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Thread: Gossamer Bloom

  1. #1
    Snarkbyte's Avatar
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    Gossamer Bloom

    I took this shot yesterday afternoon (Friday), and I like the subject, but the shot just doesn't pop. C&C is most welcome and appreciated.

    Gossamer Bloom

    Canon 7D 1/100sec@f/8.0 85mm ISO200

    BTW, I'm very much a newbie to photography, so I'm still trying to digest a couple of books on PS CS5. I'm not asking for mercy, lol, just simplicity where PP suggestions are concerned. I have a pretty good grasp of the camera settings and operation, but PS is a real beast.

  2. #2
    Fit's Avatar
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    Re: Gossamer Bloom

    Hi Al-

    I haven't used PS for a few years but I used to be a pretty heavy hobbiest, made textures for video game design, etc. What REALLY helped me was to search the countless online tutorials and just follow them. I quickly got up to speed on the basics and beyond just by googing things like "photoshop lasso tutorial" etc or "how to make rust in photoshop".

    Perhaps (if you haven't already), you may find some of use to you.

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    Re: Gossamer Bloom

    Hi Al, I really like the subject matter and I like the shot as is, but I can see where you might like it to pop a bit more. I sort of like the softness, but I think you could do so much with this. You might want to go even softer Or to give it a bit more pop all I did below were some RAW adjustments in Lightroom. If this is closer to what you are after you should be able to translate the settings I've listed into Adobe Camera Raw and do the same.

    Gossamer Bloom

    Blacks 7
    contrast +25
    Clarity +36
    Tone Curve:
    Shadows +83
    Darks -16
    Lights +19

    Then to try and get more seperation in the tones
    Orange Hue -15
    Orange Luminance -32
    Yellow Luminance -25

    I also added a dark vignette, because to me it is the type of shot that has no beginning or end, and the vignette highlights the centre a bit to keep the eye in the frame.

    I really think you could go any way you want with this. soft and feathery OR sharp and contrasty. The subject matter has all the qualities, it's up to you which you want to emphasize.

    Wendy

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    Snarkbyte's Avatar
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    Re: Gossamer Bloom

    Chris: Thanks, but I'm completely swamped with tutorials and books already!!! I'm learning to use the PS widgets, but my biggest problem is figuring out what combination of widgets to use to acheive the desired results. That's more a matter of experience than anything, I suppose, but it is a bit frustrating at times, LOL.

    Wendy: I cropped the shot to remove everything except the blooms and down (the wild shrub this grows on is sparse, twisted and rather ugly). You're right that it doesn't really have a beginning or end, but it does seem to divide itself into 3 regions: upper left area with the feathery down, upper right with the strong highlights, and the lower area with the blooms. I like the soft feathery look, but I'd like to bring out the blooms a bit more... the dark center of the bloom in the lower right draws the eye, but the petals are not as distinct as I'd like. Perhaps I should just brighten the petals of one or two blooms?

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    Re: Gossamer Bloom

    I like that idea and I think you should be able to do that and there are a number of ways. You can use the dodge and burn tools, Or you can use the lasso tool to make a rough selection around the parts you want to stand out - make sure it is feathered by 4 - 5 pixels and then try some Local Contrast Enhance or any of the other sliders to just work on the areas that you want to emphasize. (I learnt that one here and have used it quite often. You must be careful though that the line does not show, it doesn't work with everything.

    I think you should have a go at the effect that you want, because it sounds like it will come out quite nice with a bit of work. For me it's really a matter of just playing around, trying out tips that I've seen here and then trying to incorporate them into my own work flow.

    Good luck, I'd really like to see the result, and I hope that you get more suggestions from some others with more experience than myself

    Wendy

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    Re: Gossamer Bloom

    Many thanks for your help and suggestions, Wendy. I'll work on the blooms a bit, but my PS skills are still so meager that it takes me a long time to do much of anything. I'll try to post something soon, but I have sooooo much to learn and practice! More tutorials, book chapters and, of course... more shooting!

