Bill Foy  

Dahlia "Pam Howden" by Bill Foy

January 2020 - Dahlia "Pam Howden"

January 2020 - Bill Foy


About the Image(s)

This image was made at Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, PA a couple of years ago. I was looking for something "relatively easy" to ease myself into Photoshop - I'm still a bit too intimidated to take on Lightroom. I wanted to boost the colors so I adjusted the Shadows/Highlights and Exposure. I'm looking for critiques of my adjustments and suggestions for other things I might have done to make the image more acceptable. Nikon D500, Sigma 150mm macro lens, f/10, 1/1000, ISO-1250, handheld, no flash.

12 comments posted

Carol Sheppard   Carol Sheppard
Lots of pop to this image, giving it great initial impact for me! I'm not even sure you needed to boost the colors...they are pretty intense. Nice clarity. I would look at maybe raising the blacks right in the center, or opening up the shadows just on the black center, so that it doesn't look so black. There's one tiny little yellow spot on the mid-right edge that you can spot treat out. Other than that, it feels like a great view, sharp and clear of blemishes. Great shadows, with contouring and depth in the petals. Kudos because these colors are so hard to capture correctly!   Posted: 01/07/2020 13:28:47

Carol Sheppard   Carol Sheppard
Actually, one more comment: I do like the color saturation in your original image.   Posted: 01/07/2020 13:29:25

Carol Sheppard   Carol Sheppard
Okay, sorry, one more: I think the original capture was so excellent! You really didn't need to do anything to it, IMHO!   Posted: 01/07/2020 13:30:40
Bill Foy   Bill Foy
You know, I really liked the original but wanted to see if I could do anything with PhotoShop that the group might find acceptable or tell me what else I might do to try to improve the image. What I learned is - leave well-enough alone!   Posted: 01/13/2020 12:28:55

Denise McKay   Denise McKay
Bill, I have to agree with Carol that I really like your original shot! The colors are fine as they are and the composition is really good. For some reason your edited version looks like you increased the saturation, not just lowered your highlights and exposure. So maybe you just took it a little too far?

I can tell that the light was really strong and harsh as well. The shadows are really hard. Have you considered carrying a small, collapsible diffuser with you to block the light? I find that helps a lot when shooting outdoors.   Posted: 01/07/2020 18:14:58
Bill Foy   Bill Foy
Thanks, Denise. Whenever the flash in use, there's a diffuser on it. I didn't use flash for this shot which is unusual - probably left it in the car.   Posted: 01/13/2020 12:31:37

Lou Karcher   Lou Karcher
Hi Bill! There are lots of complimentary details and colors in this and saturation increased its appeal. But a tad too much as evidenced by the slightly greenish tint in yellows. A guess is was you concentrated on sharpening the center of the flower, achieved your objective, but didn't notice the impact on the other elements. You could color adjust "yellow" or slightly reduce the amount of sharpening. Longwood never disappoints. Good thoughts for 2020!
  Posted: 01/07/2020 18:51:54
Bill Foy   Bill Foy
Lou, the truth is I was trying to learn the PhotoShop sliders and see what the group would think of how I used them. The responses have surprised me, but the unanimity convinced me that I picked a bad subject in that it was acceptable as it is.   Posted: 01/13/2020 12:34:56

Bob Crocker   Bob Crocker
Nice image Bill, dahlias make such great subjects. As mentioned by others the color pop really grabs the viewer. But as photographers we can see that maybe the saturation slider was over done. Try the vibrance slider for a more subtle color boast that provides less emphasis on the reds. Or as Lou mentions, bump up just the yellows in the HSL sliders section. I don't know if was from the high ISO, or over sharpening but white specs scattered around the image are a little distracting for me. As Denise mentioned, a small diffuser would help reduce specular highlights but as I often find out, hard to use when your hand holding; bring on the Plamp.   Posted: 01/10/2020 10:49:21
Bill Foy   Bill Foy
Thanks, Bob. The suggestions on which sliders to use, and how to use them is what I was looking for. The white specks are visible in the original image also - most likely pollen. Whenever I use my flash, the diffuser is attached.   Posted: 01/13/2020 12:39:56

Doug Wolters
I too like the original better -- stunning colors, & I like the centered composition.

Focus is always tricky -- it would be better if more of the inner circle of pedals was in focus. Did you try any shots more stopped down?   Posted: 01/12/2020 21:15:42

Bill Foy   Bill Foy
Thanks, Doug. I did not shoot any stopped down images.   Posted: 01/13/2020 12:45:51


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