Weekly #679 – Macro and Close Up Competition

Competition Details
Closing Date: 02/08/2020
Judge: GlynM

I do not think that we have done this subject in full since November 2016 so it is hopefully something worth trying again.

I will be open to any well-crafted macro/close-up images but particularly those that manage the short depth of field that comes with this sort of challenge . However all interpretations will be welcome and I look forward with some anticipation to seeing your entries.

The usual weekly competition rules apply. Entries can be shot for the competition or taken from your archives. It must though be shot using a Pentax camera or their closely related clones.

The winner is expected to set, comment on and judge the next competition.

The competition closes at midnight BST on Sunday, 2nd August. Good luck and I look forward, with anticipation, to seeing your entries.
Competition Entries

GlynM

Link Posted 03/08/2020 - 09:14
I was really pleased to see so many entries and I would like to thank everyone that entered. Your efforts are very much appreciated.

Just a reminder that I am no expert at this. Everything here is just my personal opinion and the results reflect my personal tastes. I have tried to make useful comments for each entry and hope that I have not upset anyone as this was definitely not my intention. As always it is an excellent and well-crafted collection of pictures and it has been fun and a privilege to review your work.

Astrantia and Hover Fly – tyronet2000
I think this is a grand image to start off this competition. There are lots of elements that I like including the plain dark background, the sharp focus (particularly around the wasp), subject lighting and the diagonal composition going from corner to corner. Being a bit picky there is just a little something strange going on at the top of the flower which seems to be showing a slight double image. However I think the total image looks fantastic.

Bumblebee – Perspicador
Having just judged the monthly competition I was amused to see this image which appears to have been shot at the same time as Rodney’s submission in the monthly competition. It might even be the same bee. I do though think the monthly entry was a better shot. Both the foliage and the bee in this competition look rather soft. However for me it brought back fun memories when, some time ago, I also had to judge both competitions at the same time and someone managed to enter the same picture in both.

Spiderlings – JAK
I was pleased to see that this image was shot with D FA 100 Macro being my lens of choice for close-up and macro. However I do not think I have ever attempted anything as small as these spiders. We get some good sharp detail with the foreground spider and cobweb trails. The much softer spiders provide good context. I suspect that these spiders were not standing still and were probably moving around, adding to the challenge, which I think has been well met.

Dragonfly – davidwozhere
I think this is a fantastic macro image. Shot with a long, 300mm, focal length it maintains a good depth of field across the subject with just the very end of the tail and furthest wing gong slightly soft. The lighting works well and I love the soft background. Given that I assume that this subject could fly off at any moment I think this image displays considerable skill and camera management.

Leaving... – Johnwnjr
I think this is an impressive shot and believe that it must have required some careful thought and preparation. It is also another entry using my favourite 100mm macro lens. I have photographed static dandelion seed heads but this one, shedding a few of its seeds, is also an action shot. Presented in black & white which largely works well but I would like to have had a little more of a full tonal range with a darker background, adding to the image impact. This could possibly be achieved with a tweak of the contrast and levels. However I think the image remains a well thought-out and outstanding achievement.

A Hoverfly (Mya thropa florea) – MHOL190246
I think this is an excellent macro shot of the face of a hoverfly. While there is a fairly narrow depth of field in this instance I think it works because it makes the viewer concentrate on the excellent sharp detail of the insect’s face. The image still though contains enough detail behind the face to make sure we know it is a fly. The lighting and plain background also works well to compliment the subject. That sharp face detail certainly provided some fantastic impact.

Poppy Seed Head – PRYorkshire
I like this image because, for me, it has not tried to present a full focus record shot but something that is more like photographic art almost leaning towards abstract. It was shot with the Tamron, well respected, 90mm Macro lens at f2.8 giving this very shallow depth of field. I think the composition works well with the seed head diagonally filling the frame. I also think the lighting, colours and plain background contribute to the success of the shot. An excellent and unusual approach which for me works really well.

Butterfly Blues – mikeprotts
We used to get a few of these blue butterflies in my old garden but they were fairly elusive, tended to suddenly fly off and were therefore difficult to photograph. So I think this image is a good achievement. Another long, 300mm, focal length shot which I guess makes it a little easier not to disturb the subject. It has been shot at f4 giving a fairly tight depth of field which does though cover the subject nicely. The background, because it is mainly leaves at different levels was obviously harder to manage which I think works fairly well. I would have been tempted to have cropped it a bit concentrating just on the leaf with the butterfly. However the butterfly has been well captured and is certainly better any of my attempts.

Spanner in the Rain – johnriley
It is good to see a nice static subject amongst what is mainly a collection of creatures. I like the combination of the spanner that looks like it has been around a while, with the well weathered wood backdrop. I also like the way the rain water is showing on the spanner, catching the light, but the wood looks like it has dried out. No depth of field issues here with a fantastic level of detail particularly with the wood grain.

