Hanging on (with rework)


Tried several of the good suggestions I have been given in terms of dodging and burning specific areas and I think I managed to polish it a bit further at least. Thank you all for your input!

Original version:

Critique Style Requested: Standard

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


Went out to some local fields/meadows looking for fritillaries and found a lovely patch of them together with buttercups under a large oak. Starting to set up the tripod and whatnot when I noticed the crane fly hanging on to this one. I carefully moved my tripod into position and I was so surprised the crane fly was still there once I was ready to shoot. Since the flowers were in the shade I lit them with a video panel from the right side of the image (the sun is positioned high on the right side). In hindsight maybe I should have used flash instead for a bit more power but I think this worked out.

I intentionally chose to process an image where the fly is hanging on with its hind legs in the air. Seemed a more dynamic pose compared to when all legs are touching the flower.

Specific Feedback

Anything goes really, but I find these images hard to shoot. There tends to be so much going on it turns into a mess. Is this clean enough for a good image? The contrast in the image was also it a bit hard work with (foreground in shadow and background lit by sunlight). Does the current processing work in this regard? Should I brighten the background fritillaries to make them stand out more or will that steal to much focus from the main subjects?

Technical Details

Canon EOS RP, RF 15-30mm f/4.5-6.3 @ 17mm, f/8, 1/400, ISO 400 (It was windy so I wanted a fast speed). Tripod and small video panel for a bit of extra light kick. Single exposure

Ingemar, this is a nice environmental macro photo. I have been thinking of pulling out a wide angle lens and maybe putting an extension tube on it to see if I could get somewhat of a wide angle macro. My problem is my flowers are very close to the house. I really need to be at the Botanical Gardens for that.

Anyway, I really like this. I think with the BG well lit, and the subject is darker, it works well. You managed the lighting right well. I recently bought a LED light but haven’t had much chance to use it, but can see what you did here is a nice fill light. I think maybe had you used a flash it might have lost some of that pretty BG. As for the crane fly, if you could brighten up the head on it would be my only suggestion. I love the low angle (bug’s eye view) you captured this in. Well done.

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Hi Ingemar,
what a wonderful macro image. I love the composition.
When I first saw the thumbnail of your image in the NPN feed I thought it would look quite messy. But this is not true at all. Looking at the image at a larger size, you can see how thoughtful your composition is. Your DOF is just right to show enough of the environment but at the same time, the trees in the background are not distracting at all. Everything seems to be perfectly aligned.
After I have discovered the beautiful flowers, my eyes recognized the hanging fly. Wow, that was unexpected but really cool.

I really like the processing. I wouldn’t brighten the background foliage.

But I think your image could benefit from a few small changes. I hope you don’t mind that I downloaded your image and played around with it.

  1. I dodged your main flowers slightly to let them pop a little bit more
  2. So that the fly stands out a little more from the background I brightened the wings of the fly a bit and darkened the background foliage behind it.
  3. I darkened the stems of the flowers at the bottom a bit.
  4. The sky is very bright on the right side and becomes abruptly darker and more saturated from the flower on. So I tried to balance the sky a bit. Now the bright area under the left flower does not stand out so much.

Here is your original image so that you can switch back and forth:

These are subtle changes. But your picture is also great as it is. Well done!

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Ingemar, the cranefly and the flowers stand out nicely as you also show the inviting environment. I think your lighting worked. I also like that the flowers are not set against blue sky. This would work well as a vertical (assuming that rotation was possible with your rig). The big arch of the flowers and the hanging cranefly creates good eye movement.

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Ingemar, this is a beautiful composition. I really like the perspective of looking up into the flowers (and the hanger on), and seeing the distant sunlit forest beyond. I think @Jens_Ober 's edits enhance your original processing a bit.

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Thanks all for your kind and helpful comments @Shirley_Freeman, @jefflafrenierre and @Mark_Seaver, and a special thanks to @Jens_Ober for making some really good suggestions for improvements. I will try to incorporate them into the final version.


I like it - little worlds like this are so interesting for what they contain that is often overlooked. In terms of composition I’d have moved around slightly right so the large tree there is gone. It’s a heavy presence in a light scene, as is the dark branch coming from the top and touching the taller flower.

Site tip - If you do make changes and have a second edit, you can add that to your original post by clicking the pencil (edit) icon at the bottom of your post. This allows us to compare both photos in the viewer one after the other. You can also edit the title with something like + 1 Rework or similar to alert the group that you have done it.

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You certainly have a valid point there, and that tree and branch deserve a bit of dodging as well for a lack of ability to go back in time and reshoot :wink:.

I have really gotten into wide-angle close-ups lately but I find it really difficult to shoot a clean enough scene. Find it hard to judge what’s there or not on the back of the camera. I’ll do a re-edit and sit on that a few days before updating the original post with a version 2.

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Hi Ingemar,

I just saw your “Hanging On” fritillaries image on Allen Walls Photography’s Flora Contest on YouTube. :slight_smile:

Looks like you placed at #7 of the top 10 but it’s my understanding that there were several hundred that they had to sort through.

This ‘is’ a refreshing image showing a quite natural wide environment setting and from a unique perspective.
Great title, too! :slight_smile:

Congratulations! :slight_smile:


I didn’t expect to place (plenty of really good shots in this round), but a very nice boost for the photographic ego, and without this very friendly community I would have sent in a poorer version of the image :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

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