Login or Join Now

Upload your photos, chat, win prizes and much more

Remember Me

Can't Access your Account?

New to ePHOTOzine? Join ePHOTOzine for free!

Join Now

Join ePHOTOzine, the friendliest photography community.

Upload photos, chat with photographers, win prizes and much more for free!


Connect to User

07/12/2014 - 3:51 PM

Canada Goose

Canada GooseI would suggest +1/3 rather than -1/3 as you are shooting against a bright background.

06/12/2014 - 6:06 PM


PortraitReally good Ishan. You posted it as un-tagged, - assign sRGB to it. It may have a different tonal range when seen by others without the profile. For me, its much brighter than it is here on the site.

Theres something interesting here in the exif data too. Thats the detail that says "flash return light not detected, compulsory mode". And thats why you have an exposure that not at all typical for flash.

So what seems to have happened is that the flash fired, then the amount of light reflecting back from the shirt, and lower than the flash would be looking for, far exceeded what the flash expected, so it reduced its output, and since its not "sure" the light was due to the flash, it plays it safe and indicates return not detected.

Thats good for you! Its like reducing flash power, or using fill flash, neither of which your camera is capable of doing!

Anyway, the image is actually underexposed as a result, - his face at least. I uploaded a mod with this corrected, cropped and darkened the bright area behind.

The reason I asked for colour is to see what variations of mono can be obtained from the original.

Nicely done.


06/12/2014 - 2:54 PM

Give us a leg up

Give us a leg upYou need to understand some fundamental rules about photography:

The basics of minimum shutter speed for hand-holding: Minimum speed is 1/(focal length X crop factor); with this lens, thats 1/(105 X 1.6) = 1/168, and the next faster available shutter speed is approximately 1/200th. So, shooting an image thats ten feet away, while hand holding the camera, means set the shutter speed to no slower than 1/200th.

Now, thats a normal static image, like a wall; and a "usual" distance away. Once you start decreasing the distance, the speed requirement increases. So one foot away will need faster than 1/200th. Likewise, once the subject can no longer be relied on to be static, the need for speed increases.

To get better shots, and until you gain more experience, consider this rule as cast in stone!

This rule can be broken to some extent if the camera is mounted on a tripod; you can shoot at lower shutter speeds, - many minutes long if you like; BUT, the subject must be static, like a plant in a vase indoors; if the subject is still capable of moving, you still want a shutter speed thats not too slow so as to produce a blurred insect.

Now aperture. This determines the depth of apparent sharpness, called depth of field. So a deep depth of field will have more of the subject sharp and apparently "in focus" from near the lens to further away. This is desirable shooting an insect. Conversely, a shallow depth of field will have only a small part of the subjects depth "in focus" from the camera to further away. Simple. The apertures that provide the deepest depth are the largest numbers, for example f/8 is deeper than f/2.8; and f/8 is not as deep as f/16.

Now look at this shot.

Aperture if f/5,6; this is a shallow aperture, so you wont expect a lot of depth of apparent sharpness, or "in focus". You can see that from the Bees front leg to the hair behind the head is already losing sharpness, - the hair being soft, or out of focus. The actual area where you did focus is juts in front of its face, and you can see a very clear a defined shallow line of sharpness in the hairs. Thats aperture in action, right there. So, we know that it would be best to have a smaller aperture if possible, like f/11 as an example.

Now look at the shutter speed; its way too slow, isnt it? Some of the general lack of sharpness will be due to movement of the camera when taking the shot (the minutest movement will cause blur).

That Sigma lens probably has OS to allow slower shutter speeds when hand holding. This system works well at normal subject distances, but will become less effective when you are at macro distances. Personally, I would not rely on OS at all when shooting macro (I dont with my Tamron 90mm VC lens). But lets say for a minute that you could get away with one stop stabilisation, meaning you could use 1/100th; then lest also assume for better depth we need f/11; so the combination of 1/100th and f/11 requires more light, or a higher ISO. The ISO needed would be ISO 3200, - quite noisy; or better light.

be sure to use a single focus point as Trev mentions, - its very important; as is manual focusing.

Many macro shooters will use an off camera flash, or a ring flash when light is poor. The ring flash is ideal for macro in low light.

So consider the rules; practice, even at very high ISO to see the results. On -camera flash wont work at macro distances as it light would be cast further away than the subject, unless you shoot from further away; this is what off camera or ring flash is recommended, - they work in macro distances.

Heres a useful site to give you a leg-up! http://www.bmpt1.com/


06/12/2014 - 1:47 PM

Island Bay

Island BayWelcome to EPZ Elise, and to the critique gallery.

I have looked at your flickr photostream, and I see you have many really good shots, - and some of this location there also.

This particular image has rendered the sea with a nice soft and misty appearance. On closer inspection, it does seems soft, and tends towards purple in tone.

