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alistairfarrugia's Gallery Comments

alistairfarrugia > alistairfarrugia Recent Activity > alistairfarrugia's Gallery Comments
Take In the View by alistairfarrugia

Take In the View

Thanks all for the positive comments and the guest editor award. Much appreciated.

By: alistairfarrugia

Mdina's Skyline by alistairfarrugia

Mdina's Skyline

Thanks to you both, glad it was appreciated.

By: alistairfarrugia

Windswept by Trevhas

Windswept

Superb work. Well done!

By: Trevhas

New York Empire State Building. by Nigwel

New York Empire State Building.

Modification Uploaded, for your consideration. I do agree with Paul here - don't be harsh on your work, rather try to find potential in it and see what you can do to bring out something better out of shots that you at first deem not good enough. You can be surprised at times! Wink

I feel this can work in black/white too, becoming more about the shapes and contrasts. I possibly overdid the burning/dodging here but it helps to create even more contrast in the final result. I've also adjusted the tilt and cropped off a bit to position the left-most building in such a way to have its outer edge fall exactly on the first vertical in the rule of thirds. The white space on the right then falls on the second vertical, almost equally splitting the image in three different segments, with each segment having elements of interest in it. Hope you like!

Alistair

By: Nigwel

Rhino by ColleenA

Rhino

Great set. I like all of these images, but I feel V3 is the strongest one of all. I think a B/W version here would work great, I tried it myself and after 10 mins of tweaking with dodge/burn I think the end-result is great. Would love to upload it as a mod if you don't mind. Thanks!

Alistair

By: ColleenA

SM470 by NDODS

SM470

V1 for me too Nathan, though both have their charms. In the colour version though I found the orange box a little bit too distracting.

By: NDODS

Brandy! by alistairfarrugia

Brandy!

Thanks for the kind comments. Optik, it is indeed superb. On the same day I took some close-up flower shots and some portraits as well. It performs splendidly in all categories.

By: alistairfarrugia

ANGER OR DESPAIR by youmightlikethis

ANGER OR DESPAIR

Hi there, you have three very interesting images here and they are all different subjects and convey different messages. I humbly recommend you upload these separately as it makes offering critique a much harder job. Also, your question "good or bad" is a bit too generic - so the replies will be generic. I hope my comments help you determine whether they're good, or bad, for YOU. Something is good/bad relative to what you wanted to achieve with it, keep that in mind. Smile

So, one by one now...

IMAGE 1: I like this a lot. It's well-taken and I like the textures that are visible; on the model's skin, the cloth covering her face and her hair...I also like the clarity and the contrast in this image. Those make it "good" in my eyes. What I think can improve is the composition, and the negative space around the model. On the left it seems that there are some "grey" areas that you could easily clone out to retain only the model in the image. I would also add some space up top to put her head closer to a third and give her space to "look into", (despite her eyes being covered). I'll upload a mod later to explain this visually.

IMAGE 2: I like this as well, it's an interesting subject once again and I feel like the b/w adds to the image by "throwing the viewer" back in time, in a way, to the days were jazz was all the rage! I also like how the character's hat, on the other hand, contrasts with the jazz mood. This all adds up to the interest in my view. What I find distracting is the tilted verticals at the back of the image. I would have preferred these to be straightened out. Depends on how much canvas you had available. The straightening out of these verticals would likely also result in giving a bit more space to the left of the saxophone, which I feel shouldn't be so tight and close to the edge of the frame. I feel like the circle formed by the bottom part of the saxophone could have easily created a point of interest from which the viewers' eyes go upwards to meet with the musician's face. As it is, though, I think it doesn't work well. One final comment on this, the "face?" in the background is also hauntingly attractive, and detracts a bit from the main subject. I think trying to clone it out won't be an easy job but I'll try it in the mod later.

IMAGE 3: Haunting. Scary. Right out of a horror movie... That's what I thought upon seeing this. I think it works well in a confusing and disorienting way. I like this and the processing helps as the absence of colours makes the viewers focus on the faces and the weirdness of the scene. There are some elements that I'd try to crop or clone out though, for instance the MERCHANTS wording and possibly the men in the background (in the suit, high-visibility jacket and the one carrying the placard). These seem to jar from the medieval feel of this image. I think doing this in post would be very time consuming, so maybe waiting for them to walk out of the image would have been an easier solution. You possibly have an image where these distractions are not there, if you took more than one image. Consider a similar processing on an image with a bit less "distractions" in the background and I think you'd have a better final image.

