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Close-up & Macro Macro and Micro Plants, insects, ice and other micro or macro artistic work

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  #1  
Old May 31st, 2007, 05:24 PM
James Newman James Newman is offline
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Default My wife bought me flowers

Turnabout is fair play. She bought a collection of plants and flowers and brought them home for me to play with. I was very pleased with her selections as they lend themselves to some wonderful presentations. I am finding some of them quite sensual and even somewhat erotic in nature and I am having a blast just trying to find how many different ways I can photograph them. Do others see this kind of beauty in certain flowers or is it just me going senile? Here are a few that my wife really liked as well. They were all with the Nikon D40 using my 105mm f/2.8 macro lens and macro flash system. I am really liking this rig. Please feel free to tell me everything that you think is right or wrong with the photos. I'm searching for myself and trying to give a different view than just that of a regular flower shot. I see lines and surfaces and textures mainly and am looking for ways to use light that will accentuate these things in a more pleasant or eye catching way. I hope this doesn't sound like jibberish.




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  #2  
Old May 31st, 2007, 06:49 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Hi James, you have a great wife!

This seems better thana pill they keep advertising!

Each of these flowers is a major project. The first image has the perfect sub structure for working with light. This can be in color or black and white. How are you lighting the flower? Are you using a tripod and mirror lockup? What aperture have you chosen and why? Do you really not want to include the long leaves with trhe parallel fibers in your composition?



I feel that the first picture you have posted can benefit from blending it with a monochome layer in which the tonality has been optimized. What is the stoppled white effect inside the flower at the lower left?



Asher
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Last edited by Asher Kelman; May 31st, 2007 at 09:46 PM.
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  #3  
Old June 1st, 2007, 09:09 AM
James Newman James Newman is offline
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In an effort to not overpost pictures without good reason, not wanting to make this great forum a snapshot slideshow, I am trying to reduce two of the three images I posted for now so we can focus only on the first. There is enough in that one to keep me busy. Later, if there is any need, I can ask advice on the others. I wanted to delete them but could not edit my post. I might still endup just deleting them from the site that holds them for me. Sorry about that. James
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  #4  
Old June 1st, 2007, 09:16 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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James,

Thanks for hte effort! The small pictures added below the first, show us how very kind your wife is to help you in your art!

We'll concentrate on the first picture. I hope you still have the flower. BTw, what's it called?

So let's discuss it!

Asher
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  #5  
Old June 1st, 2007, 10:06 AM
Edward Bussa Edward Bussa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Asher Kelman View Post

I feel that the first picture you have posted can benefit from blending it with a monochome layer in which the tonality has been optimized. Asher
What this optimized, blended, monochrome tonality layer? !!!

I understand the concept, but what are the technical details?

What is the goal of the "optimization" and what type of blending works best?
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  #6  
Old June 1st, 2007, 01:17 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Hi Ed,

Good questions! I'll try to post later. Do levels adjustments as needed. Make duplicates of the flower.

Often one can just concentrate on geting the shading right and not mess with the color. Try using a layer from a copy converted to greay scale one way or other:

LAB, using the L layer,

a simple desaturated RGB copy or else,

RGB add, one layer which is hue Saturation, with the saturation turned down and above that a layer Chanel mixer. In the latter case, check, monochrome, reduce the red and adjust the others G and blue, so that the detail is optimized. You can go back to the Hue Sat layer and adjust the RGB cahnnels separately and then fine tune in Channels layer. The idea is to obtain the grey scale differences spread over the entire flower by sharing the colors to different degrees of brightness.

Whatever the source of grey scale layer, do very carefulcurves, then add a flatenned copy ((select all, Copy merged)it on top of your orginal flower. You can now blend a percentage of this to the underlying orginal color layer using multiply, lighten or overlay for example, according to taste.

Asher
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  #7  
Old June 1st, 2007, 01:35 PM
Nicolas Claris Nicolas Claris is offline
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Here's my take:
as usual, shadow/hilights - levels - saturation - sharpening - Noise Ninja:



personnaly, I like the lighter green ray in the background...
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  #8  
Old June 1st, 2007, 02:01 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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I agree about the lighter green being better, that's what the arrows were for! I should have explained. I would like to see the stems and leaves as they are part of the context. Not as bold necessarily as the flo0wer.

I just wanted was looking at the flower and didn't separate the two parts, whixh needs to be done. I was concerned about the parts of the flower that seem to be in trouble due to over blown highlights. This could be controlled better with a RAW image.

This type of flower, Nicolas, is classic for being represented artistically in the most delicate light in black and white. So that is how I see these flowers, from grey scale first. After all the human eye does the same thing! Other things are much better in color. In this unussual case, the flower is a perfect test bed for B&W experience. One does not have to travel far. One can use window light and either a white card or black card or nothing.

When it is perfect, then do it in color too. Or else, start in color and then when perfect do B&W. This one flower is work for a week!

Asher
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  #9  
Old June 1st, 2007, 02:18 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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I see your picture, now, Nicolas. It didn't appear right away. Your sharpening, is of course great! You have recovered detail at the base of the central stalk, but the inside of the petals may be over-sharpened. However, with a jpg like this, that's exspected.


James,

There's actually much more fine detail to be found in the petals, The stems will also give a lot of linear structure too. This does require a tripod, and 1/2 is too slow for something so easily moved in a breeze. You used f11 and ISO 400.

I'd try whatever the Nikon optimal ISO is, say 125, and f8. You Should be getting about a 1/20 or 1/30 second. That on a tripod with mirror lockup will give you a very sharp image. You can always put a black matt card behind the flower so you dont have to over expose and then bring down the brights but end up with blown highlights!

F5.6 will often give you even more resolution but less depth of field.

BTW, was this a crop or is this the whole frame you shot?

Asher
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  #10  
Old June 1st, 2007, 07:25 PM
James Newman James Newman is offline
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Very nice take on this Nicolas, as usual. I keep seeing how much more is in my photos that I am not taking advantage of.

Asher, thanks for all of the help, advice, and suggestions. I will have to take another stab at this soon. I actually was shooting on a tripod and even used a wireless remote for the shutter release. Unfortunately my Nikon D40 does not have mirror lockup function. I don't know why other than it's their entry level DSLR and they just didn't put that in. I wish I had it. I may have to upgrade sooner than originally planned to the D200 and keep the D40 as my backup. That will take some groveling. (Or a lot more flowers)

I did learn from my past errors and do have this shot in RAW. I have been shooting everything RAW lately trying to avoid the silly white balance mistakes that have plagued me. I shoot RAW in auto WB and just adjust in Photoshop now. I'm liking the results I'm getting this way. If anyone would like to have the RAW image to see exactly what may be hidden in it, I would be happy to supply it. The image I posted was cropped just a little on the left side. I was trying to give the flower a better position in the frame. That may not have been necessary either. I am spending the day tomorrow fishing with my lovely wife in our new boat that we haven't been able to use enough lately. I take my point and shoot on the boat, not the Nikon, but I usually find something to photograph when on the wtaer. I will check back in later in the weekend. Thanks again for all of the great input. It is much appreciated.
James Newman
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  #11  
Old June 2nd, 2007, 12:25 AM
Nicolas Claris Nicolas Claris is offline
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Hi James

there's always something to photograph on the water !-))))
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