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05/01/2015 - 4:42 PM

Autumn Joy

Autumn JoyNice happy scene.

How about a diagonal arrangement? It can look more playful and dynamic?

The exposure is good; auto white balance has added quite a bit of blue, which is countered by high colour saturation. When this is addressed, it can look not too different, but perhaps slightly better, and certainly brigher.

The mod has this done, along with the suggested crop. I rotated the sot, and had 4 white triangles at the corners that I filled in with leaf areas copied from the original image. Hope you like it,


04/01/2015 - 8:59 PM

Swan Head

Swan HeadProbably the best detailed swan head Ive ever seen here.

Open levels, and drag the left slider inwards a bit until it touches where the main histogram starts. Thats will improve the shot and address that flast appearance mentioned. Its worth doing, Ive done it snd it magnificent.


04/01/2015 - 5:31 PM

Watching The Sunset

Watching The SunsetHi Graham, Hi GRaham.

A nice pose, good timing and decent light.

The colour however is exaggerated quite a bit.

Looking at your exif details, the -1.3 is questionable. The camera would have handled this scene as metered quite well without such an extreme negative compensation. The shutter speed is quite slow for this lens and camera combination, and should be over 1/600; this would require a higher ISO that whats you have here. The improved resolution and detail is well worth the extra noise.

This will intensify colours, and you have probably also increased saturation, especially reds, quite a lot. The effect is dramatic, but a little unreal.

I would suggest you take another look at the raw file. The auto white balance could be set to daylight, increase exposure, and work from there.

I have altered colour significantly in the mod; Ive cropped, sharpened, and reduced noise.


04/01/2015 - 4:03 AM

Sunset at the Beach

Sunset at the BeachThe scene is nice, the composition is quite good, but for me, its unrealistically purple. But that fine for people who love purple.

The image needs a slight rotation to level the horizon, and a crop to place the horizon on the third can work.

Apart from tweaking the overall tone, the frame is, for me, a little heavy, - only a matter of personal opinion of course.

Ive uploaded a mod with the coluor tone tweaked, leveled, and the frame lighter,


02/01/2015 - 2:34 PM


StareIts very nicely done Harry.

Since Ive been fortunate to come along after you uploaded the original, theres is another way to place the eyes on a third without losing the head. Thats to add space below the subject, which, since we are dealing largely with black, is a simple task.

Ive done that in the mod I uploaded. One more comment, - the lighting is very harsh, as expected. Combine this with aggressive sharpening, and it becomes more harsh. So consider less sharpening, or, as in the case of the mod, reducing sharpening busing a slight blur. I also brightened a little at the same time.

Hope this is helpful, and happy new year.


01/01/2015 - 11:56 PM

Hedge Sparrow

Hedge SparrowDont think its a Sparrow, - Trev is probably right.

With the 40D, noise is very intrusive at this ISO, and any attempt at reduction will be done at the expense of sharpness. This is stuff you know.

A prime is always superior at any given focal length to a zoom. I dont think we need to debate that a whole lot. I havent seen a pro at a football match yet with a zoom.

What happens after the front of the lens has a lot to do with it of course. What we refer to as sharpness, is of course, resolution, the number of lines pairs per millimeter.

Or, the ability of the human eye to discern the number of high resolution line pairs in a single millimeter. Superb lenses can resolve over 100 lp/mm. Thats a super sharp prime. A zoom doesnt come close.. BUT, the interesting is, the human eye, with perfect vision and viewing conditions, unaided, can resolve only 10 lp/mm.

Theres is however, one other component of perceived sharpness that possible more important, and that acutance. THis mean, looking at the line pairs, what does the edge transition look like? It it very crisp black to white? Or doe the black edge become a little grey and then black. High quality glass does a wonderful job of acutance, zoom are not as good. This is why, in the vast majority of cases, a prime lens produces a higher contrast image than a zoom. Thats what then becomes important to the eye when assessing apparent sharpness, and this is also where digital sharpening does its trick; edge sharpness, or acutance; increasing contrast at pixel edges.