Hope this helps you determine just how good or bad these images are. Keep up the good work,

Alistair

By: youmightlikethis

Night Lake 7 by BillMiller

Night Lake 7

This is an idyllic scene and I can see why you chose to take the picture, I like the sense of tranquility and natural beauty that this image conveys.

Having posted this here, I feel that you should have indicated what you want critique on. Ideally, when posting in the critique gallery you should indicate what you want critique on, as it helps the critique team "zero in" on your query. In the absence of that, I will comment about the image in general, in particular focusing on some elements I feel you could easily improve on.

1. ISO setting - given the use of the 550D, (I own the 600D, so I can relate to it a lot), I feel you could have easily opted for a lower ISO and a longer exposure. It would reduce noise and help you retain more detail in the image. Given your EXIF data, you could have opted for a shutter speed of 30" (or a bit more, using Bulb mode) and gained almost 2 stops of light in the process. In that situation, I would have opted for ISO 200 to compensate. At that ISO, I'm confident the 550D would have given you a better end product.

2. I also feel you could have used a narrower aperture here, in particular to give those bulbs in the distant a nicer, "starburst" effect as opposed to the "blob" of light you ended up with. Aesthetically, I think it would be a more pleasing image. Obviously, a narrower aperture would require longer exposure times or higher ISO, so you would need to compensate for that.

3. Composition - I have cropped the image a bit and placed the horizon on a third, using a 16:9 format. This is generally a question of taste, given that some stick to the "rule of thirds" religiously and others try to avoid it as much as possible. I ascribe to the idea of trying out different crops, orientations and/or proportions in an image and then going for the one you feel looks and conveys the message best. In that context, I have uploaded a mod for you to consider as an alternative way of presenting the image (that differs only slightly from yours).

I hope you find the critique helpful and thanks for uploading to the CG!

Alistair

By: BillMiller

The shadow by totti

The shadow

Hi there, I like this image for its potential and creative aspect.

I have prepared a mod to the photo that probably makes it even more abstract than it already is. I cropped to a square photo by removing the shadow at the bottom. I feel the image should be more about the shape and texture of the wall/floor and my mod reflects this. In my mod, I placed the larger, pebble like object on a third intersection point to attract attention to it. In your composition, I feel that the most "attracting" elements are either too central (the pebbles) or too low (the shadow). The mod addresses this by placing the pebble on the third, as already stated, and eliminating the shadow accordingly.

Alternative compositions can be taken from this photo by cropping out / leaving elements accordingly. With abstracts like this, I think composition plays a much more critical role and I feel you can work out several other variants using this photo. Have a play with it using different orientations, proportions and "subjects". There's plenty to go around with here.

Finally, I think you have some good work in your portfolio which you should maybe put up in the normal gallery as well. I'm confident you can land some awards too in the process! It's clear that you're developing your own style and several of your images are immediately recognisable to frequent visitors on ePHOTOzine. Keep it up.

By: totti

Preparation. by WimpyIskandar

Preparation.

Guys, I'm still recovering from some good drinking yesterday for good old St. Patrick's Day, but I have a few comments to make on this too. So far no one's mentioned the use of flash, that the EXIF data shows was "on, fired". This has created very harsh shadows that I think detract from the quality of the image, and also resulted in some hotspots on the mirror's red frame. Tilting the mirror towards the camera would have likely resulted in more reflections on the face and all over the place. I feel that this would have made things worse.

Also, would the metering be able to factor in any flash reflections from the mirror? If not, this might be a case where possibly multiple shots were taken, with the original ones ending up being over exposed (despite the meter showing an expected "normal" exposure), and then consequently more shots were taken with narrower apertures/faster times to reduce overall brightness. Was this the case Wimpy?

Alistair

By: WimpyIskandar

PEOPLE PERSON PIC by youmightlikethis

PEOPLE PERSON PIC

Hi there. You ask how you can improve this, and I think I can offer a few pointers for you to consider.

V1 - It looks a bit flat to me, it's a "grey" image, as opposed to being black and white - it needs a bit more blacks and a bit more white to have more contrast and punch. You can easily fix that with some dodging/burning of some areas or by using preset "contrast" effects if you don't want to take a lot of time. I also feel like the eyes look a bit "dead" without a catchlight. A bit of fill-in flash would have probably helped here but I don't know for sure if this was a posed, "candid-style" shot or a properly candid shot. If the latter case, I think the flash would have "alerted" the person of the picture and you would have risked being told off or something.

