Calanthe sylvatica lilacina
- [2007-11-28 18:53]
-  [+]
I found this photo in the "Uncritiqued" gallery and thought that I could maybe assist you somewhat with your technique for orchid photos. The fact that it had no critiques could perhaps have something to do with the reality that since you joined TrekNature, more than 13 months ago, you only did 2 critiques to other members on the site. I am sure it would not be too difficult for you to make a difference to this situation.
The flower was placed very centrally in the frame, but the diagonal positioning makes it an attractive composition. I noticed from your other orchid photos you are experiment with various combinations of F/stop, shutter speed, lighting, etc. Hopefully you would still find the recipe that may work for you. On this shot however, the DOF did not cover the range of the flower so most of the shot is actually out of focus. The lip, being the most forward pointing part of an orchid flower, need to be in focus to give impact and the DOF need to be sufficient to show the details on the petals at least.
The f/4 aperture resulted in a very narrow DOF since the distance between the sensor or lens and the subject was just too close. For a flower this size (±2.5-5cm) you probably need at least an f/11+ aperture. Because the flower is stationary you don't have to worry much for a slow shutter speed. When the light is in short supply, you could safely go right down to 1/60 as you did for example with your excellently focused "Bulbophyllum clavatum" photo. The difference there is that you used an f/20 aperture on a much smaller flower which was probably in the range of about 1cm.
Back to your posting: The colours are fine and the dark BG makes this white flower stand out very well. You made good use of the available light thus ensuring that there was no OE on the white sepals and petals.
To summarise, for most orchid photos you should:
1. Make use of a tripod.
2. Push the F/stop as high as possible (f/18+).
3. Slow shutter speeds are no problem with stationary flowers (if there is no wind to deal with).
4. Get additional light on your subject (make use of any kind of white reflector sheet to reflect some natural light on the flower or utilise a fill-in flash).
5. Do not focus on the tip of the lip or at the very back area of the sepals, but get a focus point ±2/3 from the most backward area of the flower.
I hope this might help you a bit in future.
Domage, Fred, la photo c´est presque entierement hors de phocus, sauf les vesicles orange.