Virginia Bluebells

Critique Style Requested: Standard

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


I shot this plant about 60 times due to windy conditions and was forced to limit images for stacking to 5. The stacking went well, but editing took a while to get most if not close to all artifacts removed. I used some glycerine and water to simulate rain drops. When I started this project, it had just finished raining and there lots of nice droplets to generate some additional interest. Wind and intense sun dried off everything so I went plan B–artificial rain drops. I used a white umbrella to shade the subject, a spare hummingbird background and 3 off camera flashes to provide subtle lighting with highlights for the droplets.

Specific Feedback

There’s probably a few artifacts, if you see any I will be able to edit them out. Thank you!

Technical Details

Z9 105mm f2.8 micro (1/25 sec at f20, ISO=160) 3 flashes main at 1.0, 1 at 0.7, and bottom flash at -1.0ev. 5 images stacked with Zerene Stacker (PMax). Levels, adjusted white balance for blues, Shadows and Highlights, Mask used with smart sharpen for some of the softer areas of the image, and Brightness and Contrast.


Stacking something like this outdoors is heroic! It looks like a subject where you hold your breath while shooting, even if you’re at arms length. Beautiful lighting and the droplets look completely natural.

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Hi Jim,

I don’t see any artifacts, there are a couple of small, faint darker spots but they’re not readily noticeable unless you’re really looking close. Not a detraction to me.

That said, Wow, I really like this! :slight_smile:

The stack isn’t detectable at all to me, the DOF is perfect in my opinion. I love the colors and the lighting, then of course the framing and perspective is spot on.
The water drops look natural as well.

These are probably the most appropriately named wildflowers I know of.

Bravo for such a patient and persistent approach for making this image!
I’m a big fan of Virginia Bluebells but that doesn’t cause me to favor the image, the image stands up very well on its own merits! :slight_smile:

And I really like the idea of using glycerin for water drops, I wish I had known about that when I was making my waterdrop refraction image on a sheet of glass while using an iPad for the light and flower image.

Nicely done, Jim! :slight_smile:

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This is a beauty, Jim. Thanks for the write up about how you went about the project. Such wonderful frail details in the in the blossoms.

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Jim, this looks like it needs to be framed and hung on the wall! Love the colors, and those water drops are icing on the cake. Well done.

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Just coming back to this as I thought I’d already commented. Heroic efforts to get this lovely arrangement. Other than the near converging of the lowest flower and leaf, everything is pretty darn perfect. I like how well you orchestrated the flashes and the stacking looks excellent. I’d have never guessed you made the water droplets yourself. I’ve toyed with that idea, but haven’t actually done it yet. An excellent study of a difficutl subject.

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