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Thread: The lengths I go to...

  1. #1
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    The lengths I go to...

    I enjoy the process of 'working' a picture - starting out with a subject then working it via focal length, f stop, focus, position, and lighting. This is a long and contemplative process.

    In the examples attached, the first picture is establishes my subject, approximate position, lens, and exposure. I briefly study this picture to determine what steps I want to take to improve it. The second picture is the final result, 29 exposures latter, with minimal processing in LR: sharpen, black and white points, a little fill, adjustment brush to darken, increase saturation and clarity of the center of the flower, and HSL luminance to darken magentas and purples of the flower petals with a slight increase in their saturation.

    The third picture shows all the crap that I used to achieve the result. I don't go to these lengths except in my yard where everything is close at hand. In the field, I work pretty much like anyone else.

    The black gobos are to knock out the sun and create a shadowed background. A long focal length is used to blur the background and too reduce how much background is shown, easier to shadow. A white translucent material is placed over the flower to reduce the contrast of a high noonday sun. A silver reflector was handheld reflecting the sun back into the flower from the rear giving the rim light.

    It takes lots of time because things are constantly changing, the flower moves in the wind, must adjust composition. The sun moves changing where the shadows fall, must adjust gobos. Fix one thing and mess up another. I trim the flower if necessary, remove weeds and distractions in the background, etc. Finally, it all comes together and the final image. I am overcome with a sense of satisfaction that I usually don't get when I go out and just snap.

    Looking at the final image, about the only thing I might have changed is to trim away the large bud in front of the flower.

    What do you think? Am I crazy.

    Larry

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    Senior Member Mike Woods's Avatar
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    Re: The lengths I go to...

    Yes..............



    Mike

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    Re: The lengths I go to...

    The sad truth is that only photographers care what lengths one goes through to get a photo, and then only to understand how to do the same thing themself (or figure out what to avoid trying to shoot).

    :-)

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    Re: The lengths I go to...

    I appreciate that you go to any lengths to capture the shot that you enjoy.

    . . . . . I think that is what makes it fun.


    I personally enjoy the photograph of the flower in shot #1 vs #29.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Life is Grand!

    Dan
    ~

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    Re: The lengths I go to...

    Godfrey,

    I know that... but were all photographers here aren't we.

    Seakayaker,

    Well, I got both. But I find that upon reflection, after sometime has passed, and I revisit the images, that my opinion has changed. I know that it is not the effort that is put into taking the picture that determines the final outcome of its quality. Sometimes easiest is best and sometimes not.

    Larry

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    Re: The lengths I go to...

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Woods View Post
    Yes..............



    Mike
    Yes.....................

    Keith

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    Re: The lengths I go to...

    Well, that makes two crazies... no, make that three, my wife just walked in and voted.

    Larry

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    Re: The lengths I go to...

    Just don't trim away your whole garden for one flower, you loose all the background blur....
    I don't think you're crazy just slightly photographicly deformed

    Michiel

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    Re: The lengths I go to...

    Michiel,

    I don't trim THAT much. The garden is just naturally messy since I had to take over from my mom who had a stroke. She kept it a show place. Me, I hate gardening but love to take pictures of flowers.

    Luckily, my neighbors keep very nice gardens and invite me over to take pics. Naturally, I give them a print or two. I don't trim in their gardens unless they are weeds.

    Larry

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    Re: The lengths I go to...

    Quote Originally Posted by leuallen View Post
    Michiel,

    I don't trim THAT much. The garden is just naturally messy since I had to take over from my mom who had a stroke. She kept it a show place. Me, I hate gardening but love to take pictures of flowers.

    Luckily, my neighbors keep very nice gardens and invite me over to take pics. Naturally, I give them a print or two. I don't trim in their gardens unless they are weeds.

    Larry
    If you cover all of your garden with those reflector thingies, nothing is going to grow. Remember what counts is "light and air" - if you forget to remove the reflectors, the grass will die off.

    When you go over to your neighbors to take pics do you arrive with a couple of suitcases?

