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Friday, February 20, 2009

Zuiko and a Matter of Composition

It was a sunny morning, the sun was shining brightly. I was going to work, and I stumbled upon an opportunity to shoot this little flower in my garden. The garden had just been watered, and the droplets were just a beautiful addition to the already gorgeous marigolds.

Water is a powerful addition to a composition. The globule effect creates additional story to the image, similar to an insect perching on the flower petals. Another beauty lies in the reflective behaviour that adds another dimension to the image. In essence, there are two images in the single frame!

E-30 with Zuiko Digital ED50mm F2.0 MACRO
f/2.5, 1/640s, ISO400

A common problem with shooting a simple subject is what is the best composition. If shooting a difficult subject is more on the technique, shooting a simple subject is more on the depth. In creating depth to the image, the subject must convey multidimensional qualities!

Okay! I already have a flower with a water droplet as my subject. Which is the best way to capture this beauty?

First of all, what I really liked was the lighting. The strong sun created a nice shadow and light effect to the flower that I did not really require a fill-in flash or a reflector.

Next, to get very close-up, a macro lens was used. With the Zuiko Digital 50mm f2.0 Macro attached to the E-30, the setup was complete.

I shot a couple of images, both with different angle and aperture. One thing in common, though; both the flower's top opening and the water droplet were in focus!

If you are careful enough, the droplet reflection in itself is an additional composition.

The first image I used a smaller aperture of f/5.6 to get most of the flower's top opening in focus. Because of this, I had to move higher at angle angle to isolate it from the yellow background. The flower bud and water droplet were also in focus.
The second image I used a large aperture of f/2.5 to only get the water droplet and the body of the flower in focus. The rest of the image was left to blur. I did not have to shoot at a higher angle to isolate the flower's top opening from the yellow background.

From these images, I had a tough time selecting the better shot. Somehow, the shallow depth-of-field from the second image won it. The small buds emerging from the flower's top and the sole droplet with the sharp outline of the flower's body got it made. The foreground and background blur added a sandwiched effect to further convey the beauty of the subject.
To finish it off, I did a square crop and a touch of vignetting to enhance the vibrancy and energy of the composition. A tad of dodging and burning added crispness to the color and contrast, too!

Shooting a simple subject is actually difficult. Making a multidimension image out of a mundane subject is definitely tricky. The only way to improve is to continually shoot in various angles and apertures to nail the shot. Once you get it, it is very satisfying!!

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