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26/02/2015 - 12:22 AM

Flash forward

Flash forwardWas the flash that illuminated the front on the camera? I assume these flashes are what we would call speedlights, and that they "talk" with the camera, - i.e the exposure and flash power is controlled by the camera itself.

The front needs more light here, and the entire set up seems to be more back-lit that front lit, meaning that a lot of light is behind the flowers, being reflected forward to the camera.
This seems a little at odds with what you experienced, with too much light on the front.

Do I understand correctly that the flash at the back, pointed to the wall was on full power; and a second flash, - the "master" was on the camera, and pointed upwards to bounce? Are the flashes in a "master/slave" relationship, or independent?

When using flash, the exposure is made instantaneously when you fire the shutter, and the remaining 1/25th of a second allows ambient light in.

In any event, you need more light on the front. Its also possible, assuming the front flash was camera mounted, that the light from the wall would reduce the power of the front flash, however your description of too much light confuses me. Maybe another of us can make sense of this.
Also the exif clearly shows that return light was NOT detected, and this could be due to bouncing the flash, and leaving too little light on the flowers.

Are you able, or have you tried, to first get a reasonable image of the flowers with a front facing flash, using a diffuser on the flash, without using the rear flash at all?

I uploaded a mod that has the flowers exposed almost correctly from the front and that required at least a +2/3 correction.

25/02/2015 - 2:20 PM

Moods of Morlich

Moods of MorlichUse the RAW file; look at the white balance adjustments in the RAW converter; under the colour temperature, there a slider that goes from magenta on the right to green on the left; slide it away from magenta, towards green until you are happy with the appearance.


24/02/2015 - 1:53 PM

Painted wild Dog

Painted wild DogVery good shot. Eyes are nicely focused, great pose.

Cool temp for me at 4300K, so mod uploaded.


24/02/2015 - 12:53 PM


BlencathraThis is not sharp.

It seems to me you have lost a lot of detail that in the RAW when it was converted to JPEG in the first place, and then this carried on into the smaller JPEG.

As far as I can make out, this is common to large Mpix sensors, and might require more work in extracting that detail from RAW in RAW processing, before moving on to converting to another file format.

This is something you are going to have to experiment with, and I dug up a link that specifically refers to techniques to use with the D800 HERE

So the best advice I can give is to read the attached and try whats being suggested.

The detail in the grass here is so tiny that it would be seen in the large file, but has much less of a chance in surviving the journey to this size.

Lets know if the techniques here work,as we can all learn something from this.


20/02/2015 - 6:16 PM


THE TWO FACES OF THE SURPRISERed.blue chromatic aberration.

Ive uploaded two images, the second shows how, and where you can correct it. Its very obvious to see when you notice it. Correction is using the lens correction tool in CS6

Its common.

All who didnt see it look at mod1, you cant miss it.


20/02/2015 - 6:01 PM


WaterfallWelcome to EPZ Garrie, and to the critique gallery.

This is not a bad effort for a first attempt at waterfalls, and at blurred water.

The first thing thats strikes me, as mention by Brian above, is that the image needs to be rotated clock-wise to level the water. Its easy to do in any editing program.

I wonder if you used a tripod, or how you supported the camera for a slow shutter like this? You need to use a tripod, or have the camera placed on a solid surface, and use the self timer to fire the shutter.

The bright areas of the water are burned, meaning theres no data present, and this is due to overexposure; looking at the settings, if the camera had selected a smaller aperture, which you could make it do by applying a negative exposure compensation.

Sharpen the image before you upload the version for the site, as its a little soft; I think its just sharpening, and not movement blur. Make a habit of looking at you image on the LCD, with the histogram displayed, and you can decide quite readily if you need to shoot again and adjust exposure either way.

Finally, the water appears a little blue, which is often what Auto White Balance will do with a warm toned image. Best to shoot in RAW, and then adjust white balance in post processing as needed.

The mod Ive uploaded is rotated, sharpened, and has a warmer white balance to counter the blue water. Im not sure a mono would suit, but I will also upload a mono anyway so you can see.

Good effort, - practice is the way forward.


18/02/2015 - 9:55 PM

Garden spider

Garden spiderWelcome to the critique gallery Tom.

Im sure you are pleased with this; though the lens is not identified, I would guess a Tamron 90mm Macro?

You have a good overall exposure, and as you can see, parts of the spider are sharp and focused, and some are not. This is a shallow depth of field, and is quite typical when using a large aperture (large opening). F/4 gives a very shallow depth of field, whereas f/11 would provide better depth, with more of the Spider appearing sharp. Thats the key to macro shooting, especially insects, - get a good depth unless you want a super close macro of the head only, as an example. the out of focus areas here are a combination of spider parts close to the lens (the back of the spider) and further away, the rear legs.

