Fern and Tulips

Image Description

Colorful flowers! What a sight for sore winter eyes. These lovely tulips were in the greenhouse at Meijer Gardens (Grand Rapids, MI). When a scene is a bit chaotic, I often decide to embrace that chaos with ICM.

Type of Critique Requested

  • Aesthetic: Feedback on the overall visual appeal of the image, including its color, lighting, cropping, and composition.

  • Emotional: Feedback on the emotional impact and artistic value of the image.

Specific Feedback and Self-Critique

In a scene like this with contrasting colors and busyness, I lean into it by using ICM to create a more painterly look. I like the vibrancy and texture created by the movement. There’s a bit of frenetic energy to it, which seems fitting for how we feel when we’ve been cooped up all winter and are ready for the stimulation of nature’s rebirth.

Feedback requested:
Aesthetic and Emotional: overall thoughts welcome. I’m particularly interested in opinions about the balance and composition. Is it too busy? Would you crop it or touch up any areas? After the first impression (what IS your first impression?), what keeps you in the picture? What pulls you out?

Technical Details

Canon EOS R, Lensbaby Velvet 56, ISO 100, 1/4". LR Classic processing with some pretty extreme slider action that might make some people twitch :joy:


Beth, Your decision to go ICM in a busy scene is so interesting. I think it actually smooths the scene out, with each color and shape covering more of the frame. It seems the busyness is actually reduced.
Thanks for sharing this tip. And, I like this crop the way it is. A beautiful image.

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Hi Mark, thanks for your feedback! You make a great point about ICM smoothing the chaos out… it does make the smaller elements (like the flowers, which despite their bright colors take up less real estate in the scene) take up more space. I’m glad you like the image - thanks!

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Is it Easter time already? This feels like that colorful holiday. Well done Beth. I’ve tried this kind of subtle ICM and even multiple exposures in camera. They never turn out for me. This one works on all levels. Well done.

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Hi Beth,

I like that, “what IS your first impression?” :slight_smile: Sounds like something I’d say to someone in person.

My very first impression was “Color”, second impression was “Color”.

Sorry, I’m not qualified to offer advice in ICM or Abstracts but I can say that I love the colors! :slight_smile:
Post anything where the image is somewhere between double exposures and I might be able to offer something more, so for now, I’ll just stick to loving the colors. :smiley:

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Did someone mention color yet? If not count me in! Coloful and just like a bouquet. Such a happy and uplifting springy image. It makes me can’t wait for my mini-roses and assorted blooms to start coming up in the back yard to I can play around more with the ICM.

Love the arrangement. I have only one nit/suggestion and that’s the fern in the LLC. At least to my eye it just doesn’t belong - it’s not a flower for one, it’s bright and in the corner and at least for me, detracts from the beauty of this “arrangement.” Conversely, the dark, higher contrast LRC for similar reasons. So I’m suggesting a crop. Of course your intent and vision may be different (as it should be since we’re not all the same!) But I’ll put this out there anyway for consideration. Please forgive the sloppy cloning in that corner. Had to do a few repairs to even make it kind of work. But you get the idea.

Oh, and it looks like some of the whites are clipped - which I think accent the white blossoms and gives them a little contrast - at the same time I wanted to make the darker whites, more white - minor, minor.

Keep 'em coming!

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@David_Bostock Thank you! It is very Easter-y, isn’t it? :slight_smile: Hope you keep trying the subtle ICM/ME work… when you get something you love, it’s the best feeling!

@Merv I’ll take “Color” any day! Thank you for sharing and liking my question :-). I’ll be posting MEs sometime soon. I have some I’ve done with architecture that I like but my default abstract with nature is ICM, so far fewer of those. Except I do have a cool abstract ME from Death Valley that I’ll post soon… maybe tomorrow!

Lon, you’ve homed in on exactly the points I was wondering about but decided to keep to myself so I could see if they came up in the comments :-).

First, the fern. Yes. I did a cropped version but wasn’t liking the balance, so I decided, “why not keep the fern and make it part of the title? Like it was intentional?” It’s okay, not offensive, but you’re right in that it’s a bit out of place and takes some of the spotlight.

And the whites, yes, I wondered about those, too. I knew there were a few clipped areas, but wasn’t sure how to balance them without turning the whites gray or funky. I like your solution of brightening up some of the darker whites so that they pop in a more pleasing way.

Thank you for taking the time to give the image some processing love and providing me with food for thought. I do plan to go back and tinker with it soon and will share a repost when I do!

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Hi Beth! I really love the movement in your ICM! I totally understand about using ICM when you don’t know what to do with the chaos of a scene. This reminds of a finger painting, with all the colors and texture and just how fun it is! I have an idea for a crop. I just see more towards the top kind of like an explosion twirling outward and feel like a square crop would not only take care of the fern like @Lon_Overacker mentioned but I also feel would bring attention to the main action of the scene. Hope you don’t mind…

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Beth, funny you mention. Truthfully, when I saw the thumbnail, I immediately opened up the image, large view and right away made a connection to the image… the rest just big words after the initial impression… ha ha. But seriously, I couldn’t have repeated the title until you just now mentioned. Also interesting because one of my favorite little sayings is, “if you’re going to include something, include it on purpose.” And you did! And to drive that home, include in the title! :slight_smile:

Probably just around 2-3 years ago, I would have been in the mind set - either crop it, or leave it… But now, I think I have the skills to provide other options. And yeah, I came from the film days and if you didn’t get it right in the camera, it was a bust. But as we evolve from documentarians and “it is what it is,” to being creative artists… well, there ya go, hello ICM. :slight_smile:

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Beth, this is a really nice ICM photo. Well done.

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Thanks very much for your kind words, Shirley!

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Hi Beth, wow I love the explosion of colors in your image! The applied motion provides this feeling of joy and of arrival of Spring.

As others have suggested, some careful cropping would help elevate the image especially cropping off the fern. A crop off the right a bit would also help. There is a vertical line created by the grass on the right edge. I would also recommend bumping up the exposure in the shadows near the center and upper section to help even out the tones.

What I love about ICM is not just the creative freedom in the technique but also how the camera transforms from a purely mechanical tool to a paint brush that the artist, the photographer, can use to express themselves. Keep posting and beautiful work!

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Thanks, Alfredo, for your encouragement and suggestions. I’m inspired to keep tinkering with this image, as it has an energy worth trying to amplify through some small but important edits. Once I have time to revisit it, I’ll post the updated image. And I share your love of ICM for the same reasons you cite… it really takes the idea of “painting with light” to an entirely different level!