Back Modifications (4)
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By AM74
Casual hand-held shot of this wonderfully perfect sphere in my garden ( Echinops). Took several shots at 0, -1/3, -2/3 and -1 EV and chose this one as it got the best focus I thought. Any feedback re exposure ( is it under?), focus and composition will be gratefully received. Thanks

Tags: Leaves Flowers and plants Flowers and plants

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dudler Plus
17 1.3k 1701 England
28 Jun 2020 9:45PM
Evening, Annie -

Exposure - technically, a fraction under, maybe, but I think it's more important to keep tones in the subject than in the deeper shadows. So this will do nicely for me.

Focus looks pretty reasonable, but at 1/50 second, you may well have subject movement, and it's tempting camera shake if the IS isn't on good form. Additionally, f/4 will give pretty limited depth of field, and you need at least half an inch of sharpness to do justice to the spiky ball.

On the plus side, this has given lovely fall-off of sharpness towards the background, and that always helps, even when the background is as beautifully harmonious and relatively dark, as it is here.

The ideal is a tripod, and maybe a length of two of ribbon stabilising the subject (which wouldn't work here, as the stem is all in view!), plus around f/8 to f/11 for the greater depth of sharp focus.

Composition? Maybe a crop from the top left - others may provide better and more inventive feedback.

But overall, it's pleasant and harmonious, with the stem curling up to put the seed head on a Third.
banehawi Plus
16 2.3k 4164 Canada
29 Jun 2020 5:15AM
The globe has some very bright areas, so that -1 protects these areas, while the overall image is a little under, as mentioned already.

I have to stress as John says that the shutter speed is at a point where you are totally relying on the fact that the plant is rock steady, not always a good idea outdoors! You would be better to use ISO 800, or, set a minimum shutter speed in the camera menu. 1/125 would likely have been reliable, and a smaller aperture guaranteed to give more depth to the globe, and more apparent sharpness.

Its not pin sharp, but its acceptable. I did add a ;little sharpening in the mod, as well as a very tight crop, and used a warmer white balance.

Looking at the histogram, you have already done quite a bit of post processing before you uploaded it here... might be good to see an unprocessed version if you have it?


29 Jun 2020 8:01AM
Thanks a lot John and Willie for your feedback- as always much appreciated.
I have uploaded an unprocessed image. After your previous advice Willie, I had changed the ISO to auto but it was going for 1250 here so I changed it manually to lower. Presumably to set minimum shutter speed, I have to shoot in M or Tv mode( and not Av which I am used to)?
29 Jun 2020 10:19AM
I reckon that's a plant that means business.

So no half measures... a more radical crop, and heavy vignetting to darken the background. Drama.

chase Plus
15 1.8k 444 England
29 Jun 2020 11:42AM
Hi Annie,
Maybe a tad on the dark side and this does benefit from the crops as demonstrated.

It's not particularly sharp where it should be, handheld at 1/50th is too slow for moving objects.
Shutter speed is the way to go outdoors and handheld, even the tinies movement of the subject or yourself will show.

Just watch the highlights on the plant stem, if you use levels to lift the brightness of the image, use the layer mask to remove lightening on the brightest part of the stem.You will need to use the brush tool set to black, select the layer mask ( should be white by default) and gently paint over the very brightest highlights, you can alter the opacity of the brush if you need to.

dark_lord Plus
16 2.6k 696 England
29 Jun 2020 12:03PM
You say this was the best for focu. I guess you handheld this so keeping the plane of focus on the flower especially at that wide aperture is difficult. A small movement by you after focus is enough to affect the result. A tripod will help a lo but movement of the flower itslf will ne the isue them.
Waiting for a lull, creating a windbreak or clamping the stem (difficult to avoid getting it in frame from theis angle) are thigs to try.
Don;t worry about shadow areas going dark in the background as you don't need tosee detail there as it will be out of focus anyway.

Talking of the background, a smaller aperture would render it more recognisable and become a distraction, so you'll need to adjust your viewpoint a bit. Either way, Alan's mod shows how reducing the background's influence makes the subject stand out.
dudler Plus
17 1.3k 1701 England
1 Jul 2020 8:53PM
It's all about the exposure triangle - ISO, aperture, shutter speed. Whichever one you set first, you then have to play off the other two against each other. And there's no reason you can't set Aperture priority, and then make a point of checking the shutter speed is high enough before shooting (which is what I generally do). If it's not, I know I have to raise the ISO.

Sometimes, this means that the ISO has to go high - and the 5D IV should be able to cope with more than 1250 without losing quality too much. Things that were a problem 10 years ago aren't any longer. Lower ISO is better, but if it's a trade-off between noise and sharpness, I'd go for sharpness every time.

Really good editing suggestion from Alan, and plenty of help on dealing with flowers out of doors from Willie, Janet and Keith.
2 Jul 2020 10:56AM

Quote:I reckon that's a plant that means business.


Thanks Alan, Keith, Willie, John, Janet for your very helpful comments and for taking the time as always Smile

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