The Pussy Willow (Salix discolor)

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beetleman
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The Pussy Willow (Salix discolor)

Post by beetleman »

A few pictures of a Pussy Willow (Salix discolor) Seed head I came across on my walk the other day.

EX1/320
F/4.5
ISO400
Image

EX1/400
F/4.5
ISO400
Image
Last edited by beetleman on Sun Mar 16, 2008 8:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
Take Nothing but Pictures--Leave Nothing but Footprints.
Doug Breda

MacroLuv
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Post by MacroLuv »

Very, very nice images Doug! And attractive name of that stuff, also. :D
I think I've picked up an image or two of those lovely "pussies" from my hikings. 8)
The meaning of beauty is in sharing with others.

P.S.
Noticing of my "a" and "the" and other grammar
errors are welcome. :D

Bruce Williams
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Post by Bruce Williams »

Two nice photos Doug. These catkins are so delicate and beautiful (particularly seen through the close-up lens) but so easily overlooked or (diregarded) as subjects for our camera simply because they are so plentiful and "common".

Photographically I find this sort of subject to be quite difficult if there is ANY wind around to move the branch or even the catkin. You've done a good job with these pics - ISO400 has helped freeze movement and noise is very minimal...hmmmm...although maybe they might benefit from a touch of USM to pull the subject out a bit more?

I must start considering higher ISO's when I'm photographing in the field (so to speak :lol: ),

Bruce :D

beetleman
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Post by beetleman »

Thanks guys. There was no wind the morning I took these pictures. I learned here on the forums that if you drop the ISO down, it blurs the background more. There is actually a house in the background that I wanted to get rid of. Goat Willow (Salix caprea) is the pussy Willow native to Europe.
Take Nothing but Pictures--Leave Nothing but Footprints.
Doug Breda

rjlittlefield
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Post by rjlittlefield »

Nice willows!
beetleman wrote:if you drop the ISO down, it blurs the background more
Um, yeah, sort of, as a rule of thumb, but...

More accurately, it's opening the lens aperture that blurs the background. Same aperture setting gives same DOF and same background blur, regardless of ISO setting.

Because of shutter speed restrictions, lower ISO often allows you, encourages you, or forces you to use a wider aperture --- and the wider aperture then gives you less DOF and a more blurred background. It's useful to keep the two ideas separate because then you get more control.

Your first scene could have been shot from 1/80 at ISO 100, clear down to 1/1250 at ISO 1600, all at f/4.5, and all the pictures would look the same except for pixel noise and motion blur. If it really was dead quiet, then ISO 100 would have given less noise; if there was a bit of wind, something faster could still have avoided motion blur. ISO 400 seems to have worked out just fine. :D

--Rik

beetleman
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Post by beetleman »

I see what you mean now Rik. I do not shoot in full manual mode. So, If I was in P=Program AE mode (not sure if I was in P or Av mode) Lowering the ISO to 400 would have made the camera use a wider aperture with more blur resulting. If I was in Av mode. changing the ISO to 400 and manually changing the aperture wider does the same thing?
Take Nothing but Pictures--Leave Nothing but Footprints.
Doug Breda

rjlittlefield
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Post by rjlittlefield »

Doug, if I understand what you're asking, then yep, that's right. I think you meant "Lowering the ISO to 100", since 400 is what your label says the picture was actually shot at. Other than that everything sounds right.

Here's a handy table of what matters:
  • DOF: aperture
  • motion blur: shutter speed
  • noise: ISO setting
  • proper exposure: all of the above, plus light level
If you're using flash, you have to add in flash duration and intensity. It really takes a lot of coordination to get a proper exposure!

For studio shots, I usually run in Manual mode because it's simple to think about and there's plenty of time to do that. In the field, I usually run in Program mode because even when I forget to think, it usually does something reasonable.

