Daniel KoretzLexington, MA
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“Photographing is nothing. Looking is everything.” In other words, if you have something worthwhile in your photograph you don’t need to worry it to death. Just go with it. Were I making wall-sized prints I might worry more about PP, but I’m not — at least not any longer.”
This might make an interesting discussion in a thread of it’s own. IMHO, discounting processing in photography is kind of like telling a painter that she need only worry about finding an interesting view and need not worry about brushwork. If you haven’t seen it, you might find the video narrated by Ansel Adams son about Ansel’s editing of Moonrise Hernandez New Mexico interesting, https://www.shutterbug.com/content/watch-ansel-adams-son-discuss-how-his-father-made-his-most-famous-photo-video. It’s amazing how different the final version is from the original capture. Some examples by other photographers are here, https://retouchingacademy.com/history-of-retouching-photographers-and-retouchers-synergy-in-the-analog-photography-era/, along with a photo of the original and final Moonrise.
In any case, here is a very quick edit of your photo:
A nice capture, but frankly, it doesn’t do the trick for me. I would have shot at a slower shutter speed and lower ISO to avoid the noise that’s fairly apparent in the background. However, that’s water over the dam. I think you could make much more of this by doing some postprocessing. I’d do a local noise reduction (excluding the flower because of the risk of loosing subtle detail there), remove some of the spots on the petals, crop to center the photo and to get rid of some background that doesn’t contribute, and then do some local adjustments–burning, dodging, and midtone contrast–to bring out details in the flower. I’ve done a fair number of white flowers, and they are very hard to do, as the detail is subtle.
I did a quick and dirty edit–not all the way there, but to start on each of those changes–but I didn’t post it because some people don’t like having others post edits of their photos, and I didn’t know whether you’d object.
I never use a ring light. They tend to give very flat and uninteresting lighting. I generally position a regular flash head near the lens, with a great deal of diffusion. Here’s an iPhone shot of one rig I have used. The bracket holding the flash is a DIY one made from a straight bracket and two mini-ballheads, but I sometimes use a Wimberley macro bracket, https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/240878-REG/Wimberley_F_2_Combo_2_Macro_Combo.html. The key to diffusion is lots of it. In this rig, I have the flash’s own diffuser on, and the “coke can diffuser” (google it) over the front has a couple of sheets of baking parchment paper. The coke can diffuser is a way to get the final head large relative to the subject, which reduces reflections.
A very striking image, IMHO. I can’t figure out what the structures are, but that’s almost irrelevant. It’s a powerful composition. If it were mine, I’d probably crop a modest amount of the sky to focus even more on the structures.
I like this a great deal. In general, I like photos that bring out unrecognized patterns in commonplace things, and this one does that very well. I like this better than the one in the subsequent posting because this one creates excellent, very simple lines. The color contrasts are excellent. My only suggestion is that I would consider opening up the shadows a bit at the bottom, particularly at the bottom right.