Jay Joseph  

Smile for the camera by Jay Joseph

July 2021 - Smile for the camera

July 2021 - Jay Joseph


About the Image(s)

I took many photographs of this dragonfly. This is the only one where it was looking at the camera. I did crop in a lot resulting in some loss of sharpness, but I did want its face as large as possible. I tried to totally remove the dragonfly and place it on a different background, but it was too difficult. Instead, I tried to darken the light areas and sunspots around it in Lightroom as well as reduce the exposure to bring back some of the color in the dragonfly. Pentax K-1, f11, 1/125 sec., ISO 320, 100mm macro lens.

9 comments posted

Ian Cambourne   Ian Cambourne
Congratulations on a strong image Jay. Your persistence in taking many shots has paid off, and also confirms that saying "Never work with children or animals". Your final image all begins with a stronger original capture. As it is painfully obvious, your cropping is very severe, as would be needed with this dragonfly. The detail in its wings and legs show the strength of your original capture. Very well done with that. Placing it on a different background??? I don't know if that would be the best action. Dragonflies are to be found on twigs and plants, placing it on something else would require careful consideration and selection. My personal processing skills leave very much to be desired and are well behind others in our group. Having said that, I have just one concern, those eyes. I've never looked a dragonfly closely in the eye before, but they just don't seem natural to me, too green and too white. Should they or could they been toned down a bit? In the image, that is my one and only concern. You have still handled a very difficult subject very well.   Posted: 07/04/2021 03:06:45
Jay Joseph   Jay Joseph
Thanks Ian. I did try and find a few pixels in the eyes, but there were none. Before I submitted the photo to the group, I did search the internet for dragonfly pictures. I did find a few with eyes that resembled the eyes in my photo. This doesn't mean mine were adequate, but I did feel a little better about the picture.   Posted: 07/17/2021 21:49:11

Henriette Brasseur   Henriette Brasseur
I wonder if you took this image with a very wide aperture (ex: 2.8, 3.5) and focused directly on the dragon fly, if the background could have even been more out of focus because of its cluttered background. As to placing the dragonfly on a different background, I think the selection would have been difficult because of the lighting (shadows and bright light) but I admire you for thinking about doing so as an option. I do admire your persistence at taking so many images of the dragon fly in order to get the pose you wanted. I do this myself when taking images of flowers. A suggestion.. maybe you did but if you didn't, an addition of a teleconverter with the 100 macro lens might bring the dragonfly closer in the image and then you wouldn't have to cut into the image so much... taking the image in softer light and if you want to spend $$$, a longer macro lens might be helpful to have the dragonfly closer. Hope these suggestions are helpful...really like being able to see this dragonfly and all its colors and design elements.   Posted: 07/06/2021 14:40:28
Jay Joseph   Jay Joseph
Thanks for the suggestions Henriette. I didn't know you could put a teleconverter on a macro lens.   Posted: 07/17/2021 21:51:24

Trey Foerster   Trey Foerster
I don't mind your cropping at all, it goes right to where the "action" is! I think you focused more on the the body in back of the eyes given the detail on the wings near that area. The head area is slightly out of focus those the "hair" on the legs stand out nicely. The stick and body can be slightly out of focus and that wouldn't bother me as far as impact. Maybe used an AI Sharpen app and see what that does? You can darken the background by increasing the shadow slider in PS or LR.   Posted: 07/07/2021 15:31:38

Heidi Egerman   Heidi Egerman
These are hard shots to get. I've tried many times with little luck. Bravo on this one. Just a couple of suggestions that might improve the image. You might move the dragonfly over to the right a bit so the eyes aren't in the center of the frame. The wings and body sort of create a triangle which can be a nice compositional element. It might also work in a square format. I think I would tone down the bright green in the insects eyes because my eyes were drawn to them maybe more than they should have been. Even in the original the eyes look very bright green, but would help the image if they were softened a bit.   Posted: 07/14/2021 17:12:30
Jay Joseph   Jay Joseph
Those eyes were tough to deal with in post processing. I was not successful in any of my attempts. The real problem was the time of day I was taking the photographs. It was the afternoon on a very sunny day, not ideal. Thanks for your suggestions.   Posted: 07/17/2021 22:03:00

Jay Joseph   Jay Joseph
Thank you for the suggestions Trey. It was difficult to focus accurately from where I was standing and the small size of the dragonfly.   Posted: 07/17/2021 21:56:18

Sophie Pouillon
How can we do better?
For me, you managed the depth of field well so that the wings are sharp as well as the body. At 2.8 you would have too little area of sharpness.
In animal photography, sharpness is important. If you had changed the background it would have become a creative photo. But indeed, it is complicated with the transparency of the wings.
I like your proposal as it is. The sparkling bubbles accompany the subject well, it makes his eyes sparkle and does not attract the eye too much, otherwise you can lower them a little in intensity. Moreover it is a bug that goes fast and difficult to photograph.
  Posted: 07/19/2021 01:38:02


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