The seeds of a clematis growing in my garden. I liked the spiralling of the hairy arms and contrast of the cold white of the hairs and the warm orange/brown of the seeds. The background is a blueish-green cloth. Images taken inside with natural light from the right and a reflector at the left.

What technical feedback would you like if any?

nothing specific, but any comment is welcome

What artistic feedback would you like if any?

composition: a bit busy on the left?

Any pertinent technical details:

Canon 5d4, iso 400, 0.3 sec; Sigma 150 mm, f/8; polariser; stack of 94 images using Helicon Remote, combined with Zerene Stacker; minor LR adjustments and slightly increased contrast using TK midtones mask

You may only download this image to demonstrate post-processing techniques.

Beautiful, Igor. I love the spiralling lines in this image and the beautifully detailed seeds. Though it wouldn’t be as true to nature, I think you could get even more impact if you carefully removed the background arms before shooting it as I do find the lighter out of focus areas a bit distracting.

What a neat subject, Igor! I do not think the composition is too busy on the left. I actually like the curving lines with all the little hairs on that side. The only bit I find distracting is the out of focus bright background on the upper right. If you like working in black and white, I could see this working fantastically in a monochrome presentation.

I really like this, Igor. The color palette is really nice (love that bottle-glass green and the warm tones of the stems. I also like the asymmetrical “golden spiral” composition. You might be able to address the distractions noted by others by darkening those areas or using a brush and reducing clarity or sharpness there. It’s a challenge in macro to get shallow dof with full dof on the subject.

Wow what a fantastic image. I really like the colors and tones in this one and the curve on the left is beautiful.

Hi Igor,

You did very well with this one. I like what’s going on in the left hand portion of the image. I may want to reduce the cyan saturation slightly and reduce the highlight at about dead center in the image. A slight tweak is all that it needs. Awesome shot!..Jim

This looks great as presented, Igor. The swirls of hair, especially on the left, balance very well with the seeds. The mix of warm browns and cool whites works well as does your choice of background.

You have gotten all the critique you need without my echoing it. Instead, Would you elaborate on the method? I assume you used Helicon remote to take the focus shots and Zerene to do the actual stacking. I think this is a worthwhile process, but totally time consuming. Only 28.2 seconds of photography, but a long time setting up and stepping through the process. Did you shoot from a rail? Did you process from RAW initially, jpeg or tiff? How much editing did you have to do? Since there are divided opinions about the OOF background, have you considered processing once with the in focus shots and again with the OOF BG shots, then merging the two after treating the BG shots differently (exposure, brightness, etc.)? Lotta questions, but as a focus stacker myself and planning on gearing up for more, more elaboration on technique would be appreciated.

Excellent capture, Igor. I love everything about this shot.

Hi everyone, thanks very much for your feedback. I really appreciate that, but you make me feel guilty because I haven’t been very active on NPN lately. I guess my explanation of how the image is made is too short so let me explain what I tried to achieve and then how it is actually done. Now I regret that I didn’t take a picture of the setup.

First a picture of the seeds and arms in full. Here I chose a matching background. The result is rather flat because there is no colour contrast and everything is in focus. So next I chose a blueish background and decided to zoom in on the seeds. In an attempt to create depth I wanted the seeds, together with the arms in front, in focus and the arms behind the seeds out of focus.

I put the camera on a tripod. (I don’t use a focussing rail because I want to do this also out in the fields). On another tripod I mounted a wooden plateau on which a clothespeg holds the stem. On a flash stand I hung a blueish-green jacket (of my wife) turned away from direct light. Everything next to a large window, light coming from the right and on the left a reflector to illuminate the seeds.

Then I used my smartphone to control the camera via Helicon Remote (wired, but wireless is also possible). One has to predetermine a nearest focus point and a farthest focus point, then Helicon Remote computes the number of images from these two points and the aperture (f/8 in this series). One can also change other camera settings via HR if necessary. If everthing is set, Helicon Remote takes over control completely and takes pictures starting at the nearest focus point and stepwise changing focus using the motor of the lens. This takes a few minutes. A delicate point is whether the battery of the smartphone will last long enough…

The raw images are imported in Lightroom and I didn’t even make any adjustments. I should have because the colours are slightly off as Jim noticed. From Lightroom I export the images as jpg’s without compression. Finally I imported these jpg’s into Zerene Stacker and just let ZS do the stack. (I once exported the images in tiff format too and stacked these but I could not see the difference with a stack from jpg’s.) To my surprise there are hardly any artifacts from stacking visible.

Hope this explains how the image is made.

As noticed the out of focus arms behind the seeds, meant to create depth in the image, are a bit distracting because of their brightness. Not sure yet how to change that. Correcting the colour cast seems easier. So I’ll have to work on it a bit.

Igor, I would not call your view of the entire seed head, “flat”. I think it’s nicely elegant with the coordinated colors and the tails glowing well. I might crop it to square, but I’m loving the shape and the spider web bits. You’re detailed explanation is very clear, thank you.

Thanks for the excellent explanation of your set-up and objective, Igor. I like both images.

What a wonderful subject to work with. The image of the full seed head with the golden background is also stunning. I do appreciate your explanation of how this was done to achieve the excellent result.

Congratulations on the 2018 honor, Igor. This is really lovely. Great colors, lines and textures.


Congratulations on the Yearly pick, Igor. A beautiful image (either of them).

Stunning and unusual image - not the tiniest nit from me!
Congrats on a fine EP!

I enjoyed this image when you first posted it. Wonderful shot, and deserving of EP! Congratulations, Igor!

I am very honoured that my image has been selected in the 2018 Editorial Pick. A ‘thank you so much!’ to all of you for your feedback and congratulations.

Congratulations on the Editor’s Pick! Memorable image.