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16/09/2014 - 7:41 PM

Northern Light

Northern LightI like the scene Nigel. I can see how it might appear unbalanced left to right as its not "contained" on the left.

The mono works well.

It does seem a little soft, - is it just me?


Steam winding engine at Astley Green Mining MuseumNothing says power like a large steam engine.

This shot really does capture that sense of power.

I imagine that the mono suits the shot well, and to me t looks like a good conversion.

It may benefit with being a little sharper here, - and it looks like the brighter window areas may have been toned down just a little too much. Its a good idea to have white in this as it will improve contrast.

Ive uploaded a mod; sharpened, contrast and white point adjusted; and rotated 1 degree CCW.


12/09/2014 - 3:31 PM

Harley Davidson

Harley DavidsonMore contrast would work well. Look at the upper left, - try removing that mirror and lever, - clone them out.

It isnt focusing attention on any aspect of the in focus bike, so this wont work for some people. There are quite a few elements of a Harley that make interesting shots.

I hear and see literally hundreds of Harleys daily. They are made to be in your face noisy! All part of the tough biker image. And they are highway cruisers, not sports bikes, though the company does actually make sports bikes.

As an Irish born Canadian who has owned British bikes, Triumph, BSA, Norton, - I would (and did) buy a Honda. They dont leak oil over the driveway!

12/09/2014 - 3:16 PM

Ready for action

Ready for actionHi Tracy.

I think you have Photoshop CS?

First thing. You used a wide lens which has its own distortions; the camera wasnt straight or level, which causes other issues, - most of them.

So you can get it skewed and dragged to look square, but you are distorting the image deliberately, and it will be, and look distorted, but not to most viewers, - thats the important part!

To address the problem using a different approach, - which will cause a loss of some of the image, try this.

With a wide angle lens, you should have the centre if the image vertical, unless you seriously want it tilted. The centre of this image, where you can find a vertical is inside the window frame, to its right; there are two sets of arches; the left side of the left arch in the second set from the window, - that the reference, and its in the middle. Get that straight. Use the ruler tool. Its needs a very significant rotation clockwise, over 2 degrees! Thats whats attracting all the attention.

When thats done, you can deal with lens and perspective distortions using the lens correction tool in CS, which will recognise the lens and apply a correction automatically; and then you manually use the vertical/horizontal distortion tools.

The result will be a shot with a chair with the legs missing, but geometry will be great!

You could try plugging a USB wifi stick into the PC?


11/09/2014 - 6:18 PM

The Library

The LibraryHi Steven.

More details on what I did for the mod. And thanks for the exif data too.

I uploaded a screen shot of the changes I did using CS6. Its the same thing in CS5. Its in the mods above.

View it large to see the typing.


08/09/2014 - 8:07 PM

Devil is in the detail

Devil is in the detailUse THIS to help with hyperfocal focusing.

I imagine you have a smart pone, - this is also available as a fee app, - useful to have with you.

From this chart you would focus on a point about 8 feet from the lens to get 4 feet from the lens to infinity sharp at f/11. I would definitely manually focus.

Thats why the need to double check the histogram after converting, - those highlights that looked hot in RAW may well convert fine to mono.


08/09/2014 - 6:41 PM

Devil is in the detail

Devil is in the detailI agree with Isabel, this can benefit with some added contrast, - especially the highlights need to pop a little more on the wall.

When you convert, make a habit of looking at the histogram. Its important in mon0 as welll as colour; you will notice that you have largely blacks to mid-tones, and need a little more brightness.

This one measure 13.8 x 9.25 btw.

Although the area closest to the lens is acceptably sharp, its not as sharp as the area starting from the third upper vertical line onwards, so take care with aperture and focusing.

The mod I uploaded has contrast higher, I dont use a contrast adjustment, rather a curves adjustment. Its not very significant, but when you look at it, notice that glow Isabel mentioned on the wall.

Theres nice detail in this, nice curves.


07/09/2014 - 7:10 PM

"romatic" dinner

"romatic" dinnerThis is a really good shot Alexandru.

Its a common garden spider, - they are even here in Canada!

I looked at your raw data when I downloaded it, and I would suggest only that the white balance temperature of 4200K is probably a little too cool considering the time of day; and a little more sharpening makes the web sparkle.

I have done this in the mod, and cropped some space from the top.

Well done,


07/09/2014 - 3:14 PM

Forgotten Knight

Forgotten KnightExcellent dynamic shot.

Unique, and fortunate, and you could never predict the flare, which is perfect.

Cant suggest anything to improve this, other than white balance, which is terribly cool for the conditions. The sand look less gray in the mod.

Mod uploaded.

Well done,


06/09/2014 - 5:32 PM

Get Me To The Church On Time

Get Me To The Church On TimeHi Diane.

Being late, I have the benefit of seeing the original.

Its a much better shat than the version uploaded, and does show quite a bit of processing being done as mentioned.

