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05-19-2009, 11:55 AM   #1
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This Old Wheel
Lens: 105 Camera: K20D ISO: 100 Shutter Speed: 1/15s Aperture: F2.8 

Yesterday I stopped at a local nature preserve during the drive home to unwind a bit vis-a-vis snapping the shutter. After a few minutes of flower shots, I spied this old wagon wheel resting against a tree and started taking pics of it. Then I noticed the yellow wheel in the background and worked on composing shots that included it.

Of the bunch I took, I like this shot the best. Upon viewing it large, however, I realized the focus is a bit soft and also wondered if I'd have done better to stop down the lens to something between f/8-f/11 in order to render more of the wheel in focus. Also, what spot on the wheel should I use as my focal point?

Fortunately, the weather today is similar to yesterday, I've got my tripod (unlike yesterday), and plan to stop by the preserve on the way home for Round 2.

Thoughts/suggestions?

Thanks in advance to any/all replies!

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05-19-2009, 03:11 PM   #2
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I'd put the focus on the middle of the wheel, this has the most unique details and focussing on it will automatically put some of the spokes in focus as well. Alternatively, you could focus on the yellow wheel, maybe that gives the effect you're after. About the aperture setting, just try it and see, that's the beauty of digital photography
In any case, the most interesting part of the picture is the middle of the wheel, which is too close to the centre right now, so best move that to the right a bit.

Have fun tomorrow!
05-19-2009, 05:22 PM   #3
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The photo is great. From you post you already know what can be improved and I agree that a shot like this needs greater DOF. But be careful I think the picture will lose its feel if the yellow wheel begins to come into focus.

With the great detail we get today I cheat and shoot a little wide and that gives me great flexibility in cropping. You'll find if you have a little extra frame to work with you may find yourself rotating as well as cropping to get look you like best. Especially with a shot like this where there isn't a well defined "up and down"

I'll be looking for your next round on this theme.

joe
05-19-2009, 07:53 PM   #4
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Looks like you just missed the focus. Smaller aperture would bring everything into focus but the shallow DOF if you got the focus on the centre would produce a more artistic image.

05-20-2009, 05:53 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by kevinschoenmakers Quote
I'd put the focus on the middle of the wheel, this has the most unique details and focussing on it will automatically put some of the spokes in focus as well. Alternatively, you could focus on the yellow wheel, maybe that gives the effect you're after. About the aperture setting, just try it and see, that's the beauty of digital photography
In any case, the most interesting part of the picture is the middle of the wheel, which is too close to the centre right now, so best move that to the right a bit.

Have fun tomorrow!
Kevin - thanks for the feedback. And you're right - sometimes I forget that I can just take multiple shots, each at a different setting, and see what turns out best.

QuoteOriginally posted by joelovotti Quote
The photo is great. From you post you already know what can be improved and I agree that a shot like this needs greater DOF. But be careful I think the picture will lose its feel if the yellow wheel begins to come into focus.

With the great detail we get today I cheat and shoot a little wide and that gives me great flexibility in cropping. You'll find if you have a little extra frame to work with you may find yourself rotating as well as cropping to get look you like best. Especially with a shot like this where there isn't a well defined "up and down"

I'll be looking for your next round on this theme.

joe
Joe - thank you for chiming in as well. This shot was with my 105mm and I didn't have the luxury of walking the frame in/out due to a wood fence between me and the subject. This said, I hear what you're saying and your suggestions coupled with reminder from Kevin about shooting at multi. settings should give me a few options.

QuoteOriginally posted by Damn Brit Quote
Looks like you just missed the focus. Smaller aperture would bring everything into focus but the shallow DOF if you got the focus on the centre would produce a more artistic image.
Gary - thank you too for offering your thoughts. I love shallow DOF shots, so pulling this one off at anything wider than f/5.6 would be my first choice.

Three very helpful comments and very much appreciated - thanks gents! Will post a pic (or two) back once I've had a chance to revisit.
05-21-2009, 06:09 AM   #6
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OK...based upon the feedback above, I took more shots of the wheel at various apertures and (slightly) different compositions. In Lightroom, did the usual basic PP (nothing dramatic) and applied a 5x7 or 8x10 crop. After looking at the pics, IMHO, the ones that were taken using f/4-/f8 looked best. The center of the wheel looked much sharper, especially where the texture of the old wood was concerned. With this said, what do you folks think of these shots compared to the original above?