V2 - I like this but once again the lady's eyes look a bit flat, again due to the absence of some light in them. I also find the other legs on that drum to be distracting. I wonder what they lead up to and that distracts from the woman, whom I presume was your subject. I also find that maybe a composition that was a bit wider would have given the image more context, as it is, I find it too tightly composed. I also wonder what she's holding in her arms, is that another photo? Of what? Maybe changing your angle and including a bit more of the image would give more story - and that (story) is what documentary / reportage shots are typically about. In this one, there are more questions than storyline for me.

V3 - I love this the most. The colour popping works for me here isolating the subject from the rest of the crowd, with the exception of the man behind him - why didn't you desaturate that figure as well? I think selecting only the man in the yellow top would have worked better. Also, I would either give more space up above the wording "BUCHANAN STREET" or clone the wording out. It attracts attention away from the subject, but if you want to retain it for context purposes, I'd give it just a bit more space rather than keeping it very tight against the edge. Finally, I like the range in this - there's detail in the shadows, mid-tones and the highlights here. I like that.

---

Hope you find the critique helpful and keep them coming. Thanks for uploading to the critique gallery.

Regards,

Alistair

By: youmightlikethis

Young Guns by brzydki_pijak

Young Guns

An interesting shot albeit a bit flat. I think you can make this a bit more contrasty to add some more punch to it. Regardless, it gets a thumbs up from me. Smile

By: brzydki_pijak

that way by les66

that way

This has an almost human form, as if it's someone raising his hands upwards, stretching up!! Smile

By: les66

FORK UP by youmightlikethis

FORK UP

You ask if this works in your description, and you point it's a fun shot taken at high ISO, so my commentary will primarily start off from that.

I can see the "fun" element in this, in particular in the way the composition turned out, it's as if this was set up rather than taken on the spur of the moment. "The decisive moment" comes to mind, well done.

Compositionally, I like how the cups in their hand form a sideways ">" sign, and it's immediately noticeable that there is a sort of ">" orientation even in the persons themselves. The processing is interesting and masks any noise that could have been generated by the high ISO setting, giving this image a "painting" like effect. Given the subject, I think it doesn't detract from the image's key elements, rather it makes it more minimal and focused on the quirkiness of it all. My only qualm is that I think you shouldn't have cut off part of the topmost dude's head. Seeing the original, this could have easily been included I guess.

Finally, I didn't get the FORK UPS at first, but then I associated it with "FOUR CUPS" as I was writing this and I think that's what you intended. Otherwise, it's serendipity. To me "FORK UPS" at the bottom adds to the fun element, it's as if it's FOUR CUPS but misspelled. I'm likely missing a pun here though, given that maybe I'm not acquainted with the culture/setting where FORK UPS is used as slang or a common phrase. I'd appreciate your insight here.

By: youmightlikethis

shop keeper9(shoe maker2) by Baycan

shop keeper9(shoe maker2)

Hi there. You have an interesting image here with a lot of details that combine to provide a powerful insight into the person photographed and his profession. I also like the use of shallow depth of field here to emphasise the working area and the shoemaker himself. Moreover, the framing is also strong, with the row of shoes up top and the workbench with more shoes on it on the bottom. These elements combine to make an interesting image.

There are however some elements that, in my opinion, could have been worked out better. Firstly, the image seems to be distorted and tilted to a side. I tried playing around with it to straighten it out as I think the effect of the tilt+distortion doesn't really help the image. I am using an old version of Paint Shop Pro and applied a right-hand rotation of 5.5 degrees, and a perspective correction of -15 points. I'm not familiar with the corresponding figures you need to dial in in other programs, but if you start with a rotation and then try some perspective adjustments, you can probably arrive to this on your own quite easily. That's the beauty of digital I guess! Wink

Also, I feel like the shoe maker could have been better "positioned" in the scene - if you could ask him to move, you could have probably improved on the image if you placed the shoe maker closer to a third, ideally covering that white, rectangular object (Looks like an LED light on top of a gas canister to me) that sits next to him on the floor. I think covering that portion of the image would also reduce the amount of background, sharp detail competing with the shoe maker for attention. Finally, it would also make the image more about the shoe maker in his element, as opposed to a setting with a shoe maker in it. The shoe maker would be better "surrounded" by the shop elements, as opposed to being on the side of it all, as if removed from the context.

