Snowdrops

Discussion in 'Macro Photography' started by davholla, Feb 10, 2019.

  1. davholla

    davholla No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I never get really get good shots of snowdrops, any ideas on how to improve them?

    [​IMG]IMG_8758Snowdrops by davholla2002, on Flickr

    These should be easier than insects but surprisingly aren't.
    Actually advice on all flowers particularly house plants would be welcome.
    I think the problem is the light but I am not sure how to improve it, maybe a torch behind hand.


     
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  2. Designer

    Designer Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Have a better background.
    Have better light.
    Have a deeper DOF.
     
  3. Jeff15

    Jeff15 TPF junkie!

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    Lovely image...
     
  4. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    If you can get photos of springtails nothing can stop you now!

    I think the key difference is that with insects the situation often defines the photo. Composition is important, but many times its not as important as not disturbing the subject; as landing the focus in the right place etc... Those are critical with insects because they are the most difficult aspects and, if they fail, the rest of the photo - any composition - fails automatically.

    Now with a snowdrop its a lot easier technically speaking. You've a bigger, easier to see subject that is not moving and won't go away so you can spend 1 min or 100 mins taking photos and it wont' fly/spring/leap/scuttle/slither away.


    That said I think for you what its doing is highlighting a few weakpoints in your method that living wildlife subjects might be masking.

    1) Composition. Flowers are all about this because they are so tame a subject the compositional standard goes up. Consider your angles, your depth of field; background and subject. Leading lines; rule of thirds; golden circle; etc... these are all things to consider (and many more) as well as how you are setting up your shot. Experiment and try different angles.

    2) Exposure. The whites are all important because its the key part of the subject and will be quite dominating. Your shot above looks like the whites might be blown and ,at the very least, are not showing much of their texture nor detail. Shift into manual exposure (the subject isn't running off) and vary the shutterspeed/ISO as needs to try and get an exposure that works best. If you're not already, use the camera histogram to avoid overexposure when you review the photos and adjust for the next shot*

    3) Depth of field. DON'T fall into the trap that because its macro you must use a small aperture (big f number) like f16. f2.8 and every aperture is valid for your creative experiments. You might well use a really wide aperture (small f number) and have a very thin depth of field and a very blurry background; or you could go the opposite or any variation you wish. Basically its again allowing yourself to experiment and try out new things and new ideas with regard to composition and what you can do.

    *check your camera manual for how to enable the histogram display in photo review. Note that its a simple but very powerful tool that will show you where underexposure values are for the whole photo (bars on the fully left) and overexposure (on the right side) as well as where on the photo the overexposure is located (it will blink white and black on and off).
     
  5. davholla

    davholla No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    As these are plants in the wild, how would you improve the background? And light?
     
  6. davholla

    davholla No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Thanks for that springtails of course aren't that awful white colour that is hard to expose properly - a bit like black headed seagulls but I have 40 weeks a year to photograph them.
    I will check the exposure next time.
     
  7. Designer

    Designer Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Place some material behind them (or in this case, more light on the background) and move your flash off the camera. Use a smaller aperture to get the entire group in focus.
     
  8. davholla

    davholla No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Thanks for that, what sort of material would you suggest?
     
  9. Jeff G

    Jeff G -Amateur Shutterbug- Supporting Member

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    Looking forward to your next attempt, these are cool looking, I've never seen Snowdrops before.
     
  10. Designer

    Designer Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Looking once again at your first post, I think my problem with the background is that it is so much darker than the main subject that it almost doesn't belong in the same garden.

    Going back to my post #7, above, I did mention that this background could benefit from a bit more light.

    As to "posing" flowers, if you've got the time and energy to have some poster board or stiff paper of various colors, then maybe you could slide a board in behind the subject. This is assuming that the background as it exists might be distracting, and that placing some material behind would actually enhance the photo. User discretion is advised to use that method only in exigent circumstances, and only use a color or substitute texture that harmonizes or contrasts with your subject.

    I once participated in a seminar with a renown architectural photographer who told us that he will not hesitate to move tree branches if they're in the way of his shot. The same idea can be used in photographing the plants themselves.

    In your photograph, there are five blooms, but one is hidden and one is very out of focus. The number five is good, compositionally speaking, but maybe they can all be more clearly defined; by moving one a bit to the side, and using a smaller aperture to get them all in focus.
     
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  11. davholla

    davholla No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Thank you, they are a really important flower here because January is dark we only get light 8 am to 3.50 pm (worse in the North) and there are very few flowers or none. So snowdrops are wonderful because it tells you that this is going to finish and that we will have spring again.
    If they flowered in August no one would care that much about them.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2019 at 3:06 AM

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