Darcy Johnson  

Claret Cup Cactus & Friends by Darcy Johnson

February 2021 - Claret Cup Cactus & Friends

About the Image(s)

The Claret Cup Cactus is also known as the Arizona Hedgehog or White Spined Claret Cup and is native to Mexico and the southern U.S. It is a shrub/succulent that can grow up to 1.3 feet high by 3 feet wide. The size of the flowers are just over an inch in colors ranging from red to orange to purple. This image was taken on an early spring trip in Arizona several years ago. I remember that due to a wet spring, there was an abundance of cacti in bloom that visit.

ISO 320, 176mm, f5.6, 1/250 sec. Tamron 70-300 lens

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

Tom Brassil   Tom Brassil
Hi Darcy, I like the way you have featured the flower while leaving the cactus slightly blurred. Your positioning of the stamen strongly centred against the petals gives prominence to the green, and I like your crop. If it was my image I would probably tone down the very bright area at the top left of centre, cut and paste from another toned down area of the image. I have similar images with a bug on the flower and I always question whether the bug actually add to the image, or do I just leave it there as a novelty, a constant debate I have with myself. In this case I think the image is strong enough and the bug add nothing. Loverly captured and presented image. Stay safe   Posted: 02/01/2021 16:55:49
Darcy Johnson   Darcy Johnson
Hi Tom - Thanks for the input. I hadn't thought the bright area brilliant enough to be that distracting . . . so glad to have the insight. An easy fix. Wonder if you noticed that there are two bugs? Best -   Posted: 02/01/2021 17:34:46
Tom Brassil   Tom Brassil
Hi Darcey, no didn't see it until you mentioned it. initially saw the dark one in the flower, the other critter went unnoticed by me, mother natures camouflage is better than my eyes obviously :).
happy shooting
Tom   Posted: 02/02/2021 02:36:40
Darcy Johnson   Darcy Johnson
So given there is two critters would you suggest keeping them or taking them out? For me the black one in the flower's cup is rather uninteresting and the other one I think is well placed and more interesting . . . if only it could be seen without a second look. As you are probably aware, I kept them in only because I'm a rather lazy photographer and typically don't alter an image except where really necessary or to satisfy my own interests about an image :)   Posted: 02/02/2021 13:24:06
Tom Brassil   Tom Brassil
For my eye I think the dark bug should go, it doesn't add to the image, if anything it draws the viewer away from what I believe is the main point of the image, the loverly stamens against the vivid petals. The other bug does not detract, indeed it would add a sense of surprise when the viewer see it and I believe the viewer would only see it after enjoying the stamens. I think leave small bug, as much as I hate rules in photography, there is a saying "what doesn't add, detracts from the image" so let's turn that on its heels and say in this case what doesn't detract must add, we will call that a tomism :) . I hope that helps. Stay safe, tom   Posted: 02/02/2021 15:27:47

Gregory Waldron   Gregory Waldron
What a nice image. I like your selective focus and the color palette just works well throughout the image. I like the dialogue that you had with Tom. My vote would be to remove the black bug and keep the other one.
Best regards,
Greg   Posted: 02/02/2021 23:56:59
Darcy Johnson   Darcy Johnson
Hi Greg - I've always thought that most critters only add to a close up botanical image of this sort, so it's helpful to get your 'vote' in this regard. Thanks -   Posted: 02/04/2021 09:58:54

John W Whitt   John W Whitt
Hey, Darcy, I REALLY like this image. I like the composition with the flower placed in the 3rd power point. I like the use of selective focus so we can easily determine the center of interest. This nice image might be enhanced by decreasing some of the white areas in the background as it tends to draw my eye away from the center of interest. You might also SLIGHTLY increase the clarity slider so as to increase the sharpness of the pistils and stamen of the flower. See attached. NICE JOB!!!   Posted: 02/04/2021 09:46:40
Comment Image
Darcy Johnson   Darcy Johnson
Hi John - I appreciate your insight and kind comments. Both suggestions for increased clarity and darkening the white areas are easy fixes and good suggestions. I do like the effect that moving the clarity slider slightly will have but I'm not wild about how dark the background has become overall. Hmmm - I'll see what I can do. Thanks again!   Posted: 02/04/2021 10:09:02

Quang Phan   Quang Phan
Hi Darcy. It is a nice image, I like the orange (or red?) color of the flower, it is popped out as 3D picture. Also the green color at the center of the flower is outstanding. The image is nice focused. I agree that the bug can take out from one suggestion. For flower I like the background lighter and less color. So I think it is ok. I just suggest that you could cut out the lower right green color be fill empty background other corners. Thanks   Posted: 02/13/2021 21:28:04

Quang Phan   Quang Phan
  Posted: 02/13/2021 21:28:06

Xiao Cai   Xiao Cai
Too much stuff here, and it is tough to show the subject well. I don't like to cut the cactus half to show the cactus' flower. The lighting is also not good, too flat. It is just my opinion.   Posted: 02/18/2021 09:23:01
Darcy Johnson   Darcy Johnson
Hi Xiao - I appreciate your taking time to share your thoughts. Best regards -   Posted: 02/18/2021 10:54:07

Syed Shakhawat Kamal   Syed Shakhawat Kamal
Hi Darcy
greetings my friend.
An well composed image but light is too soft and the flower needs to be much more prominent. I like the way John suggested the post processing. He really bring the best out of your image.
Thanks for sharing.
Kamal   Posted: 02/28/2021 13:49:16
Darcy Johnson   Darcy Johnson
Hi Syed - I appreciate your taking time to share your thoughts. Best regards -   Posted: 02/28/2021 15:54:14