Photogenic subjects in nature

12 12 2009

If you are waiting for next photos of the orange bush presented in previous post, don’t be afraid, your waiting is at its end. After your warm responses to previously posted image I opened it again in LR and adjusted a bit accordingly to your suggestions and suggestions of other fellow photographers. The most of you suggested a bit lighter background and less tight frame. I wasn’t very happy with the frame either so here is updated version. The background is not so saturated and a bit lighter, frame disappeared and a slight vignetting was applied. What do you think now?

1/200 sec. @ 100mm, f/4, ISO 100

I would like to write about more or less photogenic subjects in nature now. Have you ever wondered how is it possible that some subjects draws your attention more than the others? Have you ever realized that you can take several great photos of one subject while none or only one in case of another subject? Some subjects literally draws your attention and you just find another and another wonderful compositions while it is extremely hard to find a single suitable composition of other subject no matter how hard you try. Do you have the same experience or is it only something in me?

Anyway, this red/orange shrub was of the first class, I was finding another and another compositions and all of them looked pretty well through the viewfinder. Well, reality is a bit different when you download all the files to your computer but still I ended up with 3 images which I liked. The first one is above and here is the second one.

1/160 sec. @ 100mm, f/4, ISO 100

If I’m really attracted by such colourful subject and I already took a certain number of photos I sometimes “switch” to abstract mode and I look for some compositions where colours and shapes could create something interesting. In this case I wanted to achieve a wash out colours. I wanted it to look like painted with water colours. If I passed or failed is up to your consideration.

The third and last image was taken with similar intention as the previous one but with an idea to have at least something in focus and the rest only as shapes. I wasn’t very happy with the colour version because of greenish background so I tried some enhancements in LR and was satisfied with Antique Grayscale preset.

1/160 sec. @ 100mm, f/2.8, ISO 100

Technical information: all the images were taken with Canon EOS 450D camera and Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 USm macro lens under natural conditions (autumn sun light, slight wind). All post-processing was done in Adobe Lightroom 2.5.

It’s a very long time since I gave some advice here and now is a good time for one: never be satisfied with the image you wanted to take. Try to examine the subject as much as you can, try different f-stops, compositions, lightning conditions, try to exploit as much of the subject as posible. I guarantee you that you’ll be surprised with some results.

That’s all for today, have a nice weekend and enjoy the Christmas preparations!




13 responses

13 12 2009

Nice images throughout this post Tomas. I can relate to your statements about some subjects calling more than others. I think it is largely influenced by our own experiences, mood at the time, and light conditions in any particular spot. Sometimes circles attract us more than squares – zig zags more than straight lines. If I figure it out, I will have to write a book about it. 🙂

13 12 2009
Tomas Turecek

You are right, Mark. I also think that it’s given by our own experience, mood and other factors. If you’ll plan to write a book about it count me as a potential buyer 😀

14 12 2009

I love your work! After taken lots and lots of macro photo’s I know tend to lean more to the abstract capturing because of the colors and shapes. Your first one is a real beauty … wish I had taken that photo 🙂 The second one I like also very much, although the diagonal brown line in the upper left corner is a bit distracting. I’ll be back! 😉

14 12 2009
Tomas Turecek

Hi Monique, I’m really flattered 🙂 I’m glad for every constructive criticism so I’m glad for yours as well. You’re right that the brown/gray stick in the second image is a bit distracting. It’s a small branch from which all those red leaves grow. Perhaps I will play with the image a bit to change the colour of the stick so it will not be so prominent. Thanks for pointing this out!

Btw. if you love my work, I’m sure that you’ll love work by Michael Brown who is a real master in flower, macro and abstract photography. He’s a well known professional and a model for many other photographers including myself. You can find his masterpieces on his blog ( or his web page (

I’m looking forward to seeing you here again 😉

14 12 2009

I’m also a huge fan of Michael Brown, too bad he’s posting so little lately 😦 He’s the one who inspired me!
I agree the colors in the background are bit distracting (I even desaturated them a bit), that’s why I tried to frame the damselfly out of the blue/purple area. Thanks for your constructive comment!

14 12 2009
Tomas Turecek

Yes, it’s bad that last Michael’s post is couple months old but he had an accident and also a lot of work lately so we can only hope that his pace will slow down and he’ll find some time to post new inspiring work soon. I’ve read all his posts and found it extremely entertaining and inspiring.

17 12 2009
Barbara K

Nice work – I like your repost better without the frame. I love ‘abstracts’ in nature, but they are ‘compositions’ in themselves and often tedious & not so easy to find. Your selective focus in sepia (antique processing) is nice, but even here, remember your ‘rule of thirds’ – (even though sometimes we depart from those rules), and leading lines, etc! The 2nd ‘color wash’ image has an out of focus brown branch – without that the lines and composition are right on. These are great exercises in ‘seeing’ so keep going! I had my macro lens in the middle of a poinsettia earlier today and came up with nothing, so I’ll pick it up later and give it another try!

22 12 2009
Tomas Turecek

Thanks for your constructive criticism and encouraging words, Barbara.

17 12 2009

Good morning Tomas. I got into a conversation on Facebook a little while back about the role of “inspiration” in what we do. Many pros feel that inspiration is a “nice to have” but not a “need to have”. I don’t know. I often feel I need to feel inspired for me to make great images. The subject matter must inspire me. The subject matter of this series, for example, inspired you to shoot. I don’t happen to find it inspiring for me. So I probably would have just walked by. And that’s ok. It is similar to you walking by a stand of pines and not being inspired to stop and shoot while I see fabulous potential for pans and blurs. So I do think we need to be inspired by our subject material.

Still that doesn’t stop me from being able to say that I like the first image. Not so much the second one. Something about that sweeping whitish stripe in the UL corner. And I feel so-so about the subject (unlike the second, I feel like I am supposed to know what this is and don’t) and the color conversion. Hope this all makes some sense and temper it by the fact I am in a bit of a funk this morning.

22 12 2009
Tomas Turecek

I agree with you, Ed, that we need to be inspired. Maybe pros are able to take excelent images just because of their experience and skills but does it satisfy them? I can also take camera and take some shots, apply rules for composition, lightning aso. but I’ll not be satisfied with the result. And very often when I’m not inspired and motivated I tend to leave my camera in a bag and rather sit in front of my computer processing older photos or just sit in a chair with a great book in my hands. Just like now. I’m demotivated again even though I bought some flowers to my wife just yesterday. Somehow I can’t find an inner power to take a camera and shoot them 😦 I suspect the weather – cold, winter, snow, sun very low and mostly hidden behind clouds.

Re. the inspiration by the subject itself – this is great because I can’t imagine that we all would be taking the same photos.

23 12 2009
Bernie Kasper

Beautiful work Tomas, I hope you have a wonderful Christmas as well !!

23 12 2009
Tomas Turecek

Hi Bernie, it seems like whole eon since you’ve been here last time 😉 Hope you’re doing well and have a Merry Christmas!

6 01 2010
First year of photography « Close Nature

[…] Photogenic subjects in nature Archives […]

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