Judith Ponti-Sgargi  

Maple Leaf by Judith Ponti-Sgargi

October 2020 - Maple Leaf

About the Image(s)

Since I do not have a macro lens, I used a 18-300 mm lens and set the distance from camera to subject at 18 in which is the minimum distance at which this lens will focus.

Settings: f16, 4 sec, ISO 100, 300 mm, tripod with a remote and 2 sec dela.

In Ontario, autumn has arrived and leaves are starting to fall early.

I put the leaf in play dough to stabilize it, used a black foam core board about 1 ft away and back lit the leaf.

I did global edits in LR then took the image into PS to dodge. I then used Color Efex pro, the detail filter at 2% to increase detail in the leaf.

9 comments posted

Timothy Morton   Timothy Morton
The bright colour of this part of leaf make it pop along with seeing the inside so very clearly make the image appear to be a scientific image of this symbol of CANADA.   Posted: 10/09/2020 06:46:16

Barbara Dunn   Barbara Dunn
Nice composition and beautiful detail are shown here on the subject. The angles created by the leaf veins are sharp and create interest within the leaf shape.   Posted: 10/09/2020 12:30:57

Steven Wharram   Steven Wharram
The red leaf on the black background is very dramatic. I love the yellow veins that you can follow through the leaf.
Two points for me though are that you cropped the tip of the leaf on the left and there's a strange, unnatural, purple tinge to the edges of the leaf.   Posted: 10/13/2020 07:56:05

Judith Ponti-Sgargi   Judith Ponti-Sgargi

You raised two good points. To light paint, I use an LED flashlight that has a blue color tone. The black foam core, when light painted turns a blue color. I can adjust the tint on the temperature slider (LR) to create a black background. However, I wanted to use analogous colors in this image i.e. red and purple. Also, since it was a maple leaf, I was thinking of the colors in the Canadian flag: red, white and blue so I kept the background in a blue/purple tone. Purple is a royal color, red is dominant. Yellow and red are analogous. Using yellow, it is best not to have it to dominant. The yellow color attracts the eye helping to draw it in two directions. This is reinforced by the direction of the two leafs at an angle. One line of yellow stops in the composition while the other moves the eye out of the composition hinting that there is something more out there.

This image is entirely backlit. Thus the purple tone on the leaf, comes from the flashlight and the background, bouncing color onto the leaf. Because the leaf is ed toward the camera, it is very difficult to light paint it from the back and not get a dark blob. With dark pixels, there is little information, thus one can not dodge. I would have to clone out the blue fringe or paint this area with a brush, picking up a red tone from the leaf. For me, I liked the blue tinge because it shows backlighting so kept it that way. Also, I was trying to produce an image which required minimal editing other than moving global sliders.

Re, the leaf at the top being cut off, I would have liked more space at the top but my comment above explains why I retained this crop.

I do not have a macro lens. Therefore, I used my 18-300 mm full out which on a crop sensor is 450 mm. I had to think through the distance of my camera to the subject, given 450 mm, and chose to cut off the top slightly to balance the image. Thus two sides of the iamge are cropped, left and top,and I am still able to work with the yellow lines in the image. It is alright not to have the whole leaf in the image. One has to think through the balance of the composition and intent.

Subsequent to posting this image, I watched the PSA webinar on macro photography by Dan Needles. Wonderful. Also, I watched the Jackie Krammer video on floral photography and attended our camera club zoom meeting on floral photography. So many of my misunderstandings about macro have been cleared up about lens choice, techniques etc. I will redo this image, using a shorter focal length to put the whole leaf in the image.

I hope the above addresses your points. Raising them, you made me further look at this image and verbalize my artistic choices.   Posted: 10/13/2020 13:31:40
Steven Wharram   Steven Wharram
Wow Judith, there was more text in that explanation than we normally see on everyone's images over a couple of rounds! :)
One thing that sounds strange to me is that you refer to the colours of your flag as red, white and blue. I thought your flag was simply red and white?   Posted: 10/15/2020 09:47:11

Judith Ponti-Sgargi   Judith Ponti-Sgargi

I was thinking about the old union jack. I realized my mistake yesterday and wondered who would catch it. Well done. See attached.   Posted: 10/15/2020 10:02:13
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Paul Swepston   Paul Swepston
I wonder if the edges are exhibiting a chromatic aberration effect or is the back side. of the leaf more of a purple color? Nice composition.

I'll be happy when the leaves turn colors where I am.   Posted: 10/18/2020 13:22:15

Wendy Stanford   Wendy Stanford
Hi Judith, A great looking leaf, the image is sharp and shows great detail in the leaf and the veins, backlighting the leaf
works well. the colours are complementary and radiate warmth,
I also would have like to see the top of the leaf on the left side.   Posted: 10/19/2020 06:07:58

Judith Ponti-Sgargi   Judith Ponti-Sgargi
Thank you for the various suggestions.

Backlighting a fallen leaf is such a challenge. I pulled the table away from the wall so that the back wall was 8 ft away. This solved some problems.   Posted: 10/21/2020 18:43:53
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