Back Modifications (3)
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Sunflower with some of its huge magnificent leaves

By Jas2
I wanted to focus on the Giant sunflower but wanted to also include its magnificent large leaves as well. To exclude the fence in the horizon as well to reach its height I had to lift my fully extended tripod legs onto 3 empty flower pots , stand on a chair myself to compose a portrait type picture of the sunflower.
As advised before , its off centre, vertical ( being a single flower) , and includes its magnificent leaves , hopefully to add impact. Note also an insect in the bottom left of the sunflower itself. Contrary to advice regards f 11-16 for macro , I deliberately have used f4.5 to blur out the grass in the background (bokeh)

Tags: Sunflower Close-up and macro


dudler Plus
15 877 1496 England
9 Jul 2019 10:00AM
OK, this is looking good.

I understand the desire for an out-of-focus background - the trade-off is in the lack of much depth of field on the sunflower itself, and the consequent need to choose which part you want sharp, and make sure that you focus on that, and nothing else. I'm sure that if you look closely, there's a difference in sharpness as you move across the face of the flower from top to bottom. It's a perfectly acceptable creative decision, as it may be perfectly safe to take a car round a bend sideways, with the rear end hanging out - you need to be sure of what you're doing, or accept the occaisonal accident!

You'll need to select single point AF, and choose which point ot use, placing it precisely where you want it. Live view and manual focus can be useful, in the extreme - and the simplest way of all is to use an electronic viewfinder camera and manual focus.

The big thing, here, is that you've cropped a little bit too tight, trimming off parts of both of those leaves (you're right, they're lovely, adn worth including) and part of the folwer itself.

Again, that can be a viable creative decision - but you do need to be sure that it's what you want to do, and that it doesn't appear to be careless.

Soft light is good, as opposed to bright sunshine. I might be tempted to brighten this a fraction.

One definition to mention - 'bokeh' refers to the quality of the out-of-focus area, rather than to the simple fact of it being out of focus. For instance, some lenses give a wiry look, with every shape having a sort of shadowy outline (usually considered to be bad bokeh), or the trnasitions may be very soft and creamy (typically thought of as good bokeh).

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banehawi Plus
15 2.1k 4012 Canada
9 Jul 2019 4:30PM
You seem to ave resized again to a small file size, so it lacks detail; also the white balance is manually set, - what did you set it to to cause the leaves to be so yellow?

Its not a macro shot, so its not necessary to set a small aperture, and the choice of f/4.5 is fine depending on where you focused.

Its quite underexposed, - loaded a mod.

pamelajean Plus
13 1.2k 2082 United Kingdom
9 Jul 2019 6:36PM
It's gratifying to know that you have taken on board previous critique and have been looking to put it into practice, Jassi. You have been successful in several ways, so well done. I like your description of the way you positioned yourself in order to photograph the sunflower the way you wanted to portray itSmile.

It's the cut-off parts that I want to address. I have done a modification where I completed the flower's petals and also the tip of the leaf on the right. Of course, there are still some leaves that are incomplete, but that is acceptable. I also brightened the image, desaturated the yellow and sharpened. The sunflower centre is particularly sharp, so I assume you sensibly focused on that.

The background is nicely blurred, and by getting up high, the whole background is the same, with no distractions. That looks really good.


PS: On reflection, I should have also completed the very large front leaf at the bottom.
So, when composing your shot, allow your subject more room all around and try not to cut off any parts of the flower or main leaves.

dark_lord Plus
15 2.3k 579 England
9 Jul 2019 9:43PM
Using a wider aperture to keep the background soft is a good decision here, and it looks, going on this small file size; that you have sufficient depth of field on the flower. It would have been worth trying f/8 to see how that improved the flower and if there was any appreciable effect on the background (it looks fairly uniform so I doubt there'd be much difference.
If in doubt, take several shots at different apertures. A medium close-up like this benefits from some experimentation.

This is over=warm in terms of colour balance 9unless you wanted it that way.

Similarly with the composition, just clipping the petals, when there's plenty of room in the frame to avoid this, makes it look clumsy unless you intended that. Either way it looks awkward, so include all the petals, or crop in closer so it looks like a deliberate decision.
Clipping the leaves isn't such a big deal as the flower is the important part. But, given your title it is more of a point to note that it's best to include the whole leaf.

It's good that you described how you set up your shot as it helps us understand your thought process in capturing the I can't fault your attention to detail in that respect.

John's given a fine succint definiotion of bokeh, the current trend is to so misuse this word.
mrswoolybill Plus
12 1.5k 2060 United Kingdom
10 Jul 2019 8:59AM
I'm a bit late here. A few random thoughts:

First, you didn't need ISO 400, 100 would have been fine. Seeing a shutter speed of 1/1600 second appear in normal daylight, for anything other than high speed action, should ring alarm bells!

Secondly, off-centre is good, but better with those petal tips complete, as in Pamela's mod. I'm not so sure about portrait format though - I have been away and may have missed previous conversation, but a vertical subject in a vertical frame tends to remind me of a pencil standing on end in a pencil tin. Constricted and in danger of toppling over... I like to see a strong vertical balanced by horizontal space.

And finally, yellow and green are a tricky combination because they are tonally so close. Conversely (perversely?) I wonder if you have considered mono???

OK I have a few minutes to spare, back soon...
mrswoolybill Plus
12 1.5k 2060 United Kingdom
10 Jul 2019 10:13AM
Modification uploaded, with notes. Having caught up a bit here, a few more thoughts.

First of all, what happens at the edge of the frame is very important, because any problem there can distract the viewer's eye from the real story. If you are showing an entire flower, then clipped petals tend to look careless, clumsy.

If it happens, there are two possible remedies. Add extra canvas space and clone as Pamela did (it's a good exercise for practicing cloning skills!); or crop much tighter so that the cut-off looks deliberate.

If you go for the complete flower, the interest then is to look at angles and placement in the frame.

Generally I prefer to go in much closer though; this gives greater flexibility over composition, it avoids background distractions and it often makes exposure much easier because it reduces the amount of contrast in light.

The main thing though is that you are trying out different ideas. Keep enjoying!

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