Ed O’Rourke  

Sitting on a Red Hot Poker by Ed O’Rourke

May 2022 - Sitting on a Red Hot Poker

May 2022 - Ed O’Rourke


May 2022 - Ed O’Rourke

Original 2

About the Image(s)

I was at a botanical garden on the coast taking shots of this flower grouping ("Red Hot Poker" is their common name) when this guy came by and photo bombed me. But I'm thinking I should thank him for posing. Fortunately I had already made my camera settings for the flowers but when he showed up I had to turn to him and shoot fast and as I was on manual focus all I had time to do was focus and shoot before he went somewhere else. It just convinces me that some of the best photos aren't really planned.

I was shooting with my Canon R; RF100-500 lens at 500mm; aperture f/10; shutter speed 200; ISO 320. It was a slightly overcast day which gave me some nice soft light.

8 comments posted

Dawn Gulino
Hi Ed,
Nice shot -- it really is luck, but you were there and made it happen. That bird was posing for you!

When I look at your original's, there seems to be a bit more contrast that might benefit your final image. I know you were trying to get the right bottom in full on your crop, however my eye wants to see a bit more on the left side of the frame to give the bird more room looking out the frame. I also like the little flower to the left and to me, this crop seems to flow a bit better. I didn't clone the top, or work on the colors of the flowers, but wanted to quickly do a few things to show you my thoughts.

  Posted: 05/09/2022 20:41:34
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Kelly Easler
I LOVE this crop!   Posted: 05/23/2022 10:42:53

Darcy Quimby   Darcy Quimby
I so agree with you on some of the best photos not being planned. This is one of those times. I like how you blurred the background.   Posted: 05/17/2022 15:48:02

Mark Bargen   Mark Bargen
Hi, ed. For this round I'm undertaking to review each image after viewing only the image and its title, but not the accompanying description. Once I post my comments, I'll turn to the description and others' comments.

As I've admitted when commenting on the other bird images in this round, I have to confess that, while I appreciate the effort involved, and the technical challenges, I don't find myself emotionally involved in bird and/or flower images. That's just a reflection on me, not on the image.

I do recognize the technical achievement that this image represents. Everything of interest is quite sharp. The depth of field is shallow enough to obscure the background, and I like it that there are two flowers just a bit further back so that they fall outside the field that's in focus.

It appears that you (or your camera) focused on the flower on which the bird is sitting, at the flowers' structure is pin sharp, while there is (to my eye at least) a bit of softness to the bird. I did experiment with taking it over to Topaz Sharpen AI, on a duplicate layer, and then painting in the sharpened layer only on the bird, and I think I was able to pull off a bit of improvement without making it look over-sharpened. Note that it was really important to *not* sharpen the flowers. I also painted in a bit of contrast on the bird, just a bit, not much. As I don't compete in Nature category, I'm not sure I know the rules; I'm pretty sure those edits would be disallowed.

I agree that it was wise to crop to make the bird the star of the show. I'm guessing your decisions also reflected a desire to eliminate distractions. To my eye, the image now feels a bit claustrophobic; I'd have like a little "breathing" room on either side. You might consider (again, not permitted in Nature group) re-cropping a bit wider and then cloning out the dried stem on the right and the nub of a flower on the left.

  Posted: 05/18/2022 14:06:54
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Mark Bargen   Mark Bargen
This might give you an idea as to what I had in mind for a crop. It would have been nice to have had a bit more at the bottom, but that wasn't in the cards.   Posted: 05/18/2022 14:16:27
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Neil Bellenie
This is a nice picture that serendipity has brought to us. I am sure many great animal pictures are down to luck. Shooting with a 500mm lens is hard (eg haze degrades the image) - this is an example of good use of a super telephoto.

I agree with some of the comments about the crop - it does look better with a little more room on the left. My only criticism would be the green of the grass in the final image is too strong and it reduces the impact of the bird.   Posted: 05/20/2022 14:44:53

Kelly Easler
Ed, Fantastic! I absolutely love the bird shots and these particular flowers are so cool (although I laughed when I read your title until you mentioned that's their real name!). The flower he is sitting on looks so beautiful and crisp, but I feel like I want the bird to be sharper and brighter, too. Apologies for piggy-backing, but I think Dawn's crop is so perfect (although I might take out that little bit of flower on the left). In her crop, there is something about having the blue layer at the top with those little spots, and the way the flowers are arranged in that crop (balanced against the angle of the sky) that seem perfect to me! So pretty!   Posted: 05/23/2022 10:42:02

Paul Smith   Paul Smith
Ed, I like your photo. I'm especially interested because of Mark's comments regarding "focus on the bird" and "focus on the flower. I have been struggling with "focus vs sharpness". Your bird is in focus, but not as sharp as your flower. What focus matrix do you usually use? This is good, and I'm ready for a few more of your seascapes. Well done   Posted: 05/24/2022 13:12:49


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