The smaller apertures (f/11 is smaller than f/4, f/4 is smaller than f/2.8, etc) of course allow less light in, so you need to compensate by allowing a slower shutter, and/or a higher ISO.

So, with this, lets say you use f/11, its a good idea to keep that shutter speed where it is, leaving you ISO to tweak. Up to 1600 is roughly what you need, unless you use a slower shutter, and then youre getting into tripod territory.

I did upload a modification, cropped closer a little, slight sharpening and contrast, but its really as good as it gets at f/4. Scroll up and click the modifications tab, and view large.

I notice you used flash, - I assume the on-camera pop-up; it likely that it fired in a "fill flash" mode, meaning that it added a small amount of light, and wasnt the primary source. This is a good thing!

Google macro photography and you will find a wealth of useful information on the subject, which w3ill always include either images or descriptions of depth of field and apertures.


17/02/2015 - 11:31 PM

Blue Hour

Blue HourIm not familiar with the Nik HDR effect, though I am familiar with HDR.

How do you think its turned out?

HDR is most often used for a scene with a very wide dynamic range, from very dark to very bright, and it renders more detail in darks, mid-tones and bright areas than a single shot would show. Thats why, for HDR, you need a range is shots of the same subject shot over a number of different exposures, with the same focus (Manual) on a tripod; so for this one here, you would have say 2 exposures, + and - 1/3, 2/3, 3/3, and 0; these 7 exposures would capture good dark detail as well as good bright detail, and the HDR programme would process all 7/ HDR effects usually work with a single exposure, and try to give a simialr effect. However, with only a single exposure, the possibilities are limited, as opposed to a true HDR image.
So you might like to try a multiple exposure shot and see whats you get.

Beware of spot focus, - use the default multi-segment as youve done here.

The end result, since its heavily modified already, is a matter of personal taste, a lot like Marmite!


17/02/2015 - 5:43 PM

2 birds

2 birdsBeware of using your monitor to judge brightness Dave. The only thing you can rely on is the histogram, as it rules out the monitor, and can indicate if the monitor is not correctly calibrated.

I uploaded 2 screen shots from PS of the before and after histogram; you can see quite clearly that the original is well under. Its not a bad idea to calibrate your monitor if you are using one. Spot metering is as its name implies, - very spotty, and can give you a wide range of results depending on how neutral the spot is that you select for metering.


14/02/2015 - 5:32 PM

Thames Sunset

Thames SunsetA nice view.

A little sharpening helps. I did take just a little off the bottom in the mod, but added about the same to the top.

Slightly warmer, and sharper.


12/02/2015 - 6:45 PM

I should have tried harder

I should have tried harderThe expression is very nice, and well caught.

The composition I also like, it shows isolation for me, and thats possibly part of what he could be thinking.

The filter is a matter of taste; its overly pink for me, and I would prefer a mono.

One other possible crop is a longer crop as in the mod.

Nicely caught moment.


12/02/2015 - 6:23 PM

On the watch out

On the watch outWhat great camouflage.

If you still have the RAW file for this one, you could re do some of the settings. Its really nice, great pose, but well underexposed. I notice in the EXIF that you used an older version of Camera Raw, and tried to increase brightness, which is not very successful. I suspect spot metering let you down, but theres a great shot in there!

The mod has a +1.33 exposure among other tweaks. View large.


12/02/2015 - 4:43 PM

T.birds are go

T.birds are goHi Bianca and Jos.

It depends on what you mean by better.

Do you want a sharp, crisp shot of the bird in flight/motion?

Do you want a shot that suggests the bird is moving?

Do you want a shot of the gull about to fly off, still on the water?

Your best option I think, if you want to get in close, is to get a capture of the bird as it starts to move off the water, while its still not moving from one side to another; practice by getting sharp shots of the gull on the water, and then, time your shot with the shutter speed set to at least 1/1000, shutter priority, and the ISO on auto if you have the ability, or on ISO 800 - 1600.

As you know, the original is very much underexposed, so try to get the ordinary, bird on the water shot sorted out first.


10/02/2015 - 1:16 AM

For the Job

For the JobHi Mario.

You have blurred the upper left of the image, and included the handle of the oil can which looks a bit odd.

The "flow" of the pieces seems to be from right to left, high to low, but the position, and orientation of the oil can interrupts this flow; maybe placing the can on the right, facing the left may work better, or remove it? Or put it where the jack is?


09/02/2015 - 1:31 PM

2 puffins

2 puffinsNice detail.

