Amazon Pics Part 83

Earlier images, not yet re-categorized. All subject types. Not for new images.

Moderators: rjlittlefield, ChrisR, Chris S., Pau

Posts: 284
Joined: Fri Aug 18, 2006 8:53 am
Location: Omaha, Nebraska

Amazon Pics Part 83

Post by Moebius »

A couple Weevils and a fly




Ken Nelson
Canon 30D
Sigma 150mm

Posts: 3578
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 4:19 am
Location: Southern New Hampshire USA

Post by beetleman »

The weevils are always cute. The first one is in his defensive mode…hunkered down with all his important exterior parts tucked in. I like the angle and posture of the fly. I wonder what he is doing with his legs? :-k
Take Nothing but Pictures--Leave Nothing but Footprints.
Doug Breda

Ken Ramos
Posts: 7208
Joined: Thu Jul 27, 2006 2:12 pm
Location: lat=35.4005&lon=-81.9841

Post by Ken Ramos »

I really like the first image. :D I have never seen a so distinguished looking weevil :lol: The subject to background ratio, if there is such a thing, looks really well, as does the two tone background itself, though there is a hint of red in a faint line between the two where they transition. Depth of field is remarkable with the exception of the two forelegs but we can't have everything and stacking images to correct that, I would not rather see. Mainly because of the point that Sue brought up here a while back. The depth of field really controls your view and forces one to focus on a specific area, instead of having ones eyes roaming all over the image and never coming to rest on the main or specific area of interest. That really made sense and struck home with me, not that I am against the stacking of images, it has a very unique and profound way of presenting a subject but not in the artistic way of photography I think. Maybe I am being old fashioned... :roll:

Anyway a great series of images here Ken and as I said the first is the best in my opinion. Great work, keep'm coming! :D

Bruce Williams
Posts: 1120
Joined: Mon Oct 30, 2006 1:41 pm
Location: Northamptonshire, England

Post by Bruce Williams »

Weevils are great subjects for close-up photography - they just ooze character! You've done a good job with these pics too - they're sharp within expected DOF constraints and exposure is excellent.

Ken raises an interesting point about subject to background ratio. I've not seen the question debated anywhere (Rik?) or read any general guidelines. However, to an extent I guess one knows "or feels" intuitively when the balance is about right.

In my experience it's generally been a trade-off between showing as much detail as possible whilst still retaining sufficient background to place the subject in context with its location - and (if you're lucky) achieve a result that is artistically pleasing. Of course the purpose of the image (scientific vs artistic) is also an important consideration.

I'm very comfortable with the balance on all three of your posted images Ken.

Bruce :D

Site Admin
Posts: 23363
Joined: Tue Aug 01, 2006 8:34 am
Location: Richland, Washington State, USA

Post by rjlittlefield »

My cut is this subject/background stuff is all a bunch of tradeoffs.

Most of it has been discussed and debated since one person took a picture and a second person looked at it. Or maybe even before that -- I frequently hold opposing opinions about my own pictures!

The technique of stacking is new to the game, though, and that's probably worth some more discussion.

In previous posts, we've talked about the dangers of composing images from two individuals, or even from one individual in two very different poses or settings. Those issues seem pretty clear.

But the issue that Ken raises in this thread seems different, and I'd like to explore it a bit deeper.
Ken Ramos wrote:The depth of field really controls your view and forces one to focus on a specific area, instead of having ones eyes roaming all over the image and never coming to rest on the main or specific area of interest.
I agree completely with this part. If the background is too busy, it detracts from the subject. Sometimes, if the background is crystal clear, it can even leave the subject "hiding in plain view". Books about photography talk over and over about how you need to have some kind of contrast between subject and background. In the macro world, focus is the obvious candidate.

But I'll also point out slightly OOF stuff drives some people a little crazy, and I'm one of those people.

When I look at pic #1 above, my eyes keep getting pulled to those two OOF legs in front of the main subject. In fact, it's not just "pulled", it's more like "dragged kicking and screaming". For me, those two OOF legs are a huge distraction. I understand why they are the way they are, but I don't like it. If it were possible to make those legs crystal clear by stacking, I'd go for that in an instant -- not for any scientific reason, but simply because it would make the picture a lot more attractive (and less bothersome) to my particular head.

The part about "OOF legs in front of the main subject" seems to be especially important.

When I look at pic #2 above, I'm delighted. There's good separation between the subject and the OOF background, but every part of the subject that draws my eyes is crystal clear. Yep, the backside legs are OOF, and even the backside antenna is a bit blurred, but none of that bothers me at all. From my standpoint, it was important in this picture that the focus plane is not placed at the eyes (the standard recommendation), but instead is quite a bit in front of them, so that what I see is sharp detail basically from the center of the head all the way out to the most foreground feet. To my eye, pic #2 is perfectly done.

Since we're discussing stacking and OOF backgrounds, I'll point to a couple of my own postings for illustration.

At ... php?t=2001 is my "single maple flower". I make the point there that while it's deeply stacked, I specifically left the background anthers blurred because the picture would be confusing if they were sharp.

In contrast, at ... php?t=2395 is my "Golden Veronica". That one is stacked so as to be sharp throughout the entire foreground-to-background span. Why? Because there was no single subject that I wanted to focus attention on. In fact, when I planned the shot, I remember being painfully aware that this little flower had a nice shape, but so did that little flower, and those background anthers were lovely in profile, and I really liked the texture of those dry leaves in the background, and the little sticks in the foreground, and... "Oh @#$%&*," I remember thinking -- what was I gonna give up? So I went with stacking.

Of course there's no free lunch. By making the Golden Veronica picture be sharp everywhere, I lost the sense of depth. Would you guess, looking at the picture, that the camera was tipped down about 45 degrees with respect to the flat ground? I would not. To me, the picture looks flat, as if the camera were pointed straight down. So why didn't I just shoot it looking straight down? Well, because when I tried that, the flowers didn't look very good. Straight down was the wrong viewpoint for them. Tradeoffs, tradeoffs...

Getting back to the pictures in this topic, pic #3 strikes me as a classic macro shot. The eyes are clear, the legs are fuzzy, and the body is seen in profile thereby "maximizing our use of DOF". It works well. Flies look good in profile, and what draws my attention in that pic are the eyes and the front legs, all of which are pleasantly sharp.

Goodness, what a long post!

Does any of this rambling help?


Posts: 1702
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 4:29 am
Location: Nottingham, UK

Post by DaveW »

I always maintain out of focus objects in front of the point of focus are always more distracting than those behind.


Post Reply Previous topicNext topic