Unknown Succulent

Description: I had to go and get my eyes checked out at the ophthalmologist and afterwards, found a little greenhouse that had succulents for sale at 4 bucks a piece. I set up my soft box and used 2 radio triggered flashes set at 0 and -1.7ev. I like the lighting and the black velvet BG looks well with the flower colors.

Specific Feedback Requested:

Pertinent technical details or techniques: D500 105mm f2.8 micro (6.0 sec at f16, ISO 200, 2 flashes set at 0.0 and -1.7ev) 6 image stack with Zerene Stackjer, Levels, Highlights reduced with Shadows & Highlights, Brightness & Contrast, Rubber stamp tool to remove a few artifacts produced by Zerene Stacker.

Is this a composite? yes–6 image stack.

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jameszablotny

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Beautiful, Jim. This looks very similar to flowers I get from a succulent I call a “hen and chicken .” I’m guessing there is a more technical name, just can’t remember it at the moment. The lighting and details are spot on. Nicely done.

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Thank you. I think that I have figured out what is this species. Echeveria elegans is a possibility and it is a hens and chicks species from Mexico.

Yes, Jim just found my notes and that’s the name I’ve got also. Thanks.

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Jim, Beautiful image with color of the flowers contrasting against dark background. Stacking well done. Like the composition with the curve and one open flower in the middle of the arch. Great work with flash set up. I haven’t figured out how to use flash in macro. Something I would like to try this year.

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Jim: Good find and a superb studio portrait. Really good work with the lighting and the stack. I am curious as to why you chose to stack in controlled circumstances like this. Did it help the lighting solution? As a non-stacker I very much appreciate insight from folks who do it well and their rationales. >=))>

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I’m not familiar with multi-flash lighting but this lighting works very well. 3-dimensional form and texture of the flower is captured nicely. In Japan Echeveria elegans is popular because of their beautiful leaves. I didn’t know their flowers are also beautiful. Thanks, Jim.

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Ravi, using flash for macro requires a large diffuser and fill flash provides the best results. There is a guy in SE Asia that does fantastic flash photography on small reptiles and amphibians and insects. I’ll track down the link for you.

Bill, I shoot in a dark basement and f16 did not give me the best DOF. The flashes provide most if the lighting, but not enough for smaller apertures. Diffraction will also reduce sharpness for these small flowers. I use a minimum of images for stacking to increase the DOF for these tiny flowers. It is a compromise, and it works.

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Gorgeous!! And a perfect-looking stack, well lighted. I love that the one flower is so prominent, and placed where it is. My only thought is to wonder about a subtle burn on the stem as it exits the frame.

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This is beautiful, Jim. Did you stack by rotating the lens focus ring? And what was in the background of the original image? I’m keen to learn more!

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@Mike_Friel I adjust the focus ring while in Live View. The magnification button helps with focusing. I like to use small apertures when stacking with an artificial BG. I purchased a folding soft box from Amazon and point the flashes so that they are diffused through the white cloth sides of the soft box. Big diffusers help soften the light. The BG is black velvet and the soft box has velcro for attaching cloth background. The secret to using flash is to use multiple flashes with different power settings and placing them in optimal positions.

Thanks for the detailed description of your processes. It helps teach others in addition to the pleasure of viewing a beautiful subject. The hens and chicks as enlarged subjects makes me think of them in a completely different way. Your presentation gives them so much more impact and beauty.

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Thanks, Jim - very helpful, Mike

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I will say that the skill in setting this up is almost as interesting as the image. It looks good all around.

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Thanks Jim for all your explanations. Yes, I would like to check the link out. Using multiple flashes requires a lot of skill and it shows in this image.