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As i walk through the valley of the shadow of death

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During lunch time at work I took walk through the local cemetry (The office is very stimulating!)

Anyway, took at least 30 pictures and didnt like any, but have tried to enhance in PS, and would like to gain feedback as to how I would have improved this, as the original image i think is completely boring, but I do like the manipulation from PS.

55mm ISO 200
1/100s f/8

Changed saturation
Changed contrast
Changed hue
Added blur to whole image and removed blur from front tombstones.

Yay or nay?

Camera:Nikon D5000 Check out Nikon Nation!
Lens:Nikkor 18-55mm Check out Nikon Nation!
Recording media:JPEG (digital)
Title:As i walk through the valley of the shadow of death
Username:Bluebiriyani Bluebiriyani
Uploaded:15 Mar 2010 - 7:35 PM
Tags:Black & white, Cemetry, Digitally manipulated, Graveyard, Tombstone
VS Mode Rating 100 (42.86% won)
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This photo is here for critique. Please only comment constructively and with suggestions on how to improve it.
DRicherby  6269 forum posts United Kingdom725 Constructive Critique Points
16 Mar 2010 - 3:57 PMConstructive Critique!This comment was flagged as constructive critique! 

I think the processing is good. Black and white is a natural choice for the subject and you have a good range of tones from blacks through to whites. The selective blurring is effective, though I'd be tempted to just use a wider aperture than f/8 to achieve much the same effect.

The reason you didn't like any of the shots you took is most likely the light. The blown-out sky suggests a bright-ish but grey day, with very flat light and no shadows. Pretty good for portraiture but pretty meh for atmospheric graveyard shots. Here, I think you've done a good job of mitigating the bright sky by adding a white border, which means that white doesn't draw the eye strongly in any one direction. The problem with the bright sky is more that it's caused the trees and the gravestones to be compressed into a rather small tonal range so there's not much distinction between them.

I also think that you've misjudged the nearest gravestone as being vertical when it seems to be leaning backwards somewhat. The other four gravestones in the line and the tree behind it all seem to be leaning forwards at the same angle in the photo, which suggests it's the front gravestone that isn't true. To me, the photo seems to have quite a severe lean, of 5-7°.

By the way, I'm not sure what you mean by saying that you changed the hue. This is pure black and white, with only shades of grey and no tinting. If you just altered the hue before converting to black and white, that would have no effect, since the only information retained in black and white is the brightness, unless you used a simulated filter during the conversion. But, in that case, changing the hue of the image and using a fixed filter is just the same as changing the hue of the filter and using a fixed image.

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