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Leica Q / Leica Q2 MACRO image thread

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4 hours ago, MLochmansPhoto said:

...............................................................no words, so beautiful.

+1. Demitris, I bet you don’t have enough wall space in your home to show all the great images on large prints. You need a gallery to show and sell your stuff. Your work is so inspiring or else makes me want to sell all my camera gear and take up needlepoint. Not! 

Edited by Infiniumguy

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3 minutes ago, Infiniumguy said:

+1. Demitris, I bet you don’t have enough wall space in your home to show all the great images on large prints. You need a gallery to show and sell your stuff. Your work is so inspiring or else makes me want to sell all my camera gear and take up needlepoint. Not! 

+1 as well. But Dan: please don't give Leica any ideas. They will begin selling $5k knitting needles.

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3 hours ago, bags27 said:

+1 as well. But Dan: please don't give Leica any ideas. They will begin selling $5k knitting needles.

Mum’s the word. Leica, please ignore my comments above. I was having a delirious moment. 😂 

Edited by Infiniumguy

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2 hours ago, bags27 said:

+1 as well. But Dan: please don't give Leica any ideas. They will begin selling $5k knitting needles.

I am not sure about "photophile" knitting needles but people pay much more for audiophile needles for sure!!

Koetsu Coralstone Platinum Phono Cartridge

 

 

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Wow! I've seen $10k turntables and analogue amplifiers, but never a stylus for more than about $500. A world I no longer know.

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On 11/3/2018 at 4:50 AM, zampelis said:

I have been "focusing" on macro photography for quite a while. I have mainly used manual focus lenses on a Sony A7 lately but have always liked the Leica IQ the best. For a while I had an M8 but decided that the rangefinder thing was not for me. A few weeks ago I decided to lurk here as I had not been on a Leica site for a long time. Seeing the macros here and especially yours hooked me on the Q so I picked up a used one in mint shape. With autofocus and macro ability it is a dream. I wish that the lens was 50mm but that's life.

On to the point. I would love to hear about your work flow: camera settings, background, post production tweaks etc. I understand if you would rather not reveal the "secret sauce" but I would love to learn how you create these masterful images.

Forgive me if you have already done this. I believe that I read this whole thread but might have overlooked that information.

Best,

Paul

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Hello Paul,

First of all thank you so much for your kind words! I feel flattered to be honest that you like so much the photos that they were one of the reason that you decided to get a Q!

Now about my photos, to be honest I believe you guys like them more than me! I really struggle to get something better and there is always something that I will not like. I can see an improvement but nowhere at the point I would consider them really good ones! But if you like them and you would like to produce similar results, there are some things that I can share about my approach that may be useful.

One major thing is to be dedicated. For example for the last shots of the dahlias I had to cycle many miles away every weekend in order to be at that small spot with them in a park garden (I have spent in that small spot more than 30 hours during the last month). And then take as many photos as you can and be prepared to throw away most of them. It is about the light mainly (and of course the composition). I have tried to take my photos late afternoon when the sun has settled a bit. Then I also try to under expose about 1 stop in order to give this muted "mood".. Most of the early photos were taken without flashlight. Then I started using a normal small flashlight to paint a bit on the highlights. All of the recent ones on black background and also many of the "regular" recent ones are taken using a ring flashlight I am developing which makes use of A.I. Not anything fancy but I still need to train the neural networks so I try to get as much photos as possible for that. To be honest I can see some improvement. I dont want to say more details on which areas the A.I. controls as it is a secret for the moment (Actually I shouldn't even mention about the A.I. thing but oh well.. ;)

I also always use a white balancing card. And in the end as you may know I use 1-2 close-up filters. I have several of them but I have discovered that when I use more than 2 stacked, then the photo is like it is taken from inside a telescope (completely round with black corners) and it has terrible chromatic aberration. I shoot in single shot mode mostly. But I have experimented a lot with focus stacking and pixel stacking. There are a couple of photos here (the one with the parasitic fly for example) that are made out by combining more than 35 shots (three bursts of 12 shots each) in order to create a hyper-resolution image and remove the noise. There are tutorials all over the internet on how to do that on photoshop. It is a quite slow process though, most of the times it takes about a couple of hours in order to have everything combined in Photoshop.

