Stuart Ord  

Berries by Stuart Ord

December 2019 - Berries

About the Image(s)

How I did it

A cold and frosty but sunny morning got me outside looking for photos today. I had two sessions, one taking with a bounced flash off a home-made reflector, and one taking stacks. The best of the stacks will have to wait until next month.

I found a tree in the garden with ivy on it, and took photos of its berries. This was a single frame, with flash, manually exposed to darken the background. I had to adjust it and darken the background further with Affinity as it was still a bit dark on the main berries and as the subject I wanted them to be clear from the background.

Olympus OMD-E-M1ii, Olympus 60mm macro lens, f14, 1/20 sec, ISO 200, Olympus flash.

This round’s discussion is now closed!
8 comments posted

Tom Pickering   Tom Pickering
(Groups 53 & 86 & 95)
Excellent detail, especially with f14! I don't know if I could have stood around in the cold to do stacks, so a single image would have to do it for me, too.

I found that the flash produced a lot of hot spots on the berries which were distracting, as were the yellow buds around the berries. You might consider adding some sort of diffusion to your flash set up to minimize those hot spots in the future.

I added a slight blur and darkening to everything but the berries, than did some frequency separation to correct the worst of the hotspots. What do you think?   Posted: 12/14/2019 13:04:59
Comment Image
Stuart Ord   Stuart Ord
(Groups 64 & 95)
Hi Tom,

I think yours is a big improvement. Yes, the hot spots were distracting. Flash is one technique I've used very little. I made a balsa wood structure that holds onto to my flash in the hot shoe, the structure holding an angled plate of balsa about 5" square with aluminium foil on it as the reflector. The angle is such that the flash points down roughly at the 1:1 focus distance. I guess I could scrunch up the foil a bit to make it reflect from lots of places to soften the light. I'll give it a try.
I like the background darkening and blurring too. Matter or taste I think, but good for me.
I've not done frequency separation. I think there's an Affinity tutorial on it online, I'll look it up.   Posted: 12/14/2019 14:40:33
Tom Pickering   Tom Pickering
(Groups 53 & 86 & 95)
Frequency Separation allows you to work on color and texture separately. To work on the hot spots, you would use colors from the surrounding areas to the hot spots to heal them without affecting the texture.   Posted: 12/14/2019 14:48:51
Stuart Ord   Stuart Ord
(Groups 64 & 95)
Thanks, Tom. I've had a go at it. It's magic! It might be different on other pictures, but I'm finding that retouching out these highlights is so much less critical than doing it on an unseparated pair of layers. Great tool!   Posted: 12/14/2019 16:18:51

Janet DiMattia   Janet DiMattia
Hi, Stuart.
I read with interest Tom's suggestion and the comments you made. Interesting !
The only suggestion I would make (being a non-technition) is to perhaps reverse the image to have the berries in the upper righthand area.

  Posted: 12/18/2019 14:21:08

Dick States   Dick States
I like what Tom did with this, I feel it improved the image. I agree with Janet that a reverse would work better. When I look at this image my eye pretty much stops on the berries with the red ends. The small berries in the top right does not add to the image. A lot of the right side to my eye is a bit of a distraction and could be cropped off. If the image was reversed then I feel the yellow berries would be somewhat a lead in line to the berries with red tips.   Posted: 12/18/2019 18:26:03

Stuart Ord   Stuart Ord
(Groups 64 & 95)
OK, I've had a go at that, what do you think now? I've also darkened the background a bit. I think it looks better than my original.   Posted: 12/19/2019 03:51:47
Comment Image

Salvador Atance   Salvador Atance
Very good Stuart. your last image seems to collect all the suggestions, I've liked very much all the technical development your first image has started. Just would be better also to take a little more out of the focus of the yellow berries. Thanks.   Posted: 12/27/2019 14:40:01