I like how hollyhock flowers grow close together. Here I saw how a second plant with different colour was trying to get in on the act in the garden. Only after examining the stacked result did I notice how a beetle had been resting motionless for all the shots, a polite photobomber! Can you spot it?

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Is it sharp enough as a stack? I’m still a beginner at stacking.

Technical Details

Is this a composite: No
D500 +105mm macro lens. 1/500 f8 ISO 400.

9 shots stacked in Zerene Stacker (P Max).

Topaz Denoise (Low Light), slight lowering of highlights, square cropped


Beautiful flowers, Mike. Great detail in each flower and the intruder is just showing off, I think. My eyes are really bad, but is the beetle located in the just under the lowest flower on the left hand side? Just a guess. Nice capture.

You’re spot-on, Linda. My eyes are really bad too, which is why I didn’t notice it till after processing. But I would have left it there anyway.

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Beautiful flowers, Mike! And I love the photobombing beetle! He was very subtle, but wanted a moment of fame!

This is just lovely!!! Soft light and gorgeous detail on the translucent petals, and I love the one of a different color! The stacking looks perfect to me, and caught the needed DOF so well.

Took me a while to find the beetle – it looks quite natural there.

I wonder about either darkening the lighter areas of BG or lightening the darker ones, so there is not such a difference. I think it would emphasize the subtlety of this gorgeous image.



I wonder if it is ever possible to photograph flowers without an insect in the frame. Most of the time I don’t look for them unless they are readily apparent and will make a important contribution to the image.

But flowers and insects are inevitable. Flowers need them and the insects need the flowers. Why should we be surprised?

As to the photograph. It is beautiful and I keep coming back to enjoy the hollyhocks. The more I return, the more I find that the forth flower, of a different color is out of place. Frankly, I prefer just the three. That “other” flower feels like it’s trying to force it’s way into image. I know you can’t remove or reshoot, so my opinion is rhetorical.

I guess it’s my ingrained “the balance of threes” compositional style, but as we all do in these conversations, note that it’s simply my humble opinion.


Beautiful flowers , nice light, nice colors and details. Stacking looks good. very well done.

I’ll never look at hollyhocks the same again. This is really beautiful.