Butterfly
/forum/topic/1172387/0



gneto
Registered: Nov 22, 2012
Total Posts: 197
Country: Brazil

Hello everyone,

I'm looking for feedback to this image especially regarding it's composition. Feel free to edit it as you please.



D3100 + AF-S 300mm F/4: 300mm, f/4, ISO 400, 1/1000 sec



RustyBug
Registered: Feb 02, 2009
Total Posts: 12890
Country: United States

Not much for changes other than the obvious crop, and some sharpening & levels tweaks.

As to composition, there was a lot of negative space, so the subject got kinda lost in it. My crop might be a bit tight lfor some tastes, but you get the gist. Generally speaking, the eyes of people and animals are critical points of focus, so seeing the "back end" of the butterfly doesn't lend well for strong presentation perspective as well as another angle might ... but sometimes you just gotta go with what you've got to work with, so I get that.

The exposure looks like the red channel might be blown a little bit ... not sure if that is a byproduct of your PP, or the original exposure.

HTH

Now that you've seen my crop ... which is based on YOUR composition ... what are YOUR thoughts on YOUR composition? I'll explain myself in a bit, but I'd like to hear your thoughts first.



gneto
Registered: Nov 22, 2012
Total Posts: 197
Country: Brazil

RustyBug wrote:
Not much for changes other than the obvious crop, and some sharpening & levels tweaks.

As to composition, there was a lot of negative space, so the subject got kinda lost in it. My crop might be a bit tight lfor some tastes, but you get the gist. Generally speaking, the eyes of people and animals are critical points of focus, so seeing the "back end" of the butterfly doesn't lend well for strong presentation perspective as well as another angle might ... but sometimes you just gotta go with what you've got to work with, so I get that.

The exposure looks like the red channel might be blown a little bit ... not sure if that is a byproduct of your PP, or the original exposure.

HTH

Now that you've seen my crop ... which is based on YOUR composition ... what are YOUR thoughts on YOUR composition? I'll explain myself in a bit, but I'd like to hear your thoughts first.




Thank you for your response, Kent. I think your crop is really good.

Let me see... I find it unfortunate that the butterfly is casting so many shadows on the small flowers where it's standing. That greenish "blob" of about-to-bloom small flowers right over the butterfly's left wing is really distracting. My eyes keep looking for some anchor point in the image but can't find a place to rest; actually, they do tend to go to that greenish blob quite often. Probably that's the effect of the lack of eyes in the image; or perhaps the effect of the excessive 'clutter' in the center of the image. Also, I guess direct sunlight is not the best light for this kind of subject, probably a diffuser would have improved the light a lot while still keeping it's "directional" character (as I don't really like when light is coming from "everywhere and nowhere at the same time", example cloudy days).

I posted the image because I was somehow attracted to it's excessive negative space, and wanted some feedback to try to figure out if other people were as well. It's an older image, I don't really consider it a keeper, but I can't easily make my mind about deleting it; guess it's one of those "problematic" images Ben talks about, so I'm bringing it to the forum mainly as a discussion starter.

And the reds can definitely be blamed on my poor PP.

Here's a new take at it, based on your comments; I made the crop a little less tight so I could make the leaves "disappear into the shadows" as they go towards the image borders. Made the colors also much less aggressive, which was how I liked colors back then, but not really nowadays.




Last but not least, what was I thinking about the image when I took it, what's the message? Nothing, really, I just wanted to make a pretty/pleasant image of a butterfly, so I guess we could simply call this a "study"



RustyBug
Registered: Feb 02, 2009
Total Posts: 12890
Country: United States

Your own critical analysis suggests that you've got a really nice ability to see the image and "study" it. This comes as no surprise to me, as I could tell from the capture, that you're eye / mind is "in the game" ... hence why I asked first.

The thing that I disagree with the most (subjectively, of course), is that I like the direct lighting. Granted, overcast days with softer lighting does make for less contrasty shadows, but I think you have done a nice enough job of dealing with the shadows, that the "pop" from the greater contrast light is a worthwhile trade-off. Subjective, artistic rendering is of course a very personal decision, and a softer look could work as well.

As to "What's the message?" ... sometimes it is simply "I want you to see this pretty butterfly." or "Look at the pretty interplay of color and lines that caught my attention." It doesn't have to be some philosophical message, but the motivation / intent does help drive your shooting and processing decisions ... whatever you desire them to be.



gneto
Registered: Nov 22, 2012
Total Posts: 197
Country: Brazil

Well, you're probably right regarding the light and perhaps all I needed in the end was a bit more fill light instead of diffusing the direct sun light - I'm mostly worried about the too contrasty shadows in the lower left part of the image, the shadow to light borders are too abrupt, they end up becoming entities of their own in the composition and drawing attention, if this makes any sense.

