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Thread: Flowers and Bees, C&C please

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    abhi's Avatar
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    Flowers and Bees, C&C please

    Today morning I went out with my 18-55 lens hoping to take some pictures with nothing particular in mind. While walking past a flowerbed I noticed a bee hovering around, and ended up taking photos of the bee with flowers till my CF card was full. Most of them ended up being bad with the bee out of focus, or just lost within the stalks of the flowers. Here are a couple that came out decent. C&C, PP suggestions are all welcome. So, for I have done white balancing (6000k), applied a tiny bit of local contrast and sharpening, and sharpened the bee.

    Flowers and Bees, C&C please
    EXIF: 18-55mm lens at 55mm, f/5.6 for 1/125s

    Flowers and Bees, C&C please
    EXIF: 18-55mm lens at 55mm, f/8.0 for 1/160s. I was hoping to get the whole flower in focus at f/8 . I will try again tomorrow.

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    Re: Flowers and Bees, C&C please

    This is never easy, Abhi, especially with a relatively short lens.

    From my experience, you usually have to decide which is the most important, the insect or the flower, and crop accordingly. Vary the crop ratio to suit the scene. Using a 5 x 4 ratio often works better than 3 x 2 ratio for this type of shot.

    There isn't any simple answer for this type of shot, keep your shutter speed sufficiently high and a rather narrow aperture to give plenty of depth and adjust the ISO to suit.

    But basically, just keep shooting and expect a high number of rejects. These examples have good colour and exposure without any background noise.

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    abhi's Avatar
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    Re: Flowers and Bees, C&C please

    Thanks Geoff. I will try tomorrow with my 55-250 lens and a higher shutter speed. Is there any particular range of shutter speeds that you would recommend?
    The reason I chose a high aperture was to cut the background, which was atrocious (just a bunch of buildings, and another under construction). I guess I will just have to play around with my settings to get a better shot. Thanks for your feedback and encouragement.

    PS: Does the DOF change with focusing distance

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Flowers and Bees, C&C please

    Hi Abhi,

    I don't think we have 'met' before, so I'll extend my usual 'welcome to the CiC forums from me' greeting to you.

    Quote Originally Posted by abhi View Post
    PS: Does the DOF change with focusing distance
    Effectively yes. The closer you get to the subject, the shallower the DoF is. There is a tutorial here at CiC which has a DoF calculator, although it isn't specifically intended for the closer distances (in fact there may be another in one of the macro tutorials which might be better for close subject distances). Anyway, what I was trying to say before I digressed, was; have a play with the figures in those and you'll see how limiting it will get as you get closer. In fact as someone else is finding out, even f/22 won't cover it and you may, for 'whole flower in focus' shots, need to do something called focus stacking. Again, there's a tutorial (or Technique) on that too. Another way to read up if you're interested in learning more, is to click the View Tag Cloud link below left and click on macro photos and focus stacking to see more threads on these topics (some may well appear in both lists of course)

    I think you have done well with the limitations of the kit lens' focal length, both are very acceptably sharp, althouth the first is definitely my favourite.

    Personally I don't go for defined aspect ratios as a rule, but certainly Geoff's suggestion that 3:2 is not as good as 5:4 (or even square) is valid - there's quite a bit of non-contributory space in these.

    Even with a macro lens, the loss rate is high for these kind of subjects (there's a lot of luck involved), so as I say, you've done well.

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    Re: Flowers and Bees, C&C please

    Thanks for all the tips Geoff and Dave . Dave, I do not think focus stacking will be feasible for me in this case. There's usually a light breeze in the morning when I take the pictures, so the flowers move slightly. And I have no clue how to incorporate the bee if I do focus stacking. I guess one solution would be to take a set of pictures of the flower, and a single one photo with the bee at that flower, then use them together for stacking. Oh, I do not own a tripod either

    But, I took a few more photos with my 55-250 IS today at ISO 400 to get higher shutter speed and larger apertures, and sure the number of acceptable images just shot up . The magnification I get with both my lenses is similar as the18-55 IS has a much closer minimum focusing distance of .25m (as compared to 1.1m for 55-250).

    Here's a sample. I am still sorting through the files (about 170 odd), I will post more later.

    Flowers and Bees, C&C please
    EXIF: focal length 250mm; f/11 for 1/250s; ISO 400

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    Re: Flowers and Bees, C&C please

    I agree that I find focus stacking to be useless outdoors. Sometimes on really calm days I can use two shots, but without any insects etc.

    That flower is a lot better and nicely fills the frame; but for flying insects I would like to use at least twice your shutter speed.

    A little extra selective sharpening just applied to just the insects, or any poorly focused parts of the flower always helps.

    A tripod or possibly a monopod certainly helps with flowers or static insects but can sometimes slow down your response time if flying insects aren't in a cooperative mood.

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    Re: Flowers and Bees, C&C please

    Firstly, you should know that I seldom comment unless I like the post, and then struggle to put in words what drew me to the picture but I always know exactly what I dont like! With your posts - they are gorgeous. This last one has beautiful colours. (The first one had a nice angle to the flower and the bee was in a better position, but the colour was not as good.) I would have been tempted to rotate the pic slightly if doing this would not crop the original too much, to give it an off centre look. I would be thrilled with such a pic - well done!

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Flowers and Bees, C&C please

    Hi Abhi,

    I tend to agree with Geoff on shutter speed, I would raise the iso further still and if, due to cropping increase maginfication factor, you can see the noise, then deal with it using something like Neat Image, which works nicely as a plugin to many of the major image editing programs. Yes, it costs money, but there is a free trial (to get you hooked) - best $30 I spent.

    I like this one too

    Cheers,

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