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By suemart
I like the composition of this shot and also the different shades of green but I'm disappointed with the black outline around the petals of the back left daisy. I don't know why this has happened - it didn't look like that in real life! Can anyone explain and tell me how I might avoid this happening in the future?

(I put the exposure up a bit as I hoped to give the image a brighter, summery more airy feel).

Tags: Daisy Close-up and macro

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chase Plus
16 2.2k 583 England
12 May 2020 10:59AM
With a very shallow DOF you are restricting light coming into the camera so anything that is OOF has less light on it than the in focus stuff. Also, the grass will be stopping some of the light reaching the petals and casting shade over ...a natural diffuser if you like.
My only suggestion would be to cut the grass behind the Daisy or use a small reflector to push some light back into the far flowers.

I could be wrong and there is probably a technical way to avoid it...that I will leave to the more camera savvy members of the Team.

Tbh, I like this as it is and the shadow wouldn't particularly bother me, I can see where you have tried to lighten it, the original would be a bonus for us to see, maybe then there would be better/ more answers to your problem.
dark_lord Plus
17 2.8k 784 England
12 May 2020 11:27AM
The dark areas are out of focus shadows, and :I;ve observed this effect myself though because of the predominantly light tones here it is more noficeable but, like Janet, it's not a concern or distraction for me.

I'm more perturbed by the just cut off flower at the bottom right. My preference would be to include it allor not at all.
A halfway house is a little unsettling. Those in the background are less defined so don't have the same draw to the eye.

And yes it would be good to see the original.
Irishkate Plus
11 45 121 United Kingdom
12 May 2020 12:12PM
Can I just remark on the fact that in photography we're not 'supposed' to have
cut off subjects yet in paintings it is acceptable.
I've never worked that one out. Eg The Goose Girl.

12 May 2020 12:22PM
I think it's fine just as it is. The shadow on the petals top left are barely noticeable. I wouldn't have seen it at all if you hadn't pointed it out.
suemart Plus
3 4 2 United Kingdom
12 May 2020 12:27PM
Thank you very much Janet and Keith. Your comments are really helpful. I hadn't thought of the black as shadow/shade. I was thinking it was probably something to do with the settings I used Blush It's useful to know as well, that maybe I shouldn't be too worried about this as it doesn't really bother you.

Looking again, I can see that the right hand daisy draws the eye too much. I take your point about painting Kate - all so confusing! Maybe the daisy in question is too big to clone out and cropping might mess up the balance. It's quite a nice day outside so maybe I'll just pop out and have another go!

I have uploaded the original version. Didn't think to say first time round that it is a focus stacked image (stacked in camera). I don't think that's anything to do with the shadowing though.
chase Plus
16 2.2k 583 England
12 May 2020 12:45PM
I did a mod on your original,
Cloned out the Daisy on the RHS
Whitened the whites a touch by reducing the blues.
dudler Plus
18 1.7k 1879 England
12 May 2020 1:15PM
Hello, Sue -

I think the black lines are what some might refer to as 'bad bokeh' - I'd prefer to say that at some apertures and focal lengths, some lenses give unfortunate interactions between different parts of the out-of-focus image.

I don't think it's anything you've done wrong, it's just a bit of interference between different out-of-focus elements. Could you have avoided it? Possibly, by using a different lens: maybe a wider aperture: and I realise that there's no wider-aperture 150mm lens in MFT fitting.

A few weeks ago, I was trying to find precisely this sort of thing in one of my own lenses: I failed, probably because the effect requires that interaction between dark lines in the object in the background and the lens.

For Kate - never say never... It's a good rule of thumb (I'm told I shouldn't use that phrase, because it has a horrible sexist origin, but it's a useful term!) to avoid chopping things in half, but any rule is made to be broken. I think it's probably better to say that you should cut things in half deliberately, and for a purpose. Here, it gives a sort of uneasiness to the picture, keeping the eye moving around... It avoids too much cosiness, perhaps?

The positive compensation has worked nicely: a good thought.
dark_lord Plus
17 2.8k 784 England
12 May 2020 1:42PM
Janet's mod is good. That would look good printed on textured paper or canvas.
pamelajean Plus
15 1.6k 2238 United Kingdom
12 May 2020 5:10PM
Not a lot for me to add, Sue.
The shadow on the daisy at the back doesn't bother me, either.

