Back Modifications (1)
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frosty fern

By freda
taken in Isle of Mull on a really cold morning on our way to see the sea eagles..what a day that was but no close up of the eagles.

Tags: Close-up and macro

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


Trev_B 11 151 68 England
27 Apr 2012 10:03AM
Hi Freda.. you have some wonderful colours here. There are two areas that I feel would have improved this image.

1. It would help to have been better to have selected a smaller aperture this would have given you a wider depth of field and put more of the fern in focus.

2. The centre of the image has no foliage which draws the eye away from the frosty ferns, it would also have provided a natural place to focus on.

I hope this helps.


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banehawi Plus
14 1.8k 3892 Canada
27 Apr 2012 4:19PM
Fredas Frosted Fern sounds nice.

You have good advice from Trev, so I will add a few more.

Sharpness, in the in-focus areas is low, can be sharper; a crop to move the empty centre off centre, and a little copy and paste can disguise the empty spot; a little work on colour balance can give it a little boost, - as in the mod.

Im guessing that f/5.6 is the widest aperture available at you focal length? And you often read that lenses are sharpest around f/5.6? This applies only to fast lenses that have a max aperture of f/2.8 or faster, as it stops down the lens a couple of stops. So IF 5.6 is your max starting point, then stopping the lens down one of two stop will be sharper, and also give you that addition dof.

Hope this adds to what Trev has provided.


pamelajean Plus
12 1.1k 2023 United Kingdom
27 Apr 2012 7:54PM
You have a wonderful subject here, Freda, the frosty ferns being touched by golden rays of the morning sunlight. It reminds me of early morning dog walks when I lived in the New Forest.
Such a lot of potential, but it's just not sharp enough anywhere for my liking. I'd like to see the foreground ferns sharp, with the background ones blurred, and the frost needs to sparkle, which could have been achieved with the use of flash. That may all sound unkind, but you have had some good advice from Trev and Willie above.
There is a small area in the bottom middle of the frame that looks to be in focus, so I am wondering where your focus point was set.
Here's a little personal tip. I have been known to place a pretty leaf, or even a little pine cone, onto the ferns, just to provide a focal point, looking as if it has fallen there naturally. Also, you have your stem on a diagonal, which is good, but I personally like the stem going from corner to corner, and it's worth a try.
DRicherby 9 269 725 United Kingdom
28 Apr 2012 11:56AM
Great subject, lovely light but, as has been said above, you need more sharpness. When working close up like this, depth of field is very restricted and that means that you tend to need a narrower aperture (higher f-number) than you might normally use. f/11 is a good place to start and you might even need to go to f/16 or beyond. Unfortunately, this slows the shutter right down so you either have to use flash (probably not a good idea in this case, as it'll overpower the nice natural light), higher ISO (but I'd be wary of going much beyond the ISO-400 that you're already using for fear of introducing unacceptable amounts of noise) or a tripod.

If a tripod isn't an option, you need to work with the depth of field you have. One way to maximize its effect is to carefully angle your camera so that as much as possible of the subject is parallel to the camera back -- if you imagine that the leaf is completely flat, you want the camera pointing straight at it, rather than at an angle. That means that as much as possible of the leaf is within the limited area of sharpness available. Alternatively, embrace the fact that you can't get the whole thing sharp and show a small area of the leaf, with the rest of it forming an out of focus background.

Looking through your portfolio, I see you have a lot of shots taken in interesting light. That skill for seeing when the light is good is invaluable as it can turn a mundane subject into something really special!

freda 6 United Kingdom
30 Apr 2012 10:12AM
whaw what great feedback from you all, thanks so much.
the idea about use of flash really got me thinking on this close up..and i really need to get my head around the better use of 'f' settings

but the comment that had me laughing all morning was Willie's..never thought about how the title sounded.

thanks again for making me think next time i am out with my camera.


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