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24/10/2014 - 5:41 PM

European Horned Viper

European Horned ViperIts so brilliantly camouflaged its a challenge to show it up well.

Its a good dhow overall. The sun was close to overhead, to it loses the advantage of a low. raking light that would enhance details and shadows. But Im sure this is the safest time of day!

I would crop in a bit closer just to focus on the head, and the sharper parts of the body, add a little space on the left, in front of the snake.

The rest is a combination of white balance (warmer) and contrast, with some sharpening to try to separate the snake from its background.

Done in the mod Ive uploaded.


21/10/2014 - 7:51 PM

Coal Tit

Coal TitNice Maya.

I see some RAW settings embedded in the file, - did you shoot in RAW?

If you did, go back to the RAW file; set white balance to either to auto on the drop-down menu, or manually to 5000; set clarity to +12; dont increase highlights, - reduce them by that same amount; set black to -6; set vibrance to +12; go to the sharpening tab and set it to 40.

The result would be similar to the mod. Ive added some height to the frame too.

Well done, good high ISO performance.

21/10/2014 - 2:41 PM

Pebbles and rust

Pebbles and rustI think youve done well with the lens you were using.

Ideally this is the type of shot that needs to be close in, a lower down pov with something like a macro lens. Filling the frame some more with that rusty iron.

I cropped drastically in the mod to focus on the rust, with more contrast, it looks a lot different.

So, for me, either closer. or zoom in more.


21/10/2014 - 12:45 PM

Golden Girl

Golden GirlHi Mark.

Yes, the dress colour is better.

As Paul mentions, the model needs a bit more light. When I look at what you did with RAW adjustments (they are embedded in the exif) you reduced highlights a lot which had quite a darkening effect on the right side.

The reason you reduced highlights seems to have been to reduce light on her right hand, which worked there, and had too much of an effect elsewhere.

It would be better if she wasnt posed with the back of her hand facing the Sun, it will always be a brighter area.

I have two mods, both have exposure increased on the right; mod2 has the hand removed just to see what it would look like.

So, in post processing, if the highlight were left, and then in Photoshop, the hand was toned down on its own, the result would likely be better.


20/10/2014 - 12:48 PM

Front on jump

Front on jumpYes, well timed and composed.

It does need to be brighter, and Ive added a mod thats brighter and has a little more space added at the top.

When the weather is bright, and youre including the sky, and bright whites like this, theres a tendancy to want to "control" the light by stopping down with exposure compensation. This always results in a dull, or less bright/vibrant shot. This is because rather than apply negative exposure compensation, you need to either apply some positive exposure compensation, or none at all.

The camera itself is already dealing with the bright light, and will reduce exposure; then adding more negative comp. makes the image underexpose more. So doing the opposite, or nothing will work better to expose the subject.

The mod shows the difference. Its ok if the posts are bright, - they are supposed to be; what you want is the horse and rider to have the correct exposure.


Hey be careful. Dont get choke on your preyThis is really beautiful!

Great exposure, lovely soft de-focused background. The subject caught with great timing.

It will benefit if that blade of grass crossing the beak is removed. A small amount of tweaking sharpness, highlights and contrast will bring more detail to the head and feathers, - its small adjustments, but makes a big difference. Ive done this in the mod I uploaded, - the second and third mods, not the first one.

Excellent work.

17/10/2014 - 2:59 PM

Make way for me!

Make way for me!A really nice image.

The same settings youve explained in an earlier post.

I would process this a little differently than youve done with your RAW settings.

Ive uploaded a mod with the result. The colour temp is warmer; clarity adjustment removed to be less harsh; some use of the dodge tool to get a little more detail in the dust.


17/10/2014 - 2:08 PM

Stroove Lighthouse at sunrise

Stroove Lighthouse at sunriseIts a nice shot Tracy. Lovely light.

If you took this in RAW, just reduce exposure by - 0.7 to -1, and then increase saturation by +10. Thats what Ive done.

If you only have a JPEG, open it in Adobe Camera Raw, and do the same.

Its very well exposed, filling the histogram out well, and in this case, that reduces the depth and drama thats possible. Reducing exposure brings out that drama very easily. Colour will automatically be denser, and a small lift in saturation completes the picture.

