Fading Colors

During a walk among mostly brown fall leaves, this bit of color captured my eye.

Specific Feedback Requested: I welcome any comments or criticism.

Pertinent technical details or techniques: Olympus TG-6, Aperture f/3.2, Exposure 1/250, Focal length 5.4mm, ISO 100

Is this a composite? No

Revised version:

Welcome to NPN and fine first post. I am enjoying this autumn intimate. I might do a little edge cleanup on the right, burning the leaf or twig toward the top and cloning out the grey bit toward the bottom. The image posted twice and I can’t see any difference. If you want to delete one, you can click on the pencil and edit the post and delete the second image. Looking forward to seeing more of your work and reading your insights and opinions on that of others.

Hi Liz, and welcome to NPN. This is a great example of the end of fall. I like how the leaves are positioned in the frame. The colors are great too. Well done. I hope to see more of your work soon.

Hello Liz and welcome to NPN. Very eye-catching and I see why you stopped for it. Those little bits of late color leaves just make you want to hang on to the season even longer. I think the different states of decay here are quite pleasing - from the green to the brown.

Before I get into any critiques with your work, I’d like to know a little more about what you use for editing software and whether or not you can fully or partly control your camera settings when you’re taking pictures.

It’s more than being nosy; the folks here use lots of different software and cameras (while most are fully manually controllable) and sometimes people don’t have the tools to try out suggestions for improvement. Rather than discourage you, I’d rather understand your toolset and advise appropriately.

Anyway…a great opening post. Please don’t hesitate to share more (although have a look at the posting Guidelines first) and also chime in on others’ photos. We are all here to learn and improve our nature photography.

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Hi Liz, and welcome to NPN. This is certainly a fine image to have for your first post here. I like @Kris_Smith suggestion about providing the software camera info before we start suggesting too much. It is a fine image as presented, but certainly if you have the capability, the suggestions that @Harley_Goldman provided would be appropriate. Looking forward to seeing more of your work and your comments on other’s photos as well.

Thank you @Harley_Goldman, @David_Bostock, @Kris_Smith, and @Shirley_Freeman. I appreciate the warm welcome here and the feedback.

My camera (an Olympus Tough TG-6) does not give me full manual control over settings, but it does give me some choices in macro mode and aperture priority mode (plus a few other modes I haven’t explored much yet).

For now, I am using Polarr for post-processing. It has a rudimentary cloning and healing tool and does have tools for lightening and darkening and changing colors in specific areas. I’m still learning how to use it and look forward to seeing if I can make the changes suggested here.

Thanks again for the encouragement and the suggestions.

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The TG-6 is a pretty capable little machine! Since I don’t have any experience with underwater photography (and maybe I should get one of these to expand my kayaking photography!), I didn’t pick out any of those features for this list. I went through the camera manual and picked out features I think will be useful for expanding your knowledge and control over photos -

  • Exposure compensation - add or subtract exposure for more accurate shots
  • Histogram - useful for judging if you have the right exposure
  • Level gauge - I love this because I always tilt my horizons
  • White balance - manually adjusting this can give you more realistic shots
  • Grid overlay - helps with composition (think rule of thirds)
  • Macro - I’d play with this all the time!!
  • Focus Stacking - nice if you have a lot from front to back that you want in focus
  • Tripod mount - necessary for macro and long exposure work and just good to have overall
  • Aperture Priority - I shoot in this most of the time since it’s what is most important
  • 2 custom modes - great for quickly changing camera settings all at once (wildlife mode versus macro mode for example)
  • Panorama mode - super helpful with the point mark guide
  • Pro Capture - useful for say birds or dragonflies where they move so suddenly
  • ISO control - another way tell the camera what you want instead of using auto - will be especially important for long exposures and macro
  • RAW files - as you get more proficient with post processing, RAW files will be your best starting point because they are uncompressed files and hold the most image information

Anyway, I hope that’s helpful, but probably you’ve already started playing with a lot of those things.

Thank you @Kris_Smith for highlighting specific aspects of the Tough TG-6 that might be most useful for me. It can be so overwhelming to try to make sense of the features all at once. I’ve been using macro and aperture priority modes a lot and am challenging myself to learn new features every week. Exposure compensation has been especially helpful in our harsh Arizona sunlight, and I am now looking at tripods that will improve my macro shots and allow for better focus stacking. I may eventually invest in a camera that can do a lot more. But I love that I can stash the TG-6 in my pocket whenever I go for a walk. I figure I should push myself to work with everything this camera can do before investing in something more expensive.

Welcome, Elizabeth! This is a wonderful place to hang out and to enjoy learning about the art and craft of photography.

Your leaves are a wonderful first post, and don’t reveal any weaknesses in equipment or processing. You have a good eye.

If you have the computer power to run it, your next step up before a higher-end camera might be higher-end software for processing raw files. I don’t know Polarr but at some point the capabilities of higher-end processors are invaluable. The “industry standard” for most people is Adobe Camera Raw, which accompanies Photoshop, or Adobe Lightroom for raw processing and organizing before going to Photoshop for more advanced work. Adobe offers a subscription to Lightroom and Photoshop for $9.99 a month. The are other mid-range and high end options that you will see referred to here in various posts.

Looking forward to your posts and comments!

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Thank you, @Diane_Miller. I have been considering the Adobe subscription. I’m away from home (and my macmini) for several months, so I’m working on a chromebook. I’m not sure photoshop will work on that, but I know lightroom will. I like your point about how investing in processing can allow for vast improvements on photos for the equipment I already have. From that perspective, the monthly subscription fee looks quite reasonable. I’ll look into it again.

Check the OS compatibility. 10.15 (Catalina) is the minimum and Big Sur (11) is recommended for both LR and PS. There will always be a leapfrog between new versions and new OSs. But once you have a version installed you are not compelled to update.

The new M1 Pro processor and the corresponding graphics card are desirable for the best performance, but not required for basic use. I’ve just been bitten by the leaping frogs and my Mac Pro is now outdated. I’ll be upgrading to the newest laptop, which will be much more powerful than the computer. (Never thought my trusty “mainframe” would be outdated by a laptop!)

I can run it with the lid closed and use my keyboard (via Bluetooth) and big monitor and other accessories just as I do with the Mac Pro.

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Liz, welcome to NPN! This is a fine photo that does a great job of capturing the colorful decay of fallen leaves. One thing about many NPN’ers is their emphasis on “pop” and “drama”. Personally, I think that more subtlety invites longer views although it does draw fewer eyeballs to the thumbnails that the internet displays. What you decide along those lines falls into artistic choice. I prefer your original post, as it emphasizes the sense that there’s a lot more leaves to see that you chose not to show, although milder edge burning (vignette) might also work well. That green leaf with it’s hints of blue is a great addition.

Thanks for adding a different perspective, @Mark_Seaver. I think you’ve gotten to the heart of what I was struggling with in revising the image. I wasn’t able to articulate it myself. I’ll continue to play around with this composition on my own and will perhaps settle on a milder revision.

I really like the second version – the stronger colors and contrast add some drama and it doesn’t look overdone for my tastes, although the vignette might be reduced a bit. Removing that piece of debris was a good idea but it looks like you used a healing brush and it could use some retouching of the edges with a clone brush.

Thanks, Diane. I agree on reducing the vignette a bit and also on cleaning up the healing brush work. I need a lot more practice on cloning and healing. In the future, I hope I can remember to tidy up the scene a bit (whenever appropriate and ethical) BEFORE taking the shot. It would have been so easy to do that in this image.