Elaine Hoffman  

Ornament by Elaine Hoffman

May 2020 - Ornament

About the Image(s)

This is the head of a tiny ceramic ornament that a friend made. Focus stacked the foreground of 11 slices and converted to B&W. I shot it in color, but it looked very weird. F2.8, 5th of a second shutter speed at ISO 100 using ambient lights, some xmas lights in the background left out of focus and a diffused front light from a flashlight. I was trying to play around with just having some highlights in color but my LR skills aren't up to that, I guess as I kept getting frustrated. And my PS skills are limited (right now) to just doing the focus stacking. I wanted to keep the left side of the face a bit more contrast-y but it just didn't work. Thanks!

7 comments posted

Peter Newman   Peter Newman

I am glad you are trying something you haven't done before. Since I have never tried focus staking, I will not make comments about focus, other than to say that if you find the time there a lots of free tutorials on focus stacking. Your public library may have access to photo tutorials.

I like the angled placement of yur subject, and that it is off center.

To my eyes it looks as if it was leaning backward. This may be because your film plane it not parallel to the subject. The light streaks on the image can be fixed if you play around with diffused lighting. The dark shadows can be fixed by placing a low output diffused light, or reflector under the image. I would like to see the OOF bright areas on the middle right toned down a bit.

One of the members of my club used an egg to study the effects of lighting. It may be easier to learn basic lighting with an egg, as the surface isn't shiny, and you can always eat it when you are done.   Posted: 05/16/2020 21:55:37
Lynne Hollingsworth   Lynne Hollingsworth
Peter you're correct about the egg as a great tool. See below my response to Elaine.   Posted: 05/22/2020 20:23:17

Charles Ginsburgh   Charles Ginsburgh
An interesting image, in that you have given us immense detail with a subject that in places has little to no detail, and I love it. I also like how you have positioned the subject to allow interesting light fall-off. To my eye, that adds a lot of character to the image. I do find that the scattered bright spots are distracting, and I would have cloned those away, especially in the face, throat and chest areas. These distractions len=d a feeling of a distressed image, but nothing else in the image supports this "feel".   Posted: 05/19/2020 14:25:17

Lynne Hollingsworth   Lynne Hollingsworth
This is an interesting image. Aside from the bright spots on the face, I think the streaks of light on the hat and shoulders depict how in focus these elements are. f/2.8 will not give you very much depth of field, so you were obviously successful with focus stacking. As far as your lighting and contrast, the position of the ornament is well placed.

Peter is correct in saying that photographing an egg is a great way to study lighting. I took a photography course once where for 1/3rd of the semester we took various images of eggs in a variety of scenarios. This included creating a color image of an egg using only natural lighting. That was a challenge!   Posted: 05/22/2020 20:20:29

Vinod Kulkarni
I must say it's a neat shot and I do light the way light on the subject has been captured. The light on the subject clearly indicates the direction, with the shadow on the right shoulder.

Apart from few key feedback which others have already give, the only thing I would add is reduce the noise which is evident in the background. This can be either done while shooting (by having sufficient ambience light) or during post processing.   Posted: 05/23/2020 02:04:26

Angela Chan   Angela Chan
Good composition and texture.
I agree that cloning out the bright spots on the face and arm will help with decreasing distraction.
The bright area behind the subject can be easily decreased in both LR and PS.
In LR : Use adjustment brush to paint the area and then decrease highlight and exposure ( if need be ). Sliding the shadow to the left also help .
In PS, the same can be done in Adobe Camera Raw . Another easy way is to duplicate the image and then change the blend mode to multiply. Using a mask to paint in what you want give you lots of control. If one pass is not enough, duplicate the top copy until you like what you see.
Hope this help.   Posted: 05/23/2020 10:18:30
Angela Chan   Angela Chan
If you are interested in LR tutorials, Anthony Morganti on youtube is easy to understand and perfectly free.
I used to host LR, PS and PSE study groups in my local camera club. If you like more help on youtube selections please do not hesitate to let me know.   Posted: 05/23/2020 10:23:58


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