After reading your last posts about "what's the message", I've been thinking about it quite a lot, and I wanna try to introduce this kind of thinking in my photography prior to pressing the shutter, and not as an afterthought. So I was thinking about some subjects I could photograph (the "theme" or "message", in constrast to "subject matter" which would be the birds ) and came with one big concept I might just try to capture: the loneliness of most birds in nature, it's a harsh and cruel and merciless reality they face everyday, and it's the most striking difference from their lifes to ours, they don't have second chances, they don't plan much ahead, as they might not live to see tomorrow. So yes, next time I might photograph with this subject in mind, might make a huge difference to what I come home with!



ben egbert
Registered: Jan 31, 2005
Total Posts: 6391
Country: United States

I like your second crop, very nice image and nothing I would change.



gneto
Registered: Nov 22, 2012
Total Posts: 197
Country: Brazil

Thank you Ben!

It's really Kent's merit on the crop as I wouldn't see it by myself, my mind was really trying to make something out of the negative space in the first image.



RustyBug
Registered: Feb 02, 2009
Total Posts: 12890
Country: United States

gneto wrote

After reading your last posts about "what's the message", I've been thinking about it quite a lot, and I wanna try to introduce this kind of thinking in my photography prior to pressing the shutter, and not as an afterthought.



Sometimes we take our images from a visceral unexplained, or at least without pre-capture thought, perspective / process. Let me try and be very clear ...

There is NOTHING WRONG with this !!!

For many, their best work comes in this manner. It may not occur to you as to what compelled you to click that shutter ... until well after you've captured it. That's perfectly fine, i.e. you don't always have to pre-think or over-think it ... but when you go to PRESENT it to your viewer ... that is when you should really know what your message is that you are trying to present / convey to your viewer.

Whether or not you had a fully developed point or message "pre-capture", or it developed en route is variable. Pre-capture is good stuff and can help you ... I just don't want to sound like every image has to be calculated in advance ... it doesn't. Also, the spontaneity of the visceral process is highly valuable as well.

God gave us both a right brain and a left brain, so that they might work in concert with one another. The visceral and the forethought do co-exist and co-join each other, where either one can lead or lag the other to produce good stuff. I strongly advocate the "What's the point?" or "What is the message that you want to convey to your viewer?" so that it can afford assistance in your strategies and decisions BOTH, pre-capture and post-capture.

I like hearing others opinions, seeing their renderings, etc. ... and they can be extremely helpful when I haven't decided a direction for taking a piece. But, when I know the "why", it helps me figure out the "what" and "where" relative to "who" the intended audience/viewer is (be that self, general public or otherwise) ... then it is only a matter of "how". But that's just me ... be sure to be true to yourself and what works for you.

HTH



ben egbert
Registered: Jan 31, 2005
Total Posts: 6391
Country: United States

When I am taking an image like this of a living unposed subject, I try to get a background and light angle that is favorable. Then I wait for the subject to arrive to the place and take several shots, maybe a hundred if it sticks around long enough.

I may move after I see the first results on the viewfinder, and may make exposure adjustments. But it is not until I get home and see the images that I decide which to keep and work.

The butterfly is the primary subject here with the flower second and foliage third. That they fade away in that order is good. It is also good that the butterfly is doing something (visiting the flower).

The butterfly is a horizontal subject (wider than high). That dictates the crop to me.

I really like the negative space as it fully isolates the subject.



AuntiPode
Registered: Aug 05, 2008
Total Posts: 6731
Country: New Zealand

Your second version has better visual balance.



gneto
Registered: Nov 22, 2012
Total Posts: 197
Country: Brazil

RustyBug wrote:

Sometimes we take our images from a visceral unexplained, or at least without pre-capture thought, perspective / process. Let me try and be very clear ...

There is NOTHING WRONG with this !!!

For many, their best work comes in this manner. It may not occur to you as to what compelled you to click that shutter ... until well after you've captured it. That's perfectly fine, i.e. you don't always have to pre-think or over-think it ... but when you go to PRESENT it to your viewer ... that is when you should really know what your message is that you are trying to present / convey to your viewer.