As to a cut-off part of a flower, in this case it would look better without it because it is sharp, not out-of-focus like those further back, and therefore pulls the eye, just as your chosen daisy will be the eye-catching part, which is what you want. Composing with parts of things at the frame edges is generally avoided, but of course can look great if there is only one subject and only part of it is inside the frame, just like your "Dandelion" picture in your portfolio.

Being aware of compositional guidelines will help you to get the picture you want at the time of shooting, rather than having to resort to post processing. But remember, there are no rules, even though some people give them that title, like The Rule Of Thirds for instance. The important thing is that they have been used for a long time, and they work.

So when you re-visit the daisies, be aware of intrusions and what is in your background. Only include what you WANT included.

Well done for getting a good shot of a white daisy in the middle of the day. I had to abandon efforts to photograph a white iris today because the sun was so strong. Fortunately, it's in my garden, so I can try againSmile.

banehawi Plus
17 2.5k 4270 Canada
12 May 2020 6:33PM
To add some other points to those above, all of which I agree with.

1. You have a blue colour cast due to using auto white balance, which may exaggerate the perception of the dark outlines.

2. Your means of viewing is different from ours, so you may see this differently; for example, a tablet or laptop can show the image differently to a calibrated graphics monitor.

So you can address the white balance by either setting it to the actual condition, sunny/daylight perhaps, or shoot RAW and adjust in post processing.

I have uploaded a mod with a much warmer white balance, set by using the in-focus white petals as a reference; and cropped tighter.
I have also applied more out of focus blur to the daisies left and right.

Hope this helps.



paulbroad 14 131 1293 United Kingdom
12 May 2020 6:40PM
Kate - who said cut off images were a problem? the same rules apply to any picture, whatever the medium. whatever looks right is right.

I like this as it is. nice image.

suemart Plus
3 4 2 United Kingdom
12 May 2020 7:58PM
Well, what can I say? Thank you all so much for all your comments, mods, time and help. It's very much appreciated. I've learned so much! Your mods are great improvements -
I hadn't even noticed the blue colour cast but can see it now.
Did I say I thought the RH daisy was to big to clone wrong can you be!?
I didn't get outside to have another go today, but if the weather's OK tomorrow I will do with more confidence.
Thanks again
mrswoolybill Plus
14 3.0k 2461 United Kingdom
12 May 2020 9:32PM
I think Willie has explained the dark outline. I will just add that the human brain is a much subtler device than any camera, and it filters out a lot of imperfections in what we see, makes us less aware of them. Whereas the camera can reveal them quite clinically.

There's no problem with cut-offs that allow the eye to fill in what is missing and look balanced as part of the overall composition. The problem usually is cut-offs that look careless - cut-off feet or hands for example, or the very tip of a petal in an otherwise complete flower. 'Half moon' flowers can be very effective.
suemart Plus
3 4 2 United Kingdom
13 May 2020 9:08AM
Oh wow Carole! I did think this shot might be one I could try some texture on. Are you willing to share some tips on how to do it?
chase Plus
16 2.2k 583 England
13 May 2020 2:05PM
Sue, there are many different ways of applying a texture to an image and they don't always work. It's not a straight forward process, the learning curve of how to do it properly is very steep.
You can't just drop on a texture, well you can but that will have a downside too.
There are many things to consider, blending modes, masking layers, how much of the image still needs to be seen clearly, what effect it has on the message or story you are trying to convey etc, etc.
Some texture additions look fab some not so great, depending on what kind of look you are trying to achieve.
mrswoolybill Plus
14 3.0k 2461 United Kingdom
13 May 2020 2:39PM
Sue please, please be wary of jumping into special effects before you have really mastered getting the initial image right. And then think very carefully about what you do. It's very easy to go over the top, like a kid in a sweet shop.

Texture layers and other such effects should not be treated as an instant panacea for an imperfect image, an end in itself, and when used they need to be applied with subtlety - a teaspoon not a trowel!

Sort out your camerawork first...
dudler Plus
18 1.7k 1879 England
14 May 2020 9:39AM
Sometimes, it's possible to rescue a poor image (and your leading image is in no sense at all poor) with a carefully-chosen special effect.

However, as Janet and Moira say, it's an art in itself, and needs to be learned thoroughly, and not at the same time as progressing with camerawork. (Although your portfolio suggests that you are actually rather adept with the camera, and your reason for posting here was simply to find out more about those black lines, which is fine!)

A point that Moira often makes is that you should always assess the result of each step of processing, and compare the result with the previous step. It's really easy to get carried away, and to start thinking that because one can do something in processing, one must. Photographic wisdom is knowing when to stop - less is, very often, more.

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