Friday, 15 July 2011

Photo Review

I would like start a new category in this blog: The Photo Review. In this section I'll analyse some of my own photos. When I'll upload a photo in Flickr (where I upload my best photos) I'll write a post about it: why I did that photo?, when and where I did it?, how I did it?, what I like/hate about it?, etc.

This time is the turn of "Cargas Familiares" ("Family Charges").


In this photo we can view a dragonfly. Concretely I think it is a vagrant darter (Sympetrum vulgatum). It is an European dragonfly. It is an odonata, and its suborder is anisoptera ("dragonfly" is usually used for call to all odonata, but some people consider that "dragonfly" is only for anisoptera and zygoptera is not included). We can view some balls in its wings. I don't know what that balls are, but maybe they are eggs (view "Variations & Details").


This picture was taken in Alcalá de Henares, a little city in the centre of Spain (near the capital: Madrid). It was taken in outskirts of the city, in a little natural area called "La Isla y el Val".


Maybe my previous post about "La Ventana Salvaje" in this blog motived me for continue with this project. I decided go outside with my camera and take some naturals pictures after a little fire that occurred recently in this area.

I usually look for wild animals in my photographic excursions. When I move near at home, there aren't big animals, and I usually shoot birds and small insects. Macro-photography is becoming in a new hobby for me.


I used  a strong tripod for this picture (Manfrotto 055XPROB PRO + Manfrotto 804RC2 Basic Pan Tilt Head) and a tele-macro lens (Tamron AF 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di LD Macro 1:2). I used 300mm of focal distance and I took the picture with remote trigger at f/16, 1/40 s, ISO 200 (so appears some noise). I tried to focus at eyes, the animal was very close to camera (I've not cropped the frame).

300mm of focal distance, focusing at less than 1m of distance, produces a very short depth of field. I tried increase it through closing the aperture (f/16). The lack of luminosity is solved by ISO, but we introduce some noise.

The noise is as big as the eyes texture, so I decided blur the grain only a little.

I made three copies of the picture with different parameters (white balance, colours, sharpness, etc). After, I mixed the copies as layers under Gimp.


The version that I've uploaded at Flickr is the "artistic version", but It's not the only one. The first version is the version of La Ventana Salvaje, with a more natural aesthetic.

There you also can view some details of the picture. When I upload my photos, I usually resize them, so some details are lost. The dragonflies eyes are amazing! When you view a 1024 px version you can't view these amazing details. Now you can view it here.

Other interesting details of this photo are the balls in the wings of the dragonfly. I show it below.

Now, there are two places in Internet where I upload my photos at full resolution: deviantART and 500px. If you'll buy my pictures there, you'll can view with maximum detail.


I like my photo :p. If I didn't like it, I wouldn't upload it. However, I know that my photo is very far of perfection.

Firstly, I don't like the composition. I have other similar shots with the dragonfly in the corner up right. The position of the wings in that corner makes a very powerful frame that in the final version doesn't appear.

The colours aren't good. Sometimes I have a fight between the details of an image with low contrast and the colours of a high contrast. High contrast produces brighter colours, but you can lost some details when blacks are more black and whites, more white. In this photo I've used a low contrast and the colours are not as live as I would desire. The bug seems be made of plastic.

The noise is other problem in this picture. With a ISO 200 (low, but not 100), I have too much noise. The problem is that the noise grain has a similar size to eyes texture, so deleting one of them, you delete both.

The sharpness of the lens and the native resolution of my camera (a Nikon D3000) are inevitable limitations with I have to work everyday.


You have several purchase options:

  • deviantART: You can buy here some prints of this photo (photo prints, greeting cards, mouse pads, postcards, puzzles, etc.). They are sold without watermark and with full resolution.
  • 500px: You also can buy here some prints of this photo, but you also can buy here licenses for use my photos (personal and commercial usages). They are sold with full resolution but with watermark.

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