Ramblings - Rants - Raves
so nice Gary. Do you mind my asking what lens you are using and how you get your background to go black? love the sharp focus on all parts of the star gazer lilies.
Jan, thank you. I am using the Nikkor 105mm Macro f2.8. Of course, as you know I 'manipulate' my photos, meaning I generally darken the backgrounds. A way I have found that seems to work is to use the hue/saturation tool. I limit it to green and desaturate and darken slightly. PS will have a similar tool; just don't know what it is called. Digital green is too intense for my taste so I have for several years found some way to reduce that saturation and this way seems for me to work on flowers. I may do addition localized darkening in addition to that.But lately in shooting I have been using an additional camera technique to hide the background in darkness--using flash. These are on camera flash shots using the Luminious Softbox III to soften the light. David used unmodified direct off camera and got much better modeling results but harder shadows. Do you have a link to his Smugmug account? If not, send me a PM and I will forward it to you.Without the flash I take a straight shot on shutter priority with the speed set at 1/250, my camera's flash sync speed. If the histogram looks good I will change the camera to Manual and apply those same settings. If it is a little too light or too dark I will correct those settings using aperture. Having done that I set one to two stops minus exposure compensation. I usually start with minus two stops. Then I take a test shot with the flash turned on and if corrections are needed I will adjust exposure compensation or flash output which ever seems to be needed. Once you get the first setting it won't change much for the remainder of the shooting session when you are about the same distance away. As always check histogram and make adjustments as needed, usually in exposure compensation. If the aperture does not give the needed depth of field I will adjust ISO higher in order to compensate with an f/stop that will. The flash controls the shutter speed; the ISO adjustment allows you to adjust the aperture for depth of field--and the flash overpowers the sunlight. The background will be darkened because it is underexposed by one or two stops. The fall off of the light from the flash when working this close will usually affect the background very little except on objects that are very close to the flower. Sometimes the background needs very little adjustment in post processing. It sounds complicated to read the instructions but they are very easy to apply.This shoot was complicated further by rain, changing light and wind blowing constantly. I wasn't getting anything on my LCD that looked sharp. I am surprised these came out usable. They are not as crisp as they appear in small sizes mainly because of subject movement. But it was a good shoot anyway.
Thank you for this detailed explanation. I've sure never gotten any results like that with my similar (Sigma) lens. As always, I limit myself because I don't make the effort to really understand/learn to use my equipment. Despite the wind, rain or whatever else, these are gorgeous. Thanks for sharing.
Jan, I know this is going to sound self-aggrandizing and arrogant and it is. I really think I am a pretty good photographer; even a pretty good flower photographer. I don’t like to say that out loud or to put it in writing other than in some presumably humorous self-effacing manner because it too accurately testifies to my own excessive vanity and self-absorption. Or as my first wife put it so well—megalomania. One of the things I tried to get across in the discussion blog, just wasn’t smart enough to carry it off, is that there is a great difference between reality and a photograph—remember all the “the photograph is not the subject” discussions. I hang out with a lot of flower photographers. They see a pretty flower and the rest of the world goes away. The main difference between my flower photographs and most is that I don’t look for flowers—really don’t care a lot about flowers—I look for photographs. Sure I think flowers are pretty; they smell good sometimes; they testify to the handiwork of God. I’d say they are okay things, but I really, really care about photographs. I egotistically believe that my God given passion for the creation of photographs is no less beautiful than the flower. So I can put almost as much effort into photographing something that I am not particularly fond of as I can in photographing something that really excites me—because I am thinking about the photograph not the object. That can only happen when you are able to see a photograph as a photograph and not as the subject matter of the photograph. We see a beautiful object. We photograph a beautiful object and we erroneously expect that to be a beautiful photograph. Subject matter will seldom carry a photograph for long. It is a mindset. I have been trying for a very long time to understand how to convey that to others but my abilities to do that is woefully inadequate. Technique is important. Knowing your equipment is important. Knowing that you are creating photographs rather than documenting beautiful objects is also important.
well, I had to look up the meaning of megalomania. i wouldn't worry too much about it, unless of course Janet agreed with her. HA! Also, you are a gifted writer and you explain yourself very well - it's just that sometimes you have a slow audience. But I do think I get the photograph is not the subject idea. Perhaps a different way of saying it would be to say the subject is the subject and the photograph is the photograph.
The megalomania remark would not have hurt so much if it weren't so true. LOL Well that and the fact that I had no idea she knew any words longer than Mississippi. How long has it been four years, five years? I think a few people are getting the idea that the photograph is not the subject matter. Now, if I can only get them to see that the photograph as a separate entity form the subject matter and see it as a photograph, so yes, the subject is the subject and the photograph is the photograph--two different things altogether with different meaning and uses. A photograph is as different from its subject matter as a historical novel, the book, is from the characters written about. My latest addition to my vocabulary is 'verisimilitude,' the appearance of reality, which is what most people see when they look at a photograph and I think you have to get past that in order to see the photograph as a photograph. Unfortunately, like the photographs above, verisimilitude is all they have. Be best that can be assumed is that I was enjoying the group, the evening, and the silly moon. LOL