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    Re: Gossamer Bloom

    Hi Al, I like this shot so much I had another go at it. I'm not sure if this is more what you had in mind, or if I'm destroying your vision entirely, but.... just in case it might help, what I did below was take your original into Elements (I think you said you had CS5,if so Elements settings should translate pretty close.) I used the lasso tool to select individual flowers set feather to 5 and then did Local Contrast Enhancement (LCE) on the selections. LCE settings varied with each selection but were roughly as follows in the Unsharp Mask box:
    Amount 18%
    Radius 45 pixels
    Threshold 0

    Note: The adjustments are a bit obvious at these settings, but this is just to give you an idea, and I wanted to make sure they would show up.

    Gossamer Bloom



    If you would like more info on LCE here is a link to the CiC tutorial http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tut...nhancement.htm and there are more links on the subject at the bottom of the tutorial page. Sorry, I know you are piled up with reading, but just thought I'd post it in case you like the effect. It really is a very handy way to make whole photos or certain areas in a photo pop

    Wendy
    Last edited by ScoutR; 19th December 2010 at 07:00 PM. Reason: fix link

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    Re: Gossamer Bloom

    Quote Originally Posted by ScoutR View Post
    Hi Al, I like this shot so much I had another go at it.
    I don't understand what you did Wendy (I don't speak PhotoShop), but I think it is very pretty. A wonderful balance between the two others.

    Janis

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    Re: Gossamer Bloom

    Al:

    I'm going to take a totally different approach.

    The subject is really fascinating, but from my perspective, there's too much of it.

    There is a lot going on - I think too much going on - there is no point in the image on which the eye can rest. In other words, no subject or centre of attention.

    My suggestion would be to go back (if possible), and focus attention and lens on one flower. Include some surrounding stuff for context, and maybe put the one flower off centre. This may require a lens that can focus closer than any you have (I'd use my macro lens for this). If your existing lenses won't focus close enough, use minimum focus setting, and crop the image. Oh, and a tripod is essential for close work - I never leave mine at home.

    Glenn

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    Re: Gossamer Bloom

    Yes!!! Thanks, Wendy, that's much better, imo. Your edit retains the feathery softness that I like, while drawing out the blooms to give the shot more balance and interest. I'll practice the technique you described on this and some other photos... it's sure to be useful many shots that need a little extra zing. I really appreciate your time and effort!

  11. #11
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    Re: Gossamer Bloom

    Quote Originally Posted by Glenn NK View Post
    Al:

    I'm going to take a totally different approach.

    The subject is really fascinating, but from my perspective, there's too much of it.

    There is a lot going on - I think too much going on - there is no point in the image on which the eye can rest. In other words, no subject or centre of attention.

    My suggestion would be to go back (if possible), and focus attention and lens on one flower. Include some surrounding stuff for context, and maybe put the one flower off centre. This may require a lens that can focus closer than any you have (I'd use my macro lens for this). If your existing lenses won't focus close enough, use minimum focus setting, and crop the image. Oh, and a tripod is essential for close work - I never leave mine at home.

    Glenn
    Thanks for your comments, Glenn. A reshoot with a more focused subject had occurred to me. The shot I posted was taken with a monopod, but really close work requires a tripod, as you said. I do have a tripod and 100mm macro lens, but I didn't have them with me when I was exploring this location. I'll try to get some shots this week, if time allows and the blooms are still there. I have no idea of the name of this plant (not even the common name), but it is a native plant that's rather common in dry riverbeds and other locations with occasional flooding... it also has a LOT of small sharp thorns, so getting close to the blooms can be a problem. The blooms are about 4 feet or higher from the ground, so they're exposed to even the slightest puff of wind. The wind, of course, is channeled by the riverbed, so there's practically always a bit of wind (hence the down for seed dispersal... clever plant, hmmm?). Ideally, I'd like to get one or two blooms surrounded by the feathery down, but the flowers bloom in clusters and then produce seed (the downy stuff) after the flowers are pollinated. Basically, there are clusters of blooms neighbored by areas of downy seeds, as evident in the photo, but I'll scout around and see it I can find an angle with decent light that doesn't require too many puncture wounds.

