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Spring Agaric

By WilliamRoar
The second of Month of Mushrooms. Prepare for the Red Cracked Bolete tomorrow. It's much better than this.

I don't know why, but this image just doesn't feel right, hence the Critique. Woah, long time since I used that. I think it's the grain, you might not be able to tell in the Low Res. one.

ISO 1600
F8
1/40

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.

Comments


lesarnott 6 11 2 United Kingdom
2 Oct 2010 9:27AM
Lovely DOF!
Les

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francisg 12 703 1 United Kingdom
2 Oct 2010 9:28AM
The very nature of these types of fungi produce a bland looking image. This is due mainly to their lack of any natural pigment of their own. You have given an excellent illustration of the subjects habitat. and the narrow Depth of Field has put some emphasis on the mail subject. It is quite a nice picture overall, and it gets my vote.
KarenFB Plus
10 4.7k 167 England
2 Oct 2010 10:51AM
As already mentioned, you've achieved a brilliant depth of field - I like the way you've managed to include 3 fungi (odd numbers always seem better then even!). Using an ISO of 1600 will give you a certain graininess, but having such an 'earthy' subject, I think you can get away with that.

I really like this image just as it is, but as you've allowed 'Mods', I decided to have a little play!

I went into lighting/contrast and adjusted it slightly (everything I've done is very minor), upped the saturation, and sharpened. Then I wondered what it would look like flipped - here you are. It's certainly not 'better' then yours - just a little different! Smile

You've managed a brilliant low point of view, with good focus and depth of field - what more could we want! Smile Well done.
bfgstew 10 668 105 England
2 Oct 2010 2:09PM
i Agree with the above comments, but I feel due to the lack of vibrancy a slight move to the left taken in landscape mode and you would have a more intresting image, the 3 fungi would be filling the frame, the larger one as is, in nice sharp focus and the other 2 nicely out of focus and stepping down in size acrosss the frame, instead of bunched up behind the main fungi causing a distraction, and if possible an even lower POV so the B/G would be the trees instead of a split B/G like it is?
Just my opinion and hope in some small way it helps.
Regards
Stewart
jonah794 7 1.7k 11 United Kingdom
2 Oct 2010 2:10PM
You've achieved some good DOF here - which goes well with the 'shrooms disappearing off into the distance. However, I think getting down low really gives a goot point of view, maybe of what an ant may see. A great try well done! Grin
DRicherby 7 269 725 United Kingdom
2 Oct 2010 3:35PM
This is nicely composed, with the receding line of mushrooms and the main one aligned a third of the way into the frame and with its cap about a third of the way down. Maybe it's a touch too rule-of-thirdsy, as I might prefer a fraction more space to the right and a bit less above. I think Karen's flipped version actually looks better but I couldn't say why. Smile (I don't buy the standard explanation of 'we read from left to right', since Arabic and Hebrew are written right-to-left and Chinese top-to-bottom.)

I agree that the image doesn't quite work, though. I don't think the grain is a problem at this resolution, since it's pretty faint and only really visible in the background. It's probably more of an issue in your high-resolution original.

I think the problem is sharpness. The cap itself is nicely sharp but the stalk is a bit soft, particularly where it seems to be curving backwards a little to meet the cap. It's not crazy-soft but I think it's enough to make the image a little disappointing. I can think of five possible causes of softness and as many as four of them might be contributing, here!

1. Out of focus. Not the cause here, as shown by the stem being very nearly sharp and the cap being fine. Your focus is obviously good.

2. Insufficient depth of field seems to be part of the cause. f/8 isn't a very narrow aperture and I think f/11 or even f/16 would be more appropriate for this kind of shot. Really, you need the whole stalk and at least the front half of the cap in sharp focus and you don't quite have that, here.

3. Noise reduction. You're shooting at ISO-1600 but not much noise is visible so I assume you've used at least some noise reduction in your processing. Unfortunately, even the best software can't fully distinguish detail from noise so, inevitably, some detail gets lost. We also seem to perceive a noisy image as being sharper than a version without noise — perhaps we see the noise as detail?

4. Camera shake. Given the high ISO and wide-ish aperture, I assume you weren't using a tripod. If you were using a tripod, then shutter speed is irrelevant for a stationary mushroom, so you should be using ISO-100 to get rid of the noise. Bracing the camera against the ground would help reduce camera shake but 1/40s is still a pretty slow exposure for a 35mm-equivalent 80mm focal length — you should be aiming for 1/80s or faster unless the camera is well supported.

5. Insufficient sharpening. As Karen's mod shows, a little bit of sharpening makes quite a difference to the image. Unsharp mask at a radius of 0.8 and a strength around 60 makes the detail on the rough parts of the stem a little clearer and lifts the photo. You usually need to sharpen after you resize an image because the fine detail that makes images look sharp gets lost when you make the photo smaller.

That sounds like a lot but I think the contribution of each of these things is fairly minor. Between them, I think they explain a lot of the reason why the photo, while being good, doesn't quite satisfy.
Great shot, would be even neater to see the same shoot with the same focal point but a little more foreground and less empty on top.
WilliamRoar 8 188 United Kingdom
2 Oct 2010 4:03PM
Thanks for the advice!

I was resting the camera on the ground, my shoe or a beanbag if anyone is intrested.
I've just found my benbo tripod, so I can get low and stable.

Will
DRicherby 7 269 725 United Kingdom
2 Oct 2010 4:17PM
Hehe — I've also taken some reasonable 'shroom shots using my shoe as a support. Grin I think that resting your camera on a bean bag should give stable enough support if you're not touching it at all when the shot is taken (timer or remote release). In that case, you could probably get away with lower ISO and a slower shutter. If you were supporting on your shoe, you're still holding the camera in your hand so, in that case, I certainly wouldn't want to go slower than 1/40.
MrsS 9 4.5k 18 England
2 Oct 2010 5:31PM
I've not a lot to add to the above - the only teeny thing that I'd like to see is a touch of separation between the fg and middle 'shroom, and I appreciate that might not have been possible, but I feel it might improve the image Smile

Fran x
lonely_oryx 8 61 54 England
2 Oct 2010 7:25PM
Good advice to a promising photographer
Niknut Plus
6 1.2k 68 United Kingdom
2 Oct 2010 8:52PM
I really like this shot, it centres on the one main fungus, yet puts it into it's own little family group with the others nicely defocussed in the b/g.
The only thing I would add is the image is a wee bit flat (contrast-wise), so I've created a mod. to give the shot a bit of a lift....hope this helps. Apart from that it's a darned good shot, that's a few notches above a straight record shot....so well done for that !!

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