Our First Photo Contest - Close Up

Discussion in 'Aquatic related photos' started by Andre, Jan 31, 2007.

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  1. Discus
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    Hi Kim,
    I generally find that many or most of the most arresting photographs are really simple, almost "graphic-art" like - there are no distracting elements in the photo at all, all you really have is the subject. This isn't always easy to achieve, but being able to do it, even when it's hard, is what makes the difference between a snapshot and something more. Look at benny's photo of the riccia with the bubbles, for example - it's very simple, you can instantly see what the subject is; there isn't anything particularly distracting about it.

    In your picture, the other plants around the shrimp and the Cabomba plant are a little distracting. Tighter framing and a more limited depth of field might have been helpful, but I am not sure what the limitations of your camera are; not all cameras let you make all the decisions you might like to be in control of. One of my favourite functions on my SLR is Depth of Field Preview, which lets me have a pretty good idea what the DOF in the final shot will be like - very handy in macro and landscape photography (the two things I most like doing).

    I once got a couple of step plan off some random photo site which I cannot remember. It had three steps; they stand me in good stead something like: 1) what is the subject? 2) focus attention on the subject 3) simplify. There are circumstances when you want a more "environmental" shot - what the animal or plant looks like in its surroundings. But most often, you want more of a "portrait" - which is all about that organism itself - what it looks like, or sometimes, what it's doing.

    I guess a third thing would be to fill the frame with the subject as much as you can. Sure, you need some "breathing space" sometimes, but fill up that CCD with as much subject as you can. (Of course, here in macroland, the laws of physics can make things tricky, particularly for basic P&S cameras which generally have very limited macro capabilities).

    Ultimately, photography is not only about subjects, it's about feelings. Does that photo *feel* right? Is there a way you can change it to make it "feel" better? We're very visual animals. Innately, I think, we can look at a photo and go: "Yeah, this one *really* works. This one, not so much".

    Self-critique your own photos too - scathingly. And do so to all images you see around you - in magazines, books, billboards - whatever! Identify what you like and what you don't, and try to figure out why and how to emulate that look/feel. I think I self-critique all my photos to the point I think almost all of them are terrible. Don't go quite that far. :)

    Incidentally, well done for avoiding "bullseye" central subject placing on the horizontal axis. A lot of people do that, and it's very "static", in terms of drawing attention, but try to avoid placing things vertically in the middle too - but ultimately, go for what looks right to you.

    Hope this helps. :)
    J.
     
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    Sweet camera, Pedro. Start saving for a flash or two and an off-camera cord.
     
  3. Pedro
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    Thanks James.

    Ja, next month hope to get a macro lense and an additional flash when I have another mate coming home for hol's from London.

    Perhaps in the following months will go for a nice wide-angle lens and some filters.

    How will the off-camera cord benefit me? Is it just for the flash? Please elaborate when you can.
     
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    it allows you to put the flash wherever you want - so it doesn't have to sit there on top of the camera - the worst possible place, pretty much. You pretty much totally need one for decent fish photography. Or more than one, if you have the big bucks.

    There were some posts in the photography section a while back about flash placement.
     
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  6. Pedro
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    Pedro Algae harvester

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    Thanks for the link James.

    Are there any particular lense filters you recommend for aquatic photography?
     
  7. KimH
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    Discus - Thanks very much for your honesty, the camera we use is a Fuji Finepix S5600 - 10x optical zoom and 5.1 megapixels.  For real close up work we will have to buy an additional lens (I shudder to think of the cost on that).
    I never considered the cobomba detracting from the central theme (the shrimp) however after you mentioned it I re-looked and darn it if you arn't right!

    So again thank you for your critique, I now know where to attempt improvement.  

    Regards
    Kim
     
  8. Peter
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    So.......you think all this info is going to help.... he he. The force is strong with me and besides I slipped Discus R50 bucks

    Are we allowed to photo-shop abit, just to clean things alittle?
     
  9. Pedro
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    Peter, you're succumbing to the dark side[​IMG].

    As per Steve's quote above, Ken Rockwell said it best... ;)

    You've just wasted R50 bucks guv'nor... :sorry

    PS: PhotoShop is for amateurs. Ha! Ha! :nehnehneh
     
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    Most of the time, you don't really need filters in fishtank photography. I slap UV filters on all my lenses to stop the front element getting damaged, but they don't really do anything to the image.

    If you're taking full aquarium photos, a circular polariser can help with reducing annoying reflections on the glass.
     
  11. Pedro
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    Cool. A circular polariser will definately help. Thanks!
     
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    I think that a little tweaking of things like colour balance and gamma and that sort of thing are fine in photoshop. If you start stitching in objects from elsewhere, then, well, that's going a bit far. Touching up photographs has a long history in the darkroom, but photoshop sure does make it a lot easier and quicker. I generally consider cleaning artifacts (dust and scratches) from scans acceptable, but remedying flaws in an original image with i.e. the clone tool is to some extent, cheating, IMO.

    Peter: Unlike government ministers, R50 won't get you very far. A new EOS 1Ds mkII delivered to my door, on the other hand... Slip in a 600mm f4 IS L as well, and I'm yours.

    Kim: I think I've used one of those before, I think a friend has one, or something very similar. They're not bad cameras at all, but they are a little limited for great macros, and taking over functions is a bit clunky compared to an SLR. The Fuji closeup lens shouldn't be more than about R500, probably less. Play with one instore, if you can, to see if it's worth it for you.

    Have fun out there :)
     
  13. henk hugo
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    so who won?!
     
  14. Pedro
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    Competition Trophies...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  15. Steve
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    Curses,.....just when I got the hang of the clone tool and the magic eraser, its really great for removing dirt spots ;)
     
  16. KimH
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    Steve, especially those dirt spots in my oscar tank hhmm?
     
  17. henk hugo
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    who won?!?! :D
     
  18. Ryan
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    My Votes (hope it's not too late, moving to PTA has been crazy)

    1: CatfishLuvva
    2: Benny

    I liked CFL's pic because I've tried taking pics of my shellies when they're just coming out of their shells, and getting the timing right is tricky.

    Benny's shot is very interesting, although as James said, the highlights are a bit over exposed.
     
  19. henk hugo
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    PTA?! haai shame! :D
     
  20. Cameron
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    Cameron Green fingers

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    The winner will be announced on Monday.

    Thanks to everyone who submitted photos and also to those that voted.
     
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