturation slider to reduce saturation of the book and background (not too much). At this point you could add some focus blur but again do not overdo it. Finally deselect and return to levels adjustment drag the sliders at both ends inward until they just fall short of the base of the (now jagged) curve. I believe this would accentuate the conflict between new and old. At present the compromise is failing the image.

    Another 'quick fix' may be to go for all over soft focus and/or vignette but making sure the white balance is correct.

    Right, I have just spent 2 hours ironing so I am of for a nice cup of Earl Grey and a chunk of victoria sponge. A mans work is never done

    PS; Do not get discouraged. There is a tangible improvement in your work when compared to the images you first posted here on CiC. It is really a case of watching for complementary subjects/backgrounds and recognising and accentuating the conflicts when they occur. That will come with experience.

    Steve

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