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How to Crop a Stingray's Eye


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#1 acroporas

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Posted 28 February 2004 - 03:02 PM

Well its been another week so another picture. I havent gone through half of my pictures from today but I have allready found my winner. I need some help cropping though. The problem is that there was a piece of Dictyota in the way. After the first shot I moved it but they just werent the same. It extended almost all the way to the edge of the eye. I photoshopped out the worst part but I am still going to have to crop out the rest.

Yellow Ray's Eye

100mm Macro

1/125sec
F/16
Strobe Full(I'm really starting to wonder why I got the manual control as I have yet to use it on a setting other than Full)

Posted Image

I just had to show off how awsome that eye is when you blow the picture up full screen.
Posted Image

And here is the raw for those who enjoy playing with .CRW files.
http://www.umsis.mia...on/CRW_6483.CRW
William

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#2 mexwell

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Posted 29 February 2004 - 05:30 AM

Hi william,

the modified versions look to unnatural to me. Many pieces of sand and some of the fish are blown out and I dont like the strong contrast.

As always I gave it a try and like to hear what you think.

Regarding the strobe settings I suggest you overthink your settings (f-stop, exposure and flash). I use the DS-50 which is far less powerfull and I (nearly) never used it at full output on my macro shots.

On the stingray a lower flash setting would have helped to not overexpose certain areas of the picture.
Best regards

Christian


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#3 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 29 February 2004 - 06:31 AM

Hi William,

I like Christian's crop/composition more but feel that the image is a little flat now that he has dropped the contrast and saturation. Plus it still has the bit of manky Dictyota in the way!

Successful macro images really need excellent composition. And this is most easily achieved in the water. I think that the composition of your original shot is determined to much by bullseye autofocus. With the main point of interest in the middle of the frame - which is one of the reasons I prefer Christian's version.

Macro offers us photographers a chance to put our interpretation on the subject - we are not just shooting the whole beastie and repeating in our images what we saw in the water. We are interpreting the subject matter as photographers. This one of the great pleasures of macro and I think is often forgotten by many of us (me very much included) as we treat macro as a search for the next critter.

So keep up the good work of trying to show subjects in interesting ways.

Alex

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#4 acroporas

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Posted 29 February 2004 - 07:05 AM

Hi william,

the modified versions look to unnatural to me. Many pieces of sand and some of the fish are blown out and I dont like the strong contrast.

As always I gave it a try and like to hear what you think.

Regarding the strobe settings I suggest you overthink your settings (f-stop, exposure and flash). I use the DS-50 which is far less powerfull and I (nearly) never used it at full output on my macro shots.  

On the stingray a lower flash setting would have helped to not overexpose certain areas of the picture.


Yet again I think that your version is to washed out. I think this is just a difference in taste between us. I do like the way you cropped it though.

I use the small aperature for more DOF and in this picture I think that more DOF would have been nice. Which lens are you using for macro. The way I understand it the longer the lens the less DOF you get so if you are using the 50mm macro you less light will be required to get the same DOF.
William

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#5 acroporas

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Posted 29 February 2004 - 07:13 AM

Hi William,

I like Christian's crop/composition more but feel that the image is a little flat now that he has dropped the contrast and saturation. Plus it still has the bit of manky Dictyota in the way!

Successful macro images really need excellent composition. And this is most easily achieved in the water. I think that the composition of your original shot is determined to much by bullseye autofocus. With the main point of interest in the middle of the frame - which is one of the reasons I prefer Christian's version.

Macro offers us photographers a chance to put our interpretation on the subject - we are not just shooting the whole beastie and repeating in our images what we saw in the water. We are interpreting the subject matter as photographers. This one of the great pleasures of macro and I think is often forgotten by many of us (me very much included) as we treat macro as a search for the next critter.  

So keep up the good work of trying to show subjects in interesting ways.  

