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Lonely

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Taken on Skomer in June, this caught my eye but I am not sure if it works as a picture. Opinions please.
Unfortuneately I didn't have my macro lens with me.
ISO 400
f8.0
1/3200

300mm

Camera:Canon EOS 400D
Lens:Canon 70-300 DO IS
Recording media:RAW (digital)
Title:Lonely
Username:Hazelmouse Hazelmouse
Uploaded:16 Aug 2009 - 4:10 PM
Tags:Close-up / macro, Flowers & plants
VS Mode Rating 99 (25% won)
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Comments

This photo is here for critique. Please only comment constructively and with suggestions on how to improve it.
somnathchatterjee
16 Aug 2009 - 4:47 PMConstructive Critique!This comment was flagged as constructive critique! 

a nice picture, good contrast and excellent detail. but i think it would have been better if the back ground was in soft focus. you could have used f5.6 or lower than that for this shot. i donot know whether there was breeze or not and if not then a slower shutter speed and low ISO for this shot is more preferable. although you have done a good job here.

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stoplooklisten
17 Aug 2009 - 12:16 PM

lovely shot, very natural. like the coloured tips on the grass, shows the time of year, they are only this colour when just starting to ripen. good result with a non macro lens.

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DRicherby
DRicherby  5269 forum posts United Kingdom725 Constructive Critique Points
17 Aug 2009 - 12:20 PM

This is an interesting shot, and the idea of the flower against a background of grasses works well. There's a nice contrast of colour and texture between the flower and the grasses.

However, I'm afraid I have to disagree with much of what Somnath says. The optical contrast is actually fairly low — if you look at the histogram, about 85% of the pixels are at 1/3 intensity or lower and the flower isn't actually all that bright. The result is that, to my eye, the photo is rather flat.

It also does not have `excellent detail'. The background is sharp but the centre of attention is the flower but its stamens are noticeably soft. Sharpening in software helps a little but there's only so far you can push that. I don't feel that a stop wider aperture (f/5.6 vs f/8) would make a significant difference to the background blur, because the background and subject appear to be at almost the same distance from the camera. It would make focus on the flower even more critical but, to me, much of the point of the shot is the background — even if it were technically possible, why would you want it out of focus?

Not knowing the conditions, it's hard to comment on the shutter speed but I agree that 1/3,200s does seem rather fast. Lower ISO will tend to give you sharper images because noise reduction can never do a perfect job of distinguishing between noise and fine detail. ISO-400 is reasonable and there isn't any obvious noise in the image but I would guess that going to ISO-200 and 1/1,600s would still give you an image free of motion blur, unless it was really blowing a gale! Smile

Overall, I like the photo but I feel it lacks impact. To this end, I've posted a mod which addresses some of the issues I've talked about. I've used the curves function to increase the contrast and brighten the flower. I've also pushed up the colour saturation a little (8 or 9%, as I recall), to strengthen those reds and greens. I've cropped it a little tighter to give something closer to a rule-of-thirds composition and added a bit of a vignette to stop the eye straying out of the frame at the corners. And I sharpened it to try to reduce the blur on the stamens.

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DRicherby
DRicherby  5269 forum posts United Kingdom725 Constructive Critique Points
17 Aug 2009 - 5:20 PM

Hmm. Looking back at this, I seem to have over-sharpened my mod. And adjusting the curves has brought out the noise. Sad

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Hazelmouse
17 Aug 2009 - 8:44 PM

Thanks for the comments and mod. I agree that a lower ISO and speed would have been a good idea, I was mainly taking bird pictures on the island - hence the high speed and ISO which I didn't change.

Although it was sunny there is always a breeze on such a small island.

In fairness I shouold have also pointed out that I had already done a bit of cropping, sorry I forgot - possibly why noise has now appeared?

Helen.

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DRicherby
DRicherby  5269 forum posts United Kingdom725 Constructive Critique Points
17 Aug 2009 - 9:57 PM

Nah, the noise is just me pushing the 8-bit editing a touch too far, which might have brought out some of the ISO noise, too. Since you have the RAW file to play with, you should be able to do something similar with less noise.

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