With a long exposure, absolutely rigid support for the camera is needed, and I wounder if there was any possibility of even the tiniest bit of vibration?

The scene doesnt have a real focal point, other than being a seascape.

The aperture used is a little wide for this type of landscape shot, - a smaller aperture, like f/8 may have worked better. The wide aperture may contribute to a sifter look depending on where you focused for the shot too, - but its less likely. A possibility, if the original image you have is sharper, is that the image lost detail through re-sizing and file compression. If you re-sized and saved the smaller image, - dont upload it; rather open it and check and adjust sharpness, then save, and then upload, - this ensures against loss of detail for the site.
ISO 400 is also used, - ISO 100 would be better, and would be a preferred method for this type of shot. The smaller aperture would have offset the slower shutter speed the lower ISO would require

Since you manually set the white balance, I assume (?) you wanted the cool, slightly purple tone? Other shots of the same location show a very warm tone on the rocks.

The image has the horizon level and exactly on a third, - which is generally a good approach. It has left an expanse of empty water though at the bottom, and cropping some out can look better, even though it places the horizon off third. One solution, if you had a very interesting sky, would be to add sky, but its not an option here.

I have uploaded two mods, - scroll up and click the modifications tab to see them, and view large.

Its cropped from the bottom as discussed; it has had sharpening applied; linear contrast; and the white balance has less purple. It can also be left purple, but the rocks will lose the warm tone. In addition, I have increased exposure a little in the foreground. Mod2 has all the adjustments, except white balance.

Hope this is helpful,


05/12/2014 - 2:06 PM

On The Lookout

On The LookoutThis is actually Bichon Frise I think. The pose and expression are nice.

The noise is quite visible in the background here, so a lower ISO would be better. Its a touch underexposed also.

Mod uploaded.


05/12/2014 - 12:52 PM


Help!Hi Harriet.

Thanks for the shot with exif.

This one shows quite a difficult lighting set up. Im surprised that the sunlight is so bright and strong at 5:18 PM too!

So, this image clearly has trees, windows, grass, and a building visible, as if overlaid on top of the arena scene. Not unlike a double exposure. This would suggest a reflection through glass, but as you said this is not shot through glass, that reflected image is coming into the lens somehow. Lets assume for now that the angle you were at caused reflections in the lens. So only you can figure this out by trying a different position in the arena.

The settings you have for the shot: Spot metering is a bad idea here, - use matrix; Shade white balance is a really bad idea, use Auto WB, and if you shoot in RAW, modify it afterwards; the shade WB is whats making the image yellow. My mod has white balance much cooler, and it looks better.

So, try AWB, and matrix metering. Depending on the distance to the action, you might consider f/5.6?


04/12/2014 - 6:42 PM

Swan Pose

Swan PoseQuite nice Chen. Lovely light too.

The focal length is odd. It says 246 mm for a lens that is 200mm. So I wonder if the focal length here is actually 123mm with the 2X crop factor applied? The embedded exif also says 246 mm though? A bit confusing. I would imagine you used 200mm?

In either case, the shutter speed is too slow, and if it was faster you would have a sharper image. The minimum handheld sped for a lens thats not VR is twice the focal length for this camera.

You would have been closer to the needed speed at either f/16, or F/11 with the same exposure.

Sharpened in the mod, and rotated so its straight, - using the water as a guide.


04/12/2014 - 4:55 PM

Loch Ard Pier

Loch Ard PierKate, I have uploaded screen shots from CS6 for every step in the process, from colour to final mono. Hope that helpful.

04/12/2014 - 2:53 PM

Loch Ard Pier

Loch Ard PierHi Kate. Hard to get a word in here!

I have uploaded a mod. Two actually, the colour and the mono. The color to show changes done to that before conversion to mono.

I will not go into every detail unless I know you are happy with it, and I also know which version of Photoshop you have, and then I can be specific. I would also like to know exactly how you converted to mono, - this is important.

High level, - the colour here is underexposed where the important elements of the shot is, - the boat. Having exposure increased there is the start to getting the shot sorted out.

Then, and perhaps its down to re-sizing, both mages are not at all sharp. Sharpness is one of the keys to getting brights to sparkle as it increases local contrast.

I would suggest some cropping too, but I havent done any as you wanted an as-is comparison.

Let me know if this is closer to what you wanted, and I will check back.


03/12/2014 - 11:26 PM


RestingHi Billy.

I had the impression you were light painting, but perhaps not as Ive read Jacquelines comment and good advice.

I did upload a mod that suggest to me that 12 seconds or so with the same set-up would look similar to the mod. I used Adobe Camera Raw to reduce exposure, - it gives quity a good result.

The end result is as mentioned above, too much light, so you need a shorter exposure time; or move the lights further away.

