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Help me make this crystal dolphin shot better

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Steve S, Jan 1, 2006.

  1. Steve S

    Steve S

    Feb 1, 2005
    SE Florida
    This is the best of several shots using tripod & timer, lit with 2 small flashlights. Had great difficulty getting a critical sharp focus either with auto focus or manual. How can this shot be improved on from both from a focus and lighting standpoint?
    Shot with what was already on the tripod, the D2Hs & 85 1.4. Was placed on a blue velvet lumber cushion and a black jacket used for background.
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    Exposure Time 1/8 sec
    Aperture f/7.1
    WB 4300K
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 3, 2006
  2. Nothing at all wrong with the shot from where I'm sitting. Well exposed, sharp, compelling composition. Nice work.
  3. Agree with Justin, looks good from here. One thing you might try is positioning. Get lower with the camera, and adjust the level, it "may" be slightly tilted to the right. Yu could also try a couple "mag" lights pointed at it if they are handy...

    Either way, nice job!
  4. Scotty_R


    Jan 1, 2006

    This is a very nice shot, Steve...if it were any sharper, it would bleed. The curved lines define the direction of the shot nicely, good sparkle where it's needed.

    Your pbase images are very compelling and well done. What they may lack, and I'm not suggesting that they lack anything, they more than make up for in emotion. Your portraits are natural and comfortable looking and tell the viewer a lot about the subject's personality. The sports shots are very good--action, energy, great lighting...just nice stuff all around. I'd say you've got more than enough talent to go along with all that glass.
  5. I think this is already a great shot with good composition!

    I can only assume you want to improve the lighting evermore?

    The problem with crystal is,that it has no color, just reflects the environment. ( in your case mostly the black background and the lights)

    So if you might want to give it more to reflect. Maybe something colored beside or in front of it, to be reflected? Or some colored light? (I recently used blue foil on the sb800 for lighting the ice here: http://www.pbase.com/mcschuster/image/54186017/original.jpg

    I remember Paul had a similar experience with some silverware: https://www.nikoncafe.com/vforums/showthread.php?t=50081
    you might want to take a look at this thread (where I obviously gave some bad advice :redface: )
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2017
  6. PeterRH

    PeterRH Guest

    Tried something similar a while back

    And found in my situation that I had to place the lighting (SB800) low and behind the object to avoid glare and reflection spotting all over the place.

    D2x 85mm @f/16

    I think you did a good job. On my monitor I'm not seeing it quite as tack sharp as the other posters here but I wonder if that is related to Pbase or the lower res file from a D2Hs (I have no experience with either).

    As for focus, I use a right-angle finder for much of what I do now, and this has a 2x magnification to check critical focus.
  7. Rob


    Jul 28, 2005
    Truro, Cornwall, UK
    Steve, top of the head idea..........how about a water spray from the front, just to see how water droplets might help with the 'motion' of the dolphin. In the same way we water flowers in Macro.
  8. MarkM


    Dec 20, 2005
    Tampa Florida
    Hi Steve,

    Like everybody else, it is a great shot.

    How about rotating the view more to the left so the dolphin appears to be jumping towards your right shoulder.

    Maybe lowering at least one of the lights.

    in terms of a clock face, with camera set at '6' and dolphin set at middle of face, jumping towards '4' or between '4' & '5', try lighting at '10' and '2', '9' and '3' or '5' and '1'.

    I like the water drop idea as well, maybe with a blue light, the water drops would compliment the effect you already have with the cushion.

    maybe set the camera on bulb with a shuuter speed estimated on how long it will take you to step away to manually fire a flash (diffused, colored, bounce, etc. at your discresion) using test button.

    Ok, enough of my ramblings, the pic is great, I can't wait to see what happens next.

    Happy New Year To All
  9. lowlight_junkie


    Nov 28, 2005
    What about illuminating it from underneath via a hole in some black paper and a mag light?
  10. Steve S

    Steve S

    Feb 1, 2005
    SE Florida
    Thanks everyone, you have all given me plenty to think about. I like the idea of a *level* shot from a slightly lower position, with the Dolphin angled more toward my right shoulder. Will play round with the lighting some more too. I didn't even think to try out my strobes out in the studio...til now. Stay tuned for round 2!
  11. troy

    troy Guest

    Steve, you don't need to do a thing with this. You have captured a true crystal and made a master piece of it.

    You need not make it look any more real. But if you do, a water drop on the dolphin's nose would help.... No way. keep it as is.

  12. Steve S

    Steve S

    Feb 1, 2005
    SE Florida
    Well, I don't know if I can dramatically improve it, but I do think it can be improved on. Did anyone notice that I used a very low Kelvin temp WB (4300) to produce this blue shading? The Dolphin is actually clear crystal.
  13. Gale


    Jan 26, 2005
    Viera Fl
    Steve the blue looks beautiful..
    Only distracting blue would be what it is resting on.

    I also have a clear glass dolphin I would like to photograph. So far bubkis... :>))))
    Will be interested in what you may come up with.
  14. jfriend


    Nov 11, 2005
    SF Bay Area
    One idea

    I'd say this one depends upon what you are trying to achieve. It could go exactly as it is. Or, you could spread out the tone with a levels adjustment (move the right slider to the left to taste) and raise the shadows with shadow/highlights.

    This is what I got when I did that:

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
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