Finally, I love the desaturated feel of the image, I think it suits the image perfectly but maybe a bit more sharpness on the person and a bit less on the background would have helped. This could be a result of your settings (slow shutter speed & motion blur), bad focusing, post-processing or a combination of all these elements. If you can take this again, rack up the ISO to say 400-800, and it will give you a quicker ISO under the same lighting conditions (and aperture value). It should be around 1/30 or 1/60, depending on whether you opt for 400 or 800 respectively. At those ISO settings, you can expect a little bit more noise but you would reduce the risk of motion blur significantly.

I've uploaded a mod that is heavily cropped from your original and loses a bit of the setting, but my focus was on straightening this out whilst retaining as much of the context as possible. I've also sharpened the shoemaker a bit using USM.

By: Baycan

Tour Series Durham 2013 by Coast

Tour Series Durham 2013

Brilliant capture, sharp but with just enough motion blur in the feet to convey motion. My only doubt is if it would be to possible to leave more space in front of the cyclists when composing? As presented, though, gives a more in your face approach, as if they're heading straight for the viewer, and it works well too!

Nice work!

By: Coast

Rarities by banehawi

Rarities

A nice set. V2 my favourite.

By: banehawi

Fungus Rock by Carl86

Fungus Rock

Carl, i think Tanya is right. You're composing images properly but you need to better control the HDR effect as the halos you're creating around the main subject areas will not help make the image more interesting, rather they will likely disengage viewers by making them see it as "fake".

I think HDR is nice and effective in making images pop out more and look more alive, but only so long as the process leads to an image that is both vivid and realistic. That is generally the way I try to approach HDR now.

Watch out most for what kind of values you dial in for lighting and strength in particular, if you're using photomatix. Looking forward to the next one, of try ree-processing this one and upload as a variant. ☺

By: Carl86

"Winter Weir" by RonnieAG

"Winter Weir"

Wonderful scene and execution!

By: RonnieAG

Bridge across the Adur by NDODS

Bridge across the Adur

Nice images Nathan! Take care!

By: NDODS

St. Agatha's Tower by alistairfarrugia

St. Agatha's Tower

Thanks for the mod. I like the added contrast. I had already added clarity in mine but it seems the textures in this one can handle even more contrast without losing their appeal! Smile

By: alistairfarrugia

So long.... by totti

So long....

I won't repeat what was said above, but I'll suggest a different kind of edit with this given your "train station" feel, and building on Moira's interpretation. You could consider introducing a mild "zoom blur" effect start from the door further back - see if you like the effect it creates. It would give another feel to the image for sure, but it would possibly also be more in line with what was on your mind.

You might already know this but you can of course also create the zoom blur in-camera by going for a long-ish exposure (ideally on a tripod) and zooming in/out while taking the photo.

By: totti

Weathered... by Carl86

Weathered...

Carl, something interesting here, but I have some critique for you.

The allure of shallow depth of field got you here... I would have used a narrower aperture to show more of the limestone and the weathered details on the slab, which is after all the subject here.

I'm also slightly distracted by the background. There's a vertical that I would straighten out (edge between the blue and pink) and I feel the colours do not complement the rest of the picture.

This brings me to my last point. Does colour justify its presence here? I don't feel like it's the case. Try this in B/W - I think it would suit it better.

Regardless, you get points for an interesting subject of something different and probably different from what can be found in other countries. Keep them coming mate.

By: Carl86

A leap of faith by KenQuinn

A leap of faith

Hi there. It seems you're relatively new to the site so welcome to EPZ. You have uploaded an image to the Critique Gallery which implies that you wish other members of EPZ to provide constructive critique on your upload. I shall take the liberty to do so accordingly.

First off, this is an interesting subject - shots of animals typically attract a lot of attention and there was potential for such interest here as well. However, a number of issues are evident in this image that indicate that some things went wrong. Immediately, it becomes a bit problematic for people to offer constructive critique here since very little information is provided with respect to settings you were using when you shot this. Still - with the little there is available, I'll hazard some suggestions.

