Lotus Seeker

Elucidate Elucidate 191 posts

Lotus Seeker was taken just past midday in early January this year, with a Nikon D80. A 70 – 200mm lens was used. The only post-processing is a quick-fix for lighting and contrast. I would like a full critique of this photo.

Focal length: 200mm
ISO: 100

BYRON BYRON 12439 posts

Nice bold colours. Depth of Field (DOF) has been used nicely. Love the Bee.

TECHNICAL QUALITY (out of 10 points)
Camera: Nikon D80 with 70-200mm lens.

Focal length: 200mm
ISO/ASA: 100
Shutter: 1/640s
Aperture: f/5.6

Exposure: Exposure is good. Blacks are solid, and there are no burnt-out areas. Good detail has been maintained in both dark and bright regions.

Lighting: Lighting is soft, if a bit flat, but then it is an outdoor shot, so you have to use whatever the sun is giving you.

Colour Saturations: Colour saturations are great. The colours really leap out of the image. The (out of focus) background is suitably darker ensuring the viewer’s attention is maintained on the flower.

Focus / Depth of Field: Looking at the large version of the image, the Focus seems to be on the front edge of the flower and especially on the Bee. Its excellent that the Bee is in focus, but I would like to have seen more Depth of Field across the flower (from the front to the back of the flower).

As it stands now – the flower is just too out of focus, and the result is a loss of clear & sharp detail, especially in the centre/stamens. The main point of interest in a flower is, generally, the centre. The petals naturally draw our eye towards the centre of the flower.

Compositionally, the petals frame the centre of the flower (stamens) and provide colour, while the stamens themselves should provide detail. So it is important to consider this when setting your DOF. Maybe try a smaller aperture… f9 – f11.

Good focus on the flower along with those excelent colours would have been fantastic.

DOF, generally, is good – insofar as the background is suitably blurry. This keeps the viewer’s attention on the main subject.

Sharpness: Sharpness could have been better with more depth of field across the flower itself.

Score: 7/10

Look at this photograph by TRUDI.

See how the most interesting part of the flower (the stamens) is in focus and has plenty of detail. This region is then gently framed by the slightly out of focus petals.

click on image to see larger version

INTEREST (out of 10 points)

Aesthetics / General appearance: Your photograph is certainly an attractive image.

The bold use of colours along with the blurred background really draws our attention. The addition of the Bee is great as it provides an additional Point of Interest.

Emotional Content: The colours really are bright happy colours. Its hard not to feel good while looking at your photo.

Storytelling ability / Creative communication of a concept or idea: Its a picture of a flower and a Bee, not a lot to tell in the way of concept or idea.

Originality: The addition of the Bee, and the Point of View (POV) set this above most flower photos.

A lot of people will photograph a flower from a “front-on” POV. This is common and predictable, and difficult to do in a fresh, new way.

Some people will shoot from a side-on POV. Not as common, but still not very interesting.

You have shot from above, to the side, and looking across the flower, giving us a view of the landscape of this flower.

It is a reasonably orginal photograph, but not extraordinarily so.

Score: 7/10

COMPOSITION (out of 10 points)

Framing / Cropping: I like the framing. You have set the flower slightly off-centre, which is good.

Simplicity of Design: Its a clean and simple design, no distracting elements, except perhaps the background on the right-hand side has a reddish-brown region which is a little distracting. The background would look better if it was all in shades of green.

Points of Interest: As mentioned before, the centre of the flower is out of focus. The two main POI here are the centre of the flower and the Bee. The Bee is pin-sharp, but could be larger within the image so we would get more detail in the bee.

Still, the addition of the Bee provides a good secondary POI, which is handy because the flower itself has very little sharp detail.

Rule of Thirds: n/a

Lines & Diagonals: The large petals provide a nice diagonal from the top left corner to bottom right corner. This could have been enhanced with different framing and cropping, but it still makes for a nice subtle effect.

Balance / Use of Negative Space: By off-setting the flower from the centre of the image, you are using the background as negative space. The balance is a bit off proportionally, and perhaps the flower could have been off-set more to the right to create a better balance. But as it stands, this is just fine.

Score: 7/10


Jordan, this is not a bad photograph by any means. It has attractive colours and a good blurry background. The Bee is great and nicely in focus.

Issues with DOF are really detracting from maintaining long term interest.

I don’t know if you used a tripod. But you should always use one for this style of photography, especially with a long lens as they are prone to camera-shake / motion-blur issues. Tripods are important when shooting flowers etc, which will move in the slightest wind.

You don’t have a lot of time when doing this style of photography, the insect will fly away, the wind will pick-up, clouds will block out the sun…

Practice quickly setting-up your camera and tripod so you can rattle off a series of shots in quick succession, changing your DOF as you go so you have a lot of different images to choose from.

Good effort.

Total Score : 21 / 30

Elucidate Elucidate 191 posts

Thank you so much. Yet again, you’ve told me exactly what I need to learn. In particular, the addition of a tripod. When I took this photograph I was up to my waist in water, having waded out into a dam to get this shot. But, I definitely think that a tripod would allow me to stabely take many photos with different aperture values. Your advice on composition has also been invaluable. I can’t wait to get out there and take some more photos, while taking your words into consideration.

BYRON BYRON 12439 posts

Jordan, a really mobile solution to a tripod is a monopod. Its just a single extendable pole, you can attach any type of pan/tilt head you like to the top of it.

Personally I find the pistol-grip type of head to be the best because it is completely one-hand operated. (see the picture below)

Of course being only one leg it is not as stable as a tripod, but it can be a very good substitute and is very very mobile compared to traditional tripods.

They are slightly cheaper than a tripod, they weigh a lot less, and take up less space in your backpack. (Great if you are travelling overseas) They are crazy versatile, and you will always find new and interesting ways to use one. I once stuck one into a hollow fence pole – complete stability!

With a tripod if you want to pan left or right you have to move the head (which can be a 2 handed operation), with a monopod you simply turn it left or right, or tilt it forward or back without moving the foot off the ground. They are used primarily by sports and action/wildlife photographers.

Also, if you are wading into a pond, it is gonna be a lot easier to use and clean than a tripod.

Mary Campbell Mary Campbell 942 posts

I think it’s very well done. To me the bee is the focus and the flower is not as important as getting bee in focus and it is, but a bit dark I’d lighten it up by a stop. It’s hard to always use a tripod, especially if your in water like you were. I also think the shallower depth of field can give it more of an artistic quality. What did you want to focus on in this the flower or the bee. Perhaps a different cropping might make that more apparent.

oddoutlet oddoutlet 536 posts

I like it! Although I think it can be cropped abit more from the left, make the frame tighter around the flower because to me it’s kinda distracting! An interesting image would just be cropping and just leaving the middle of the flower without the petals, because to me that’s the most interesting part of the image!