If I had the means and the money I would only use primes; hold on, - I almost do, - I have just two zooms. A 24-70L and a 70-200L. The primes I own within the range of each zoom, - a $200 40mm f/2.8 in the 24-70zoom range is markedly sharper with way less distortion at 40mm that the 24-70 at 40mm; The 135mm f/2 is vastly superior to the same focal length in the 70 - 200mm range, as is the 85mm f/1.8. So zooms are very useful jack of all trades, and master of none. Primes are master of one.

Dont forget white balance Wink

Mod has noise reduction; the eye is sgarpened, - its not quite good enought here, and the crop, and of course, to start the year off right, white baolance adjusted from Auto.

Happy New year.


30/12/2014 - 8:01 PM

White bike

White bike+2/3 or +1, and then correct white balance. As Im know to say occasionally, Auto white balance is designed to correct natural colours. If you want to see natural colours, use RAW and correct, or set WB to the actual lighting conditions. Snow in sahe can have a blue/grey, - mostly grey colour. Snow in Sun will be a warm white.

Your WB is 4600K, should be closer to 5500K; and exposure looks right at + 0.7, rather than the -0.65 you applied. Try it! Or turn on mods.

Its a lovely show btw


30/12/2014 - 7:20 PM

Proud little chappy...

Proud little chappy...What do you think of the shot Mike?

Seems to be "almost there" perhaps?

Good exposure, nice pose. But its very soft, - not sharp.

Looking at the exif data shows why. The shutter speed is very slow for 130mm, which is equivalent to 208mm. Without a VR lens tyou need to shoot at 1/200th roughtly, so this would need the ISO to be increased to 800 for this shot. Something to keep an eye on when in Aperture priority mode, - check the shutter speed the camera selects and then adjust ISO to get the sped more reasonable.

Even with VC, the subject can move, so you need closer to 1/200, though slower could work.

It does look quite nice when the additional sharpening is applied. Crop so the bird is off centre can also improve the composition. All done in the mod


30/12/2014 - 2:08 PM


SistersWelcome from me also, hope you enjoy the site.

For a P mode shot its quite good; having the flash popped up was a ery good idea too, it gives a nice sparkle to both their eyes.

Lots of good advice above.

One thing I will mentions; when you re size the image for uploading (assuming you did), after you save the smaller file, dont upload it yet. Open it, check and adjust sharpness, - it will probably need a little sharpening; than save it, and then upload it.

If you allow the site to resize, make sure its sharp before you upload, as the site will not apply sharpening.

I uploaded a mod that has sharpening applied; contrast is boosted a little. View all mods large, or they wont look as they are supposed to.


30/12/2014 - 1:47 PM

Giant Head

Giant HeadIve seen a number of shots like this recently from another photographer in the same part of the world, and I thought they were a good representation of local life. HERE

This is too. Animal heads can be found in butchers and supermarkets in many places, though usually skinned and packaged. Rarely a cows head I think. The head will undoubtedly be bought, and Ox tongue is widely sold as a product of the head, as are brains.

What has a raw (no pun) sense here is that the animal seems to have been recently butchered, where we have become used to meat thats aged.

The image can be rotated as its not levele, - likely not a big deal here, but it doesnt hurt to do it. The lines around the people are odd, - Ive removed them in the mod. I like the inclusion of the people.

I wonder if a shot from further away showing more of the butcher, - not necessarily all of him, would work better. Perhaps having a little less shock value and a little more sense of the place.

Mod is a little sharper, and is rotated. Colour increased slightly.


29/12/2014 - 11:58 PM

What goes beyond

What goes beyondThe general approach for snow, and also for sand in the sun, is that regardless of which camera you use, you need to add +2/3 or perhaps +1 exposure compensation to cancel out the error the camera will always make with a lot of bright light.

The mode you used isnt recorded in the exif data; I think P mode will allow you to use exposure compensation, if you are allowing the camera to make decisions by avoiding aperture and shutter priority modes.

As an E2 member, you can enable mods on this shot so you can see what + exposure compensation does with the image. Go to options, edit image, options, then click mods.


29/12/2014 - 6:41 PM

Rain Drops Sisters

Rain Drops SistersWelcome to EPZ Svetlana. I hope you enjoy your time here.

This is the Critique Gallery, so you have uploaded this image looking for some feedback.

Its really good. You used the cameras programme mode, s nothing complicated, and with accurate focus and good light, youve captured the drops very well.

