Delicate Pastels

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Another flower macro shot? What can I say, I’m rather enjoying them and of course it was a good time of year for flower shots anyway. My goal here was twofold. I wanted to focus the viewer’s eyes on the center of the flower where I had captured the most detail and I wanted to really bring out the soft pastel colors of the flower petals.

I used my 25mm f1.7 lens for this shot. From a shot composition perspective that creates some challenges. As I’ve mentioned before it’s not an actual macro lens which means I do have to crop quite heavily to have the interesting part of the image take up the frame given the narrow depth of field. In this case I changed the aperture to f3.2 which is still quite shallow. But there’s a reason for that. I had my shutter speed at 125th of a second because there was a noticeable breeze blowing. While a higher f-stop would have given more depth of field which might have been nice, it would also have reduced my shutter speed or forced me to increase my ISO introducing noise into the image. Given that I knew I would have to crop, I really couldn’t afford either of those things.

I think this stresses the importance of taking your time with this type of photography and finding the absolute best settings. Some things you an fix or enhance in post but blurry shots and heavy noise are not among them.

“The flower that follows the sun does so even in cloudy days.”

Robert Leighton

Fortunately I had done a decent job of exposing the image. It could have stood to be a bit brighter but all the information was present so I could make my adjustments without adding noticeable noise. I didn’t want the image to be cloudy or dull though, I wanted it to be bright and warm. So I reversed my usual technique of a Gradient filter and had the center darker and the outside lighter .This still draws the eye to the flower but creates a brighter image overall.

Next up was some tweaking of the color palette using the HSL panel which allows me to tweak the saturation and luminance of various colors to draw out the color of the petals a little. And my final edit was to drop down the Clarity and Dehaze sliders while increasing the texture and contrast sliders. This gives a slight blurring while maintaining detail and works well for a soft, pastel type of image so long as you don’t go overboard.

All in all these were pretty minor adjustments to the image but they reinforce my firm belief that editing your images is part of the art of photography. It’s not just about what is physically there, it’s about what you see in your mind and conveying that to people who see the photos.






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