Bob Crocker  

Pine Cone Blues by Bob Crocker

March 2020 - Pine Cone Blues

About the Image(s)

"Shot using my Sony a6500, 90mm Macro lens, f11, 9 images focus -stacked at about 8 seconds each. Original my intent for this shot was to get in close and show the texture of the pine cone. The cone had a lot of sap on it so went through a series of warm/hot water washes to get off the sap. Most came off but also what happened was a fine coat of sap covered the entire cone. Not what I wanted; was going for a more matted look. Didn't want to scrap the project, so I ended up using some colored lights (red/blue) to add interest and drama. Processed in ON1, did some basic adjustments, reducing the highlights reflecting off the shiny surfaces. Added some dynamic contrast, and in the end, the image looked too blue so I warmed up the image a little bit."

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

Lou Karcher   Lou Karcher
(Group 63)
This is a very, very interesting and appealing image. Your patience and imagination certainly paid off big-time. One suggestion. Leave less black space on top or create a narrow black frame around the entire image. Nicely done, Bob!   Posted: 03/03/2020 14:57:07
Bob Crocker   Bob Crocker
(Group 57)
Thanks Lou. I wanted to leave some 'negative space' in the shot but it's always a question in my mind about how much.   Posted: 03/03/2020 15:57:18

Denise McKay   Denise McKay
(Group 77)
I almost thought these were some kind of shells Bob. My brain did not see pine cone here! You did a nice job with the focus stacking. Everything in the frame is in focus. I also like the composition choice, having the pine cone on it's side with the scales pointing left. I love the pattern of the criss-crossing lines of the scales.

However, the addition of the red/blue lighting did not add anything to the photo in my opinion. There are three spots with blobs of blue/black that seem out of place (the right bottom, right top edge of the cone, and on the left). The shadows between some of the scales are very dark as well, which I suspect is caused by the lighting.

Because this subject is so interesting and has great texture, did you consider going in even closer, making this more abstract, and possibly converting to black and white? So the scales would totally fill the frame with no negative space around the cone at all. And the black and white conversion might make you feel better about the appearance.

I don't know if that would do anything for what you envisioned, but just a thought!   Posted: 03/05/2020 18:35:05
Bob Crocker   Bob Crocker
(Group 57)
Thanks Denise. I did try getting closer but that sappy shine kind of covers up the small detail I do like the idea of converting to Monochrome; gave it a try (also cropped in a little higher) and attached the file below. The blotchy color spots where not on my computer originally; the color were more even and not so contrasty. Maybe the conversion to jpeg didn't help those spots.   Posted: 03/10/2020 16:52:26
Comment Image
Denise McKay   Denise McKay
(Group 77)
I, personally, like the black and white conversion a lot! This makes for a really interesting shot that you sit and study for a while.

Nice job Bob!   Posted: 03/11/2020 06:29:49
Bob Crocker   Bob Crocker
(Group 57)
Thanks again Denise. Yeah, I'm liken the monchrome a lot too. Really helps the eye stay focused on the edges and details.   Posted: 03/12/2020 12:59:58

Carol Sheppard   Carol Sheppard
(Groups 80 & 95)
I wouldn't have guessed pine cone! The texture is such a strong part of the impact that I find more appeal for myself the monochrome version, emphasizing texture as it does. Alternatively, lessening the blue and maybe making it a uniform brown, but with the different tones, would do the same thing for bringing out more texture? Interesting treatment for viewing; I personally am not finding the blues add to what you've done. But technically, you did great with the depth.   Posted: 03/22/2020 13:02:38

Doug Wolters
(Group 10)
Very interesting. I'd like to see a crop with only pine cone, cropping some of he left & top. The lighting makes it more mysterious -- maybe more pine cone like would be better.   Posted: 03/23/2020 17:06:24