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Flower macro
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Apr 20, 2015 10:25:57   #
Tomwils
 
I recently submitted this photo in a contest, not expecting to win or even caring. It was judged out of contention because the center is soft, or out of focus. Will deceasing aperture a stop or two solve that?


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Apr 20, 2015 10:55:38   #
Schwabo
 
It would sure help, also your focus seems a little of center. My opinion of course.
Apr 20, 2015 11:29:53   #
Tomwils
 
Thanks Schwabo, that's what I'm looking for, opinions. And recommendations on correction, of course.
Apr 20, 2015 11:33:43   #
ronwande
 
You shot at F/5.3 according to the Exif data, at 1/640 second.

Assuming you were on a tripod and it wasn't windy, F/11 and about 1/150 second would give you a lot more depth of field.

Also be careful not to cut the flower off at the edge of the image. Give it a little head room.

On closer look, you were not using a tripod. There is considerable camera motion blur to add to the lack of depth of field.
Apr 20, 2015 11:38:51   #
Tomwils
 
Thank you, ronwande. You are so right. I was aware that I had cut off it's head, but too late. I had my tripod with me but left in the car. Lesson learned.
Apr 20, 2015 11:43:18   #
Blenheim Orange (a regular here)
 
Tomwils wrote:
I recently submitted this photo in a contest, not expecting to win or even caring. It was judged out of contention because the center is soft, or out of focus. Will deceasing aperture a stop or two solve that?


That subject presents a focusing challenge under any circumstances.

From the EXIF data: Nikon D7100, f/5.3, 640th sec., ISO 500, 240mm focal length.

The results are about as expected from those settings - very shallow depth of field, a little grainy. It also looks like there is motion blur in the image - surprising at that shutter speed.

Tell me what you were seeing and trying to do with that image and I can make suggestions.

Mike
 
Apr 20, 2015 11:49:13   #
Tomwils
 
Thanks, Mike. Really what you see is what I was after. I wanted the flowers to be in the foreground, in focus, with a blurred background. Blurred to the point that all it presented was color. I should have used a tripod, but that close to the ground it might have been too tall. Maybe a tabletop tripod?
Apr 20, 2015 12:00:03   #
Tomwils
 
Upon rereading my last response, I realized that if I want to do wildflower macros, I'm going to have to get dirty. Even if I can master the techniques.
Apr 20, 2015 12:16:49   #
Blenheim Orange (a regular here)
 
Tomwils wrote:
Thanks, Mike. Really what you see is what I was after. I wanted the flowers to be in the foreground, in focus, with a blurred background. Blurred to the point that all it presented was color. I should have used a tripod, but that close to the ground it might have been too tall. Maybe a tabletop tripod?


Is that Woodland Phlox out in the wild? I may have cleared some of the dead leaves out of the background, and focused on the center of the nearest blossom from a little lower angle. Is sun bouncing off of the leaves in the background, but not hitting the flowers? If so, I would have shaded the background. Sometimes that means mounting the camera on a tripod, using a cable release, and shading the background with my body, or sometimes I use an umbrella.

It would be just about impossible to get that entire flower head in focus unless you took multiple frames and stacked them in post processing. so no sense trying to do what cannot be done. That means you have to carefully choose a spot to focus. I would have focused on the nearest flower. The EXIF data doesn't tell me the lens you used, I am thinking a zoom lens. Focal length will affect composition a lot.

I find that background distracting myself and would have shot from a lower angle, or used flash to get more "separation" between the subject and the background and possibly a more pleasing background color. Sometimes I shade the background, as I said above.

You shouldn't need a tripod for that image, necessarily, although it could help. The table top thingees are useless in my experience. I have a tripod that will take the camera right down to the ground, but I hand hold at 1/100th sec. or faster (with 100mm lens, down to 1/30th sec. with a 50mm lens), or when using flash on extreme close-ups or true macros.

How come the motion blur? Was it extremely windy? Were you in an awkward position? 1/640th ought to stop motion.

Good challenge, nice choice of subject, good idea for the image, and close to being a great image.

Mike
Apr 20, 2015 12:32:28   #
Tomwils
 
Thanks a lot, Mike. It is indeed a Phlox, specifically, Downy Phlox. The lens is a Quantaray 70-300mm left over from my N64 (or N65, I don't remember) film camera and has a macro switch. I was probably not in an ideal position but I shake a lot. I also tend to jab the shutter release, but I'm working on that. I have a Sigma 70-300mm with macro and in the lens focus motor, but I prefer the Quantaray. Probably because it's older. I have the camera shutter set to continuous mode fast and usually select the second or third shot to get away from the jab. Rarely take more than four shots.
Apr 20, 2015 12:51:31   #
Blenheim Orange (a regular here)
 
Tomwils wrote:
I was probably not in an ideal position but I shake a lot. I also tend to jab the shutter release, but I'm working on that.


I hear you. At one time I would shoot hand held at 1/30th a sec., while crouching in some precarious position hanging from a rock ledge, but those days are long gone.

You might consider using a cable release and a tripod. I don't think there is any right or wrong, there is just discovering what will work for you.

Mike
 
Apr 20, 2015 12:57:55   #
Tomwils
 
Good advice, taken and will be applied. Thanks again.
Apr 20, 2015 13:07:17   #
Beercat
 
Technical critique -

At 240mm your going to get a great background blue as you did, the trade off is your going to get blur from hand holding unless your very steady or use a tripod. Of course this has already been mentioned. Use a tripod!

At 240mm your DOF is very shallow, which of course your using to produce that nice blurred background. I always have a DOF cheat sheet in my rear pocket to make sure I have my F/stop correct to get the DOF needed but no more than what is absolutely needed so I get my nice background blur. A little secret is to make sure your composing with the background at lest the same distance from the flower as the camera is to the flower.

Your focus point is just slightly to the left of center and a tad down. Not saying it's good or bad, just pointing out once you have your cheat sheet figured out you'll need to focus on the right spot.

The stem could of been used as a leading line by a slight rotation of the camera.

Your ISO at 500 is going to give some noise. With a tripod I would guess your correct settings would be something in the order of:

ISO - 200
F/11
240mm
1/50 - 1/80

To summarize: Use your Tripod & get a cheat sheet ;)
Apr 20, 2015 13:27:54   #
Tomwils
 
Thanks, Beercat. I'll do.
Apr 21, 2015 08:03:42   #
PhotoPhred
 
You might also try a single point focus mode. On the d7100, you can move the point around to the spot you want to focus on. Otherwise, a pretty nice photo.
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