Glacier Lillies

by Neal Jorgensen
(Preston, ID USA)

As I was driving I saw these beautiful flowers.

I shot them using the macro feature on my Kodak Z812 IS.

Then In Picasa I cropped them a little and increased the soft focus around the sides

(For convenience, all links below open in new windows)
This is a nice shot of some flowers. Bright and colourful. It should grab anyone’s attention.

But why do I feel a little cold over this one? First of all, there is a lot of good things about Neal’s photo. He’s got down close to the subject, he’s used the macro setting on his camera, and the flowers lead nicely back into the photo.

Looking with a critical eye though, I think the positioning is a little off. There is a large emptiness in the bottom part of the photo, and the main flower sits at around the half-way point down the photo.

It would have been better Neal could have tilted his camera up a little, to move the flower down in the frame to the bottom third of the photo. This would have fitted neatly into the rule of thirds. Click to read more about the rule of thirds.

An added benefit of this would be that we would then have a curved line of yellow blooms stretching into the scene. Lead in lines like this make for strong compositions.

I think Neal has done the right thing by using software to improve the photo. However I think he went too far on some things, and not far enough on others.

I think the colours could take more saturation – the yellows could be brighter, and the greens more rich. I would also have added a touch of sharpening.

Sharpening on macro shots works really well because it highlights even more the main subject of the scene, and doesn’t affect the blurred elements in the scene at all.

Where I think Neal went too far is in the use of Picasa’s soft focus tool. This tool allows you to pick an area where you don’t want focus blurred, and then blurs the rest of the photo.

I think this was unnecessary. The macro mode would have given us a nice depth of field effect. I feel the soft focus effect on top of this has taken away the impact of the macro mode. Click to read more about depth of field.

This is all beginning to sound a bit negative, but it’s not all bad. I actually like this shot a lot, I really do. I’m convinced though that there is an even better picture lurking somewhere in there!

Thanks for the contribution, Neal; and I hope there are some useful tips here.


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