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Thread: Red spike flower

  1. #1
    abhi's Avatar
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    Red spike flower

    Hi all, this weekend I got the Canon 50mm f/1.8 as an early birthday present I was amazed at the increase in image quality over the cheap zooms I own (18-55 IS and 55-250 IS). To work on my compositional skills, I am planning to solely use the 50mm lens for a month. I hope it also helps me improve my 'eye' for compositions in the normal-short telephoto range, as I find myself shooting primarily at the two ends of the spectrum. I will post some photos periodically for feedback and advice. Please share your thoughts, and suggestions regarding my plan

    Here's today's photo of some Red Spike Flowers in our garden:

    f/2.8 for 1/200s at 100 ISO.
    Red spike flower

    I have played around with luminance and saturation of reds a little during pp, does that look ok? What about the composition? Should I darken the background more? Detailed critiques and comments are welcome.

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    jiro's Avatar
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    Re: Red spike flower

    Quote Originally Posted by abhi View Post
    Hi all, this weekend I got the Canon 50mm f/1.8 as an early birthday present I was amazed at the increase in image quality over the cheap zooms I own (18-55 IS and 55-250 IS). To work on my compositional skills, I am planning to solely use the 50mm lens for a month. I hope it also helps me improve my 'eye' for compositions in the normal-short telephoto range, as I find myself shooting primarily at the two ends of the spectrum. I will post some photos periodically for feedback and advice. Please share your thoughts, and suggestions regarding my plan

    Here's today's photo of some Red Spike Flowers in our garden:

    f/2.8 for 1/200s at 100 ISO.
    Red spike flower

    I have played around with luminance and saturation of reds a little during pp, does that look ok? What about the composition? Should I darken the background more? Detailed critiques and comments are welcome.
    That's a good way to learn more about composition, Abhi. I did that, too when I bought my 50mm f1.8D lens. It really forced me to be aware of the elements I am including inside the frame since I only have one lens to work on. Though it's a bit tedious walking back and forth, it was really good to practice composition skills as a photographer.

    I noticed that the shot seemed to have it's focus (the area with the sharpest detail) on the the lower right. I was hoping that it would be the red spike flower that should be more in focus. It would be hard to bring out the detail on the flowers during PP so I guess some selective dodging and burning could help shift the attention a little bit. The background is a bit busy so the dodging and burning can deal with that. I would probably recommend some small amount of cropping to position the top most flower on the top left focal point. Some additional post sharpening would probably help, too. I did some minor edit and came up with this idea. Hope you don't mind.

    Red spike flower

  3. #3
    abhi's Avatar
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    Re: Red spike flower

    Quote Originally Posted by jiro View Post
    That's a good way to learn more about composition, Abhi.
    Thank you for your encouraging words, Jiro

    Quote Originally Posted by jiro View Post
    I noticed that the shot seemed to have it's focus (the area with the sharpest detail) on the the lower right. I was hoping that it would be the red spike flower that should be more in focus.
    You are right. The focus in this photo was on the bud, and it is entirely my fault that I forgot that during pp. The title is misleading too, as my original intention with this photo was to bring out the bud in relation to the flowers in the background. In trying to get nice contrast I forgot what I started out to do. I guess I have some dodge and burn to do to correct it as per my original intent Here is another photo with the flower in focus (though I am not sure if the flower in the foreground is distracting) that I am including here, I hope you find it more to your liking. I have just copied the settings from the previous photo, cropped, and sharpened a little more. The colors are not tweaked as I forgot to click that button during sync I will do some selective along the lines of your suggestions after I get back from work.

    Red spike flower

    Quote Originally Posted by jiro View Post
    It would be hard to bring out the detail on the flowers during PP so I guess some selective dodging and burning could help shift the attention a little bit. The background is a bit busy so the dodging and burning can deal with that. I would probably recommend some small amount of cropping to position the top most flower on the top left focal point. Some additional post sharpening would probably help, too. I did some minor edit and came up with this idea.
    I love your edit. This is so much better than what I had in terms of the details in the flowers, especially the ends of the spikes. I have never been able to get that without getting sharpening artifacts. The bud on the right seems to pop out a little more too, and the contrast for the leaves in bottom right is much improved. The background looks much better too. Can you please outline the steps you took to achieve these effects? Thank you very much for your time, Jiro. I will work on both of these photos after I get back from work.

  4. #4
    jiro's Avatar
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    Re: Red spike flower

    My sincere apologies, Abhi on misspelling your first name. That's the problem if you have poor eyesight. .

    I always try to edit an image based on what I think is necessary to improve it so I can't tell you a very definite workflow. I think the way I did the edit on this one is:

    1. Copy some areas of the background to replace those areas that are too bright. I want the attention to be centered on the leaves and the flower so by cloning out these bright backgrounds the shift of attention can be achieved.

    2. Since the flowers are my main concern (or my focus of attention) I apply some lightening on them by using the process I call "selective dodging and burning". This involves adding a new layer on top of the image and fill this layer with 50% gray. I set this layer then with a blending mode of OVERLAY and then use the brush tool to brighten or darken any areas to my liking. White colored brush for lightening and Black colored brush for darkening. I always use a brush with 100% opacity and 3% flow so I can further develop the effect slowly. If I set it to 100% flow the effect is too harsh and looks too artificial.

    3. I then applied what you call an S-curve to the image. What this does is to increase the contrast of the image without affecting the midtones.

    4. I then applied some post-sharpening and then apply a mask to this sharpened layer. The mask will let you sharpen only the part that you think needs to have more attention than others. In this case, the bud, the front leaves, and the flowers.

    I think that's it. Your last edit looks really great! keep it up and hope to see some more of your work in the future!
    Last edited by jiro; 11th April 2011 at 04:55 AM.

  5. #5
    abhi's Avatar
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    Re: Red spike flower

    Quote Originally Posted by jiro View Post
    My sincere apologies, Abhi on misspelling your first name. That's the problem if you have poor eyesight. .
    No apologies necessary. It was a problem of miniscule font size, so I fixed that

    Quote Originally Posted by jiro View Post
    Your last edit looks really great! keep it up and hope to see some more of your work in the future!
    Thanks, Jiro. I have just adjusted the contrast curve and black point. I will do the selective edits later and post that. But, is the foreground flower distracting in the second photo, and is the center flower in better focus or should I opt for slightly more DOF?

    And any suggestions to have the bud stand out with the flowers behind it, in the first photo? I was thinking of ever so slightly blurring the background a little, and selectively lightening the bud a tiny bit. At work, so I will keep it short. Thank you again.

    --
    Abhi

  6. #6
    jiro's Avatar
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    Re: Red spike flower

    I'll give you a tip, Abhi. If you find the background too distracting that it hinders a good composition, put a piece of cloth and use it as your new background. Play with the color of the cloth to make it work. Get closer to your subject and shoot with a wide aperture to blur the background more. Hope this helps.

  7. #7
    abhi's Avatar
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    Re: Red spike flower

    Quote Originally Posted by jiro View Post
    I'll give you a tip, Abhi. If you find the background too distracting that it hinders a good composition, put a piece of cloth and use it as your new background. Play with the color of the cloth to make it work. Get closer to your subject and shoot with a wide aperture to blur the background more. Hope this helps.
    Jiro, thanks for the tip. I tried dodging and burning with PS yesterday, but spent an hour figuring out that I need to edit the layer not the mask (PS newb ).

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