Tracy Szela  

Tentacles by Tracy Szela

May 2022 - Tentacles

May 2022 - Tracy Szela


About the Image(s)

Specs: Canon R6, 24-240mm lens @188mm, f6.3, 1/60s, ISO 400
I attended a flower photography workshop through my local camera store. They had a number of setups, and a huge selection of flowers to choose from. I was trying to do something different than a still life type of set up and when I saw these funky flowers, I decided to place them in front of a black background and experiment with different compositions. I had been thinking the white flowers on the black background due to its strong shapes and textures would make a nice B&W image. And framing just the tops of the flowers created something entirely different when converted to B&W, now the flowers looked like tentacles!

7 comments posted

Haru Nagasaki   Haru Nagasaki
Hi Tracy,
Thank you for posting this image. "flower photography workshop" sounds fun.
Looking at this image, there are 2 goods; 1. there is no overlap between the flowers. (there is one overlap but it is not a big issue). 2. selecting black background is a win.
now improvement points - Center of attention is not clear. I guess the flower in the middle would be the one (based on the sharpness), but if other flowers are blurred more, it would become clear that the center flower is the center of attention. second, the some petals are blown out. That's a bit pity.
At this point, in order to make the center flower "focal point", I would use dodge and burn.
Also I cropped a bit of the bottom (which looks busy in my eye).
Here is my attempt.   Posted: 05/02/2022 03:26:38
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Tracy Szela   Tracy Szela
Haru- Thank you for taking time to comment on my image. I do have to respectfully disagree, the whites are not blown out, according to the histogram. Since the flowers were in fact bright white, I opted to process them so the white parts were near the right side of the histogram, but not blown out (actually this was mostly done in camera with proper exposure, but some care during editing as well). And the focus of the image is not one flower - as you'll see in my comment, it was meant to be creative and look like something entirely different (tentacles). So while there is nothing wrong with your edit, my goal was not to highlight one flower of the bunch. Your edit gives a different feel to the image, which was not my goal when taking and editing the image. But I do appreciate your comments as it is always interesting to see what others see in the same image.   Posted: 05/02/2022 12:18:22
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Haru Nagasaki   Haru Nagasaki
Hi Tracy,
I see your passion on this image and photography. That is a good thing.
Maybe I did not explain well.
Some petals are blown out in the original. In conversion, even though you darken down that part and looks ok in histogram of BW image, the details are lost and you cannot get back.
Blown out portion is very small portion. But since this image is so beautiful my eye catches it instantly.
As for your goal - my message was "my eyes was wondering what to see and where to see because it is busy for my eye". My suggestion was to highlight one flowers so that my eye can travel around within a flower and enjoy it more.

  Posted: 05/02/2022 16:58:58
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Don Hill   Don Hill
Hey Tracy, your image is very interesting. When I take a picture, I normally have a mood and tone that I am trying to set. Sometimes when I post an image, I totally disagree with some of the comments and "redo's" that are in the comments. I understand where you are coming from. This month I tried to set a mood for an old building that is being restored, and one that had a very dark past. So, what the comments made me do is to step back and take another look at the image. Maybe I make it a little darker, or more vignette, or crop different, but If I have a mood I am trying to set, I try not to lose sight of it. Photography is so subjective that everyone can be right, or wrong, but this is always a learning experience for me. On your image, I understand the mood you were trying to set, but I really liked what Haru did, and His image seemed sharper. I was distracted by the tops of the plants being out of focus, as well as the leaf at the bottom. I do think they look like tentacles, and I understand if you shot this at a higher F stop, you may have needed a tripod, or a higher ISO. I really think these groups are to make us better photographers, and I have learned so much by comments that I have disagreed with. Keep shooting. Thanks Tracy.   Posted: 05/03/2022 20:25:46

Dick Knudson   Dick Knudson
Very original and intriguing image, and the discussions will be the same, I am sure. For me, I agree with Haru that the BG and flower arrangement are strengths. I had to decide on what I was asked by the image to do with the several soft focus areas - tips, foreground leaf, and most of the flowers. Then I saw your title, and was a bit more stuck as the tentacles were not moving ... just fuzzy. So I used PS Filter > Blur > Radial tool, which I had never used before, on the flower tips to see if I could get the OOF tentacles to wave around a bit. (Make the soft focus a strength -- Louis Armstrong advised jazz soloists when one hits an off note in an improvisation, repeat it enough times in the next phrases to make it sound purposeful). Also cropped and rotated, to imply more motion. As I read an image from left to right, I flipped it to emphasize motion energy to the right.
Feels like tentacles to me!

  Posted: 05/05/2022 11:59:56
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Arne Skinlo   Arne Skinlo
When having so many similar objects in an image, it is difficult to express a point of interest that stands out to be understood. Haru had a comprehensive comment that I agree with and cover my thoughts also.   Posted: 05/17/2022 03:37:36

Tevor Harvey   Tevor Harvey
I love both the original and the conversion. I agreed that I couldn't find a single point of interest and then read your comments, after that I didn't care about a single point of interest. They do look like tentacles so you have achieved exactly what you set out to do.   Posted: 05/22/2022 14:36:28


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