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© 2001, Jeffrey M. Wallace

Lightning Bug Portrait


Lens: Vivitar 28mm f/2.8 with 12mm extension, handheld.


© 2001, Jeffrey M. Wallace

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I would like to see what people think of the composition and angle of

this shot. I was trying to approach this subject from an unusual

angle (i.e. not straight down on the flower). The original slide

shows much finer detail; you can see the grains of pollen on the

antannae and legs.


Both positive and negative criticism are greatly appreciated,

especially relating to composition, angle, etc.




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I think the angle on this shot is great. Very creative composition. Perfect placement of the bug. In some ways I like the way whatever it is behind the bug (another plant or clouds out of focus?) frames the bug, but I wonder if it might be better without it. I also think having the full length of the petal in focus might improve this. (Though getting that kind of dof might be easier said than done ;) But all in all excellent work!
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Hi Jeff,

I quite like the perspective... I would have worked in a bit closer to highlight the bug though. Maybe post a tighter crop and see which people prefer. I've found it quite educational when I've done it myself.

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Great angle (in fact, it gave me ideas for myself!! oups!). The perspective, the colors, everything work! But as Ian said, maybe the bug is not at its best place in the picture. I tried reframing it on my computer, and when the bug was on top of the flower (centered, altough I usualy don't like things centered!), the image seemed more powerfull. And I don't know if it's possible, but the bug is a bit small... But as you said, your original shows more details.


Great shot.

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I have to disagree...I like the composition and bug, just the way it is. I think the photo is perfect. The colors are fabulous...the angle is ingenious...and the bug, to me, is not the focal point...the flower against the blue sky is. It's kind of like..."A Day in the Life of a Yellow Daisy" kind of thing. I love it!



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I have to say that I think a sharper lens would have improved this shot immensely, because it is not what I'd call sharp. It could be scanning but I think that the problem at least begins with your Vivitar lens. Unfortunately good lenses are expensive. Such is life. (On the flip side, I love the angle & composition though a little tighter crop would make it better in my mind.)
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Thank you all for commenting on this photo. Some replies...


This photo was done with a fully manual Konica which my dad purchased in 1970. There is no autofocus and this shot was done with the camera in my right hand while my left hand was positioning the flower (the bug kept trying to crawl to the underside of the petal). Because of the extension tube, focusing was done by moving forward and backward (extension tubes on wide angle lenses are tricky, at best).


Paul: Those white areas around the bug are white flowers, although I forget what type now. I tied them back for some later photos. I was trying to make the flower seem "larger than life" by making it flow out of the frame.


Denise: You are correct. The flowers are what caught my eye. The bug was a nice side effect. I shot two rolls of these flowers at different angles, and with different amounts of polarization. (The photo lab was so impressed with the color saturation, they are using one of the slides as an example of what this film can do). <--Shameless plug....


Amy: The slide for this is as sharp as can be. The lens I was using is a prime lens from the 70's. It is an all metal, all glass beast (quite heavy, as is the all metal AutoReflex). The fuzziness was mostly due to the scanner and converting the pic to jpeg. I'm not very Photoshop savvy yet--the scanned .tiff is much sharper.


Thanks again to all who commented. Please check the folder to see a cropped version which focuses more on the bug vs. the flower.

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Now that I've taken a second look after a weekend away from the computer I find I quite like the first shot. The out of place petal and the bug add a charming quirkiness to what could have been just another "flower on blue sky photo"

My initial suggestion to post a tighter crop came from my own fascination with bugs (I love bug macros) but on seeing the crop you posted realized how much better the original photo was.

Keep up the good work Jeff!

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