So when I am back home, I insert my card on my laptop and I go through the JPGs (I take both JPG and DNG) I use preview (pressing space) and quickly go through all the photos. If I like one I add a colour label to it. The reason I open the JPG and not the DNG is that there is some delay for the DNGs but the JPGs open instantly. Also the reason I dont open them all in lightroom is that I am using lightroom CC and I am not able to quickly zoom in the preview of the photo that I need to import. I can do it very easily on preview by pressing the "option" key. When I finish going through them, I arrange the files by name and I copy all the DNG files that correspond to the colour coded JPGs. I then copy them on my laptop and then I just format the card. I dont want to go back and search for more, as long the first impression wasn't good. So after taking 400-500 photos I end up with about 1/10th. I place these photos in a folder and during the week I slowly add them to my lightroom collection.. 

The basic editing I do to each photo varies, but I always use lightroom CC and photoshop. The first corrections I do on lightroom is the noise removal. (I forgot to say that I have the iso to auto till 12000 with minimum speed 1/250). I also crop a bit the photo in case I need to enhance the composition. I don't have any taboo with cropping but I try not to overdo it and I avoid cropping more than 50mm. Then, I open the photo in photoshop. Here comes the first ingredient of the sauce: If you like to give a nice kick to the colours (especially reds) you then go to filters, open the camera RAW filter and from the calibration tab you increase one of the channels (mostly the blue one). I believe that the sensor gets over saturated with green for example and the colours even after using a white balancing card are a bit muted to my flavour. Also the fact that I under-expose the photos makes them look a bit boring. Increasing one of the channels will make the photo look again the same way as I saw it in real life and not as an interpretation made from my camera. By the way the better light you have the less you need to do that. When I use my flashlight I have found that I dont need to do it. Then I will always increase a little bit the shadows and will remove some of the highlights. I will also increase a bit the blacks and counter balance by decreasing a bit the contrast. This helps to increase a bit the vignette introduced from the zoom lenses and it makes the centre to have a nice glow effect. Finally I adjust a bit the saturation and the vibrance. I then save the image, and go back to lightroom. And thats all to be honest.

All these are minor changes though, to the point that some times when you see the DNG you may not even be able to see the difference. I think the most important part is to take as many photos as possible and to dedicate as much time as possible. There are so many different styles and I am sure that each of us has different ways to express himself. The only way to discover them is to spend a lot of time taking really bad photos and learn from them!!

 

 

 

Edited by zampelis

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Most importantly, Dimitris, it's your (brilliant) artistic vision--not someone else's. You are extremely kind to share, and I have learned a lot from your description. I see this sort of question asked of other great photographers elsewhere and they usually dodge the question. Not that they are necessarily selfish or proprietary. But most of us don't want acolytes or  to see "photos of the school of." Not wanting to replicate your photos, but using some of your hard-won wisdom and technique in the service of our own artistic vision is the goal. Thank you, as always, my friend!

Edited by bags27

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Just now, bags27 said:

Most importantly, Dimitris, it's your (brilliant) artistic vision--not someone else's. You are extremely kind to share, and I have learned a lot from your description. I see this sort of question asked of other great photographers elsewhere and they usually dodge the question. Not that they are necessarily selfish or proprietary. But most of us don't want acolytes or  to see "photos of the school of." Not wanting to replicate your photos, but using some of your hard-won wisdom and technique in the service of our own artistic vision is the goal. Thank you, as always my friend!

+1 Ken nailed my thoughts also. Thanks for sharing. I liked reading about your process both on site and post. I applaud your dedication. Going back many times to the same location is the mark of a real artist. I’ve found that alone allows one to see new perspectives not available when looking at a scene or subject just once. Keep up the great work. I’m looking forward to seeing more flower photos next spring. 

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Thanks for your kind words guys. I always believed that techniques are like coats. Each of us has his own size. If you wear someone else's coat and it is a smaller size, it will make you feel restricted and short breathed. You will go for a walk once, twice and then you will not go again cause you will not enjoy it. If on the other hand it is too big it will make you look silly dragging it on the floor and it will end up full of mud! The only way someone can benefit from someone else's coat, is not to wear it, but to make a list of the things he likes on it (material, design, colour, e.t.c) and then make some effort and make one on his own size... By sharing some information of your technique, you can help other people make their own coat, on their own size and if they use similar colour (material/design whatever..), you can then feel proud that you were an influence to them.

Edited by zampelis

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Great analogy, Dimitris, though I prefer to think of it as wearing someone else's chiton. 😁

I think about this a lot, because I'm not very tech savvy, and, despite frustrations, I'm pretty committed long term to photoshop. So, every technique opens up new experiences for me. It's not that I want my final photos to look like anyone else's, but I do like to follow other people's techniques so that I can better appreciate the virtually unlimited possibilities in photoshop.

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