With a less colorful background, or one that didnt have red in it, the image may have made the drops even nicer. So if you have another opportunity, take note of whats behind the drops.

The exposure can be just a little brighter; the camera reacted to the bright area behind that centre long drop and reduced exposure a little, - but its a small point.

Sharpening a little before you upload the image will also make it look better on the site. Re-sizing can cause some loss of detail. It is quite good though as it is.

To see the difference a little more brightness and sharpening make, look at the mod I uploaded; scroll up and click the modifications tab, then view the image large. My mod is the second mod.
The colour red is less intense also in the mod.

Well done.


29/12/2014 - 6:25 PM

Whooper Swans

Whooper SwansVery good. like the crop, the colour, and the sharpness.

These were moving, so it made the shot a little more difficult, which you handled well using AF-S

When shooting RAW, you can expose a little brighter than if you shoot JPEG; this is because theres much more bright whites that can be retained and recovered in a RAW file. If you Google expose to the right, or ETTR you can find some good reading.

I couls see your RAW adjustments in the exif in CS6. I reset to defauly, so where you had shadows at +100, I set - 100, etc.

I used PS to do the mod, which was really very small adjustments. The major alteration is that I set the black point on the water, not the swans, and used a layer mask to remove the darker tone from the swans. This adjustment in PS allows that differential brightness which is attractive. The shadow/highlight tool was then used to maximise the feather detail.

Well done

29/12/2014 - 6:07 PM


RobinThats the minimum hand-held shutter speed Max. With a bean bag, and solid support it can be slower, just like a tripod, and that speed is dependent on how you finesse the shutter, - causing no movement with a gentle squeeze. 1/100th should be possible if you are very steady.

The other variable is the subject. This minimum speed assumes a static subject. If the subject is moving, or could move, you would want to increase the speed.


28/12/2014 - 5:05 PM

Zoe (Colour Version)

Zoe (Colour Version)Its quite good Robert. I also looked at the mono, and of the two, I am leaning towards the mono version.

With his, I would crop a lot of space off the left to place her eye on a third; I would adjust exposure to be a little brighter; the mono makes that coloured background disappear, so for me thats one of the benefits, - a different background would be nice.

That lens is bitingly sharp, and reveals every single blemish in her skin, so it would be worthwhile to try it wide open, with careful focusing on her near eye.
As it is, maybe be bit of softening.

Ive done mods in colour and mono if you like I can upload.


26/12/2014 - 6:19 PM

lennox lay down

lennox lay downIts a nice idea, and cleverly done. This is taking things right down to the dogs level.

Comparing the original to the V1, I would suggest a few tweaks.

V1 has the eyes looking less "alive", and its important with animal and people alike to have clear eyes with good catchlight. So a little work there; I used Photoshop to make the pupils black (dogs can have blue or green and other colours as their version of Red Eye,

His collar appears to be a high visibility piece, so I would clone over it ro remove it completely.

Sharpen a little more

Leave a little more space under his chin.

So overall, well done, and you can, if you like, tweak a bit more.

The mod has the tweaks described. Hope it works for you.


20/12/2014 - 3:51 PM

Contre Jour at Kinver Edge

Contre Jour at Kinver EdgeHi Richard.

I will asnwwer your quesions as I read them.

Quote: Originally shot in RAW(not my usual preference!) as I do struggle with the processing of RAW images.
They always seem so noisy, even when taken at low ISOs - I do know that RAW images enable more to be recovered from an original image.

I would like to know exactly what it is you struggle with? The RAW file IS the original image
, and since you are used to viewing a significantly altered and compressed JPEG, which already has Noise Reduction applied, the RAW image will look different; The views you see in LR are also very large, the file size is many times larger than the jpeg, so you are looking beyond the surface of a jpeg image. Its this ability that allows you to take decision yourself on how you want to process the actual original image. More noise may be there becuse NO noise reductio has been applied, - its your decision.

Quote: And, I do use aspects of Lightroom and PS5 to reduce noise, usually followed by the sharpening tool.

