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Camperjim
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · More Long Island Springtime


The forum seems especially slow the last couple of days, so I decided to drop a few images from this week for comment/critique.




  Canon EOS 90D    EF-S60mm f/2.8 Macro USM lens    60mm    f/29.0    1/250s    200 ISO    0.0 EV  






  Canon EOS 90D    EF-S18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens    135mm    f/16.0    1/250s    3200 ISO    -0.3 EV  






  Canon EOS 90D    EF-S60mm f/2.8 Macro USM lens    60mm    f/20.0    1/250s    400 ISO    0.0 EV  




May 20, 2022 at 07:12 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · More Long Island Springtime


Classic Jim, always a fan of the smooth tones.

Interesting to note that in #1 the colors are complementary vs. #3's more narrow hue palette ... yet, both are harmonic overall.

Question though about f/29:
Is that by intent to generate diffraction (softening) in addition to DOF ... or, a byproduct of lighting exposure calcs?



May 20, 2022 at 07:24 PM
Camperjim
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · More Long Island Springtime


Yup, there is a story with f/29, probably more than you want to read. Most of my macro photography has been done at f/20. I was doing that with my Canon T3i (18 mp) and later with the T6s (24mp). For both cameras, softening due to diffraction was noticeable, but softness due to poor DOF was worse. I did quite a few studies with the T6s. Diffraction was minor but noticeable even at f/16. f/20 was about as far as I could push it.

The bearded iris had a lot of 3d shape so DOF was really tough. Even f/20 left a lot to be desired so I pushed as far as ever to f/29.

The long part of the story is what Canon has done in the past couple of years to greatly reduce softening due to diffraction. My studies with the 90D were all but unbelievable. When I shoot raw and process with DPP4 I can engage the diffraction correction algorithm. It is like magic and very impressive. I thought it was entirely the DPP4 software and hoped it would work on my old T3i and T6s files. Unfortunately it did nothing for them. But again the improvement in the 90D files is really impressive. I have no understanding how it works. I have a science background including some physics and still have no clue. I am told it is a "deconvolution" algorithm but that means nothing to me. I think you have a 90D. I highly recommend doing some studies. Set up a studio shot, flat so you do not introduce DOF issues, and compare f/8 with f/20. I think you will be impressed.

Regarding the colors in #3: this peony was a fairly pale pink. Backlight intensified the color. I should probably back off the saturation slider to return to a paler pink. I do like the glow from the backlight but will try it with less saturation.



May 20, 2022 at 09:26 PM
EverLearning
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · More Long Island Springtime


Jim, I find the first one very artistic and pleasing (soothing even). The third one has similar traits although perhaps not quite as compelling as the first one. The colour palette is pleasing in the second photo but I find the large trunk on the right too imposing.

I think this is the first time I have ever seen f/29 in EXIF info!

Don



May 20, 2022 at 09:32 PM
Shasoc
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · More Long Island Springtime


The first one takes the cake, Jim. I like its ethereal, dreamy feel.

Socrtate



May 20, 2022 at 10:10 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · More Long Island Springtime


Camperjim wrote:
Yup, there is a story with f/29, probably more than you want to read. Most of my macro photography has been done at f/20. I was doing that with my Canon T3i (18 mp) and later with the T6s (24mp). For both cameras, softening due to diffraction was noticeable, but softness due to poor DOF was worse. I did quite a few studies with the T6s. Diffraction was minor but noticeable even at f/16. f/20 was about as far as I could push it.

The bearded iris had a lot of 3d shape so DOF was really tough. Even f/20 left
...Show more

Jim,

more than you want to read ... umm, it's me, remember.

One thing to realize about the T3i and T6s files is that these are entry grade consumer cameras. The 90D (I have the 80D and 6D2, btw) are more in the enthusiast > pro-sumer (APS-C) grade, and of course the other series continue up the food chain toward the pro levels. Long ago, I had sought out the Canon with the lowest fuzz-fest, and found it to be the 1D Mk II N (at the time I was looking). My files from the 1D2 / 1D2N were significantly cleaner than my t6i. My Kodak DCS SLR/C (no AA filter at all) being the cleanest / crispest of all.

Also, as the older cameras were small MP (i.e. larger pixels, lower pixel density), they tended to use heavier AA filters. As time evolved and the pixel density increased, the need for the heavy handed AA filter gave way to more cameras without an AA filter, or a lighter touch AA filter.

I mention this because the AA filter that gets put into cameras can vary in strength ... designed to fuzz the light path, to reduce the chance of moire', etc. The limits of effectiveness for deconvolution are likely being exceeded by the combination lens diffraction softening, combined with AA filter softening once you reach down into the consumer grade body (particularly the lower MP, older models) ... that can be applied.

