Yellow Mariposa Lily

Critique Style Requested: Standard

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


This year we have a lot of these beauties. I started to go out this morning to shoot some while it was foggy and very little air movement – and just then a soft rain started. It is usually hot and dry when these bloom so I was delighted to have a chance to get some raindrops on them. This one has captured a stalk of wild oat in a sepal.

Specific Feedback

All comments welcome!

Technical Details

Screen Shot 2023-06-12 at 2.22.23 PM

Nothing done in LR except some crop from both sides. A stack of about 25 into Zerene Stacker. There was some slight wind movement but with nothing in the BG in focus, the software aligned them nicely. Some minor BG cloning to the resulting file.

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Oh what a cool flower. Amazing what you can get away with in Zerene - I’ve done a few comparisons w/simple stacks in Photoshop and Zerene just gets it right more than I think it will. Just being lazy I guess since I usually end up in Ps so I tried starting there. Nope.

Anyway…the wheat adds a really nice element here. It’s unexpected and has such different textures, shapes and color that it’s almost jarring. Not quite. Couldn’t be more perfect if you’d placed it there. And those rain drops knock me out! I like the composition and crop, but wonder if that light line to the left dropping down could be removed as well as maybe a touch cooler wb. Not sure how it would look, but maybe worth a couple of minutes with the slider.

Thanks, @_Kris! The stem on the left is the stalk of the grass head – not in the most pleasing position but it didn’t look right to remove it so I did some 20% opacity cloning over it. The BG tended to a little more red than I liked so I brought down the red saturation a bit. The BG is a mix of dead (or mature tan) grasses with some green stuff mixed in. This is an area of very poor soil so the grass is not heavy here. Here’s a quick iPhone snap that covers about 1/3 of the area of the flowers. They grow in localized patches and favor poor soil. There is a smaller patch on the hillside above the house, but not anywhere else nearby that I can see.

Looks like pollinator heaven and macro photographer heaven. Oh and I see the “continuation” of the in focus seeds and the stem now you mention it, but as I didn’t pick up on that to begin with…maybe the floating seeds aren’t so weird.

Maybe I overdid minimizing the stem. Would be easy to partially mask that layer and let more of the original show. I’m thinking the yellow needs more contrast so may do a RP, but I have about a dozen other stacks to work through.

Seems to be that time of year! I was working on some flower stacks yesterday and have a few more to do as well. Funny.

Hi Diane,
what a beautiful picture. The details in the flower are great. And the background is nice and soft.

May I ask how you shoot the frames for the stack? Did you use a tripod and refocused manually for each shot?

Thanks, @Jens_Ober – definitely a tripod, with remote release or timer delay. Before my current camera I very carefully tweaked the focus ring in a set of tiny increments between shots but the R5 has focus bracketing so I focus just a hair in front of the closest point and let it do the work. I have to guess at the best increment and the number of shots to go as far as I want. I can inspect the last exposure to see if I need to redo with more exposures.

The camera needs to be in AF but I’m in back button focus so if I don’t have the remote release with me I can set a 2 sec delay and gently hit the shutter button.

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Lovely! I admire your technical skill (and dedication) in focus stacking these kinds of shots!

I’m thoroughly enjoying the suprise of the grass seed heads, they make a great counter point (pun intended) to the roundness of the flower while they coordinate nicely colorwise. You’ve got a good dynamic feeling in this comp.

Thanks, @Bonnie_Lampley and @Mark_Seaver! These things are the most saturated yellow I’ve ever seen.

Many thanks, @_Kris and @Bill_Fach, for the EP – a wonderful surprise, as was the appearance of these flowers this year. They are often absent or very scarce. Maybe the wet winter made them possible. I’m glad I was able to share them and have them appreciated.

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