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Introduction

The assignment for April was flowers. Eight-six pictures were submitted. Most of the images were very good. Only the ones that might be improved or were interesting are discussed below. All of the pictures are available for review in the Flowers! (May 14, 2013) album. As illustrated below, certain basics need to be considered both at the time of exposure and during post processing.

Considerations:

  1. The eye is drawn to sharp, high contrast objects and bright objects. The eye flees from dark objects and blurry objects.
  2. Simplify. What is the subject of the image? Are there any objects in the image that would distract from the subject? Can they be eliminated now or in post?
  3. Clear the borders. Are there any objects extending out of the frame that would lead the viewers eye out of the frame to the next picture?
  4. Sometimes negative space can be a good thing.
  5. Shoot a little wide to give space to crop if necessary.
  6. Check and correct the camera date and time as required. Our phones are smart but our cameras need adult supervision.

It doesn't look like it but it took a good four days to prepare this review. I thought it was worth while because everyone likes flowers! And the lessons we learn taking better flower pictures apply to portrait photography, landscapes, varmints & critters, architecture, and pictures of thing-a-ma-jigs. They say the two ways to learn a subject is to teach it or write about it. I learned a lot researching some of the topics below!

 

Many images could not be reviewed. Eighty-six images were uploaded into our Flowers 2013 gallery.

When I downloaded the pictures Sunday, May 12, there were "only" seventy-four images. I did not have time to add the twelve new images. The Meetup folk make it easy to batch upload images. The download process is one image at a time it requires three steps.

The Club has always stated we will only review pictures taken during the month of the assignment. Due to the shear quantity of beautiful images this is the first time we enforced that policy. Interestingly, one of our esteemed members had his doppelganger send pictures back from May 17th, 20th, and 21st. Those seven images were clearly out of our one month window so they were eliminated. He said: "I don't care".

For the review below, heavily processed images with no camera EXIF information were also eliminated. The consideration is to review the work flow from the time if initial image composure through post processing. Many beautiful images were uploaded that left too much to the imagination for this review.

That gets us down to forty images to review. I hope I haven't lost count. Enjoy!

There are a lot of images to download. Have patience if they don't appear immediately. They all load in less than a minute on U-Verse.

Wildflowers in red

The is a pretty image perhaps enhanced somewhat by darkening the bright background and lightening the shadows. Also black was removed to enhance the color.

Photographer:  Donna Weisenborn

Camera: SLT-A55V; Exposure Time: 1/80; Exposure Compensation: -1; F / 7.1; FL: 50.0 mm; Lens: 50mm F1.7; Metering Mode: Center-weighted average;
Original Image
Lightroom adjusted
Showing the Lightroom panes

Honeysuckle duet

Perhaps a trifle over exposed. F/4 was a little too open leaving critical elements out of focus. Could explore F/11 - f/22 or focus stacking. Some Lightroom adjustments might be helpful

Photographer: Donna Weisenborn

Camera: SLT-A55V; Exposure Time: 1/50; Exposure Compensation: -0.7; F / 4.0; FL: 30.0 mm; Lens: DT 30mm F2.8 Macro SAM; Metering Mode: Multi-segment;
Original Image
,Lightroom adjusted
Showing the Lightroom panes

Pyracantha blossoms

Beautiful exposure. Might be enhanced by toning down the background in Photoshop. Cut out the flower onto the top layer. Then town down the back ground using curves or exposure to suit.

Photographer:  Donna Weisenborn

Camera: SLT-A55V; Exposure Time: 1/640; Exposure Compensation: -0.7; F / 4.5; FL: 70.0 mm; Lens: 35-70mm F3.5-4.5; Metering Mode: Multi-segment;

Pink & rosy

A little flat. In Lightroom, used auto tone and adjusted the exposure and blacks. The stamen were lightened using adjustment brush.