The mod has a touch more exposure, and the blue tweaked as mentioned by Kate. Looks to me like the 4200k range wb was a lit cool for the time of day, so a little warmer will be less blue.


06/02/2015 - 2:50 PM

Did I hear a mouse?

Did I hear a mouse?Nice shot.

You have the ProPhoto profile assigned to the shot so it might look strange on some browsers.

Ive uploaded a mod, a few tweaks, especially on the background, and sRGB assigned.


04/02/2015 - 3:28 AM

Buchaille Eite Mor

Buchaille Eite MorVery much underexposed, and a very blue colour cast mar what is a really nice view. Did you overexpose by +2/3 to +1 as needs to be done when photographing snow?

Mod uploaded with exposure adjusted and blue cast removed. Blue is removed by shifting the blue/yellow balance away from blue towards yellow, which decreases blue, using the colour balance adjustment, rather than a warming filter, which mixes blue with the colour of the filter used. I noticed that you used Photomatix, - were you trying HDR?


04/02/2015 - 12:40 AM

Late Summer Supper

Late Summer SupperWelcome to EPZ Chris, and to the critique gallery. We have a number of volunteers that work on the critique team, along wqith some regular contributors that try help you to improve. Its a two way relationship we hope, where you tell us if we are helping you along and if you have questions, do ask; if we are missing the mark let us know too.

THis is a nice shot of a Bee doing its thing.Youve asked for feedback or advice on close-up photography, and in particular when the subjects are moving.

Lets look at this shot first and see whats to be learned. Not all of the Bee is sharp, or in focus; you can see the area of focus just behind the head, and that area, from wheres its sharp to where the sharpness ends, is quite shallow. Thats a perfect representation of shallow depth of field, or dof, a term used a lot in photography.

The depth of that area of focus, is determined mainly by the aperture, or f value; the smaller the aperture, the greater that depth. We have f/5.0 here, which essentially means the aperture is wide open; any aperture smaller than f/5, and thats f/8, f/11, f/16 increases that depth, doubling it each time. So f/5 has left the Bee partially sharp and focused.

The next point is that the area where the sharpness, or apparent sharpness starts, is behind the Bees head; so the camera focused a little behind, and you can control this to a large extent by using only one focus point, rather than the default multiple points; and my manually focusing, but that difficult with a moving Bee.

Any image of a subject that moving requires a fast shutter speed; in this shot, the speed is fast enough to stop most movement. The closer you get, the faster the shutter, as you will magnify movement. Your exposure mode is not specified here, however you would usually be controlling the camera using Aperture, Shutter priority, or Manual. This is something you will learn with practice, and theres tight interdependency between aperture, shutter, ISO and focal length. Faster shutter needs wider aperture, and if the light is poor, then ISO has to increase; the longer the focal length you have 185mm here, the faster the shutter, usually 1.5 times the focal length; and having VR does help, but only with your ability to hold the camera steady, - it wont help with a moving subject.

Close-up photography can be like this one, shot from far off using a zoom lens, but its more commonly understood to be a shot taken with a macro lens, close to the subject. Both have different techniques.

I have uploaded a modification, scroll up and click the tab, and view large; its as sharp as I can get it, plus its brighter. You can see that theres no real improvement in the depth of sharpness of the Bee, just a little improvement in the AMOUNT of sharpness.

Others that contribute to the critiques will add more on top of some of the general basics Ive covered, so stay tuned.


03/02/2015 - 7:35 PM

Half light

Half lightIts a nice shot. There are some minor hot spots, - you cant ascertain this by using an LCD, you need to use the luminance channel in photoshop, and Ive uploaded a screen shot to illustrate this. Thats how to tell, and its minor.

I personally prefer a softer look; the aperture and good lens performance shows every pore on the skin.

I would add space on the left, and Ive uploaded a few variations. The first is the original with exposure reduced to eliminate thwe spots; the rest are variations. One of the 10 X 8 has the liquify tool used in the areas under the chin, - very easy and fast to do.


03/02/2015 - 1:49 PM

Inch Strand, Co. Kerry

Inch Strand, Co. KerryYou have CS6.

Use the crop tool set to unconstrained (dont select a preset crop) and then in the centre of the bottom of the crop window, drag the crop window down a little to prepare that space you want to add. The enter ok. You will now have a strip at the bottom that white of black.

Now, use the rectangular marquee tool 9secind from top), making sure the feather amount is set to zero ( its in the horizontak bar at the top of the screen, default in zero); now select that extra space at the bottom, making sire the top of the marquee tool covers the actual image area by a few pixels; then edit>fill>set to Content Aware, and enter. Control D to deselect.
The area should be filled in reasonably well, - and areas that look odd, just use a little cloning.