John Doyle  

Moth Orchid by John Doyle

July 2024 - Moth Orchid

About the Image(s)

It was taken on 3/14/22 at the New York Botanical Garden. I used a Canon EOS R5 camera with an EF 100mm f2.8 Macro USM lens. The settings were ISO 200, f9, 1/60 in Raw.

5 comments posted

Stuart Ord   Stuart Ord
Hi everyone, please welcome John to our group.

Welcome, John! I hope you enjoy being in our group. We won't just "like" the good parts, we will comment on what we think could be improved - and hope you will do the same for ours!

Here, I love the colour and texture of the centre of the flower. It's also nicely sharp there. The dark, out of focus background helps to push the flower forwards giving a nice 3D feeling. Loss of sharpness on the petals that are further away are fine to me.

I would suggest that you get to work on a couple of distractions - the petal in the upper right corner, and the light spots on the leaf in the lower left corner. It should be easy to clone these out in your photo editor programme.

We often get hung up on sharpness here, and it is perhaps that hardest issue in macro photography to master if you are new to the genre. If you hunt back through previous rounds, I'm sure you will find lots of debate on exactly how much of the subject is, or should be, sharp. The first issue is, "How much do you want to be sharp, for artistic reasons?" If an area is unsharp, it doesn't mean it's a fault. The photographer has the right to choose the sharpness, we can only say how it appears to us. Carol is a master of deliberately and artistically blurring her photos of flowers, mainly in post-production, a skill I've not learned yet.

Here I see loss of sharpness on the tips of petals and the pistil. As the pistil (if I've identified it correctly, I'm no botanist!) is closest, I think it would look better if it were as sharp as the centre part.

The drop in sharpness on the petals that are further away is fine to me, if that's what you intended.

Regarding composition, the flower is exactly in the centre of the frame, and I would prefer it to be offset a bit. You could crop a little off one edge, but ideally if you cropped your original then positioning the flower less centrally, and having a little more stalk, would be a more pleasing composition for me.   Posted: 07/08/2024 04:04:16

Margaret West
I agree with Stuart. Usually, but not always, the part closest to the viewer should be sharp. I think you would need to focus stack this with that lens. The other option since stacking is hard in a public place is to use a different lens since the macro lens has such a narrow DOF. A very lively flower!   Posted: 07/08/2024 06:15:39

Carol Sheppard   Carol Sheppard
Hi John, and welcome to the group! Since Stuart has given such a thorough critique and suggestions, I won't repeat, but what works well here are the color combinations. I would like to see a less tight crop and more softness in the background. Did you use a flash? It appears that lights were reflected on the flower surface. Although it is extremely awkward, you might try a diffuser or even a reflector for more even lighting. A reflector would eliminate the more obvious shadows in a soft manner if held at the correct angle, but it isn't always possible in tight spaces (and unless you have several arms!). Stuart is amazing at explaining focus-stacking, so you might want to try that on your next flower.   Posted: 07/09/2024 10:45:29

Keith Au   Keith Au
Hi John, welcome to the group!
Good shot of the orchid. Most part of the flower is in focus. I echo Stuart.. suggesting to darken or clone out the background green leaves and the top right portion of flower. My first impression is that the flower is too right at centre.. Maybe experimenting different ways of cropping (tighter or using 1/3 rule) may give different perspective.. Just my own opinion.. Not sure it's all correct.   Posted: 07/10/2024 09:38:56

Gloria Grandolini   Gloria Grandolini
Hi John and welcome, nice flower and great colors. I do think placing it off center a bit would enhance the composition. Also, maybe blurring the green areas around it a little so the eye focuses on the flower itself.   Posted: 07/12/2024 09:42:57


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