LR is where to reduce noise in a RAW image. Note the workflow, it runs vetically from top to bottom down the strip on the right; it also places sharpening BEFORE noise reduction. It also has the ability for you to examine 10% crops of small areas of the image, anywhere you want, to view exactly what the effect of sharpening and noise reduction is. You have complete control. You can view the 100% crops, see the image as it fits on the screen, lots of ways to compare before and after. By the way, Control Z undoes any change you make in LR, or CS.
So the ORDER is as its laid out in LR, - thats the workflow. Note, white balance is the first adjustment, as it affects all others that come after.

Quote: [Is there a magic formula, I wonder??]

No, no magic formula. The magic is clearly laid out in that strip, With practice, you may decide on a way that skips some steps, or changes the order.

Quote: Is there anything I could do 'in camera' in the first instance, perhaps??

. As far as a RAW file is concerned, no really, but the same applies as it does to every shot. So nothing special because you will use a RAW file.

General comments:
Your V1 could have been produced entirely in LR, in RAW, without saving as a JPEG until the very last step to output a JPEG for EPZ, PS would not be needed for any part of the process.

Why is this important? When you edit in RAW; or you edit in RAW and then save as a DNG or TIFF, subsequent editing is NON DESTRUCTIVE, meaning the image is not degraded. When editing a JPEG, every two times the image is saved, it loses detail though file compression. Even if youve made no changes. So, as an example, you could edit in RAW, or in TIFF or DNG for two weeks, and the image at the end would have lots NOT detail at all.

There are tools in LR that I would bet you have never seen. You can brighten or darken in tiny or large areas in very localised areas, you can blur localised areas. You can remove spots and blemishes, down to individual pixels; you can mask areas so adjustments are not applied. There are many capabilities it has that many people dont explore. All these for example are done with the Adjustment brush.

LR has a slew of B&W presets; Colour presets; styles, etc you can use.

Now, this shot. The exix -1 shows up in exif for me in my OPS, so maybe a site issue.

It also shows that the shot (V3) has had contrast set to + 23, and brightness set t a + value I cant remember.

So I opend t it Camera Raw, and removed the existing adjustments, Added +1, and set saturation to +8. I sharpened a small amount.

The result is in the first upload.

I then used CS5 to convert to mono, thats mod2.

Go to Adobe, and there are numerous tutorials on LR and RAW processing there. AS a guide, I would spend two minutes in an image in RAW; sometimes way more, but that the norm.

Hope this helps,


I'm not even caring about you...A great opportunity Marcos. That pose is really nice.

I think that at 1000mm, even with image stabilisation, the shutter speed was a little too slow. Though it is almost sharp in places, it can be sharper.

Turning the camera to a portrait mode would have allowed you to have more space above the head, - and a nice composition.

There is enough here to sharpen a little, and especially to tone down the bright highlights. This gives the image improved contrast.

I have uploaded a mod thats cropped as if it was portrait style.

Its a little sharper; highlights are toned down; exposure slightly reduced; and the eyes brightened. I enhanced existing catch-lights in the eyes.
View the mod large, as it will appear a little dark if you view the small size.

Hope this is helpful,


18/12/2014 - 4:33 PM

Mr. Bee digs Christmas

Mr. Bee digs ChristmasThe app doesnt need a camera, it lights up the screen.

Heres a link thats useful for Canon flash:


Thats a Stofen diffuser and it works fine.

16/12/2014 - 4:11 PM

A truth we can't unknow

A truth we can't unknowSo I spent 5 seconds looking for that plus. Then I figured out it was a plug!

Its all in there, - the good dramatic light; the nice model that has the look you need; the location; her pose; her expression. Thats all plus. Its an efective image, quite bleak.

After that its just some playing around.

I read your comment re mono, what programme and process are you using that youre not happy with?

Starting with the original image, it can have the black level improved by pulling in the left of the histogram. It can also have exposure increased a little, and the combination of the two = contrast.
With some sharpening, mod1 is the colour version, with a bit more colour, and is whats used for the mono conversions. I did crop a little from the top, and filled in the gap in the floor, bottom left, - though with a vignette applied its probably not necessary.

Mods 2 and 3 are done in CS6, which has a large amount of possibilities with mono, duo tones, tri-tones, etc. CS5 has the same. Mod2 is a straight mono conversion, with a medium contrast curve applied, plus the vignette. Mod 3 is a tri-toned version.

Depending on what you currently use, you may be able to improve the conversion process, so lets know.