AlanBranch360 Platinum

A mustard seed ready to be flame grilled

A very small mustard seed perched on the head of a match

A very small mustard seed perched on the head of a match
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Runner Up in Time With Textures Photo Contest
Judge Favorite
2020 Choice Award
Peer Award
Outstanding Creativity
davidsimard lilnono modog sfjames SettingSky aurel catherinesaville +11
Superb Composition
WurstFinger deborahschillbach ArtGoia SnazzyKazzyPhotos JamesHarmon karlnathan elljaysan_2015 +4
Absolute Masterpiece
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Top Choice
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Top Ranks

Time With Textures Photo ContestTop 30 rank
Capture Red Photo ContestTop 10 rank
Macro Captures Photo ContestTop 20 rank
Macro Captures Photo ContestTop 30 rank week 1
Capturing The Red Color Photo ContestTop 20 rank
Capturing The Red Color Photo ContestTop 20 rank week 1
Bold Colors Photo ContestTop 10 rank week 1
Rule of Thirds Photo Contest vol6Top 20 rank
Rule of Thirds Photo Contest vol6Top 20 rank week 1
Image Of The Month Photo Contest Vol 42Top 20 rank
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1 Comment | Report
shellandshilo Nov 19
Oh wow amazing detail and colour
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Behind The Lens

This macro shot was taken on a marble bench to ensure minimal distracting colours and allow the hero of the shot to be front and centre above the bright read of the match head and the white of the background. THAT'S NOT AN AVOCADO ON TOP OF THAT MATCH STICK IS IT?
This photograph of a match stick and tiny mustard seed (trying to look like an avocado) from taken in artificial light. Important for many macro shots so that the key focal point of the shot is not lost with extraneous reflections, shadows and sunlight.
This composition was taken under very bright artificial light to allow more accurate focus stacking . Without bright light is is often difficult to have the focus stacking sharp. Equally the bright lights mean careful Kelvin White balance adjustment and exposure checking to not blow out the colour in the shot is required. I find that this lighting set up also avoids the need for flash. Focus stacking with adjustments for brightness of the flash can be very difficult.
I used a tripod and slider hold to move the Nikon D7100 camera in part millimeter increments to enable the accurate focusing on the mustard seed. 15 shots were taken and I selected 10 shots as they captured the key element and did not highlight the rest of the match stick in over sharp focus.
Weeks before I cooked with mustard seeds, grinding them manually. A few jumped off the bench and I was surprised how hard it was to find and pick up the seeds. This gave me the idea to try and display just how tiny they were. Next I had to think of equipment or other items that would be in the picture to illustrate just how tiny the seed was e.g. a spoon, newspaper or ... I selected the match stick as everyone would know the size of a match stick and then understand the tiny size of the seed. I used tweezers to carefully add the seed to just the right place on the match. Success was dashed by a small breeze that pushed the seed off and another agonising 20 minutes to get it to the right place.
In post processing I set the colour balance in Lightroom and then focus stacked the group of 10 shots in Photoshop. I have printed and sold this shot from my Instagram @photoart360_australia and the image now hangs in many kitchens. It is colourful and a great talking point as many guests will never guess that the seed is not an avocado.
In my camera bag
My ProTactic 450 AW II is a perfect size for my collection of lenses, tripod and filters. I always have a set of gloves and clamp lights so I can get through brush unharmed and clamp lights to trees if needed for lighting. I never leave without spare batteries , remote timer and speed-lite. If I am traveling light my travel tripod can fit inside my ProTactic with a reduced set of lenses so that my camera gear is less conspicuous.
My advice, careful planning to decide what is the second item in the shot that can help tell people in an instant the size difference. No point taking a fantastic shot of a mustard seed unless people can understand how tiny it is.

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