Either way, you need to take a look at the finished shot, and decide what changes need ot be made on the fly while you are there. So looking at this would prompt a shorter exposure once you used the LCD image review as your guide.


03/12/2014 - 11:13 PM


SpitfireA couple of things Mike.

As above mentioned, the spots indicate you need the sensor cleaned. A blue sky and f/16 is actually a great way to teall if you have to clean the sensor, which si very close to whats you have done here anyway.

The image is underexposed quite a bit. When you point the camera upwards towards the sky, it will underexpose. This is what the camera decides to do when theres a lot of bright light, so you have to overrule the camera using Exposure Compensation and apply +1.

You did not need

I did upload a mod with this done, the spots gone, and the white balance st to sunny.


03/12/2014 - 5:46 PM

Sing away the blues

Sing away the bluesHi Mike.

You did get the background right. At 500mm with the background some way behind the Robin, the blur from a wide aperture will usually guarantee this.

You have the comment above about shutter speed. I have looked at 6 or so of your previous bird shots where you have used 500mm. and in every case, the bird is not sharp, and, the shutter speed is very slow.

The exif data is not identifying the lens, - I assume its Sigma? If it is, the lens does have Optical Stabilisation. According to Sigma, the OS will allow the lens to be used at 3 to 4 stops under the shutter speed that would be needed if there was no OS, when hand-held.

So lets take a look at what that means. First, OS works to stabilize you and the camera; it does not have any stabilising effect on a moving subkect; movement can still blur.

Next, what does 3 to 4 stops mean? You are using an APS-C Canon Camera, which has a crop ratio of 1.6. This means the 500mm is effectively a 500 X 1.6 lens, or 800mm.
To hand-hold an 800mm lens would normally require a shutter speed of 1/800th; normally assumes the ability to hold the camera and lens steady.
Each stop, as far as shutter speed goes, represents either double, or half any given speed, depending on whether we are taking about less, or more light allowed into the sensor.
With OS, we are always talking about slower speeds than "normal", which are needed to allow MORE light in in poor light situations.

Starting at 1/800, one stop slower = 1/400, two stops = 1/200, three stops = 1/100, and four stops = 1/50th. All this still assumes that you are holding the lens quite steady; and, I would imagine that four stops could be achieved quite rarely.

So, you are at the four stop mark here with this shot. I would suggest that 1/125th would be the slowest that might get you a sharper image.

To get there using Aperture priority, wide open ( its f/6.3 thats the widest for this lens) this mean using ISO 1600.

If you want to keep the ISO at 800, you have to use a shorter zoom. Using 300mm on this camera, which will be effectively 30 X 1.6 = 480mm, would allow 1/60 at three stops, and ISO 800.

Lets say, as an example that you are the worlds steadiest lens handler, and that 4 stops is astounding on the lens. Then you can run into another problem area IF you crop the image tight, - which you may have done here. Close cropping will reveal noise, and the slightest lack of sharpness quite readily, so an overall softer image than you wanted.

So, in summary either higher ISO to maintain 1/125th at 500mm; OR use a shorter zoom; AND dont crop so tight.

I uploaded a mod that has some sharpening (the Robin does not respond much, indicating the original is not sharp); some noise reduction for the background, and a crop that places the Robin off centre and higher.

Hope this helps, and if you have any questions, just ask.


01/12/2014 - 12:49 PM

Corvus corone (carrion crow)

Corvus corone (carrion crow)Very nice shot Dave. It was worth waiting for that confrontation.

Nothing wrong with the top of the head, - perfectly normal with shiny feathers for the sky to reflect, - and it not burned, it natural.

Nice feather detail, and good high ISO performance. The IS worked well.

As is often the case, you can get a little more out of it in post processing.

A slight increase in exposure, setting the black point to be black, and some sharpening on the feathers pay off nicely.

The mod has this done, and is cropped to allow a little more space on the top and left.

Well done,


30/11/2014 - 10:06 PM

Cheeky Swan

Cheeky SwanThis is a really good shot Catherine. Its not easy to get a good Swan shot in this bright light, and youve done really well.

It is a bit tight as youve mentioned, but that can be sorted out quite easily by adding canvas space, mainly at the top, and by filling it with the background water.

There excellent detail in the head and feathers; some small areas of bur-out, but not a lot.

The appearance of the feathers, where they are brightest can be improved by toning down highlights; and conversely, the detail on the head can be improved by lifting shadows a little. Some sharpening on the head pays off too.

One of the better swan shots Ive seen in some time.

Ive uploaded a mod with the weaks as suggested, - I also placed more room in front as well as above, and filled in the bottom with water to cover that edge.

Im sure the camera time isnt right, its recorded 1:39AM as the time this was shot!

