by silverfeatherComment by FrankRobinson:
Hi Cailin - welcome to the Critique Zone!
This has all the makings of an absolutely cracking shot but somewhere along the way it loses just a little of the impact, which is - I suspect - what hit the vote a little.
: It would be interesting to know what camera / lens you used and what the settings were (you state the E-10 and the Nikkor lens, but that doesn't add up, and that lens can't shoot at f2.8) - so I'm afraid my advice will be a bit generic. Your 70-300 may be the best lens to use for this, but I would have been tempted to try the 24-70 too, just getting a bit closer. For a subject like this, you really need to keep the speed up (1/500 is good!) but getting this close the aperture needs to be at least about f8 to get the depth of field that you need - so controlling the ISO (not leaving it on auto) is important. The camera's autofocus will often not choose the best point of focus when doing serious close ups like this, so I would probably go with manual focus or shoot several on autofocus to try and get a keeper if the subject is moving. Really, both the whole bee and the near side of the flower need to be in focus. The other risk is of getting within the lens's minimum focus distance (probably 1.3m or more for the 70-300) and losing the shot that way.
: There is a lot to be dragged out of this shot in post-processing (PP). I would always aim to sharpen a bit, and a little more contrast (try using curves
rather than brightness/contrast) and saturation would have lifted the shot too.
: This is completely subjective, but... for what it's worth, this is where this shot really scores. The composition is very strong - both with the placement of the subject flower and bee, but also with the background flowers (which a greater DoF would leave blurred but more obvious, helping the structure) and the (chance?) use of complimentary colours (purple / green) which is very pleasing.
The bad news is that this shot needs some help technically, the (very) good news from where I'm sitting is that you have a great eye for composition and structure - and it's much easier to learn the technicals than develop an artistic eye. So, I expect to see some great things from you shortly! Above all, practice makes perfect.