Today, we don't hear nearly as much about it, but I had written much about the effects of the AA filter over the years ... my preference to have either no AA filter, or a light one ... so the light path is unimpeded. Shooting lens induced diffraction territory, and then toss another layer of heavy fuzz-fest at it (especially a heavy consumer level AA filter) can prove to challenge the limits of algorithm improvement.

That's my guess as to why your testing showed you a remarkable difference between your 90D files and the T-series files, when it comes to the lens diffraction + AA filter diffraction combined ... and the improvement capabilities of the DPP4 for each.

As to the difference in f-stop vs. diffraction testing ... yup, did that plenty, back in the day. For general shooting, I have a mental line at f/13. By that, I mean the farther away I am from F/13 ... the better. I'll shoot at f/13, but if I can, I'll take f/ll, f/10, f/9, f/8, f/6.3 ... to whatever I find I need for my DOF (or exposure / SS) needs. My testing revealed diffraction (to my taste) became noticeable in the f/11 - f/13 transition and of course continues on > f/16, f/22, etc. No great secret there, just when I'm chasing detail, I stay out of that territory most times.

BIG CAVEAT:

One of the things that (imo) gets omitted from the conversation regarding diffraction / sharpness is the QUALITY of light that is in play.

Years ago, I had a Vivitar Series 1 100-400 (one of Viv's better lenses). It was by all accounts less sharp than some of my Zeiss glass. But, one day I was shooting with it (sunflowers) in stellar, specular contrast lighting, and it was like my Viv had suddenly changed its name to Zeiss. Again, no secret regarding the influence of light quality, but the amount of contrast that can be resolved is better under the operating room lights, than by the candlelight. The level of contrast from the lighting is a piece of the puzzle that we may have under our control.

My point being that the cumulative effects of soft light, with lens diffraction softening and AA filter softening can add up. So, when we desire to shoot DOF's that are more strongly lens diffraction inducing ... we might look to the other two (AA filter body of choice and light quality) for some relief to offset the greater lens diffraction.


Now ... that all being said, your dreamy and ethereal vibe is likely a product of those things, for which you are not necessarily trying to get rid of it all. That would likely turn you into one of a million other macro photographers, rather than the artisan you have developed. My point being that as you seek to land it north or south (adjustments) of wherever you are getting it, those are the pieces of the puzzle that you have at your beckon call to control / adjust to your desire ... particularly if you are getting less than desirable outcomes from the mix / match of different bodies and extreme f/stops. Curious to hear of your lighting setup to see if there is latitude there for you, as well.

But, to recap ... they still look very nice.

HTH






May 21, 2022 at 07:52 AM
Camperjim
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · More Long Island Springtime


Kent, I will need to spend more time than I have right now to digest your comments.

Overall there are many issues with sharpness for macro photography of flowers. There are two decent solutions when achieving a high DOF and focus. A scanner works really well. That is partly due to the characteristics of scanning and partly because the scanner flattens the flowers and establishes the point of focus precisely. The other solution is to do studio work with consistent lighting, out of the wind, and using focus stacking. I have tried both of these but of course they do not work out in the field with live flowers where compositional choices are my main interest.

I have also found that most flower parts do not appear that sharp when shot at macro distances with diffuse or back lighting. Those sorts of images will just never match the sharpness a decent, planar macro lens can achieve with a more detailed, well lit subject.

I will add some more to this later but with the last few minutes I have available now, I thought I would hit the same iris image with a heavy dose of Topaz AI Sharpen. I am curious if this will appear over the internet browsers as better, worse or pretty much the same:





With Topaz AI Sharpen

  Canon EOS 90D    EF-S60mm f/2.8 Macro USM lens    60mm    f/29.0    1/250s    200 ISO    0.0 EV  




May 21, 2022 at 08:19 AM
EverLearning
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · More Long Island Springtime


Jim, it is hard to tell scrolling back and forth but your most recent post does seem sharper in the higher detail areas (mostly the yellow at bottom center-right).

Don



May 21, 2022 at 08:35 AM
Camperjim
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · More Long Island Springtime


Don, thanks. That is pretty much what I see; i.e., virtually no difference. There is another characteristic I see. The "grainy" appearance of the flower petals is intensified. The "grain" appears sharper but the edges of the flower parts do not.


