Honeysucklesicle and Second Attempt

Second Try: We had another frost yesterday and I tried this again. By backing up and zooming in, I was able to frame the bloom against a shadowed Douglas Fir 100 yards behind it. The rotation was done in post as well as bringing up the luminosity of the leaves and blooms.

Original post:

Critique Style Requested: Standard

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


We had a nice freeze last night (25 F this morning) with a bit of freezing fog to put some nice frost growth on things, so I went out as soon as there was adequate light. This honeysuckle was my first subject, being closest to the porch door.

Specific Feedback

It wasn’t really very well backlit, so I brought up the shadows and did a bunch of dodging to try to bring out the colors and light up the plant a bit more. Not sure if it worked well. and I’d welcome any tricks for doing so.

Technical Details

Sony A7Riv, FE 70-200 F4 Macro @ 146 mm, 17 image stack at f/16, 1/80, iso 1600. Stacked in Helicon Focus, further processing in LR & PS CC. Cropped from the right and a bit off the bottom.


A very interesting shot, Dennis. To get that top section a bit better lit/separated, could you have employed a clothes peg or clamp to move the whole stalk a bit? This might have helped the upper half get that same nice lighting which the lower half caught. Or just wait for the light to hit the plant more? Easier said than done, and those crystals make a great subject for stacking. Nice!

I really like the way you’ve combined the tropical and the arctic at the same time. Interesting that these bloom so close to when hard frosts can set. I wonder if you could have gotten it with a softer backdrop and more direct sun. Of course you’d have to move fast!! The crisp detail in the frost crystals is pretty great and I like the colors that morph from deep red to light yellow. I could do without the dark bit in the ULC, but if it’s important for your story telling, by all means leave it. If you’re open to a crop, try a bit of an angle and maybe leave a tiny bit more room at the bottom and see how that feels. I often like a sense of space below these kinds of flowers. Last, if you don’t have any with more direct sun, you could have a go with the Point Color tool and play with varying the luminosity values in the colors. Going progressively lighter as the color gets paler might simulate the look a little.

Oh and the spider thread weaving throughout is great.

Gorgeous!! For me (and I’m greedy by nature) the light is just perfect! Stacking gave sharpness on so many wonderful details! And the warmth in the BG is so nice against the cool reds. I would clone out the dark piece in the corner. That could be made a little easier by a crop from the left just far enough to remove the two in-focus leaf tips there. The frame on the other sides feels fine, with enough room for the subject.

I’m trying to grow one of these and the deer are trying to smash in the cage and eat it. Ted says we should eat one of them and the word would get out.

Mine is growing in a raised bed with fencing around it so all they can do is prune the edges (which need it). In our mild Northwest climate this thing blooms 8 months of the year or more.

The new one is lovely, too, with dramatic lighting! The light coming through the leaves is wonderful, and detail on the flower superb! I wonder about a crop from the top to just remove the two upper leaves, and maybe add a tiny bit more canvas on the right?

I like the hanging aspect of this one because it speaks more to how the plant grows and its structure. The leaves at the top feel a bit much with so little room around everything - it’s unbalanced to me. Maybe some more under and to the right of the flower would compensate, but then we’d kind of lose the detail and since you have so much and it’s so great, I’d hate to do that. I could see cropping them out as a remedy, but I kind of like their propeller aspect. Decisions…Decisions.

To my eye the second shot is a great improvement, for BG and lighting especially. The dark BG complements flower and leaves and also shows up the rim lighting nicely on both the leaves and flowers. I prefer the angle too. A square crop, removing the upper pair of leaves, could work, but I actually like the composition as is - and the frame also helps to turn this from a work-in-progress to a definite keeper.