I did upload a mod of the original. Crop is similar but not that same; I cloned out the circular stairs, not cropping in as much; adjusted colour balance, shadow and sharpness. The frame is added to bring the overall size up. You can see theres less of a magenta colouring in the mod.

Youre later shots are of a better quality, so I would think you have improved quite a bit since.


05/09/2014 - 3:37 PM

The Beach

The BeachReally nice Kurt. How fortunate to have that man standing there.

Isnt it odd that the man makes the shot, and the people can spoil it at the same time!

I have contributed two mods to the collection. I would ruthlessly remove the intruders!


05/09/2014 - 2:46 PM

Tayport West Lighthouse

Tayport West LighthouseHi Bill.

I searched for images of this lighthouse, and I found that the vast majority are shot from the other side, looking towards the sea. The reason I looked is that it doesnt look really like a lighthouse here. The low position has the house quite dominant, and the lighthouse part more like a tall chimney. The other shots makes it look like a lighthouse, BUT it would be a shot into the setting sun for you.

Maybe thats part of it for me, - and would be a challenge for you, and for me. The subject. Its not attractive from this perspective?

I dont think it would be possible to do a whole lot better from there.

A few things I notice apart from that. The subject, and most of the lower left, and the beach as Moira mentioned, is in shadow, but the processing is likely lifting too much shadow detail; this start to look a bit more like HDR I think. My eyes tell me it should be darker. It is in the mod, but to be honest, its not making it a great shot, - maybe more realistic.

The lighthouse itself has a halo around it, - mostly due to some chromatic aberrations in the lens, and a little due to high clarity setting. Its also darker than the house, and it would make sense to me to be similar, or even a little brighter?

The mod has white balance slightly less warm ( I know, not typically me!), darker where it might be darker, and a bit of contrast in the sky. Its different, but I dont know if its any better.

I think you did as good as you could with what you had to work with.


05/09/2014 - 12:01 AM

Farnes again.

Farnes again.Now this, this IS overexposed Pete.

I am impressed that Nigel has come along is such a warm and supportive way.

Compare this to Nigel's, which is, if anything other than correct, slightly Underexposed. Perhaps thats what you meant to say Pete?

No detail on the breasts, which is in digital terms "blown" meaning theres no data there at all to be recovered.

The white are strongly cast with blue, typical when using auto white balance in Sun; try setting your WB to the actual conditions, here looks like Sunny to me?

Beware of spot metering; you may see more success with the default matrix mode; spot can be very tricky; the result of a spot metering is usually used as a guide for the photographer to consider when determining a final exposure, rarely to be used as measured.


04/09/2014 - 6:02 PM

Empty Reflections

Empty ReflectionsHi Peter.

After downloading the image, a few points that might help.

Its shot pointing down, so the perceptive distortion is pronounced.

Since its into a window, there is naturally some light being reflected back towards the camera; this reduces contrast quite a bit.

I addressed both of these area in the two mods. Mod2 gets in closer; in both, due to highlights being reduced and contrast improved, the floor is more prominent.

If the place is recognisable to someone from the area. it might work.


03/09/2014 - 3:06 PM


FlakyIt depends.

As it is, your point of focus is too far to the right, and almost out of the frame; you also had the camera at an angle that didnt line up well to get the most out of that rusty bar.
I have uploaded a mod2 that shows the line the camera focused on.

So the depends for me is that this would work very well at the given aperture, IF you had taken care with the point, and plane, of focus. With 28mm, 6.3 would be plenty.

Therfore, the improvement for this shot, for me is not aperture, but technique.

A deeper aperture would of course give you a lot more depth. Combine this with technique and you cant lose!

The crustiness of the rustiness (thanks Moira) is important. Its what rust photographers live for. And yes, there are rust photographers.

Anyway, I did upload a mod1 also. The crustiness is enhanced also, - different technique that Moira used, and I de saturated red a little. I increased mid-tone contrast; set the black point to be at a point inside the container on the right; and applied sharpening to the crusty areas only.

Hope this helps,


03/09/2014 - 2:33 PM

Keeping Her Vows

Keeping Her VowsCertainly an image with impact.

I fell quite differently about this than John or Moira. It suggests dignity, loyalty, and love. A promise made, and a promise kept. The beauty of a deep personal relationship, and in that sense, for me, its uplifting.

Well shot as always.

I would like to crop it less wide, but I think that bowl is so essential to the caring aspect I would crop space on the other side.

Theres is a bamboo pole thats running behind the woman, easy to remove. When I saw it, it had to go!

Though the colours are so vibrant, and typical of the place, a mono works very well too. Uploaded both types.


02/09/2014 - 9:06 PM


willow3Wow. You really are determined!..

That a lot of shots. Do you have an objective, or a logical plan in mind when you do this? It seems you are trying shutter and aperture priority modes; one of the variants you uploaded has the note that it was fairly representative of what you achieved in aperture priority mode. At the end of the day (literally) what did you learn from all those shots?

