Panasonic LUMIX GX8 + Olympus M.Zuiko 12-40mm f2.8/Pro @40mm, ISO 800, 1/100 s, f/6.3, cropped

This week’s picture shows a fly sitting on a fern leaf.  I was walking through a mountain forest in the high Tatras (Slovakia). A beam of light was illuminating the spot with the fern and I guess the fly enjoyed the warmth of the sun. However, it was sitting still long enough for me to sneak close and focus properly on the eye.

Camera settings for the quick shot

I chose a medium-small aperture of f/6.3 because the scene was not that bright and I did not want to push the ISO too much. High ISO values decrease the image quality visibly. As a general walkaround setting, I have my camera set into aperture priority mode with auto ISO. In this setting, I can control the look of the picture by setting the aperture. The aperture essentially controls the bokeh and depth of field of the image. The camera determines the shutter speed for a good exposure. With auto ISO activated, the minimum shutter speed is determined according to the focal length used (approx. 1/(2*focal length) or 1/(full-frame-equivalent-focal-length)) to avoid blurred images from camera shake. The ISO value is used to boost the exposure, if necessary.

If I have a second chance for the picture, I move to a lower ISO value and try my luck with longer exposure times. In this way, I can be sure to have at least some usable picture before I start experimenting.

Composition and Crop

Click on the image above to compare the original image and my edited version. Originally, I wanted to use the leading line of the leaf to lead to the fly (which works fine, I think), but later I found the background too distracting and the main subject too small. Placing the subject on the left looking into the negative space on the right also makes the composition more appealing than the centered placement before.

Editing details and colors

To tie the attention more to the fly, I lightened up the highlight in the eye a bit and increased the saturation of the reds. In that way, the luminosity and color-contrast (red vs green) work nicely together. As a finish, I selectively sharpened the fly and some of the foliage around, which gives an additional pop to the subject.