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Looking for improvement This is the e-group critique board. If you post a picture here it will be assumed that you are looking for comprehensive technical feedback - both good and bad, but always respectful. Only post pictures here if you can deal with potentially negative constructive criticism. Anyone is qualified to comment and post feedback, and everyone is encouraged to do so. NB: "Looking for Improvement" is the place to post any pictures you would like advice on improving, no matter how bad you might think they are.

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  #1  
Old 22nd August 2018
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To flash or not

This is all highly subjective, but here are two shots of a fungus taken both in dull ambient light and with flash. The firswt pair are 7-14mm wide angle with just a light bit of flash so that the BG isn't darkened, the other are 60mm with full flash.

Which do people prefer? I can't decide

1. Ambient Light:



1. Flash:



2. Ambient Light:



2. Flash:

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Old 22nd August 2018
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Re: To flash or not

Well I prefer the ambient light, more especially in the second shot. It is very personal, and I suspect you'll get a mix of preferences. They are all quite nice.

I have found a daylight balanced portable led light panel to be my absolute preference as it enables a kind of ambient look with sufficient extra light to help with keeping a low ISO. It was very cheap from Amazon but is one more thing to carry. A friend has an led torch for the same purpose, so we sometimes use both (to get a rim light and soft front light).
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Old 22nd August 2018
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Re: To flash or not

I would go with not using flash. But if used with diffuser and reflectors (tissues are great at both) the softer light will make a big difference.
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Old 22nd August 2018
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Re: To flash or not

From a personal view-point, due to eye problems caused by bright light / glare, I find the ones using flash seem to give more subject detail? From your -not sure - comment it would seem you are not entirely happy with either?

In which case, although not the easiest approach due to vastly varying local and lighting conditions, a half-way house approach - flash diffused - as suggested, might be worth looking into?
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Old 22nd August 2018
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Re: To flash or not

IMO.

First photo with flash. it helps separate the foreground with the fungus from the
rest of the picture and therefore gives foreground interest and depth.

Second much closer, as a picture to use in a talk about fungus it would once again be with flash because it's showing up some detail. if a more general picture then it could be the ambient

Thanks for sharing

Regards
Andy
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Old 22nd August 2018
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Re: To flash or not

Thanks for the comments everyone.

Normally for fungi, where I can use a longish exposure because they don't blow around in the wind (mostly), I use ambient light, but I had a bit of a play around today.

I think Andy sums my feelings up best. It's not that I'm unhappy with the shots, but off-camera flash seems to be better for ID/Specimen shots as it brings out the detail. I don't like the blown highlights on the usually shiny caps though, the're a bit harsh. And carting a flipping great diffuser around isn't a goer. I do use a folding 450cm reflector (when I remember it ) but that still creates blown highlights. The ambient light shots, which are usually in shade for woodland fungi, are nice and soft and I think I prefer these aesthetically, except where I want to get rid of the background.
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Old 23rd August 2018
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Re: To flash or not

I would say shoot in nice diffuse light of an overcast day where possible and do not use flash for flowers and fungi.


I love 2 ambient light nice work.


You did will controling the flash in 1 flash btw
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Old 26th August 2018
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Re: To flash or not

Hm. I really like all four shots - preferring slightly the greater separation of the fungi from the background when you use the flash. The fourth one is my favourite, but the "stem" might do with a bit more lightening or maybe contrast ? (Or maybe I should get a better monitor).
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Re: To flash or not

In #1, I prefer the flashed version. The highlight adds to an otherwise "Dull" picture. Dull in lighting, not subject....

In #2, I prefer the natural photo, the flashed one looks a bit unnatural IMHO.

Just my 2d (!) worth......
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Re: To flash or not

Thanks for this further input.

I think one of the issues with the flash shots are the harsh shadows, which are a mixed blessing - small details such as the striae on the 'shroom cap are clearly delineated, but the sharp shadow of the cap on the stem looks clumsy. For macro shots, I may experiment with using the reflector from closer to the subject, which, using the Father Ted principle, should increase it's effective size and maybe soften the shadow edges.
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