Nature Photography Photo Critique
The Essence of White
by Lynn Sears
Category: Nature Photography
Nikon Coolpix S230
Lens: Standard: 30-50mm
Exposure time: 1/100 ,
Description: It was almost dark when I saw this white flower against the backdrop of the white flo see all >
It was almost dark when I saw this white flower against the backdrop of the white flowers on the tree. The white was vibrant, almost like a black and white photo although I took the shot in color with just a hint of green in the grass.
Subject of photo
Composition & Perspective
Use of camera, exposure & speed
Color & Lighting
Depth of field
Hi Lynn! An interesting but challenging subject. The flower is exquisite and ties in compositionally with the flowers on the tree in the background. Combined with the light conditions, it was an interesting choice of subject and you've kept the composition simple and uncluttered. I can see why you were attracted to this flower as the subject for a photo - good choice! Oh, and a nice title too.
I think you could have got more out of this shot by using a different perspective. I would have liked the flower in the foreground to stand out more from the background. It is a bit confused with the branches behind it and had you moved a bit to the left it would have been clear of them and you could even have used the lower branches to frame the foreground flower. I also think that if you had taken the shot from a lower vantage point by bending your knees this would have enhanced the composition. So many shots of flowers are taken from above looking down that it's become a kind of cliché. To make your shots stand out from others you need to pay attention to details like that.
Focus looks good and you have focussed on the principal object - everything looks fine!
Although the white flower does stand out against the background, the green foliage in the picture is muddied. This may be due to the camera rather than the particular settings as the Nikon Coolpix S230 has been criticized for its muddy colours. A shutter speed of 100 is good for a handheld shot of a flower because if there is the least little movement of your subject it will show up as blur although you might have been ok with a slower speed of 60 or even 30 - but no lower! A focal length some where betwen 30-50mm is good for close-up photography and as it is wide-angle it allows you to maximise light, important when shooting at dusk.
The lighting is very flat and dull and the white of the flowers in the background is too dark. In spite this and in spite of my comment about the colours being muddy, I do see why you liked the shot as the overall effect is quite mysterious. I think you have a creative mindset and the potential for an artistic shot is there but it's difficult to pull it off well with the Coolpix S230. Your particular camera is better suited to shots where there is more daylight available.
A shallow depth-of-field, as you have here, works well with flower shots as it lets you blur the background a bit so that the eye focusses mostly on the main subject. So an aperture of f/5.6 works well.
First impact is good but the general impression is of a shot that hasn't been well enough composed. The Rule of Thirds might have helped here - check Google for more info. Give the Rule of Thirds a go - it's not meant to be rigidly applied by can help when the compositional elements are fairly simple, as they are here.
How to improve your photo
The background flowers take up too much of the picture. I would try repositioning my camera to include one or two branches of flowers in the background. Their function in the photo is that of support but in fact they are too dominant. Try out lots of different angles with a shot like this. Bend your knees or even kneel on the ground to get down to the same level as the flower.
Take a lot of time over a shot like this. It looks simple but in fact there are so many possibilities here. I would say that to exhaust all the possibilities in a close-up flower shot like this you need to spend about half an hour trying out everything. Let the flower teach you patience!
A shot like this can better be achieved using full daylight to get a good exposure and then manipulating the saturation levels in Photoshop or Gimp. Gimp is free downloadable software and is very good for beginners to start learning about post-processing. Worth looking into and its great fun to use for beginning photographers who have creative ideas such as you.
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