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Unusual red flower at the Eden Project

By Norteme  
Taken at the Eden Project in Cornwall.

Any critique would be appreciated Grin

Tags: Flowers and plants 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.


tonyguitar 6 62 37 Canada
29 Apr 2013 11:57PM
Very unusual. Alarming to lady flowers, no doubt. TG

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banehawi Plus
13 1.8k 3866 Canada
30 Apr 2013 12:41AM
Welcome to EPZ Penny, and to the Critique Gallery.

This is An Anthurium. Very difficult to shoot with direct bright light falling on it, as you can see. its highly reflective, and you can end up with blown highlights.

The only way to avoid this would be to position yourself so no direct bright light was being reflected.

I have uploaded a mod with the highlights covered a little with the red colour, removed that dead head towards the bottom, and cropped. Scroll up this page and click the modifications tab to see the mod.

Enjoy the site.


mrswoolybill Plus
11 1.2k 1918 United Kingdom
30 Apr 2013 9:08AM
As Willie says...
I spend a remarkable amount of my time standing strategically positioned by my Other Half in order to block direct light falling on shiny subjects for his shots. It really is important to look out for highlights which may look bright and beautiful 'in the flesh' but will show up as nasty white blotches on your pictures. Light is everything, you need to be aware of what it's doing and work with it rather than against it.
Flowers are difficult to photograph in bright sun, partly because their petals are covered in little iridescent scales that catch the light. Subdued, flat light is much easier. Or a tame assistant to stand and block the direct sun...
Welcome to the site, and to our little patch of it. You're keen to learn, that's a great start.
pamelajean Plus
12 1.1k 2008 United Kingdom
30 Apr 2013 5:55PM
Hello, Penny, and welcome to EPZ.
As Willie says, this is an anthurium, in the arum family, with a deep red heart-shaped flower, known as the spathe, that has a waxy leathery texture, but is very glossy and will pick up light very easily, resulting in some blown highlights (white areas where the colour and detail disappears).
It has a long white horn known as the spadix, which has a lovely texture.
You have the front of the spathe in good focus, but not the spadix, which may well have been your intention. The alternative, of course, is to have the spadix in focus. But if you wanted the whole flower in focus, you would have needed a smaller aperture/higher f-number to give you a greater depth of field. This would also serve to let in less light.
Your background is nicely blurred, and all green, with nothing to distract the eye from your subject.
You have some bits intruding into your frame top right and at the bottom, which could be cloned out, or avoided at the time of shooting. If you like photographing flowers, carry a few small pegs with you, for holding back anything that you don't want included inside your frame. It's easy to concentrate so much upon your subject that you forget to pay attention to the outer edges. Unfortunately, distractions that lie close to the frame edge tend to carry extra visual weight and the viewer's eyes get drawn to them.
You have chosen an attractive angle on the flower, accentuating the shape and contours nicely.
When composing your flower picture, consider how negative space impacts upon your subject. Flowers are often treated just like a portrait of a person. If it leans or "looks" to one side, space is left in that area, for it to lean or "look" into, with less space behind it. Simply by placing your subject off-centre, you give it negative space on one side. Generally, pictures with subjects directly in the centre tend to be more static and less interesting than pictures with off-centre subject placement. Conversely, a circular flower photographed from the front often looks better in a square frame with equal space all around it.
Other things that you did right were not using flash, choosing a perfect specimen, going in close for detail, and choosing a pleasing angle.
I love the Eden Project, and took some anthurium pictures there myself on my last visit. I eventually bought one for myself but, sadly, it died after I got a neighbour to look after it whilst I went on holidaySad.
banehawi Plus
13 1.8k 3866 Canada
30 Apr 2013 6:17PM
Mod just uploaded, late. Thanks to Pamela for jogging my memory.

Norteme 4 25 United Kingdom
30 Apr 2013 8:02PM
Thanks to you all for taking the time to critique my photo - it's really appreciated and I can't wait for the weekend to go out with my new camera and try all of your tips. I like taking photos of many subjects from nature to architecture and definitely my children Smile

Thanks for the mod, Willie. It looks much better Smile I need to learn more about editing photos and try some different software.

Next purchases will probably be a flashgun and a bigger lens Smile

Thanks everyone

tonyguitar 6 62 37 Canada
30 Apr 2013 9:19PM
This may help lens wise. I use an 70 - 300mm zoom and never take it off the dslr. Helps keep the sensor and innards dust free. For macro and wide angle scenes and cityscapes / buildings I use a Kodak Z915 point and shoot. The lens is excellent. TG

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