Photographer:  Donna Weisenborn

Camera: SLT-A55V; Exposure Time: 1/50; Exposure Compensation: -0.7; F / 11.0; FL: 30.0 mm; Lens: DT 30mm F2.8 Macro SAM; Metering Mode: Multi-segment;
Original Image
,Lightroom adjusted
Showing the adjustment brush effect
Showing the adjustment brush mask
Showing the Lightroom panes

Tip of a Blue Spear

Even at f/11, at 15 inches the depth of field is only 3/4 " rendering the background nicely out of focus. The image was further processed in Photoshop. to lighten and blur the background. Some opf the distracting blue background was overlayed with green.

Photographer: Guy Huntley

Camera: Canon EOS 7D; Exposure Time: 1/200; Exposure Compensation: 0; F / 11.0; FL: 100.0 mm; Lens: EF100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM; Metering Mode: Evaluative; Focus Dist Upper: 0.39 m; Focus Dist Lower: 0.37 m;
Original Image
Photoshop Adjusted
Showing the Photoshop layers

A Funny Little Flower

This one is as it came out of the camera. A good indication of the use of an extension tube is when the focus distance ranges between 80 meters and infinity.

Photographer: Guy Huntley

Camera: Canon EOS 7D; Exposure Time: 1/100; Exposure Compensation: 0; F / 8.0; FL: 100.0 mm; Lens: EF100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM; Metering Mode: Evaluative; Focus Dist Upper: inf; Focus Dist Lower: 81.91 m; 36mm Extension Tube

A Blue Bonnet from a Distance

While technically this rig is not a macro, it sure looks that way. This used a 7D with a 1.6 crop factor, a 70-200 mm zoom with a doubler creating an effective 544 mm focal length. The subject at 3' away was too close to focus so a 36mm extension tub was added.

Photographer: Guy Huntley

Camera: Canon EOS 7D; Exposure Time: 1/200; Exposure Compensation: -2/3; F / 5.6; FL: 170.0 mm; Lens: EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM +2.0x; Metering Mode: Evaluative; Focus Dist Upper: inf; Focus Dist Lower: 81.91 m; 36mm Extension Tube

Title

This picture was taken in a field in Chappel Hill, Texas last April. It was "the golden hour" 40 minutes after sunrise at 7:01 AM. The light was just on the verge of being too harsh.

Photographer: Guy Huntley

Camera: Canon EOS 7D; Exposure Time: 1/200; Exposure Compensation: -2/3; F / 5.6; FL: 170.0 mm; Lens: EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM +2.0x; Metering Mode: Evaluative; Focus Dist Upper: inf; Focus Dist Lower: 81.91 m;; 36mm Extension Tube

A Pink Rose

This picture was taken at "The Antique Rose Emporium" near Brenham, Texas. The doubler on the 70-200 mm zoom made a nice working distance of 4.25'. The depth of field at f/8 at this distance is 1.5". Enough to bring the rose into sharp focus and throw the background into a nice blur.

Photographer: Guy Huntley

Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark III; Exposure Time: 1/30; Exposure Compensation: +1/3; F / 8.0; FL: 215.0 mm; Lens: EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM +2x III; Metering Mode: Evaluative; Focus Dist Upper: 1.31 m; Focus Dist Lower: 1.27 m;

An Almost Red Rose

Another picture taken at "The Antique Rose Emporium" near Brenham, Texas. The doubler on the 70-200 mm zoom made a nice working distance of 6'-10". The picture was taken at 5:50 PM. two hours before sunset.

Photographer: Guy Huntley

Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark III; Exposure Time: 1/60; Exposure Compensation: -1/3; F / 8.0; FL: 330.0 mm; Lens: EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM +2x III; Metering Mode: Evaluative; Focus Dist Upper: 2.14 m; Focus Dist Lower: 2 m;

Indian Paintbrush

Looks like a red bonnet to me. This is an example of the benefit of focus stacking. At f/2.8 the background is nicely out of focus. But the depth of field at 21" is only 1/8 inches. In this case, eight images were taken hand held. The images were auto aligned in 0hotoshop. The layers were exported as individual files for alignment using Zerene Stacker of Helicon Focus. Sometimes Photoshop's Auto-blend feature works but not in this case.

