November One Four Challenge – Week One

For over a year now, a group of us has been taking part in the One Four Challenge, a worthwhile photo editing project normally hosted by Robyn Gosby at Captivate Me, which involves working on an image in four different ways over four weeks.  But for our last challenge for 2015 (we have a review month in December), Robyn is taking a break to give her aching back a rest from too much sitting at the computer! Nic, a talented photo editor and writer of tutorials, has kindly offered to step in as our host during November.

November Study

After a difficult two months following the passing of my Mum, I am slowly recovering my balance and finding pleasure again in creative work and photography.  This month I am focusing my attention on a fragile but beautiful dragonfly.  I discovered it by chance during a walk on North Keppel Island.  Its translucent wings were glistening as it balanced on a grass twig. Although I was far away from it, I did not dare approach it for fear it would fly away before I had time to depress the shutter button.

After chatting online with fellow blogger Mike Powell, who is well known for his stunning photography of insects and birds, we agreed this dragonfly looks like the Halloween Pennant found in the US, but in Australia the specie is  the Graphic or Banded Flutterer, no doubt named for its habit of fluttering on the tip of grass twigs.

Here is the original photo.  As you can see the dragonfly is nearly lost in the grasses, but luckily I managed to get a clear shot and this allowed me to get closer in post processing.

Dragonfly - Original

Dragonfly – Original

Week One Process

For this first week I kept things simple and did the following:

  • In Lightroom, cropped the image tightly, using a 3×1 format
  • Heightened the contrasts, shadows, clarity and vibrancy to bring out the beautiful detail of the lacy wings and the colours in this dainty insect.
  • Cloned out a distracting twig under the left wing.

Here is the result:

Dragonfly - Week 1

Dragonfly – Week 1

I think the panoramic format suits the subject. It emphasizes this Banded Flutterer’s beautiful wings as it warms itself up in the morning sun.

As always, your feedback is welcome.

To view the work of other photographers taking part in this digital darkroom project, click on the One Four Challenge link.

20 thoughts on “November One Four Challenge – Week One

  1. Thanks, Chris, for such nice words. 🙂

    Ooo this is just beautiful, I love the panoramic crop and the detail you’ve brought up on the wings. I’m looking forward to where you take this photo in the future. 🙂

  2. Yea fantastic, love the colouring, so different and e eye/ eyes are striking. Remember the red one in Flinders?

  3. At last, the mystery dragonfly. I really like what you have done with the image, Chris. Depth of field is a real challenge when shooting a dragonfly head-on, but you managed to keep it all in focus. With a dragonfly as beautiful as this one, you were able to highlight the wonderful details by cropping in closely. I’m happy to see that you are gradually regaining some sense of balance. Take your time–I suspect that there will be easy days and some difficult days yet to come. With your experience sailing, I know that you are aware of the necessity of having to ride out the storms sometimes. Thanks for your very kind mention of me.

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