Jeff Fleisher  

Pine Cone by Jeff Fleisher

September 2020 - Pine Cone

About the Image(s)

My name is Jeff Fleisher and I am new to this Group but looking forward to showing my photographs, getting your feedback and providing my feedback to you as well. I have been drawn to closeup photography for many years. It seems to be the style that I am most comfortable taking and enjoy working in the field. I also have a similar interest in panorama photography. I have done a number of broad landscapes using the panoramic technique. I've recently been working to merge these interests into what I'm calling closeup panoramas or 'Small Worlds'.

I would like to improve on this technique and that is why I've joined this Group. At first glance it seems that I am trying to merge polar opposite techniques into this type of photograph. Closeup implies that you focus in on your subject and exclude any extraneous details so the subject is the main feature of the image. Panorama images are normally made to either increase the number of pixels available in the image or to increase the field-of-view. I'm trying to merge both disciplines in these images. The question is....Can I create an interesting subject at the same time broadening the view to give more context to the subject?

The image I've provided this month is a closeup of a pine cone on a branch from my backyard. Rather than do a very closeup view of just the pine cone I've come in close to the pine cone and collected a series of 9 images that I've stitched together into a panorama image. My goal was to create a closeup of the pine cone but also show the context of the branch and background at the same time.

Some people have said to me, “Why don't you just back up and take a single image and then crop the portion of the image you want to keep?” My experience says that although this is a reasonable approach, you don't get quite the same 'look and feel' as you do by collecting so many more pixels. This is especially true when you want to display or print them as a large size image.

The image was taken with my Nikon Z6 with a 105mm micro Nikkor lens. Settings were ISO 100, 1/50 @ f/22. The final image was 13,240 x 5,205 pixels.

I use ON1 Photo Raw for my post processing. For a panorama like this I will bring in the set of images and do some initial tonal adjustments on one of the images and then apply that across all the images so they have the same adjustments. ON1 has a Panorama function built in so I can build the panorama within the same software. I also have 3rd party panorama packages which provide more control of the stitching process, if required. Once the panorama is created I will go back in and make any other changes to the merged image.

I am interested in your thoughts on both the technique I am trying achieve and the image itself. Not many folks are doing this so finding other images like this on the Internet are scarce.

8 comments posted

Peter Newman   Peter Newman
Hi Jeff, welcome to the group.

You have shown us a really nice image. I like the angle of the branch, which serves as a leading line to your subject. I agree that not all closeup subjects should be shown in isolation. Your image image is clear proof that some closeup images are best shown in context. I like the way you show a sharp image, set against the nicely blurred background.

Just a nit, to my eyes some of the shadow areas are a bit too dark and I would like to see a subtle vignette on the corners. I made those slight adjustments in Photoshop, using the ACR filter. Please let us know if you agree.
  Posted: 09/12/2020 14:23:33
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Jeff Fleisher   Jeff Fleisher
Hi Peter,
Thanks for the comments about the composition. I did try hard to keep the foreground in focus ans blur out the background.

I have to say that I do like my exposure/tonal range better than the image you modified. I do use a vignette but try to keep it very subtle which is why you may have thought it was too dark. I think the lighter image reduces the separation between the foreground and background and it looks like the pine cones and branch are over sharpened. You didn't mention adding any sharpening but it looks 'crunchy' to me now. Just my thoughts!

  Posted: 09/14/2020 10:51:10
Jeff Fleisher   Jeff Fleisher
After I sent my note I went into On1 and added a 'Sunshine' filter and that added more light to the scene and brightened up the pine cone and branch. I think that helped the image.

Jeff   Posted: 09/14/2020 10:58:33
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Peter Newman   Peter Newman
Your revision certainly brightened up the shadows and the branch. To my eye, it looks like too much separation. I suspect that the sunshine filter may have brightened the branch and the rear pine cone. I burned them a tad, and applied a surface blur of two pixels to the branch and rear pine cone.

  Posted: 09/14/2020 13:32:54
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Peter Newman   Peter Newman
Jeff, I don't remember adding any sharpening. However if I did, it was inadvertent.

  Posted: 09/14/2020 13:45:17

Angela Chan   Angela Chan
Welcome to the club, Jeff.
It is very nice to meet photographers who use different techniques ( and hopefully to learn from them ).
I once looked into the field but did not go far when my local camera store have no idea when I asked for a nodal tripod. Can you tell us something about the gear(s) you use please.
Yes, lots of detail on the cones and branches.
I am used to seeing more space at the left hand side but does the cone fit into golden spiral ?
The exposure seems fine to me.
Thanks for sharing.   Posted: 09/12/2020 15:15:36
Peter Newman   Peter Newman
I am not sure that the "rules" of composition apply to all images. It is my understanding that they are only a guide, which may or may not be followed.   Posted: 09/14/2020 13:42:18
Angela Chan   Angela Chan
Hi Peter,
I am the kind of person who always say that rules are meant to be broken. All the composition "rules" are suggestions as you said. The most important thing is..."Does it look good to you ?' That was why I said (I am used to seeing more space at the left hand side)..not...(It does not fit in rule of the third ).
I am not boasting but I frequently took images a certain way before I know about the rules of composition and found out later on that what I had been doing was following those famous rules...they are made "suggestions" because they are more pleasing to most eyes .
Actually my innate composition is "Golden ratio", not the rule of third .
There are some images that I would like the focal point to be very close to the edge but not in this one...This is only my own opinion....Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
As long as the author like it , then it is a good image.   Posted: 09/14/2020 14:04:36


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