Dreamy Summer Blooms

Critique Style Requested: Standard

The photographer is looking for generalized feedback about the aesthetic and technical qualities of their image.


Our garden is full of colorful blooms this summer. I wanted to create a blurred image that highlights the colorful flowers. I used my 40-150 lens (micro fourthirds) with a polarizer and 10-stop neutral density filter. It was a sunny afternoon.

Specific Feedback

All comments are welcome.

Technical Details

Olympus Mark II camera with 40-150 lens. IS0 200, 46mm, f/32, 0.5 sec.

In PS, I used adjustment layers to lighten shadows. Also used generative fill for corner sections after straightening the image.

This is such a cool idea and a great garden, Ann. I like what you did, but I think you ended up with a bit of a magenta color cast (the woods in the upper right are looking a bit purplish). I also think you could go even more out of focus. At this stage it’s pretty easy to interpret this image as a plain case of bad focusing. I think if you went to the point of turning your flowers into blobs of color it would be even cooler. I took the liberty of doing a crude approximation in PS, though somehow in my processing I lost most of the purple flowers. Anyhow take it for what it’s worth as a suggestion of where you might think about going with this idea.

An interesting idea but I think it would be better suited to going in closer to a smaller group of flowers. @Dennis_Plank did a good job on color correction.

@Dennis_Plank , @Diane_Miller , Thanks to both of you for taking the time to comment on my photo. You helped me go further with capturing the blooms in a new way. Dennis, I do like your idea of more blur. The result is much softer, yet somewhat recognizable as a garden. I tried to replicate your version using Gaussian Blur in PS. Diane, I just tried shooting some smaller groups of blossoms at more of a blur. I like the result! Posted one image.

Nice work, Ann. I like where you’re going with these and envy your garden.

Ann, that’s a beautiful garden! My wife would be envious. I have to applaud you for trying something new and imaginative. As others have mentioned, getting in closer would be helpful. I like the second image you shared of the blossoms. Very painterly! You could come away with a fun project of images with impressionistic and painterly qualities. Looking forward to seeing what you share next.

Ann Louise,

I’ll echo the beautiful garden comments as well as a kudos on the effect you’ve created with the blur and the slow shutter.

I think this works because the blur goes just enough beyond the “oops, I kicked the tripod” effect that we sometimes get with motion blurs. There’s a fine line between creating something effective and artsy, vs. something that looks like an accident… and I’m here to say the results look very purposeful and I think you’ve succeeded.

All comments beyond this are just tweaks really. I’m a nitpicky person when it comes to my own images, so there’s always something that can be adjusted. Unless of course those that are more literal in that they don’t like to alter too much what came out of the camera (which is perfectly cool as well.) Anyway, I took the liberty of making a couple of tweaks because I think this one has that next-level potential. First, a slight crop mostly off the right to remove some of the brighter yellow/greens along the edge that were pulling the eye.

Next I took Dennis’ observation about the magenta and selectively reduced that in the mids and shadows, but masked it so the purple flowers didn’t get impacted - but agree there is a magenta cast in some areas. Then also, rather than additional gaussien blur I did a reverser-vignette mask and allowed the UL and LR areas to go more blurry, while retaining your original in the center area - this creates a little separation of the garden, but maintaind pretty much your original view. Finally, a little genera vignette and some burning of the grass (kind of empty in that quadrant.)

Nothing major, but some small tweaks. Completely optional, alternative and subjective given the bigger ICM type image. Just thought I would try my hand. Hope you don’t mind!

@Alfredo_Mora Thank you for your comments! (sorry for my delay in thanking you) I did take shots of several smaller groups of flowers and will continue to do that while I still have blooms. Thanks especially for your encouragement regarding a project. I have been trying to think of a theme! I go over to the projects critiques often to study the wonderful projects members have created.

@Lon_Overacker Hello Lon, I appreciate all of your comments and suggestions! I’m glad you have faith in me that the blur was not accidental. I am enjoying experimenting with blurred flowers. It is really helpful to see how you tweaked the photo. In trying to replicate your edits, I tried using Color Grading in LR for the first time. I had to Google reverse- vignette and could see how you did that. Great learning experience. Thank you so much in taking the time to explain and show me your edits!

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