A seashell - which way of editing the pic is better?

Images made through a microscope. All subject types.

Moderators: rjlittlefield, ChrisR, Chris S., Pau

Posts: 133
Joined: Wed May 04, 2011 1:47 am

A seashell - which way of editing the pic is better?

Post by Starshade »

Recently I made several stacks of tiny seashells I brought from my trip to Thailand and I have one image where I can't come up with the best way of editing it.

I am currently without a good screen and have serious difficulties editing pictures because of that.

This one is more or less close to the source file, but with adjusted levels and color balance

In this one I suppressed the highlights and made further adjustments to the levels.


And the last on is sort of a hybrid between the previous two:

Also, anyone finds these pics over-sharped?

Sorry for using low-quality jpg compression - 300kb limit and I don't want to upload these pics to flickr yet.

Feedback appreciated!

Franz Neidl
Posts: 747
Joined: Wed Jan 14, 2009 11:59 am
Location: Italy

Post by Franz Neidl »

Hello Starshade,

The pictures are not very differnt. Maybe I am wrong, but I have two other problems:

1. It seems to me, that your illumination makes the shell very flatt. Maybe an additional light from the side would give more plasticity to the shell (because of a little bit more shadow).
2. Your shell would be an excellent object for stacking.


Site Admin
Posts: 23764
Joined: Tue Aug 01, 2006 8:34 am
Location: Richland, Washington State, USA

Post by rjlittlefield »

I agree that the images are not dramatically different. Looking at them one at a time by scrolling, I could not really tell what was going on.

Using flash-to-compare tests, differences are obvious. I definitely prefer the center one because of more easily seen highlight detail, more intense color, and less variation from upper left to lower right.

At web resolution, the images do not strike me as over-sharpened.

I find that I am bothered by the OOF areas. If I think about it, I understand that both the focus blurring and the darkening of lower right must be telling me something about the shape of the shell. But I have to think about it, and in the end I'm still not really sure what the shape is. I suppose it is a broad but shallow cone, but again, that's from thinking not seeing.

I'm pretty sure I would learn more and maybe I would even be happier with a pair of images, one of them evenly lit and focus-stacked to show sharp detail everywhere, and the second one some sort of oblique overview so that I could immediately see the shape.

Not sure if this is the sort of feedback you're wanting, but for what it's worth...


Posts: 133
Joined: Wed May 04, 2011 1:47 am

Post by Starshade »

Thank you Rik and Franz,

On a website where we can only compare the images by scrolling the page, indeed they all look very similar... so my bad, I should have done other kinds of comparisons.

I was unhappy with this image because of numerous reasons that Rik pointed out (thanks for the tips!).

The shell is indeed a shallow cone, but this image is a stack of about 15 exposures. Apparently, leaving some OOF areas didn't help - and that's one of the things I wanted to check too (so thank you for analyzing that part and trying to reconstruct the shape in your mind). I'll try to make a better stack keeping in mind what kind of illumination I need and editing the images require.

Btw, just in case: 2.5 x Plan Achro Zeiss lens + Sony NEX-5

Post Reply Previous topicNext topic