1) There is evidence of a very high-ISO setting or heavy post-processing. Noise, particularly in the dark or shadow areas is very high. You can see what I'm referring to by looking at the shadow on the stone, or the black patch on the bird.
2) The image seems like a very small crop from a larger image. This tends to result in an image that has a low resolution and low amount of detail. Considering you had a zoom lens on you, with a maximum focal length of 200mm (that's 300mm in equivalent full-frame focal length), I'm guessing this particular bird was too far off to be captured in sufficient enough detail.
3) The image also seems to be too soft - probably as a result of the comment in (2) above, a result of noise-reduction attempts, bad focusing, or a combination of all these factors.
4) It seems you shot in JPEG format, which typically results in a lower quality image than if you had shot in RAW and converted to JPEG from a PC. This is because processors on cameras have to work much faster and typically sacrifice quality to speed of execution. Thus, it is generally better to shoot RAW and convert to JPEG on PC later. This also gives you greater control on the final product, as RAW files can handle post-processing much better given the increased amount of data stored for each RAW image as opposed to JPEGs. Alternatively, you can shoot RAW+JPEG and discard/retain what you need following the shoot... (given you have enough storage available on the camera - RAW files tend to be much larger in size).

Hope you find the critique helpful and keep the images coming. On behalf of the Critique Team, welcome to the Critique Gallery!

Alistair

By: KenQuinn

Scream Not by Degs01

Scream Not

I liked the impact this had at thumbnail size, but as Paul said, once you open it large the "defects" are immediately apparent.

I think the subject required a bit more controlled lighting and, in the absence of this, I would have edited in a way to end up with a result similar to the mod I uploaded. I don't think there's much more to add that hasn't been covered by fellow ePzers!

By: Degs01

pose like me by Reves

pose like me

I second what was said by Moira and dudler before me. It's a fun picture that conveys the intended message, the sort of spontaneous humour that we all come across occasionally. On the other hand, there are some issues that deter things a bit, as was mentioned earlier... namely focusing being off, likely due to auto-focus errors, there needs to be a bit more space around the bull in particular, the obtrusive signature, as well as technical issues raised by Moira re: shutter speed.

On the latter point, are you aware that you can shift Program AE mode's recommended aperture and shutter settings? You have to half press, and whilst half-pressing you turn your main dial and the program shifts from one combination of Aperture/Shutter to another. Doing this with Auto ISO on, you would have probably ended up with an increasing ISO value to provide you with more options. I'm guessing Auto ISO was on here, but I'm only assuming. This is why...It seems to me that, given the lighting conditions at the time you took this, the camera's processor couldn't have provided you with either a slower shutter (due to risk of motion blur at 55mm FL) or a wider aperture (likely you were at maximum possible aperture @ 55mm if using the kit lens 18-55). Given these two programmed limits, the only remaining option available would be to incrementally increase ISO to achieve a good exposure. With Auto ISO on, all this computation would happen in the background, whilst leaving a degree of control by changing ISO yourself, you could provide yourself more combinations of A/S to better suit the situation simply by boosting the ISO higher than 250 as set by the Programme.

Thus, on P-Mode, I would suggest you try working with Auto ISO off and cycling through the options available using Programme Shift. This approach strikes a very good balance between automation and having a degree of control that is not overwhelming, particularly suited for when you just want to take photos of different subjects at different lighting conditions.

Regardless of all the commentary above, I like this as it made me smile. And that's generally more than enough! Smile

Alistair

By: Reves

untamed power by bzbee

untamed power

Wow...this is superb. Haven't awarded my UA in a while but this deserves it.

By: bzbee

Protect by Degs01

Protect

A mod has been updated - minor adjustments carried out - added a bit more contrast to create a bit more "mood" in the image, and cropped to a 4.5x6 ratio (portrait not landscape orientation). I think the portrait approach is better here, given that there's too much space on the left and anyway the main subject (the man) is looking straight at the camera not towards the left. Given this fact, I think you don't need to leave much space either side to make this more about the person and his act of protecting the baby from the viewer. Leaving no space "adds tension" to the subject's glance at the viewer by giving the viewer less to see and locking them on the subject. Just my 2 cents though!

Well done regardless, I like this.

By: Degs01

The Forest Walk by Coast

The Forest Walk

A good attempt. For a more abstract look, however, I would lose the bottom part where the trees start off - consider cropping to 16:9 from the top part and see what you end up with. If you lose the light brown area at the bottom, I think you'll get a more abstract end-product that looks more rhythmic and compositionally pleasing.

By: Coast