    Seriously, whatever turns your crank - do it

    Keith

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    Re: The lengths I go to...

    Keith,

    I put the stuff away when done - usually.

    Naw, I don't use suitcases but I do use a backpack.

    I don't always work this way. I am versatile. To prove it here is a picture I took a couple of days ago. All I had with me was the G1 and kit lens.

    Larry

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    Re: The lengths I go to...

    Quote Originally Posted by leuallen View Post
    I enjoy the process of 'working' a picture - starting out with a subject then working it via focal length, f stop, focus, position, and lighting. This is a long and contemplative process.
    In the examples attached, (...) Am I crazy.
    No.

    I have never worked that much for a flower shot, and I don't own all the stuff that came to use in your image.
    ...but, I can like a scene and then return to it several times. If I believe the light, or the shadows, would be better at another time of the day or the year I make a note in my notebook making sure I don't forget about it.

    The end result is sometimes not very much better than the snap I got when first passing by. Sometimes it is like night and day. I guess some consider me a bit strange seeing how I return to the same place three days in a row with a tripod.

    Hmm, maybe you are crazy, but in that case you are not alone.

    Jonas

    EDIT: I like that last flower shot. Maybe return and trim away that green blob in the lower right?


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    Re: The lengths I go to...

    Quote Originally Posted by leuallen View Post
    Keith,

    I put the stuff away when done - usually.

    Naw, I don't use suitcases but I do use a backpack.

    I don't always work this way. I am versatile. To prove it here is a picture I took a couple of days ago. All I had with me was the G1 and kit lens.

    Larry
    Stunning! Love the shot!

    Life is Grand!

    Dan
    ~

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    Re: The lengths I go to...

    Jonas,

    I too return to a place many times, waiting for the right conditions. If I see something interesting and can't stop I make a mental note to come back. Sometimes I do, many times I forget. I don't have the discipline to write it in a notebook.

    The yellow flowers shot was taken in back of the local winery, a place I visit often and have gotten many good pictures from there. I went for a different purpose but the light was not right so I grabbed my camera and wandered. I came across this slight embankment covered with wild flowers and this picture was one of the results. I got quite a few other good ones also.

    I don't think I could duplicate this shot without the green blob. The light is never the same, even at the same time of day. The flowers change. Nothing is the same.

    I was lying on the ground, on the side of the hill, in an awkward position to get this shot. Did not have much control of the camera. Everything on auto. Had to straighten the horizon. Lucky I got what I did.

    Larry

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    Re: The lengths I go to...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jonas View Post
    No.

    Hmm, maybe you are crazy, but in that case you are not alone.

    Jonas

    EDIT: I like that last flower shot. Maybe return and trim away that green blob in the lower right?

    Hey Jonas - you told me that that green blob is called foreground bokeh - can't live without that over in the bokeh thread

    Keith

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    Re: The lengths I go to...

    Since Seakayaker liked the unmanipulated image better, I decided to revisit the series. I found this one, 10th in the sequence, which looked promising. It still has the overhead diffusion, the background is not darkened as much, and it is not cropped in as tight. No rear backlight. The background in this one is superior to the prior images which had lots of distracting hot spots.

    It required more manipulation in CS5 because the leaves had big, ugly holes in them which I cloned out. Bugs: roses=yummy.

    One advantage of working this way is that you can revisit the images at a latter date and with a more objective viewpoint. Maybe you initially went too far. By studying the sequence you can determine what works and what does not so that you can apply the lessons in future shoots.

    Larry

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    Re: The lengths I go to...

    Quote Originally Posted by woodmancy View Post
    Hey Jonas - you told me that that green blob is called foreground bokeh - can't live without that over in the bokeh thread
    Keith,

    I did? I got to visit that thread again and check out old sins. So I posted something lecturing there? Oh oh.

    Cheers,

    Jonas

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    Re: The lengths I go to...

    No, you are not crazy. Thank you for your explanation of your work process. It is enlightening at least to me. I suddenly feel a great need to try out a reflector in my garden.

    gurin

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