Theres a very important point made above re spot metering. For me, its to be avoided at all costs. In the years Ive been taking photos, I have never, not once, use spot metering. Thats because you use the result as a guide to set you exposure, not use what it shows you; and the spot you select is absolutely critical. So for me, best to use your LCD display; it shows you everything you ever wanted too know about your exposure, and were afraid to ask. And it tells you what you need to change. Thats your best meter. Leave the metering for 99% of the time at its default, and rely on your LCD.

In a lesson I teach in a night class, thats a full 2 hour time slot, yours for free! And the improvement in the quality of the students work is phenomenal.

If it takes this many shots to get something you like, rather than you are having a load of fun, thats a problem.

Take that aperture shot as an example. It wont mean much without the settings, aperture, shutter speed, iso, focal length (300mm likely). Most photos are shot using aperture priority mode, as that sharpness and depth of field is of paramount importance. When there is movement of the subject, you then need to ensure your shutter speed is fast enough. You can control this, while in aperture priority mode, by using you ISO settings.

Lets take the settings for this shot here as an example; and in the process, why +7/3 resulted in a darker than expected image will be clear. Lets start with that, exposure compensation. You have set the shutter speed; you have set the ISO; whats left for the old Nikon D2X to control? Aperture, - right! So, Charles says, get that exposure up by 7/3, Nikon gives it its best shot, and its stuck with the maximum aperture limit of the lens!. Its cant do it! It might have done +2/3 or +1/3, but there no way it could do +7/3. So what does it do? Opens the aperture all the way, which is very likely how it was to start with, and tells you it did apply that +7/3 by showing it on your exposure display, and in the exif. BUT, it didnt actually do anything. Its a white lie, and most or all camera will do the same thing.

Back to the image lets say you used Aperture priority; you would set this usually at least one stop below fully open, to get into the sweet spot of the lens; so lest say f/6.3. With the light the camera would see, if you didnt use spot, I would guess and that OK for this demo, that the shutter speed it would select would be around 1/15th seconds at ISO 200. So, to get that up to 1/200th you would need to get ISO up to ISO 3200. That camera doesnt go even close, so you cant do it; well, you cant do it with the available light you have here. You could use ISO400 or 800 if you had more light.

So, to me is looks like you might be using that max aperture all the time, either way. To get that +7/3, you would have need at least ISO 400.

I hope that you took some of your shots in portrait mode, - as this is how this flower would look best; and the reason its better to use portrait, apart from the fact you will likely end up cropping ti that way, is that you are dedicating the majority of the pixels to the subject.

Anyway, it is a nice shot.

This one here is underexposed (no surprise there!), and with a bit of tweaking and a square crop for me, you have a nice, though very small shot.

I notice you used a fixed K value of 4800. Thats not a bad idea, BUT theres a down side. When either auto or any of the presets are used, and when Photoshop or any other program works with white balance, theres one other twek that has to be made. Thats to control the magenta/green shift, and when setting a K, you have done half the job.

The image needs a shift away from green, towards magenta, as far as I can see. Best to use a preset, or auto if to correct it in post processing.

Mod uploaded, as per comments and a little sharpening.


01/09/2014 - 5:21 PM

inside out

inside outA lovely shot Billy. Framed by a frame!

I loaded a mod with white balance modified. The effects of auto white balance are really clear in this one.


01/09/2014 - 4:59 PM

Dream Weaver

Dream WeaverA really lovely shot. Subject, composition colour, exposure, all work very well.

The idea of Dream Weaver is nice too. It reminds me of the native North Americans Dream Catcher, which they make with feathers.

I looked at the embedded exif data, and I notice that clarity is quite high. This gives the shot, for me, a slightly harsh look, with high contrast, and a hint of oversharpening. Leaving this at zero, and using sharpening can work better in my experience.

I have made this change in the mod, with a slight change in colour temp to favour the yellow canopy, that seems to contain a little too much blue and green.

Well done,


It's the life in your years that count not the years in your lifeIts a very good portrait Roberta. Its nice that you brought back a print. I did that years back after a visit to Havana; I took a shot of a tour guide, and returned 2 years later with the shot printed. I found here, what a surprise she had too.

I want to give you an award right away for using manual white balance set to sunny!

Some general comments: try using the camera in portrait orientation for a portrait, as well as landscape, so you can chose from both. With a portrait shot, most of the available pixels will be used for the face. I like the wide aperture, - its made the background nicely soft. Perhaps soften that horizontal line on the wall a little more, as it intersects with his head?

In post processing, this could be cropped to place the man more off centre, and in the mod, Ive cropped the left side. You can tone down the shirt a little more, and brighten the face a tiny amount, with a little sharpening, but thats really all I can suggest.

I loaded a second mod with a portrait crop just for comparison.

Well done,