May 21, 2022 at 08:49 AM
RustyBug
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · More Long Island Springtime


The detail doesn't seem to be improved significantly ... but, there does seem to be a small bit of change in the spatial depth. Likely a byproduct of some subtly increased contrast. Possibly the increased grain (being in areas more distant field) adds to the spatial perception.


May 21, 2022 at 11:22 AM
 


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grandmas
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · More Long Island Springtime


I like the first one, however my eyes are pulled more than I like to the lower right side. I might add a bit of color.

The third one is the reason I never shoot flowers straight on. For me it is always where do I place the center of the flower in the photo to make it look right? If I put it over to the side the photo is visually weighted, and if I put it right in the center the viewers eyes go straight to the center of the image and stay there. I find your image is visually weighted on the left. I like it better rotated.

Edited on Jul 14, 2022 at 10:53 PM · View previous versions



May 21, 2022 at 01:28 PM
Camperjim
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · More Long Island Springtime


Grandmas, I like your improvement on the iris. The other could go either way as far as I am concerned.


May 21, 2022 at 02:45 PM
Camperjim
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · More Long Island Springtime


RustyBug wrote:
BIG CAVEAT:

One of the things that (imo) gets omitted from the conversation regarding diffraction / sharpness is the QUALITY of light that is in play............
My point being that the cumulative effects of soft light.......



I never thought about "the quality of light"; i.e. "soft light" having an effect on sharpness. I cannot even understand why that should occur, BUT...

I took a look at a bunch of my back lit flowers. Light shining through the petals does indeed seem to add a soft quality and the sharp edges are softened. This seems to be the case regardless of the aperture or DOF issues. It seems the light shining from the back is somehow diffused/diffracted and leads to a soft appearance. My third image is a good example. The edges of the petals are soft. The interior of the flower was less affected by backlight and the edges appear much sharper. A lot of the light on this area was probably front light. This area was dark OOC, and I increased the brightness with substantial use of the burn brush.



May 21, 2022 at 03:08 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · More Long Island Springtime


Camperjim wrote:
I never thought about "the quality of light"; i.e. "soft light" having an effect on sharpness. I cannot even understand why that should occur, BUT...

I took a look at a bunch of my back lit flowers. Light shining through the petals does indeed seem to add a soft quality and the sharp edges are softened. This seems to be the case regardless of the aperture or DOF issues. It seems the light shining from the back is somehow diffused/diffracted and leads to a soft appearance. My third image is a good example. The edges of the petals are soft. The
...Show more

Sound like you've got a pretty good read on things. I do want to re-iterate that these lighting qualities (from your backlighting) are part of the rendering that presents such a harmonic vibe. I wouldn't be in a hurry to change anything ... although, if you are looking for something to experiment with ... maybe a silver (more specular) or white (more diffuse) reflector to kick a kiss more light into things. No idea what to expect ... i.e. if it'll be a subtle boost, or a radical for how it'll change things. Hence, the term "experiment".

You know I'm a fan of your backlits, so I wouldn't be looking for something to make a radical change ... just something to help with f/29 levels of diffraction combined with the diffuse backlight ... IF (i.e. not necessary) you are wanting for a something of a judicious boost before getting to PP.

Just The Way You Are by Billy Joel lyrics apply.




May 22, 2022 at 08:42 AM
Camperjim
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · More Long Island Springtime


RustyBug wrote:
Sound like you've got a pretty good read on things. I do want to re-iterate that these lighting qualities (from your backlighting) are part of the rendering that presents such a harmonic vibe. I wouldn't be in a hurry to change anything ... although, if you are looking for something to experiment with ... maybe a silver (more specular) or white (more diffuse) reflector to kick a kiss more light into things. No idea what to expect ... i.e. if it'll be a subtle boost, or a radical for how it'll change things. Hence, the term "experiment".


For my backlit flowers, I balance front light and back light by adjusting ISO. Almost all of these are shot with flash either as the source of back light or front light. A low ISO will give the flash more dominance and ambient light will be more dominant with a higher ISO. Of course adjusting the relative intensity of the light sources also makes a difference. I doubt it makes any difference whether the back light is natural or flash. A higher percentage of back light will make the image softer.

It also seems that once the image has been softened by back light transmitted through the petals or foliage or even though a curtain or fog, then sharpening techniques don't seem to go very far in reverting the soft appearance. I have tried sharpening, USM sharpening, high pass sharpening and even Topaz Sharpen AI. Again none of them seem to do much for images softened by backlight.

Whether it is macro photography or landscapes, my eyes are drawn to back light like a moth to a flame. When designing an image, I just need to take into account this phenomenon and decide what I want to achieve. Some level of softness seems to fit well with images of flowers. Perhaps a purist and tech oriented photographer would not see it that way but the technical considerations should take second place to the aesthetic.