Photographer: Guy Huntley

Camera Model Name : Canon EOS 7D; Exposure Time : 1/125; Exposure Compensation : -2/3; F Number : 2.8; Focal Length : 100.0 mm; Lens Model : EF100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM; Metering Mode : Evaluative; Focus Distance Upper : 0.58 m; Focus Distance Lower : 0.54 m; Focus Stacked: 8 exposures hand held

A Seed Pod about ready to Blow

Another example of focus stacking. The same discussion as above but in this case the subject was so small only 4 images were required.

Photographer: Guy Huntley

Camera: Canon EOS 7D; Exposure Time: 1/80; Exposure Compensation: 0; F / 3.2; FL: 100.0 mm; Lens: EF100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM; Metering Mode: Evaluative; Focus Dist Upper: 0.41 m; Focus Dist Lower: 0.39 m; Focus Stacked Images: 4;

A Pink Flower

This was taken with a small sensor Powershot G15 camera. The benefit of using a small sensor size camera is increase in the depth of field that comes with the decreased sensor size. In this case, the depth of field at F / 3.5 is about 3 inches. That is plenty to capture the flower in full detail yet render the background in a pleasing blur. For a comparison, the 11.8mm focal length is equivalent to a 57mm focal length on a full frame camera. On a full frame camera the depth of field collapses from about 3" to less than 1/8". Many photographers use point-and-shoot cameras with a macro lens to photograph insects for just this reason.

Photographer: Guy Huntley

Camera: Canon PowerShot G15; Exposure Time: 1/2000; Exposure Compensation: 0; F / 3.5; FL: 11.8 mm; Metering Mode: Evaluative; Focus Dist Upper: 0.12 m; Focus Dist Lower: 0 m;

Same flower, different camera

Exposure compensation of -1 to avoid over exposing the lovely red veins in the flower. With the tiny focal length, 13 images were required to capture the detail on the pistils rising 1" above the petals down to the petals.

Photographer: Guy Huntley

Camera: Canon EOS 7D; Exposure Time: 1/6400; Exposure Compensation: -1; F / 2.8; FL: 100.0 mm; Lens: EF100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM + 36mm Kenko extension tube; Metering Mode: Evaluative; Focus Dist Upper: 0.74 m; Focus Dist Lower: 0.67 m; Stacked images: 13

Lets look closer at that flower

At this distance the depth of field was about 1/8". Perfect!

Photographer: Guy Huntley

Camera: Canon EOS 7D; Exposure Time: 1/60; Exposure Compensation: 0; F / 5.6; FL: 100.0 mm; Lens: EF100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM; Metering Mode: Evaluative; Focus Dist Upper: 0.33 m; Focus Dist Lower: 0.32 m; ; 36mm Extension Tube

It's a bug's life

This picture was taken at 7:34 AM only 33 minutes after sunrise. He had not had his cup of Joe yet. He did not bat any of his eye lashes as I snapped 14 images.

Photographer: Guy Huntley

Camera: Canon EOS 7D; Exposure Time: 1/250; Exposure Compensation: 0; F / 8.0; FL: 300.0 mm; Lens: EF70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM + 36mm Kenko extension tube; Metering Mode: Spot; Focus Dist Upper: 1.15 m; Focus Dist Lower: 1.12 m; Focus Stacked images: 14

Blue Bonnet Field

What is the subject here? Is it the skyline? Is it the folling fog layer? Is it the Blue Bonnets? The bright gables on the house attract the eye and don't help. Many times a picture can be saved with a crop.

Photographer:  JD Luttmer

Camera: Canon EOS 50D; F / 5.0; FL: 58.0 mm;

Fence Line

This is a beautiful composition. An excellent example of leading lines. The colors were enhanced in Lightroom

Photographer:  JD Luttmer

Camera: Canon EOS 50D; F / 5.0; FL: 24.0 mm;
Original Image
Lightroom adjusted
Showing the Lightroom panes

Blue Bonnets, Fence & Tree

This is a tough one. If I were to hang it on a wall, what would I like to see? It is framed on the top by the fence and the right by the tree. The bottom and the left are unsettling. What is the subject? Two possible crops are explored.

