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Old 09-14-2010, 06:31 PM   #1
Overread
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Hornet!

*dusts of the crit section dust and passes his card around the few spiders that have taken up residence*

Well got a shot here that I would greatly welcome some feedback on.

larger version: http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4146/...59ea1e39_b.jpg

f11, 1/200sec, ISO 100.
Lighting provided by 580EX2 with lumiquest softbox on ETTL mode. The insect in this case was positioned on the side of a door frame and facing upwards, so my shooting angle was down onto the insect whilst I had the flash mounted onto a tripod and set at around a 45 degree angle above and in front of the insect; so as to provide nice top down lighting onto the insect.

What I was trying to do - take a photograph of a sleepy hornet without getting stung! Ok there is a little more to it than that; my intent was to get a photograph that showed the whole insect face on in its current setting with a focus on the insect itself with less concern for showing his surroundings. I was also intending to frame the insect in this situation in a manner that would be pleasing to the eye of the viewer - to achieve something that was a little more than record shot of the static insect when presented with a subject that was not displaying much/any emotion or action save to rest whilst upon the wood.

As for why I am posting I have the feeling (one that is bolstered by the photos overall positive reception from viewers) that I have achieved producing a photo that is at least pleasing to a good few people from varying angles of interest and yet I am cautious. Compositionally nothing in this shot is really calling out to me as an error (even if that error was unavoidable in the given situation) so either I have achieved what I intended or I have missed something and either its something more major or something that with a small refinement might help to enhance what I have achieved so far.

So I guess I am asking two things - first what is working with the shot and secondly what (if anything worth noting) could be improved with the shot either at the initial capture stage or the editing stage.
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Old 09-27-2010, 10:34 AM   #2
Hertz van Rental
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There is not a lot I can say about this one.
It's an entomological image so one doesn't expect it (or, indeed, require it) to be 'art'.
The important bits are in focus. There is nothing distracting in the surroundings. The plane of focus is on a rising diagonal from the bottom left corner. The lighting is good.
I've thought a fair bit about the composition: I keep feeling there is a little too much 'dead' space on the right, particularly to the bottom right. This pulls the eye away from the hornet but as there is nothing there (in fact, it's out of focus) the eye doesn't linger - but it does keep getting pulled back there as if there should be something there to look at.
I would trim a little off the right and the bottom to pull the insect more into the centre of frame and get it to dominate the image. This will stop the eye wandering.
But this is only my opinion, you understand. Nothing more.
I think you have also taken the post-processing right to the edge of what is acceptable.
It's almost on the point of looking more like a painting than a photo. It's at it's worst around the highlights on the eyes and the texture between the antennae. Any more would be too much. But I think you have stopped on just the right side.
But I'm just nit picking.
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Old 09-28-2010, 06:18 PM   #3
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Many thanks for taking the time to give your thoughts on this shot Hertz

You point regarding the composition is interesting and I've had one or two say that they felt a more central composition would help the shot and others say that its fine as it is. Myself I a little more inclined to go with the latter view, if only because its partly how I saw the shot when I took it - however at that time I think I was putting more weight on the rear leg on the right that we can just see blurring there - through the viewfinder this leg was clearer and to me weighted the shot partly on that side so I wanted to balance against that and composed with a bias toward the left with the main subject. Maybe I should review that choice in light of the heavily blurred nature of that leg now and maybe not its a tricky choice to say the least.

Your comments on post processing are very interesting as you are the first to bring this matter up. The areas you point out have been processed more heavily, in fact those areas along with the whole of the yellow areas of the face are the result of me duel processing the shot since the yellows clipped - toning them back and then layermasking part of that effect back into the original shot. I'm glad that I've managed to stop before it went too far, though I would love to see what your monitor is showing you as I myself cannot see this line between real and art so clearly - part of that I'm putting down to this shoddy monitor I have at present (nobody's mentioned it so I assume there isn't any banding in the shot yet my monitor clearly shows it ).

As for the nit picking by all means keep picking at the nits - if I can get them solved as well as the main factors it can only help improve and to also understand the varying visions that others see my shots with. An interesting nitpick I've had from a few others is regarding the lower left corner of the shot where the wood makes a change in angle and we get a slightly enlarged and brighter patch of wood. One revision is to clone, whilst others have suggested blurring the zone - myself I'm not quite sure if I will or what I would do but I do see the slight distracting element that this part can present to the viewer.
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