California Poppy about to Pop + Repost

We had a little dew this morning and a brief period of calm before the wind started. I ran out to try to find something to shoot and just managed a stack on this one before the breeze came up.

Specific Feedback Requested

All comments welcome!

Technical Details

Is this a composite: No
It looks like the definition of a composite doesn’t include a focus stack. This was a stack of 6. Often I’ll need 15-20 but the whole bud was in the focus plane so I just needed to cover the depth.

Canon R5, Canon 100mm macro, f/4.5, ISO 640, 1/500 sec. I had a sturdy tripod and head and should have gone to a lower ISO – wasn’t paying attention in my haste to beat the inevitable breeze and the receding soft tree shadows.

No tonal or color adjustments at all in LR or PS. A run of Topaz DeNoise on the stacked image and a crop to 37% of the full frame. Very minor BG smoothing.

1 Like

Wonderful, Diane! It reminds me of a sporophyte with its cap on before it pops. Well seen and executed. I like that the orange is restrained and not oversaturated which can happen in shots like this.

Superb job on isolation of the poppy. It pops well with your excellent background.

Thanks @Kris and @David_Schoen! After posting it looked a bit understated and I realized I had Daylight WB but it was in mottled open shade. So I warmed it up a bit, and added a bit of Clarity and Texture, and a slight vignette. I think I like it better.

These things are so orange, if i shoot one in full sun I always wonder if I might be damaging my sensor. :smile:


Diane, I have never seen a flower like this. The colors are a real treat, and that nice smooth background makes this pop. The dew drops are a nice addition. I’m enjoying this shot. I was happy with the first shot, but I believe the repost may have improved it even more.

Glad you saw this poppy at this stage of opening. So unusual as well as being technically sound. Pleasing background as well. Well done!

“the whole bud was in the focus plane so I just needed to cover the depth.” What else would you need to cover if the whole bud wasn’t in the focal plane? (Forgive the beginner’s question!). I loved Eschscholzia californica when we had it in the garden, though it’s a mouthful. Our son-in-law gave us seeds bought in a shop in the Grand Canyon (!) and it grew well - unfortunately I neglected it, but that strong yellow was great while we had it. I like your rework of the excellent stack, with added zip.

Wonderful shot, Diane! I like both. I feel hidden cool power before popping from the first shot, and warm expectation from the repost.

Thanks everyone! @Mike_Friel, I could have been clearer! I meant that the bud from the tip to the stem was straight and I managed to get it in the focal plane. (They are often curved.) So I only had to stack for the depth of the bud, front to the edges.

The title refers to the fact that the cap literally pops off when the flower is opening, flying through the air. This one was on the verge. You can see an area where the is no dew on the petal – the cap had very recently been pushed up that far.

Diane, this bud, with it’s cap, is a delight in both colors and shape. I like the natural subtleness of the original post (although adding some extra contrast might look good). The redo certainly adds the kind of “pop” that gets online attention.

Diane, you are right about the brightness of the flowers in full bloom. When we lived in California, we went several times to the California Poppy Preserve in Lancaster. The fields and hills were overwhelming with color. This is a very nice rendition of the pre-bloom flower.

@Merle_Cook, that it is – that place is amazing! Several years ago we were flying west from Arizona toward the Lancaster area on an unusually clear spring day (a cold front had just blown through) and we could see the bright orange patch from 100 miles away.

Diane, Lovely image. I love the colors, especially orange and the dew on it. The story of cap flying off is fascinating. It would make an amazing image if captured. Stacking done perfectly. I like both versions, but the second version makes it even better.

Very elegant in it’s simplicity and presentation. Could maybe see trying to spotlight the subject a bit more.