I think the point David brinhs up re aperture has been mentioned before. At f/22, you are working in an area where your results will be a lot less crisp that if you used a larger aperture; after f/11, it can really drop off, and you really dont need anything smaller that f/11 for this. As a comparison re dof. using f/22, the depth will start at 3.5 feet in front of the lens to infinity; at f/11, it start at 7.2 feet in front of the lens to infinity, with a crisper result. There isnt a lot of water movement here that would suffer from a shorter exposure time.

The mods also have a little sharpening added; that makes the brightly lit rocks sparkle nicely; theres some crop suggestions there also.


16/10/2014 - 7:05 PM


ContrailsMany landscape photographers dislike contrails, and either avoid them, or remove them.

But they can also be quite nice, as they do often as here, lead to the same destination.

Its very good as it is. The mod I uploaded has more black, - meaning some areas that were almost black are now black; and the brights glow a bit more.

Great idea to have that tree on the horizon.


14/10/2014 - 8:33 PM

Eiffel Tower on a Cloudy Day

Eiffel Tower on a Cloudy DayIts a nice point of view. Certaily gives an impression of height.

Its well done overall. Its underexposed as youre shooting into the sky, which will need a + exposure compensation, - but I cant see all of you exif here, - shutter speed is missing.

Its possible that the NIK plug-in has reduced brightness, but more likely its that fact a positive exposure comp was not used.

I have done this in the mod, and flipped the image 90 degrees CW which works for me. Take a look and see what you think?


Two zebras about to bite the dustAnother terrific shot.

You can get a lot more detail out of the dusty area if you tone down highlights, and reduce mid-tone contrast.

Mods uploaded to demonstrate, mod2 has the right action further from the edge.


13/10/2014 - 6:14 PM

Gone to seed

Gone to seedThis is very good Bill.

The chaos of lines, curves, seeds coming and going, are very attractive.

If you used a warm white balance, on top of the landscape picture mode, you an get a result somewhat warmer than needed.

So my suggestion is slightly less warm; pull in the left levels adjustment to meet the histogram; and sharpen some more.

Done in the mod.


10/10/2014 - 5:49 PM

Red Arrows Flypast

Red Arrows FlypastHi Phillip, and welcome to EPZ and also the Critique Gallery. We try to be helpful here, and work with you to improve your skill and knowledge, answer questions, and have fun.

This shot was taken some time ago, and you have very specific question.

You will need to get familiar with some sort of editing programme. Thats the key to being able to asses your image, and decide what can be done to improve it.

Even the camera itself, when you review a shot on the LCD, will have the ability to show you a "histogram" of the image, which tells you right away of the shot is exposed properly. It gives you the option to re-take a shot, though it would be difficult in this case.

You are using a preset mode (action), so the camera makes all the decisions. You also used SPOT metering, which in this case wasnt a good idea; better to use the default metering. When shooting into the sky, its always a good idea to increase exposure in camera, by using the Exposure Compensation feature, and set it to+2/3 or +1.

Are you still using camera presets, or have you explored the more creative modes the camera has?

The image is very underexposed. I used a histogram measurement in Photoshop to know that.

They are small, but thats the size they are at 260mm; when the image has exposure corrected, they become more visible, and cropping the image to a 16X9 format with a lot less sky works well.

If you scroll up and click the modifications tab, you will see two mods I uploaded; mod1 is the original crop, exposure corrected; mod2 is the 16X9 crop.

There will be some more critiques coming on this, - you will get lots of feedback.

Enjoy the site.


09/10/2014 - 8:25 PM

Temple of Apollo

Temple of ApolloTheres a lot of good detail in this, as you wanted.

I assume f/10 was for dof, and its worked; its also brought the stones further back into view, so consider applying a little blurring there.

Your ISO is very high, - higher than needed; theres no ill effects here, just that you could get away with a lower ISO quite easily with the light you had available.

The brightest areas are a little muted, and this will lower contrast, so a little brighter with the brights helps, as in the mod.

Ive added a bit of blur, sharpened, - sharpening also increases contrast, and tweaked white and black a little.


