Back Versions (1)
Modifications (2)

Broad Bodied Chasers

By KarenFB
A very rare occurance, I've uploaded into the Critique section!! Smile

I really do want honest opinions! Not just honest opinions, but what I could have done to improve the image.

This was taken the other day, full sunlight, slight breeze and through the dreaded nettle beds. I really wanted an image of the two females (there was a male flying around too!). Can I save it now, if so how? (please feel free to Mod!)

Version 2 is one of the females on her own. The body isn't too bad, but I feel her head is soft and shows movement - Rachel says I'm being too picky..............what do you think?

Now I already know how bad they are, so don't be afraid to point out the bad bits - I know they're there.

Tags: Insects Dragonflies Females Broad bodied chasers Wildlife and nature

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This photo is here for critique. Please only comment constructively and with suggestions on how to improve it.


BERTRAM 10 United Kingdom
25 Jun 2008 3:28PM
v2 is the best for me

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chuckspics 11 14 United States
25 Jun 2008 3:45PM
CarolG 11 199 20 Greece
25 Jun 2008 3:53PM
Like both of them, good dof inb V.1, and excellent detail in V.2. Carol
sunshot 13 24 United Kingdom
25 Jun 2008 4:06PM
both shot look great both superbly detailed, v 2 is for me

CanonMan 16 524 4 England
25 Jun 2008 5:20PM
Both shots are very bright when I look at them on my monitor with a lot of blown out areas losing some of the detail. If you have exposure compensation on the S3, that would have allowed you to under expose to lose some of the brightness in the scene and retain the detail. Are you able to control apertures/shutters/ etc..., with the S3? If so, a smaller aperture would have allowed more of the second chaser to be in focus on the first pic but would have resulted in a slower shutter speed so you'd have to watch out for camera shake. Same with the 2nd pic - a bit bright on my monitor. I think your own assessment of the images is pretty good. Were they shot as JPG or RAW and have you done any processing before uploading? That might decide whether or not you'd be able to get anything out of the images with further processing.
KarenFB Plus
12 5.0k 171 England
25 Jun 2008 5:29PM
Hi Steve, thank you for your critique. Smile

Yes, I can alter the aperture or the shutter speed - so as I understand it, I should have used a bigger F number! (Though I do depend a lot on the IS function!). The CS3 shoots in JPG and I have no say in that matter. I must admit, I did crop, adjust levels/contrast and sharpen slightly. I really must make more effort to get the shot right before I press the button!
dawnmichelle 10 12 United States
25 Jun 2008 6:23PM
wonderful captures Karen
Wooly 12 112 4 England
25 Jun 2008 6:25PM
Some good advice from Steve Karen.

You could have tried to get in a better position so both dragons were the same distance from you, that would be an alternative to increasing the DOF. Using a fill flash might help but you have to be careful not to black out the background. And my personal favourite method, Stack focus, lots of fast shutter speed shots, taken at slightly different focus points then put the images together to make one super crisp image, hard work, but very effective.

bayleaf 10 8 United Kingdom
25 Jun 2008 9:15PM
I like both shots and found the critique and your response very interesting.
25 Jun 2008 9:27PM
I like both images, notwithstanding comments allready made. On #1 I think I would have tried a different viewpoint if possible, placing the OOF dragon more to the front but isolated. Well captured Karen
User_Removed 11 16 England
25 Jun 2008 10:32PM
Hi Karen. I don't think you can do much to "rescue" V1. But it's a great opportunity to learn. There are two main issues here: focussing and exposure.
1) Focussing: the two insects are not the same distance from the camera and this differential is greater than your available depth of field. Remedy: move slightly to one side until both subjects are equi-distant from the camera. It looks like the r/h dragon is nearest, in which case moving to your left would have brought them both into the dof. Practice doing this with two static objects, and watch the focussing change in the viewfinder. I know that with wildlife there is always the fear of losing the shot, but now that you are aware of the problem the remedy can become second nature and not really take any time.
2) Your real remedy here is to use manual exposure (if your camera has this setting); It prevents the b/g or areas of extreme light or dark in the subject giving an exposure reading that is not correct for the overall subject. A good way to do this is to aim the lens at an area of grass that is in the same light as the subject and choose the aperture and shutter speed to give the correct exposure reading; then up the speed a notch (1/3 stop) to under expose. Grass has the same tonal value as 18% grey which is recognised as the standard tone from which to take a reading that will give full tonal range in the photo. Almost all my bird shots are taken 1/3 stop under exposed.( sometimes 2/3 for birds with white or very pale areas). If you have not used manual exposure before then its worth looking into, reading up on and applying to shots like this. You'll find it easiest starting in consistent dull daylight; then progress to sunshine. On days when the light is constantly changing, because of passing clouds you will tear your hair out, but it's great practice for being in rapid control of your settings and worth mastering!
Hope this helps you in the future and good luck
KarenFB Plus
12 5.0k 171 England
26 Jun 2008 7:13AM
Thank you all so much for your brilliant critique - I have a lot to take on board here, but hope to soon go out and practise it!!! Grin

Unfortunately I don't think I'll be able to focus stack unless I use a tripod and the insects stay very, very still for quite a while! My camera isn't up to such fast work!

Moving wasn't an option, as it was I was up to my knees in nettles, the path dropped off and the nettles went to about chin height!! But I do understand the advise given and will do so if I can! The females are settled on the top of a tree, it has fallen off because the squirrels have killed it. I was amazed to see two together, I thought they were territorial, but these two seemed to fly together quite happily!

Again thank you so much for your advise!! Smile

Also thank you Treebridge for your mod
Angi_Wallace 10 172 10 United Kingdom
26 Jun 2008 8:01AM
Some very useful critique here, which will help me to learn shooting this type of subject matter too, so thanks to all the guys who took time out to give Karen advice.
tigertimb 10 40 66 United Kingdom
27 Jun 2008 9:21AM

Quote:Some very useful critique here, which will help me to learn shooting this type of subject matter too, so thanks to all the guys who took time out to give Karen advice.

Ditto for me - I didn't know about grass having the same tonal range as 18% grey - will come in very useful in the future.
As an alternative way of rescuing the shot you could have narrowed the depth of field further instead, so the one in the background is less distinct. For my personal taste; when you have two subjects either getting both sharp is good or one sharp and one indistinct; the inbetween is the variant that I don't think works quite so well.
I've uploaded a crude mod to illustrate
KarenFB Plus
12 5.0k 171 England
27 Jun 2008 11:46AM
Hi Tim, thank you for your mod. Yes, very clever, I see what you mean. It has made it look like the right hand one is in the background (rather than the foreground). I quite like that effect - if only the main subject were slightly better focussed! Smile

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