Photographer:  JD Luttmer

Camera: Canon EOS 50D; F / 5.0; FL: 40.0 mm;
Original Image
Lightroom adjusted
Showing the Lightroom panes
Cropped to the fence
Cropped to the Blue Bonnets

Lavender Bells

This is a beautiful image. The F/13 nicely blurred the background while keeping the significant parts of the bells sharply in focus.

Photographer:  Ken Morton

Camera: Canon EOS 20D; Exposure Time: 1/60; Exposure Compensation: 0; F / 13.0; FL: 200.0 mm; Lens: 18.0-200.0 mm; Metering Mode: Partial;

Passionate Pink

Pink rose with with cream highlights, with passion pouring out! Adjustments made in Lightroom reducing the harsh contrast enhancing the rose's pink glow.

Photographer:  Ken Morton

Camera: Canon EOS 20D; Exposure Time: 1/400; Exposure Compensation: 0; F / 13.0; FL: 200.0 mm; Lens: 18.0-200.0 mm; Metering Mode: Partial;

Pretty In Purple

This is an example of an image of a beautiful flower being killed by a poor background. The obvious fence is a distraction but even worse are the bright pink flowers.

The eye is drawn to sharp and bright; the eye flees from dark and blur. In this case the background is almost as sharp as the subject. If a better background can't be achieved then we can try to fix it in post.

Photographer:  Ken Morton

Camera: Canon EOS 20D; Exposure Time: 1/30; Exposure Compensation: 0; F / 13.0; FL: 78.0 mm; Lens: 18.0-200.0 mm; Metering Mode: Partial;
Original Image
Lightroom adjusted
Photoshop adjusted to darken and blur the background. The masking could be improved.

Red With A Touch Of Yellow

Very well done. Minor adjustments made in Lightroom

Photographer:  Ken Morton

Camera: Canon EOS 20D; Exposure Time: 1/30; Exposure Compensation: 0; F / 5.6; FL: 96.0 mm; Lens: 18.0-200.0 mm; Metering Mode: Partial;

That's A Flower Pot

This is maybe an OK documentary picture. The 18-200 mm zoom lens was wide open at 21 mm. Shot wide at F / 13 insured the background would be in focus. But was that the purpose?

To help isolate the flower pot from the background a more interesting approach would be to back off 25 feet or so and zoom in to around 100mm. Then drop the F stop to around 5.6 - 8.0. A smart phone Ap that calculates the depth of field for various configurations is helpful.

Photographer:  Ken Morton

Camera: Canon EOS 20D; Exposure Time: 1/80; Exposure Compensation: 0; F / 13.0; FL: 21.0 mm; Lens: 18.0-200.0 mm; Metering Mode: Partial;

Purple & Yellow Iris

This is a classic. Technically the image is perfect. But looking at the image . . . what is the first thing your eye jumps to? Is it that bright, pretty object in the upper right quadrant. That is the way we have been trained for the past billion or so years.

While it is possible to improve it in post, the sidewalk makes it almost impossible to clone stamp the background. Clearly this is easier to fix by locating a better background before the picture is taken rather that attempting recovery in post.

Photographer:  Larry Hamilton

Camera: Fuji-film X-Pro1; Exposure Time: 1/15; Exposure Compensation: 0; F / 11.0; FL: 48.4 mm; Lens: XF18-55mmF2.8-4 RLM OIS; Metering Mode: Multi-segment; Subject Distance Range: Unknown;

 
Original Image
Lightroom adjusted
Darkened Background in Photoshop

A Beautiful Yellow Iris

This is truly a delightful picture. The stone curb in the background is a little distracting. It is a leading line that comes and goes nowhere. Moving right might be better. Another interesting possibility would be to get down low to look up at the iris.