08/10/2014 - 6:31 PM

Dublin Docklands

Dublin DocklandsIts almost entirely white balance Tracey. If the colour temp is higher, the blue spectrum is automatically lower. If you remember CMYK, the opposite of blue is Yellow, and the upposite of Cyan is Rec, so warmer reduces Blue.

I didnt alter saturation.

So if you look at the shot in RAW, the first adjustment, beciase it affects all others, is White Balance; its even before exposure, its that important.

Look at the value the camera recorded; then in the drop down in the WB dialogue click, and you will see all the presets, INCLUDING AUTO; click auto and see how it affects the image; it can be very accurate most of the time; it will at least give you a reliable place to start to fine tune it. I would bet it will dramatically reduce blue.

I noticed recently, that Nikon now include a second Auto WB option on the higher end camera, - its called AWB that does not affect warm tones. Finally.

08/10/2014 - 1:29 AM

Flying B

Flying BVery nice Mat.

Nice to see an example from the K3 and a good lens.

I would use f/5.6, - just because the lens performs better there, and you had loads of room with the shutter speed.

I uploaded a mod also, as good as it it, you can get the backs deeper, and tone down the highlights a little to get more detail in the bently emblem.

Good work


07/10/2014 - 8:24 PM

Edwardian Portrait.

Edwardian Portrait.Its a good shot overall.

Theres an obvious issue with that halo around her that likely introduced in post processing, where you seem to have wanted to darken the background only.

Its better to err on the side of overlapping the subjest slightly, that leave such a wide margin.

Looking closely, apart from the halo, the face is underexposed; this may be due to the bright white emblem on the hat affecting exposure, if the exposure was set for the hat, and not the face.

I have uploaded a mod with the halo removed mostly (cloning), adjusted the exposure for her face, and sharpened.


07/10/2014 - 5:17 PM

Sophie 2

Sophie 2I like this. Nice pose, gorgeous model.

I think its better with a little more exposure; crop some space from the bottom, cropping across the hand isnt ideal;if that background is actually grey, the white balance is too red. It needs a little more sharpening also.

I downloaded this and tweaked as suggested, - it looks very good.

I would be happy to send it to you if you like, just send me a PM.


06/10/2014 - 8:49 PM


familyHI Martin.

A good family shot that will please everyone!

It is rather "flat" and the faces in particular have little depth, which is a quality you get when using flash. Ewan mentions it also above.

I dont think the EXIF data you provided is accurate, - perhaps you filled it in manually from memory?

The settings, 1/60, and ISO 400 are typical of A or P modes, but f/11 is not. Its possible that with f/11, the flash fired on full power, or close to it; under normal circumstances, with a wider aperture, the flash may have fired as a fill flash.

Full flash power gives a harsh light, with shadows, which we see here; it will also travel through clothing, as it has done with the lady in the striped dress.

You can tweak it a little, I uploaded a mod also, but the basic data you would need for a really good job wasn't captured at the time of shooting.

If the light is good, dont use flash as the primary light source. If you are not familiar with shot settings, leave it in P mode, and see what comes up; you can pop up the flash also and it will work to fill in light using low power, this provides catch-lights in the eyes, for example.

If you are familiar with the creative settings, use Aperture Priority, set it to say f/5.6, and use an ISO setting that makes sure your shutter speed is at least 1.5 X your focal length.

So you need to go to Australia and try another!


05/10/2014 - 1:40 PM

Morning has broken...(colour)

Morning has broken...(colour)It is much too blue Martin. I very much doubt this is what you saw when you were there.

Its very likely that Auto White Balance has decided to kill any warm tones by adding blue - which it will often do in warm, sunny conditions.

I would think that a much warmer tone, or white balance is more appropriate, and I have uploaded a mod with this done for comparison. To rule out AWB, set your white balance to Sunny when the light conditions are sunny as is the case here.

I wonder why the image appears so soft? The near grasses, and the edge of the lake are very soft considering the settings. The foreground would be beter without that large bush poking up, so another position to exclude it would work.

Ive just noticed your comment re the darker area in the centre of the sky, so I will do another mod. Do you have any idea why its darker there? Did you do any post processing that would have addresses vignetting for example?