Question 1:

Attached you will find a series of pictures taken with both my Sony NEX-5 and my Sony DSC HX7V.

The pictures are of a small flower in the yard, and when looking at them with the naked eye every detail stands out very clearly.

However the photographs of the flowers are not clear, showing little detail in the center of the flower, and even with post processing there is no change.

The series titled " NEX 1,2,3" were taken using RAW, Program Auto and with no post processing.

The series titled "DSC A,B,C were taken using jpeg , Program Auto and no post processing.

What suggestions, or settings, might you have to enable a clear focus of the entire flower, including the inner core?

Question 2:

Do you have, in your tutorials, a review of the use of the HSL feature in Lightroom 3? A description of the Hue, Saturation and Luminescent sliders for each color.

I have some understanding of each of the options and what the use is, but could use additional information.

Question 3:

In your latest response to me you made this comment:

Your report will be well received. Have you noticed under the “most read” sidebar widget.. your “Rick reviews the Sony E Mount 18-200mm” has received 968 views? I wish my work got that many..

I do not find the “most read” sidebar widget.. on my screens. Perhaps I do not have the latest Release downloaded.

You said you enjoyed questions so here are a few. LOL

Great first release of the weekly column and very enjoyable to read. Perhaps we have a budding Hemingway in our midst.

Thanks as always....



Sony NEX-5 with large APS-C sensor

Sony NEX-5 with large APS-C sensor


Sony DSC HX7V with much smaller 1.7 sensor

Sony DSC HX7V with much smaller 1.7 sensor


Rickster –

Nice to hear from you again. Would you settle for 2 out of 3 answers?  The instinct to bargain is deeply embedded after a total of ten years in the Kingdom.. ;o)


Question 1:

Yes, I can help you with this one and have you shooting clear flowers in just a few minutes.  Really. What we have in all six of your images is a shallow depth of field (DOF) which can easily be corrected by stopping down your aperture.  This means you’ll need to use either Manual or Aperture Priority and set your aperture to at least F11.

The theory of DOF can be found in these tutorials:

a.   Aperture: One of the Basics You Need to Know

b.   Depth of Field: A Useful Tool For Your Composition

c.   Playing With Depth of Field 

There are at least 3-4 other tutorials on depth of field.  It’s an important concept to master.


The DOF formula goes like this if you desire a shallow DOF:

a. Increase focal length (for example, 200mm gives you less DOF than 50mm)

b. Increase aperture (for example, F2 gives you less DOF than F8)

c. Decrease focal distance (for example, 24 inches gives you less DOF than 100 inches)

d. Increase sensor size (for example, an APS-C sensors gives you less DOF than a point and shoot 1.7 sensor)

To put it simply, your focal distance was very short, your focal length long, and your aperture relatively wide.  The recipe for a shallow depth of field, in your case less than inches.  You nailed the focus on the stamen of the flower. ½ inch from the stamen you lost focus.  Make your settings F11-F22 to get the desired depth of field.

Here’s the problem with macros.  It’s hard to hold the flower still, a bit of wind can move it a lot.  As you stop down the lens your shutter speed greatly decreases making a tripod and shutter release mandatory, otherwise your image will be blurred.  You can increase the exposure to adjust for your decreased aperture by increasing the time your shutter is open, increasing the amount of light (use a reflector and bounce it in, or use a nice ring flash for macro work), or increasing your ISO.  Increasing your ISO of course will result in less detail, more noise, and loss of color depth.

The best macros are the result of much hard work and usually a tidy investment in gear.  The longer focal length helps, a quality tripod with a quality articulating head, a quality light source, and all the time and patience to set things up properly.  Many photographers even tie down the flower so the wind doesn’t move it.


Question 2:

No, I haven’t yet made a tutorial for HSL.  The HSL feature in Lightroom is a feature best used only after mastering the more basic controls like exposure, presence, detail, and lens/camera correction.  It’s also best done in a workshop environment because it’s highly visual.  I’ll remember this question when I start producing video tutorials later this year.


Question 3:

The Most Read Articles sidebar is on the right side of the What’s New page right below the Most Recent Sidebar which is right below the weather sidebar.  See the screen shot below:


The Most Read Articles sidebar is on the right side of the What’s New page right below the Most Recent Sidebar which is right below the weather sidebar.  See the screen shot below:


If you still can’t see it, it’s possible you’re browser hasn’t refreshed it’s history in ages.  Try holding down your Control key and then press your F5 key.  This will force the page to reload to the most recent rendition.  If this is the case, you need to investigate your browser settings to refresh your pages more often.  I’ve had the “Most Read Articles” sidebar in place for almost a year now.

You’re right, I do enjoy questions and these were some really good ones.  Let me know if you need more explanation on depth of field after you read a couple of the tutorials, and I’d like to see some more samples once you do.

Take care Rick


Please submit your questions to   All questions will be answered and most will show up in the weekly column.