Delphinium trolliifolium

Discussion in 'Botany Photo of the Day Submissions' started by leafdesigner, May 7, 2006.

  1. leafdesigner

    leafdesigner Member

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    Though I dream of perhaps getting a nice digital SLR someday, for now my 4-year old Nikon Coolpix 4300 is the camera I carry on walks in the field. This camera limits my ability to manually control certain things, such as depth of field. The two photos of Delphinium trolliifolium (poison delphinium) I am submitting here illustrate an attempt to overcome certain inherent limitations with my camera. The first image is pretty much straight from the camera (though resized for this forum). I came across the patch of delphinium along the Lewis River in SW Washington, and I wanted to isolate a single inflorescence against a dark ground. The tree trunk provided the backdrop, but because I couldn't get the shallow depth of field I wanted, I had to recreate it in Photoshop. Yes, I hear the disparaging cries of camera purists out there, but, hey, until I have a couple of thousand to plop down on a nice digital SLR and a few lenses, this will have to do. The trickiest part was isolating the inflorescence so I could blur the background. I found the easiest way to select the flowers was to view the image in the blue channel, where the flowers and stems popped out strongly from the background. Then I used the magnetic lasso tool to select the inflorescence. It did a decent job on the flowers, but the stem looked pretty ragged. I copied the selection, and pasted it into another layer. Then I selected only the stems from the original image using the normal lasso tool, set to 3 pixel feather radius and selecting just outside the main outline of the stems (this preserved the fine hairs on the stem). I then pasted that selection on top of the other and merged the layers. After that, I was able to blur the background independently of the inflorescence. It sounds like a lot of trouble, but it all took me less than an hour. The only other thing I did to the new image was use the Digital Velvia action previously described in this forum to brighten up the color.
     

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  2. Durgan

    Durgan Contributor 10 Years

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    You did a good job on the photo. I probably prefer the original, but that is a personal choice. Well done.
    Durgan.
     
  3. leafdesigner

    leafdesigner Member

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    Thanks, Durgan.

    Matt
     

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