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What makes this pic so bad?

meercat 9 278 United Kingdom
30 Jul 2010 1:55PM
Hi I recently uploaded a macro of a ruddy darter to my portfolio, It is a close macro of the bug on a branch (mainly just eyes and wings). I thought it was a really good image (does lose a bit being reduced in size) but it got one vote and one comment.

I am used to low votes etc. but this time I am a little perplexed?

Can anyone give me advise on why they think it doesn't work etc?

Anyway the linky thing

All advice greatly appreciated (and I can take critisism so won't take offence).

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brian1208 Plus
15 11.4k 12 United Kingdom
30 Jul 2010 2:07PM
I've added a comment with my thoughts, hope they may be of some help
cameracat 14 8.6k 61 Norfolk Island
30 Jul 2010 2:13PM
Just had a look and quite honestly Brian1208 has covered all the areas/points that need consideration/action.

Keep at it though, Practice & patience will be rewarded.

cats_123 Plus
14 4.8k 28 Northern Ireland
30 Jul 2010 2:52PM
Hi Ashley

as Brian comments...the thumbnail is very dark, so I've had a go at a quick mod...

added some hi-lights and selective sharpening

am sure there's a lot more to come out of the image Smile
brian1208 Plus
15 11.4k 12 United Kingdom
30 Jul 2010 3:07PM
Ashley, have a look here as an example of the effect of flash + close focus control to see what I mean about sharpness. I'm using the canon 60mm macro here and the 100 macro should do at least as well (or probably better)

As cameracat said, its all about practise and observation. You've done the hard bit and got the dragonfly hypnotised, now its time to get the well lit and sharp images
justin c 14 5.0k 36 England
30 Jul 2010 3:37PM
You've managed to get quite close, but I'm afraid that in itself doesn't guarantee a good shot.
The low shooting angle works quite well but on the whole the image doesn't really work for me, mainly for the following reasons;

The twig that the insect is perched on is quite light so it tends to take a lot of the attention away from the main subject.
The dark background isn't ideal or complimentary for a subject that's active during the daytime.
The image appears a little underexposed.
The main point of extreme close-ups such as this, is usually to show off as much fine detail as possible. In this case, that would be the dragonfly's face, which unfortunately looks a little too dark to really show the detail and features off to good effect.
The out of focus wings distract the eye somewhat, but I can appreciate this is often the case when photographing dragonfly's. Damselflies are much easier in this regard as they usually, and rather conveniently, rest with their wings in line with their body. Not much you could do about though in this instance, and you wouldn't get the whole of the creature in focus anyway, no matter what aperture was selected.

A good attempt and an ok shot but with room for improvement. Macro is an extremely difficult genre to get everything perfect so I wouldn't get down-hearted by the lack of interest, but treat it more as a stepping stone to perfecting the technique. If it was easy, it would be boring, so keep at it.

Have a look HERE for some pointers and inspiration.
meercat 9 278 United Kingdom
30 Jul 2010 4:36PM
Thank you all for the pointers. Justin you are right those images are inspiring and kind of give me a clearer picture of why this one failed.

Just so it is clear in the original version you can see the detail in the eyes (I think, unless I loaded the wrong picture??) unfortunately this was lost in resizing, can anyone recomend the best way to have shrunk the image but kept the detail? (thinking about it, I sharpened before resizing maybe that was an issue)

Not sure what DOF I used (I did think it was around f/8 but maybe I changed it, I'll have to check when I get home).

I understand where you are all coming from with regards to the darkness, unfortunately that was the bush behind it, not much I could have done to change that, but I will try to give the RAW file a few tweaks to improve brightness etc. and try to improve compostition next time.

I wasn't out to photograph dragonflies on the day in question so this was handheld, and no flash (although I think by the time I would have set up a flash it would have gone, I spent a long time chasing them until one perched).

But once again, thank you all for the tips.
brian1208 Plus
15 11.4k 12 United Kingdom
30 Jul 2010 5:13PM
A tip for "Dragon Hunting" Ashley, watch them for a while and identify where they like to perch (they tend to patrol and perch in regular patterns), then set up you kit and stand there. I usually reckon to get the shot within 15 minutes that way and have pre-focused / checked the lighting etc whilst waiting (any longer than 15 minute and I'm off - I'm not a patient photographer! Wink )

You may find it helps a bit.

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