Forgotten skills?


I am a member of a camera club and often enter images in their competitions. One night I entered this image, called “Floral Fireworks”. It did very well, earning me 10 out of 10. The judge was complimentary but she assumed the blurring had been achieved in Photoshop. In fact, this shot was, apart from a small crop and the frame, straight out of camera. The blur is simply the result of using a wide aperture (f2.8) and focusing on the centre of a cup shaped bloom. The petals, being nearer the sensor than the centre, are soft.
I think Photoshop is a powerful and effective tool and I enjoy using it. But I wonder whether it has caused us sometimes to forget what can be achieved in camera? For me, the most powerful tool of all is understanding how my camera works. What do you think?

13 thoughts on “Forgotten skills?

  1. Very nice capture, you certainly know how to turn a relatively ordinary point of view into a very interesting one!

    What I would of done, is maybe extend the top and right edges of the photo a tiny bit, just to create more of a dynamic composition.

    Alot of macro shots like these end up looking fake because the depth of field is unnaturally shallow. I understand how the judge may of thought it was edited in, but I am one to love depth of field, and I think it makes the photo way more interesting!

    Anyway enough rambling, have a good day/evening/night!

    Kevin Chen

    • Thank you very much, Kevin. Feel free to ramble! I have chosen a symmetrical composition for this to accentuate the slightly abstract look and the idea of an explosion of colour (hence the title). I did consider making it square to exaggerate the effect but somehow I ended up liking this crop better. I like shallow depth of field macros when done with intent. 🙂

  2. Beautiful image – love those rich tones and the tight crop. As for editing – I love the fact that I can alter images beyond recognition with a few clicks of the mouse, but I’ve also found that the more I know my camera the less time I actually spend editing and the greater the satisfaction in taking a shot that I’m happy with straight away (apart from a few tweaks!). Of course there are some things I can only achieve in post processing (special effects etc), but I’d say that’s about creating something different from a ‘truthful’ rendition.

  3. Beautiful shot. But I don’t think I would jump to thinking the blurring was something that was added in post production. Then again, I love my shallow DoF shots!

    Understanding how your camera works and what you can actually achieve from learning a bit more is a very powerful bit of knowledge to have. I do post production on my shots, here and there. But I try and keep it natural. Photoshop’s a great way to transform a photo, if that’s what you’re after.

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