Oh, boy, so glad you asked!
It was kind of boring the last couple of months, i.e., without getting into fights with you.
Even my "diehard enemies" wind up missing me
So, you want criticism? Are you sure you can handle it? Anyway, here it goes:
Sure I can handle the harshest of criticisms, and I respect them when honest, and ignore them when not. It is actually through the harshest and most nitpicky accurate
criticisms that I have learned the most and made the greatest changes to my photography. For this reason, I sincerely welcome any good solid critiques!
Seems that your forum absence did you good. Less time to scribble , more time devoted to improving your photography. If my recollection is correct (of your earlier photography), this new series is so much more refined and elegant, your lighting is much softer and natural-looking, your backgrounds much less distracting, with a nicer bokeh (a Canon 180 macro?). Your subject positioning, framing, and choice of colors, all reflect a much stronger sense of esthetics and design than before. So, yes, you managed to turn it from a textbook illustration to a fine art.
Thank you very much, Slobodan, and I agree with you 100% on your assessment of my current photography versus my previous photography. Mind you, I have no formal education in photography, I have just learned as I go, but I try to continuously pay attention and improve. I admire the work of people who take better photos than I, and I try to learn from their techniques, which is what has improved my photography. I actually just wrote a blog post
about the major changes that have taken place to what I do ... and the four most important factors have been 1)
using a longer lens to give myself a comfortable working distance from my subject (as well as, yes, a better bokeh), 2)
always using a tripod, 3)
always selecting the best time of day
to shoot in order to get the best light, and 4)
using LiveView/MirrorLockup and a remote switch.
Where before I was hand-holding and using a flash alot, now I can't stand the look of flash macro photography anymore, and I never hand-hold anymore either. I am addicted to the "looK' of optimal
natural light ... and I either search for my live field shots only during such times, or (if I have to) I will arrange a staged shot of a subject during such optimal lighting conditions. And I think these 4 factors have made a dramatic improvement to my work, and I sincerely appreciate you noticing as well as taking the time to provide positive feedback.
Having said that, it mostly refers to the first three examples. The forth one is busier, with more distracting elements.
All in all, good job!
I appreciate and respect your opinion on the 4th photo, however what I tried to achieve in that shot was a sense of harmony of the subject with its environment, and not such a close-up as the others. I felt the "straw" color of the jumping spider was in harmony with the brown elements of the vegetation, and I thought the bright greens and purples accentuated the scene.
I also admit to enjoying the irony of my placing the spider on a Spiderwort
flower ... and am surprised Wolfnowl missed that