Photographer:  Larry Hamilton

Camera: Fine-pix S9000; Exposure Time: 1/400; Exposure Compensation: 0; F / 4.0; FL: 32.7 mm; Metering Mode: Multi-segment; Subject Distance Range: Close;

A Red & White Flower

Nicely composed. Minor adjustments were made in Lightroom to darken the greens, enhance the reds, and lower the local contrast (clarity).

Photographer:  Peter Gilbert

Camera: Fuji-film X-Pro1; Exposure Time: 1/150; Exposure Compensation: 0; F / 5.6; FL: 48.4 mm; Lens: XF18-55mmF2.8-4 R LM OIS; Metering Mode: Multi-segment; Subject Distance Range: Unknown;

Lavender Bell

A stunning image. Minor adjustments in Lightroom to soften it and bring out the glow.

Photographer: Peter Gilbert

Camera: Fuji-film X-Pro1; Exposure Time: 1/50; Exposure Compensation: 0; F / 5.6; FL: 48.4 mm; Lens: XF18-55mmF2.8-4 R LM OIS; Metering Mode: Multi-segment; Subject Distance Range: Unknown;

A Red Red Rose

Another stunning image. Minor adjustments in Lightroom to soften it and bring out the glow.

Photographer: Peter Gilbert

Camera: Fuji-film X-Pro1; Exposure Time: 1/140; Exposure Compensation: 0; F / 8.0; FL: 55.0 mm; Lens: XF18-55mmF2.8-4 R LM OIS; Metering Mode: Multi-segment; Subject Distance Range: Unknown;

Another Red & White Flower

Nicely composed. Minor adjustments were made in Lightroom

Photographer:  Peter Gilbert

Camera: Fuji-film X-Pro1; Exposure Time: 1/150; Exposure Compensation: 0; F / 5.6; FL: 48.4 mm; Lens: XF18-55mmF2.8-4 R LM OIS; Metering Mode: Multi-segment; Subject Distance Range: Unknown;

A White Rose

Nicely composed. Minor adjustments were made in Lightroom to enhance the contrast and bring out the detail. Local contrast (clarity) was reduced somewhat.

Photographer:  Peter Gilbert

Camera: Fuji-film X-Pro1; Exposure Time: 1/15; Exposure Compensation: 0; F / 11.0; FL: 48.4 mm; Lens: XF18-55mmF2.8-4 R LM OIS; Metering Mode: Multi-segment; Subject Distance Range: Unknown;

A Hercules Amaryllis

Nicely composed. Minor adjustments were made in Lightroom to enhance the contrast and bring out the detail. Local contrast (clarity) was reduced somewhat.

Interesting is the 15mm F/1 lens. That has to be one expensive chunk of glass! Or perhaps a faulty reading of the lens information by the camera? Or maybe the lens didn't report any information?

Photographer:  Peter Gilbert

Camera: Fuji-film X-Pro1; Exposure Time: 1/55; Exposure Compensation: 0; F / 1.0; FL: 15.0 mm; Lens: 15.0 mm; Metering Mode: Multi-segment; Subject Distance Range: Unknown;

A Pink Rose

Nicely composed. Minor adjustments were made in Lightroom to enhance the contrast and bring out the detail. Local contrast (clarity) was reduced somewhat.

Photographer:  Peter Gilbert

Camera: X-Pro1; Exposure Time: 1/50; Exposure Compensation: 0; F / 1.0; FL: 15.0 mm; Lens: 15.0 mm; Metering Mode: Multi-segment; Subject Distance Range: Unknown;

A really red Flower

Well done but should have shot a little wider to include all of the subject in the frame. Minor adjustments made in Lightroom.

Photographer:  Nancy Gilbert

Camera: NIKON 1 V1; Exposure Time: 1/160; Exposure Compensation: 0; F / 5.3; FL: 25.9 mm; Lens: 1 NIKKOR VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6; Metering Mode: Multi-segment; Subject Distance Range: Unknown;

Another Pink Rose

Very nicely composed. Minor adjustments were made in Lightroom to enhance the contrast and bring out the detail. Local contrast (clarity) was reduced somewhat.