Gannet – Nigelk
Another close up shot using a long, 300mm, focal length and I can understand why with this subject. It is a very nice capture. It uses the depth of field well to separate the subject and background and we see some fantastic detail. I never realised that gannets could look quite so blue.

Fish from the deep – Tiny2
I think this is an excellent close-up image. I am impressed that it was an opportunist shot of a subject observed on a market stall. The camera has also certainly been well managed. The subjects, I guess being damp, almost look like glass. The composition works well and I like the diagonal framing approach.

The Bee and the Marigold – Noelcmn
I think this is a very impressive image particularly because it done using a filter type macro conversion lens. We get a reasonable depth of field providing some really sharp detail. I think the composition works well with the bee looking into the shot. The lighting is fantastic and the colour is outstanding. A terrific shot.

Male Common Blue Butterfly – retsoor
Another impressive image of a blue butterfly. I think this one was probably shot with the, again well respected, 105mm Sigma macro lens. As I mentioned before you have to take what you can get with these sorts of subjects as they can be very elusive and fly off with little notice. With this image I like the diagonal aspect of the subject and while there is a fairly narrow depth of field we do get some impressive sharp detail although I am at a bit of a loss as to where one of the feelers has gone. The background was obviously a challenge and I find what I think is the brown gap between some background foliage a little disturbing. However it certainly provides some terrific impact.

The Fly – snakey
I think this is an excellent macro shot that certainly creates some impact. The depth of field is perhaps just a little shallow but the sharp detail we get across the majority of the fly is absolutely stunning. The composition works well and the soft plain background is another plus point. Given that it is another image of a subject that could have flown off at any moment I think it has been really well done.

The Burnished Brass – drofmit
It was good to see Tim’s description and it sounds like it was a terrific challenge to obtain this shot. We certainly get to see the gold wing scales catching the light. I think the composition works because the twig is part of story and the positioning of the moth is certainly very good. The moth is in sharp focus in front of a nice soft backdrop and we also get some interesting sharp detail of what-ever if forming on the twig. I think the picture needs the description and with this I think the image works really well.

Results
This competition has certainly attracted an excellent set of well-crafted images. What stands out are the largely two different approaches, the shooting of subjects that can easily take off and disappear and other more static subjects. Both requiring skill, lots of practise, preparation and often perseverance. So it has been a real pleasure to see and comment on these images. Judging though has been very difficult becoming mainly subjective, more my personal taste. So after some careful consideration this is it:

1st – davidwozhere for “Dragonfly” – For such a fantastic combination of terrific detail complemented by a perfect soft background.
2nd – Noelcmn for “The Bee and the Marigold” – For a such a fantastic, bright, sharp and colourful macro shot using a filter macro convertor.
3rd – Nigelk for “Gannet” – For an excellent capture of the head of this large seabird and being the best close-up rather than macro image.

Highly Commended, in no particular order, to:
JAK for Spiderlings
Tiny2 for Fish from the deep
PRYorkshire for Poppy Seed Head
snakey for The Fly
drofmit for The Burnished Brass

I think this completes my responsibilities here and hand over to David for the next round.

Glyn
Last Edited by GlynM on 03/08/2020 - 09:20

tyronet2000

Link Posted 03/08/2020 - 10:12
Congratulations to the Winner and other placings. Thanks to Glyn for the interesting subject the judging and the critique. Well done everyone who took part.
Regards
Stan

PPG

Tiny2

Link Posted 03/08/2020 - 11:41
Congratulations to the winners in a very interesting competition. It’s always good to see how authors approach a subject and the variety of images that are produced. Some excellent work all round and constructive comments from Glyn. 👍

Noelcmn

Link Posted 03/08/2020 - 17:49
Fantastic winning shot, congrats davidwozhere. And extended to my fellow placed podium placed NigelK and not forgetting the HC's JAK, Tiny2, PRYorkshire, snakey and Drofmit. Wonderful challenge, and a +1 on Tiny2's comment. Thanks for my coveted 2nd spot. And thanks too for the C&C's, always appreciated!
Link Posted 03/08/2020 - 20:16
Thanks Glyn for the competition, judging and comments. Congratulations to the top 3, well deserved .
Well done also to the HC's.

davidwozhere

Link Posted 04/08/2020 - 00:48
Thank you for the 1st place and well done Noel and Nigel. Both of those are certainly contenders! Tiny's deep fish got a good looking at from me too - well spotted and a great opportunity seized. Thank you Glyn for those succinct comments on a good competition.
Both the *istDS and the K5 are incurably addicted to old glass

My page on Photocrowd - link
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