First @ f/5.6
Second @ f/8
Third @ f/4
Fourth @ f/8 (my personal favorite among the bunch taken)
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05-21-2009, 06:54 AM   #7
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These are a great improvement. PP could be a bit darker and I'm not too fond of the cropratio you choose - it's a bit too 'boxey' for my tastes, but that's a personal thing. I like the first one the most.

(Apologies if this is old news) As for apertures, lenses are usually at their sharpest at around f8-f11. Smaller, and the image quality starts to degrade, bigger and they become softer (how much depends on the lens in question). Of course, the trade-off with bigger apertures is a bigger OOF area.
05-21-2009, 07:19 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by kevinschoenmakers Quote
These are a great improvement. PP could be a bit darker and I'm not too fond of the cropratio you choose - it's a bit too 'boxey' for my tastes, but that's a personal thing. I like the first one the most.

(Apologies if this is old news) As for apertures, lenses are usually at their sharpest at around f8-f11. Smaller, and the image quality starts to degrade, bigger and they become softer (how much depends on the lens in question). Of course, the trade-off with bigger apertures is a bigger OOF area.
Kevin...thanks, after seeing the pics out of Lightroom, I agree re: darker...take a look at the first again (uncropped and a bit darker)...and re: aperture settings, yes, am definitely aware of IQ related to same...I was simply surprised at the diff between f/2.8 and f/8 - pretty huge. I lean toward the former usually, but in this case like the latter better.

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05-21-2009, 07:35 AM   #9
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Looks great now, and I much prefer this crop. Have you tried a black&white conversion by the way? The texture of the wood just screams for one.
05-21-2009, 07:43 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by kevinschoenmakers Quote
Looks great now, and I much prefer this crop. Have you tried a black&white conversion by the way? The texture of the wood just screams for one.
Thanks for continuing to play along, Kevin, and appreciate the continued feedback. Funny that you mention BW, because last night while I was playing with all of this in Lightroom, I did do a quick change from "Color" to "Greyscale" and thought the same thing...perhaps this evening, I'll play with it in more detail....stay tuned...

Last edited by AlphaGAK20D; 05-21-2009 at 07:51 AM.
05-21-2009, 06:25 PM   #11
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The newer version of the first one works for me. It would be a good shot to try some effects out with, it could certainly be made to look like a painting.
05-22-2009, 06:51 PM   #12
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You last attempt is by far the best for me.

For me, in order for the shot to work the broken spoke has to be backgrounded by dirt. Once it is in front of the yellow wheel it becomes distracting instead of interesting.

This is the kind of shot that you can really enjoy processing over and over again. B&W has already been mentioned. I have a few shots that I go back and try every month or two.

Save this one as a virtual copy then open the original RAW in a week or two and start from scratch. It's fun to compare what you do with previous PPs.

be well,
joe
05-23-2009, 03:42 AM   #13
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"I noticed the yellow wheel in the background and worked on composing shots that included it. "

I think this was a mistake.

The strong yellow competes too much with the main subject which is essentially monochrome and depends on great tonal range and detail for interest.

This has made the image visually schizophrenic - am I going to be BW or color but not both at the same time.
05-23-2009, 06:13 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Damn Brit Quote
The newer version of the first one works for me. It would be a good shot to try some effects out with, it could certainly be made to look like a painting.
QuoteOriginally posted by joelovotti Quote
You last attempt is by far the best for me.

For me, in order for the shot to work the broken spoke has to be backgrounded by dirt. Once it is in front of the yellow wheel it becomes distracting instead of interesting.

This is the kind of shot that you can really enjoy processing over and over again. B&W has already been mentioned. I have a few shots that I go back and try every month or two.

Save this one as a virtual copy then open the original RAW in a week or two and start from scratch. It's fun to compare what you do with previous PPs.

be well,
joe
QuoteOriginally posted by wildman Quote
"I noticed the yellow wheel in the background and worked on composing shots that included it. "

I think this was a mistake.

The strong yellow competes too much with the main subject which is essentially monochrome and depends on great tonal range and detail for interest.

This has made the image visually schizophrenic - am I going to be BW or color but not both at the same time.
Thanks to each of you for the comments - Gary and Joe for your additional thoughts and wildman for chiming in with your opinion. This is what makes this Forum particularly valuable. As always, great feedback! FYI, if you haven't seen yet, I did post a BW version to the main "Post Your Photos" thread - I'd appreciate any additional thoughts. Cheers!
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