Whether or not you had a fully developed point or message "pre-capture", or it developed en route is variable. Pre-capture is good stuff and can help you ... I just don't want to sound like every image has to be calculated in advance ... it doesn't. Also, the spontaneity of the visceral process is highly valuable as well.

God gave us both a right brain and a left brain, so that they might work in concert with one another. The visceral and the forethought do co-exist and co-join each other, where either one can lead or lag the other to produce good stuff. I strongly advocate the "What's the point?" or "What is the message that you want to convey to your viewer?" so that it can afford assistance in your strategies and decisions BOTH, pre-capture and post-capture.

I like hearing others opinions, seeing their renderings, etc. ... and they can be extremely helpful when I haven't decided a direction for taking a piece. But, when I know the "why", it helps me figure out the "what" and "where" relative to "who" the intended audience/viewer is (be that self, general public or otherwise) ... then it is only a matter of "how". But that's just me ... be sure to be true to yourself and what works for you.

HTH



Kent, I really like to read what you have to say about photography, as your opinions/ideas have been helping me to rethink (better yet: to organize) many aspects of my own photography.

I understand sometimes an image may simply be "a pleasing scene"; in fact, that is actually something I've been striving for from the beginning: to take "pretty pictures", to make images that appeal to people (well, to me at least ). In this regard, I've been trying to raise my own standards when reviewing pictures, so that I can quickly identify good compositions, hoping it will translate into an "automatic" ability I can use in the field, while taking pictures. I think it has been working great so far.

But that is just the composition part. It will draw people's attention to your image, but won't keep them there. The world is full of pretty pictures; google any theme and you'll find amazing images in less than a few seconds. This is a thought that has been haunting me for some time now, as I'm coming to a point where I want my photography to be something more than "yet another pretty picture that will soon be forgotten".

And I'm starting to feel that "messages" would be the next step in my personal quest. Of course I'll still be taking the pretty pictures, they are too abundant not to draw my attention, but I'll start to think about some messages I want to say, specific scenes I want to photograph to convey those messages, perhaps I'll even draw rough sketches of the images I wish I'd be able to capture to convey those messages. It's an exercise, my next step, lets see where it takes me!










gneto
Registered: Nov 22, 2012
Total Posts: 197
Country: Brazil

Ben, Karen, thank you for your feedback - appreciated as always



RustyBug
Registered: Feb 02, 2009
Total Posts: 12890
Country: United States

It sounds like you got your head in the game for both understanding your photography and your goals for growth and purpose of your work. The rest is a matter of time for the evolutionary processes. There is a time and place for both "pretty pics" and "message" ... paying attention to understanding how the two intertwine and separate will allow you to pursue each accordingly for your more powerful images, imo.

To say that the world is full of pretty pictures is an understatement. We've all contributed our share, and there will always be another one somewhere that is "prettier". I think that 99% of us start by trying to emulate the "pretty" ones before we start thinking beyond that. It sounds like you're on a fast track compared to someone like me that took a long time to really begin to think more and shoot less.



gneto
Registered: Nov 22, 2012
Total Posts: 197
Country: Brazil

RustyBug wrote:
IIt sounds like you're on a fast track compared to someone like me that took a long time to really begin to think more and shoot less.


Thanks, but don't forget the role of the internet in this process - it's really trivial to realize, nowadays, how many "pretty pictures" there are (you just have to google!), and it's also pretty trivial to learn valuable lessons from far more experienced photographers (like I've been learning from so many people in this forum). This wasn't the case just a few years ago! So, while you might have taken longer to make certain kinds of progress, the barriers you had to overcome were much harder than the ones I face currently - and the credit for not giving up easily and making progress (albeit slower) really belongs to the older generation of photographers, who are teaching everything the younger "fast track" generation is learning from the internet. And for this, I thank you all

PS: I don't mean to call you old



RustyBug
Registered: Feb 02, 2009
Total Posts: 12890
Country: United States

gneto wrote:

PS: I don't mean to call you old


... "er"

A 10 year old is older than a 9 year old. That doesn't make the 10 year old "old" ... just old "er".

Compared to some of the even more "er" folks with even more experience, knowledge and talent ... I'm just a "young pup".



gneto
Registered: Nov 22, 2012
Total Posts: 197
Country: Brazil

RustyBug wrote:
gneto wrote:

PS: I don't mean to call you old


... "er"

A 10 year old is older than a 9 year old. That doesn't make the 10 year old "old" ... just old "er".



I meant to say (type?) one common expression we use a lot here in Brazil, but it obviously got lost in translation