Alex


Yes I knew that it would be improved by cropping it(that why I said "how to crop...") Yes as I allready said I like Christians crop. And yes you are dead on that I put the eye in the middle because that is where the camera focuses. So are you suggesting that I use an off center focus point or just crop? An off center focus point will take some time to get used to because I cant see the focus point marks underwater.

PS. the reason for a seperate post is that I started on the other before you replyed.
William

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#6 mexwell

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Posted 29 February 2004 - 07:24 AM

Yeah, I guess it is matter of taste and thats fine. I mostly preffer natural colours and more "warmer earth" tones.

On my first dives with the rebel I fixed the focus points to one center point. If you want to reposition a focused subject you can hold the shutter half-depressed and move the camera to compose the picture differently. The focus will stay loked. Only if you move the camera closer to or away from the object the rebel will focus again. Try that on land to see how it works.

PS: Waiting for next weeks picture :-)
Best regards

Christian


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#7 acroporas

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Posted 29 February 2004 - 07:53 AM

PS: Waiting for next weeks picture :-)


For being such a loyal reviewer Ill give you a sneek peek of what I would use if I didnt get a chance to go diving next weekend.

http://www.umsis.mia...on/CRW_6478.CRW
William

Canon 5D Ikelite Housing and strobes
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#8 mexwell

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Posted 29 February 2004 - 08:09 AM

William,

at what depth and with what strobe setting was the grouper pic taken? It looks like no or only very little strobe light has reached the fish. On a probably flashed pic you should see far wmore colours.
Best regards

Christian


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#9 acroporas

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Posted 29 February 2004 - 08:35 AM

William,  

at what depth and with what strobe setting was the grouper pic taken? It looks like no or only very little strobe light has reached the fish. On a probably flashed pic you should see far wmore colours.



That is just what the fish looked like.
The grouper is at 80ft. + Bad vis. The shot is almost 100% strobe.
Same settings as the ray.

The rock/algae in this shot of it verify that the colour is correct.

William

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#10 mexwell

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Posted 29 February 2004 - 10:22 AM

You might get me wrong. I judge from the RAW and not from the processed image and the colours donīt show much signs of flash exposure.

If you were within a 3ft. range to the subject you should get very bright colours without (!) any photoshopping!

Judging from the pictures (mainly the RAW files) there is something wrong with the exposure of the pics. It might be that the strobe isnīt pointed at the subject, its underpowered, not in sync... or something I can not think of at the moment. I would love to hear from others if the agree or if I am of the track?!

Attached you find an fish image with NO photoshopping done. Do you get what I am trying to say?

After looking at the grouper RAW again I come to think that you have been to far away from the subject ... How far were you away from "him"? If there would have been no strobe light at 80ft the picture would show much less and more bluish colours. It might be just the distance to subject.
Best regards

Christian


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#11 acroporas

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Posted 29 February 2004 - 11:36 AM

You might get me wrong. I judge from the RAW and not from the processed image and the colours donīt show much signs of flash exposure.

If you were within a 3ft. range to the subject you should get very bright colours without (!) any photoshopping!

Judging from the pictures (mainly the RAW files) there is something wrong with the exposure of the pics. It might be that the strobe isnīt pointed at the subject, its underpowered, not in sync... or something I can not think of at the moment. I would love to hear from others if the agree or if I am of the track?!

Attached you find an fish image with NO photoshopping done. Do you get what I am trying to say?  

After looking at the grouper RAW again I come to think that you have been to far away from the subject ... How far were you away from "him"? If there would have been no strobe light at 80ft the picture would show much less and more bluish colours. It might be just the distance to subject.


I do not expect the pictures comming out of the camera to be a finished product. If I did I would not be shooting in RAW I would shoot JPG. The digital rebel by default adjusts contrast, sharpness, saturation, or colour tone. These settings along with the WB setting show in the raw file. I have this feature turned off. That is probably why the colours in the RAW look so drab to you compaired to your RAW's.

