Bob Crocker  

Pine Cone Tear by Bob Crocker

October 2020 - Pine Cone Tear

About the Image(s)

After watching rain dripping off the pine cones in my backyard, I recreated that look in my basement "studio". Using three LED lights and a slow shutter speed to draw out the drop. Yes there is that huge white spot on the drop which is my key light. Didn't have any success is eliminating that glare. Shot with my Sony 6500, 90mm macro lens at f8, 1/20 of a sec. Processed in ON12020; bumped up the shadows, added some dynamic contrast to the pine cone only, and added a little warmth to the midtones."

11 comments posted

Cindy Lynch   Cindy Lynch
What a great idea. The diagonal line of the pine cone adds interest as does the slow motion blur of the drop. I would like to see just a little more detail in the pine cone, and on my monitor the blue background seems a little noisy and pixilated.   Posted: 10/12/2020 10:22:04
Bob Crocker   Bob Crocker
Hi Cindy, thanks for the input. Yes, for sure getting the entire pine in focus would have been great but I was constrained by shutter speed and the lights I had available. The background is a textured, paper background, that's what your probably seeing more than noise.   Posted: 10/13/2020 15:23:29

Jessica Manelis   Jessica Manelis
Love the experimentation! I like the composition with the pine cone coming in and I think it looks good. I wold love to see the drop of water just as clear in focus as the pine cone. I tried droplet photography once where I tried to capture the falling drops out of my sink. It was tough.   Posted: 10/12/2020 10:34:29
Bob Crocker   Bob Crocker
Thanks Jessica for the input. Since I wanted to have that long, stretched out drop, I used that slow shutter speed (1/20). The drop was in continuous motion during this exposure, which blurred it while it was stretching. I would have had to use one or more flash units to freeze that motion, which I was not set up to do. Working with flash, esp more than one, is a skill that I still need a lot of work on. <;-)   Posted: 10/13/2020 15:33:18

Marcela Stegemueller   Marcela Stegemueller
I, too, experimented with rain drops or droplets and found it hard. You are inspiring me. I may try it again.

Would a smaller aperture give you a deeper depth of field allowing you to get the back of the cone sharper? In my opinion the detail on the front of the cone is beautiful.   Posted: 10/13/2020 14:30:30

Bob Crocker   Bob Crocker
Hi Marcela, for sure dealing with ambient rain/snow is tricky. In this case, as I mentioned above, I wanted the drop to be blurred to show motion. Because it was moving, and a second after I pressed the shutter, the drop fell off the cone. This shot was a classic case of compromise with the good 'ole Exposure Triangle. A smaller aperture would definitely show more of the cone. Matter of fact, I did some shots at f10 and f11. But I lost a lot of light, and it extended my shutter speed to the point were the drop was gone before the exposure was finished. As I mentioned to Jessica, I would probably have to use one or more flashes to solve some of these issues. Maybe one flash to light the pine cone, one for the background, and I guess one for the water drop. Whew, I only have one working flash right now, so that set up you will not see anytime soon, haha.   Posted: 10/13/2020 15:49:36
Marcela Stegemueller   Marcela Stegemueller
Thank you for the explanation. As I said before, you are an inspiration.   Posted: 10/13/2020 18:13:59
Bob Crocker   Bob Crocker
Thanks, you're so kind.   Posted: 10/14/2020 12:59:58

Marti Buckely   Marti Buckely
(Group 22)
When I first looked at this one, I wasn't sure I liked the drop as it seemed out of focus. However, studying it, it does appear to be in motion. The fact that the pine cone isn't sharp at the left doesn't bother me as it takes me down to the sharper places and then to the droplet. Really nice work!   Posted: 10/24/2020 21:12:34

Andrew Carstensen   Andrew Carstensen
Nice action shot. My suggestion is to use continuous burst feature on your camera. I like the isolation of the subject and the angle of the shot.   Posted: 10/25/2020 12:04:53

Nelson Charette   Nelson Charette
Very nice image, good idea. I kinda like the bright spot in the water. Have you thought about trying different background colors?   Posted: 10/26/2020 09:24:23


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