My camera (Canon 300D) has a handy override in Program mode: press the button halfway to set some programmed combination of aperture and shutter speed, then when I spin the little control dial, the camera simultaneously adjusts shutter and aperture to keep the same equivalent exposure. If it initially offers me, say, a wider aperture than I'd like, combined with a shutter speed that's faster than I know I need, a couple of twitches of the index finger gets me what I want.

If the camera didn't have that override, I'd probably spend a lot more time in Av or Tv modes.

I'm sorry to say, you'll just have to play with your camera to see what works best for you.

Much as I'd like to blame the marketers for feature bloat, all those modes got there in part because once in a while they're handy.

--Rik

Mike B in OKlahoma
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Post by Mike B in OKlahoma »

Nice photos, Doug! I've never looked closely at these during this stage of their life, they are different from the ones that I've observed.

If I understand your question correctly, while in P mode, changing the camera mode from ISO 100 to ISO 400 would make the camera stop down more (go to a higher numbered aperture such as from f/4.5 to f/9). This would give you more DOF, which might be a good thing for your subject in some situations, but would probably be a bad thing for your background (it would make details in the background that were relatively close to your subject be more in-focus).

Probably the smartest way to get a shallow DOF (and thus improve your chances for a out-of-focus uniform background) is to use Tv mode (shutter priority, or what I think of as "time priority to make it easier to remember the "T") and set something like f/2.8 or f/4 or f/4.5 (as you've done here). The good thing about digital is that if your subject is static, you can try several shots with different settings. In addition to worrying about the background, you'll also want to make sure you have enough DOF on your subject to get enough of your subject in focus (this is often the enemy of getting a nice out-of-focus background).
Mike Broderick
Oklahoma City, OK, USA

Constructive critiques of my pictures, and reposts in this forum for purposes of critique are welcome

"I must obey the inscrutable exhortations of my soul....My mandate includes weird bugs."
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rjlittlefield
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Post by rjlittlefield »

Mike B in OKlahoma wrote:Probably the smartest way to get a shallow DOF ... is to use Tv mode ... and set something like f/2.8 or f/4 or f/4.5 (as you've done here).
I can't resist pointing out that in Tv mode, what you'll actually be setting is shutter speed. It's the camera that will be setting f/2.8 or f/4 or whatever, in response, to maintain the overall exposure. :wink:

All these strategies will get you to the same place, of course. Even the routes won't differ very much. :D

--Rik

Mike B in OKlahoma
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Post by Mike B in OKlahoma »

rjlittlefield wrote:
Mike B in OKlahoma wrote:Probably the smartest way to get a shallow DOF ... is to use Tv mode ... and set something like f/2.8 or f/4 or f/4.5 (as you've done here).
I can't resist pointing out that in Tv mode, what you'll actually be setting is shutter speed. It's the camera that will be setting f/2.8 or f/4 or whatever, in response, to maintain the overall exposure. :wink:

All these strategies will get you to the same place, of course. Even the routes won't differ very much. :D

--Rik
Brain death on my part! Rik is correct. :oops:
Mike Broderick
Oklahoma City, OK, USA

Constructive critiques of my pictures, and reposts in this forum for purposes of critique are welcome

"I must obey the inscrutable exhortations of my soul....My mandate includes weird bugs."
--Calvin

rjlittlefield
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Post by rjlittlefield »

Mike B in OKlahoma wrote:Brain death on my part!
Well, that seems a bit extreme. :D

Besides, the difference between Av and Tv is really pretty small in this situation. Either way, you push the buttons or spin the dial until the camera says whatever aperture you'd like, paired with whatever shutter speed goes with that aperture given the light and ISO setting.

It's only when you change somethng else (subject, lighting, ISO) that Av vs Tv makes much difference in how the camera responds.

--Rik

beetleman
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Post by beetleman »

Thanks for all the great info guys. I`m sure you have helped more than just me with this info :smt023 :wink: In my case, it does need to be repeated every once in a while so I remember it and it finally sinks in. :D
Take Nothing but Pictures--Leave Nothing but Footprints.
Doug Breda

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