Interesting is the 15mm F/1 lens. That has to be one expensive chunk of glass! Or perhaps a faulty reading of the lens information by the camera?

Photographer:  Nancy Gilbert

Camera: NIKON 1 V1; Exposure Time: 1/160; Exposure Compensation: 0; F / 5.6; FL: 30.0 mm; Lens: 1 NIKKOR VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6; Metering Mode: Multi-segment; Subject Distance Range: Unknown;

Many, Many Hercules Amarllises

This is a lovely crop of Amarllisses. But the beauty of the flowers is lost in all the background green.

Sometimes a creative crop can create a more pleasing composition. In this instance, it may have been better if the image had been framed a little wider so more of the flowers could have been included. The bud on the right drifting off frame is irritating.

Photographer:  Nancy Gilbert

Camera: NIKON 1 V1; Exposure Time: 1/500; Exposure Compensation: 0; F / 5.3; FL: 25.9 mm; Lens: 1 NIKKOR VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6; Metering Mode: Multi-segment; Subject Distance Range: Unknown;
Original Image
Lightroom adjusted
Showing a Lightroom crop
Showing The crop is levelled

Purple Bells

A beautiful composition. Minor adjustments in Lightroom.

Photographer: Nancy Gilbert

Camera: NIKON 1 V1; Exposure Time: 1/500; Exposure Compensation: 0; F / 5.6; FL: 30.0 mm; Lens: 1 NIKKOR VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6; Metering Mode: Multi-segment; Subject Distance Range: Unknown;

A Desolate Pile of Rocks

This is a deceptively interesting picture. Ron used an extremely wide angle 14 mm lens. The diagonal field of view of this lens is 114°. The focus point was 1.16 meters (about 4'). The Depth of Field Calculator says everything from .8 meter (~ 2'-8") to infinity will be in focus. The Hyper-focal point for this camera, focal length, aperture combination is 0.47 meters (~ 1'-6"). If Ron had focused there everything from 0.33 meters (1'-1") to infinity would be in focus. If Ron had focused 50' out, the depth of field would have been from 48.5' to infinity.

Depth of field calculations can make or break landscape pictures!

Minor adjustments in Lightroom to enhance contrast.

Photographer: R.E. (Ron) Marabito

Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II; Exposure Time: 1/100; Exposure Compensation: -1/3; F / 14.0; FL: 14.0 mm; Lens: EF14mm f/2.8L USM; Metering Mode: Spot; Subject Distance: 1.16 m;

Orange Flowers

An exposure compensation of -1 was used to avoid over exposing the red channel. The focal length for this setup is only 7/16". The flower petals are in focus while the background slides out of focus. This exposure is a good compromise for flowers this large.

Minor Lightroom adjustments.

Photographer: R. E. (Ron) Marabito

Camera: Canon EOS 7D; Exposure Time: 1/400; Exposure Compensation: -1; F / 11.0; FL: 180.0 mm; Lens: EF180mm f/3.5L Macro USM; Metering Mode: Spot; Subject Distance: 1.13 m;

Negative Space for Orchids

This is a terrific image by itself. It is noisy and I wondered what it would look like without the blurred background flowers. Eliminating the noise and the two background flowers really makes the image pop. What about even more negative space?

In a separate, the last image, JD explored eliminating the background objects and filling the frame. That is also good. But the added negative space in the second frame really pops.

Lesson learned: sometimes negative space is a good thing. You don't have to always fill the frame with the subject.

Photographer:  JD Luttmer

Camera: Canon EOS 50D; Exposure Time: 1; Exposure Compensation: 0; F / 4.0; FL: 67.0 mm; Metering Mode: Spot;
Original Image
Photoshop adjusted removing noise and extra objects
Even more negative space
A second image with no negative space