Anyway, thanks for pointing out something that has such an impact and that I should have already recognized.




May 22, 2022 at 09:49 AM
RustyBug
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · More Long Island Springtime


Camperjim wrote:
For my backlit flowers, I balance front light and back light by adjusting ISO. Almost all of these are shot with flash either as the source of back light or front light. A low ISO will give the flash more dominance and ambient light will be more dominant with a higher ISO. Of course adjusting the relative intensity of the light sources also makes a difference. I doubt it makes any difference whether the back light is natural or flash. A higher percentage of back light will make the image softer.

It also seems that once the image has been
...Show more

Jim,

+1 at you can't "re-sharpen" what never was there.

Look at a black frame on a white wall and see how much contrast there is between the two. Turn the lights down low, candle light or all the way off, and the amount of contrast between them changes significantly. The actual contrast didn't change, but the illumination capability did. Point being the quality (and quantity) of the light has its influence on contrast (diffuse vs. specular). Thus, if the lighting didn't reveal the contrast (i.e. sharpness, acutance, differentiation), the capture can't capture it, and the post processing can't enhance it, if it never existed to be captured (noting that fill light may serve to reduce contrast, also).

As to the difference between natural vs. flash ... just depends on the condition of each. By which I mean, that natural light can be very specular or it can be very diffuse when it reaches the petals (which then add their own diffusion effect to the existing natural light). Flash, otoh is typically specular and we can use modifiers to reduce that specularity. So, to your point about them being a wash ... yeah, pretty much, sort of, they can each present a range from specular to diffuse (and points along that spectrum).

That said, though ... I think you've got the gist just fine ... even if you haven't sought to apply some aspects of it with direct cognitive intent yet. Likely, one of those things you already knew, just hadn't thought through the explanation of it (no biggie).
Just another nugget to add to the nugget box. The proof is in your pudding ... yum.

As to the tech vs. aesthetic ... the tech is just the tool (means) to achieving the aesthetic (end) of your desire as the artisan crafting the piece.

As one who kinda "lives in both worlds" at times, I know that sometimes I'm bent on exhibiting the level of achievable tech. Other times, the focus is vastly more on the Roy DeCarava perspective of:

I don't really think that the technique really determines the veracity of the image. It's what the image does to the viewer that determines whether it's right or wrong.
Roy DeCarava


That said, your flowers are delicate in nature. Those delicate harmonies and balance have an effect on the viewer. The balance of lighting that you are crafting is a delicate balance also. In that regard, I have appreciation for both the aesthetic you achieve in your work, but also with a background understanding of the challenges / nuances you undertake in doing so. All to which lead to the end effect. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it.

They ain't, you are.




May 22, 2022 at 11:38 AM
Camperjim
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · More Long Island Springtime


RustyBug wrote:
+1 at you can't "re-sharpen" what never was there.

..Look at a black frame on a white wall and see how much contrast there is between the two. Turn the lights down low, candle light or all the way off, and the amount of contrast between them changes significantly.......


I am thinking about contrast and sharpness separately even if both are affected by the light. Your example of a black picture frame on a white wall can illustrate the point. A single light shining at an angle across the frame would leave a sharp shadow on the white wall. Another light at a different angle would produce two shadow lines, not as dark but with edges that are pretty sharp. Now shine a number of lights at slightly different angles. The shadows will be a blur and grayish. Post processing could darken the shadow restoring contrast between the shadow and the wall but there is no way to make the edges of the shadow sharp. I think this analogy is similar to my back lit flowers except we are viewing the scene from the point of view of the wall.



May 22, 2022 at 01:43 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · More Long Island Springtime


Camperjim wrote:
I am thinking about contrast and sharpness separately even if both are affected by the light. Your example of a black picture frame on a white wall can illustrate the point. A single light shining at an angle across the frame would leave a sharp shadow on the white wall. Another light at a different angle would produce two shadow lines, not as dark but with edges that are pretty sharp. Now shine a number of lights at slightly different angles. The shadows will be a blur and grayish. Post processing could darken the shadow restoring contrast between the shadow
...Show more



Diffuse (many angles) vs. specular (more collimated) ... and infinite levels of variation in between. Land it where ya like it.



May 22, 2022 at 02:08 PM
AuntiPode
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · More Long Island Springtime


I quite like the feeling of the color choices.


May 22, 2022 at 04:43 PM
lylejk
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · More Long Island Springtime


Wonderful captures, Jim; especially like the macro takes.


May 25, 2022 at 11:32 AM







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