I am using a 100mm lens so obviously for the grouper shot I am not all that close. However it is well within the range of the strobe. For evidence just look at the red channel. At 80ft the red channel would be completely empty if there was no flash.
William

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#12 mexwell

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Posted 29 February 2004 - 03:58 PM

Well William, number one rule in uw-photography is "get near". Rule of thumb for macro is "what you could (!) touch with your hand is in good distance".

Even if you think the subject is within strobes reach there is plenty of water between the subject and your lens. And water acts as a filter in various ways... This filter effect is the reason why the colours look a bit greyish and "off". This also explains why you always use the DS-125 in full throttle which is not normal either.
If you want to improve your output I suggest getting nearer to your subjects next time. There is no telephoto underwater. Give it a try and you will probably see what I mean.

Regarding RAW files. I understand how they work and tried them in several instances. For myself I decided that I wont convert to RAW completley before I didnīt aquired the needed photography and photoshop skills. Of course then I cant go back and enhance my older shots. But that is the sacrifice I take...
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Christian


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#13 acroporas

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Posted 29 February 2004 - 04:10 PM

Do you think that the stingray looks as if being closer would have helped?
William

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#14 mexwell

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Posted 01 March 2004 - 05:23 AM

How far were you away from "him"? :)
Best regards

Christian


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#15 acroporas

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Posted 01 March 2004 - 06:11 AM

You came to the conclusion based on the way the grouper shot looked that I was too far away. I was wanting you to answer the same way. Just based on how the picture looks.
William

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#16 mexwell

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Posted 01 March 2004 - 08:29 AM

Well I think the stingray shot suffers only little in the same way as the grouper does. In that shot IMHO the angel was a little to much downward and what bothers me most is the background. If the background would be dark blue or black and not the body of the fish the eye would "pop" out and look more appealing to me.

Hope that helps?
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Christian


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#17 acroporas

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Posted 01 March 2004 - 10:42 AM

Yes it does help. Thanks.

The stingray shot was about 1.7 ft which is close to the min focus for the 100mm macro. I couldnt be any closer and there is no way that the distance is a problem in this shot if there is ever a use for the 100mm macro underwater. Both the other shots are between 3 and 4 ft away from subject. Next week I will use my other lens at the 55mm end and see thinks go look better since it will let me be closer to larger fish like the angel and the grouper.

Yes I do agree that I really need to work at shooting up at the fish to get a blue background. However most the fish that I like to take pictures live in or on the rockwork and dont like letting me get between them and the bottom. If only the dam fish would listen to my directions :) Regarding the dark background and light fish I disagree. That may be a good technique when the fish are light. Some fish are supposed to be black. Taking a black fish like the french angel and lightening it untill it is gray instead of black not only makes it look washed out but is unnatural. In these cases I think you have to accept that the fish is going to be dark. Yes we have been over this point several times and it is just a difference in taiste.

I really appretiate your critique of my shots every week.
Thank you
William

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#18 Giles

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Posted 01 March 2004 - 03:41 PM

The grouper (or rock hind) is to me a normal colour, they come in all sorts of varieties and I see many that have these nice camoflage colours. I am imagining if the image hasnt been cropped you were plenty close enough for the strobe to light it up.

As for the stingray your original copies have lovely colours as you asked it is mainly the cropping or composition that is off.
Even though it is a nice phot of the stingray you may need to wait until you get another chance at it to perfect it.

I used a center focus camera (my 3040) for the longest time, it is often possible to hold the focus and then recompose by holding down the shutter button, my camera had a nice easy function to take it from auto to manual easily so the focus would stay fixed too, mostly with my macro shots I was at the focal limit anyway so i just had to make sure i was the right distance away very similarly to using a nikonos.

I am fortunate that I live where i shoot my photos in the tropics I can try again anytime i like, hopefully you can too with the stingray or at least soon, or maybe try to play with the ones without the Dictyota if you have one
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