Leidig Dancers +alt crop/rework

Some of you may remember my infatuation with meadow scenes and grasses. Not sure if this measures up to others, but I sure have fun wandering the meadows looking for little scenes that grab my eye.

I have several from this trip. I have several and I most often use focus stacking to get the greatest amount of detail - especially on those mornings when it’s dead calm and the tiniest of blades are not moving and I get to take advantage of that. However, I also have a couple that I will share where dof plays more of a role and I want the bg to go soft and out of focus. I think for the first time I still did a focus stack, but only for the first couple feet of the scene, but then let the rest go soft. Interesting technique. More later.

Anyway, would love your thoughts, comments, critiques and suggestions for this one.


What technical feedback would you like if any?

Any and all, but mostly on color, processing

What artistic feedback would you like if any?

Does this hold your interest? It’s one thing to have lots of delicate detail… but is there enough or an element that keeps you engaged?

Any pertinent technical details:

Nikon D800E, Nikon 28-300mm @105mm 4-image focus stack at f/8


Forgot it’s better to put reposts in here rather than in a reply so members can click between versions. Anyway, final repost after incorporating Harley’s additional feedback and also Dave’s suggestion of burning the top edge.

  • Started over from master, re-cropped
  • Brought in black pt in a new TK Midtones-3 Levels layer
  • boosted yellows, dropped reds in b&w layer luminosity mode
  • burned (and cropped a bit) top edge
  • selective cloning along the edges and a few very small eye sores
  • Increase yellow, drop red a smidge in a Selective Color layer for neutrals and whites.

Now my eyes are done with this one! Can’t see straight and there comes a point where one easily starts over processing and making things worse…

Thanks again for all the feedback!

You may only download this image to demonstrate post-processing techniques.

Lon, this is a subtle but very nice image. And I do think there are enough elements and patterns in the meadow to hold my interest. Obviously the bright flower(?) in the LRC is a good focal point, but I really like the randomly distributed bent over grass stalks in the upper third of the scene. They move your eye around enough to keep me engaged.

The colors look warm, but natural. Color is subjective, and very much depends on one’s taste. While your colors as presented look pretty good, you might shoot for some color separation to make the grass stalks stand out more. I fooled around with this in Lightroom’s HSL Hue panel, and found that shifting yellow to the left towards orange, and green to the right towards more green helped get some separation. This is an approach that has often worked well for me with warm autumn colors. You may want to fool around with this a bit.

I know how much fun it is to wander the meadows looking for these. On this one, however, I am finding my attention kind of drift around looking for something to stick to. The flowers are strong elements, but the grasses are not defined enough to get me from place to place. I played with different crops and could not come up with anything. This is not one of my favorite Lon grass images.

Thanks @Ed_McGuirk, great idea. Yes, I’ve processed several different scenes now and this one was the most warm, even more towards red. I like your ideas and will play with that (although I’ll have to find an ACR/PSCC alternative as I’ve never opened LR - dont’ tell anyone…)

Thanks for the comment.

Fair enough @Harley_Goldman. I agree that perhaps more color separation or tones with the grasses would help and the eye does move around a lot (I thought so anyway.)

Might just be the reward on a personal level experiencing the meadows - rather than an image that creates an impact or response to a viewer. I’m good with that.

That makes two of us. But don’t tell anyone.

I love the concept, Lon, but find my eye wandering around without a real direction of flow. I think doing some tweaks on color separation would help a lot. I love all the tiny details, and the various plants.

I believe you can make adjustments in ACR that will do the trick.

And me, makes three.

Lon, this is very beautiful for such a mundane subject matter. Most of us would not even see the potential. The textures and rich warm tones are luscious. I’m hard pressed to give many suggestions as the comp. works for me as framed and processing looks good as well. Only thought is that I would lightly burn the edge along the top of the frame.

I’m the same way about Horsetails and the other marsh grasses in my area. I like the warm tones and the fact that there is no particular COI, lets my eye wander around.

I think I know where you’re going with this. As I see it this is a light gentle scene lightly punctuated with those pods of seeds. Sort of reminds me or Andrew Wyatt’s egg tempura work of east coast meadows. For me the sharply defined grass in the llc goes against the ambiguity of the subject. The entire bottom edge of the frame has that issue. I feel the meadow has to maintain that sort of be suspended within the frame. The upper right quadrant is a good crop to my mind.

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Wow Igor, excellent and astute feedback and observation! I’ve taken your thought/advice and re-worked and cropped the image. First started with the UR quadrant, but I felt it started to lose a bit of the “dancer”, whimsical look. But your comment about the sharply defined grasses in the LL and the “entire bottom edge” got me to this crop. I like this so much better!

Now, granted, I don’t think the crop elevated this to really much more than the original - in other words, it’s nothing earth shattering to start with… but I do think this is stronger now. At least in my own mind. I’m sure others are not as much, but I get that and appreciate that.

Also played with color, sat and tried to boost the “dancer” seed heads using a b&w layer in luminosity mode; among other tweaks.

Thanks so much!

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This works so much better for me. My eye is taking in the grasses instead of roaming around aimlessly. I might even bring in the black point a ways (I did a quick levels with luminosity blend). That pops the “structure” just a bit more to my eye.

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Thanks for checking back Harley! Your tweak is a good one. I’ve adjusted my master file. Thank you!

I really like the pano crop. The result is much more coherent and has a nice flow.

Appreciate the time you took to re-visit this one, Lon.

This is much better, Lon. This is actually very beautiful. I would be proud of it. I get the comment about wandering visually without settling down. But thats one of the appeals of grass. It’s endless yet made up of countless small stalks. You experience it as a whole, a totality rather than searching.

As much as I enjoyed the original I think you nailed it with the repost, Lon. I for one am glad you noticed this intimate scene because I am sure I would not have spotted it; so kudos to you for isolating it. I am really enjoying the earthtones and details in the larger version. This is a very soothing and relaxing scene for me.