    Also (to be honest), I have a long and growing list of other locations I'm eager to explore with a camera, so it's difficult to stay focused on the same subject after hours of PS tutorials and practice on the same image.

    Again, thanks for your honest comments... the more perspectives and feedback I get, the more my "eye" improves!

  12. #12
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    Re: Gossamer Bloom

    Al:

    Wind is my nemesis, but I've made progress against it with one of these:

    http://www.naturescapes.net/store/wimberley-plamp.html

    One end attaches to the tripod, the other has a gentle clamp that attaches to the plant to keep it from wobbling in the wind. I ordered mine through the Naturescapes site.

    And I understand about subjects to shoot - there are so many photogenic landscaped in AZ - quite often posted on the Naturescapes forum.

    Glenn

  13. #13
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    Re: Gossamer Bloom

    Quote Originally Posted by Glenn NK View Post
    Al:

    Wind is my nemesis, but I've made progress against it with one of these:

    http://www.naturescapes.net/store/wimberley-plamp.html

    One end attaches to the tripod, the other has a gentle clamp that attaches to the plant to keep it from wobbling in the wind. I ordered mine through the Naturescapes site.

    And I understand about subjects to shoot - there are so many photogenic landscaped in AZ - quite often posted on the Naturescapes forum.

    Glenn
    Thanks again, Glenn... yet another interesting and useful widget to put on my wishlist, lol. I've never attempted even one macro shot, though I have read a bit about some of the problems involved (like wind, for instance). I do agree this would be a great subject for a macro shot, though... one or two flowers surrounded by the fine details of the feathery down should make a fine shot, if my infant skills are up to it. (WARNING: I will likely need to pick your brain and the other masters here in the near future). Meanwhile, back to the books and tutorials... <sigh>

  14. #14
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    Re: Gossamer Bloom

    Al:

    1) I'm not a master,

    2) I've done a few macro shots, and a few using focus stacking - taking multiple shots at closely spaced focus distances. Special software (obtainable for free on the net) then selects the sharpest parts of each image and combines them. In fact it's called CombineZM.

    3) With macro work, one lives/with and dies/without a tripod. Although some people actually manage to hand-hold - I don't know how though.

    Almost all of the images below were taken with a 100 macro lens, and many are focused stacked, but all the flower shots were with a tripod.

    Don't be shy about asking questions - I'll try to answer any and all if possible.

    http://www.naturescapes.net/portfoli...t=24479&page=1

    Glenn

  15. #15
    Snarkbyte's Avatar
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    Re: Gossamer Bloom

    Quote Originally Posted by Glenn NK View Post
    Al:

    1) I'm not a master,

    2) I've done a few macro shots, and a few using focus stacking - taking multiple shots at closely spaced focus distances. Special software (obtainable for free on the net) then selects the sharpest parts of each image and combines them. In fact it's called CombineZM.

    3) With macro work, one lives/with and dies/without a tripod. Although some people actually manage to hand-hold - I don't know how though.

    Almost all of the images below were taken with a 100 macro lens, and many are focused stacked, but all the flower shots were with a tripod.

    Don't be shy about asking questions - I'll try to answer any and all if possible.

    http://www.naturescapes.net/portfoli...t=24479&page=1

    Glenn
    I've read about the stacking technique for PS in one of the CiC tutorials, but I haven't tried it yet... sounds like CombineZM is a simpler solution, so I'll give it a try (hey, it's free!).

    Very nice shots on your naturescapes page; I especially liked "Heart of the Geranium", "Crocosmia (Iridacea)" and "Blue and Green on Black".

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