Well done,


30/11/2014 - 2:19 PM


Self-PortraitAnd now for something completely different!

Its a good shot Jason. I dont know if you tweaked any shot setting since you used P mode, but a smaller aperture can usually work better for a man, where you want more detail, and a deeper dof. But at 50mm, its fine. Theres loads of detail to be extracted here with sharpening and some contrast work.

The feedback so far is about more light on the dark side, but you have another choice, and thats no light at all in one side of your face. Very hard to do I think with a minimal set-up and a selfie, but you can do it quite readily in post processing.

A vertical head posture will look stronger, - a tilt can convey some emotion (not that your not soft and emotional!), but its a very slight difference that can work well.

Ive tilted your head to vertical (not the entire image, just the head), and then all the rest ive mentioned.

Take a look and see what you think.


29/11/2014 - 5:33 PM

Tranquility at Trent Bridge

Tranquility at Trent BridgeYouve achieved waht you wanted Alan. The whole idea is really good, as is the composition.

Theres some improvements that can be done that deals with the bright whites and darker darks, but its the same image.

I would crop space on the left. It does put that seal a bit closer to the edge, but I think it works better without that top left parking lot.

The soft illuminated area at the bridge even suggests mist or fog, and in the mod I softened the image to make it more so.

Hope you like the mod, cropped, softened, darker overall, and light sepia tint.


27/11/2014 - 2:33 PM

Grey Heron

Grey HeronThanks for uploading the un cropped version Dave as Moira requested.

You can see the water is definitely on a down-hill tilt, so the image needs to be roated CCW to fix this.

Its a good shot. The high ISO is showing a little in the cropped version, - you can go lower, theres lots of room with the light you have here. Easily an ISO 1000 shot.

The exposure is quite good considering the bright light behind; theres is that blue cats, which is white balance, - if you dont want blue either shoot raw and leave awb on, or use a wb suitable for the light source.

I have rotated this in the mod, adjusted colour tone. sharpened the head, and enhanced that existing catch-light in the eye. View large.

Nicely done. BTW, is this the new version of the 100-400mm, or the older model with the trombone zoom?


26/11/2014 - 1:57 PM


SUREALThe silhouettes make a very strong image, especially that tree on the left.

Horizon needs to be level as Ken mentioned. With that done, sharpening and contrast, and the tone a little warmer, can improve the image as in the mod.


23/11/2014 - 5:59 PM

Crummock Water

Crummock WaterWelcome Steve to EPZ, and to the critique gallery.

Full marks for trying HDR with multiple exposures, - its the best approach.

The other think I like about this image is that it doesnt look at all like HDR, - which is a very good thing!

The scene is nice. the water movement is good; theres no real focal point, ot point of interest, so it seems like the entire scene is the subject, and trying an HDR image the prime reason for the shot. A jetty, dock, boat, fisherman etc would add some interest, but theyre not always available.

The overall image is a little soft, - lacks sharpness; this could well be due to detail lost in file compression, so when you re size and save, open the new image, check and adjust sharpness, save again, then upload to get around this.

It seems like it needs a small counter clockwise rotation; even if it is actually level, if it looks like its not, its best to correct it. Less than 1 degree CCW I think.

I notice you used a cloudy white balance, but it looks quite cool, so I assume you adjusted this for the bluer look? Cloudy likely would be too warm for this, with sunny being a better choice, unless you wanted warmer.

So I have uploaded two mods, scroll up and click the modifications tab, and view them large.

Both have sharpening, rotation adjusted; black point set, - the darkest point in the existing shot is closer to grey, and the tweak improves tone and contrast.

The second one has white balance warmer, - nor cloudy, but not so blue, just to compare.

Theres a dark area in the middle top, - perhaps a lens hood, - not sure? Ive tried to lighten it a bit in mod 2.

Hope this helps, and enjoy the site.


22/11/2014 - 1:51 PM


PAIN OF DEVOTIONIts a very nice portrait TJ. It is full of character, and the eyes are so expressive.

One thing we notice, and its been mentioned a few times, and above by John, is shutter speed. You are often on the cusp of a masterpiece shot thats just missed, technically, due to the shutter speed being too slow. Though the content is the most important aspect of the shot, portraying it in the best possible way technically will gibe you a better portrayal of the scene, the event, the emotion of the subject.

So the question is why do you use Shutter priority, and then set it too slow for the lens? 1/20th is too slow even for 18mm.

If you want to continue with Shutter priority using this lens, you will have to either set it at a minimum of 1/30th for 18mm, and a minimum of 1/100th for 85mm; adjusting each time you change the focal length, OR leave it set to 1/100th, and use the ISO to be the variable(the aperture will most likely be fully open); the best way to do this is to set the ISO to auto. In this case, as mentioned above you would have been set to at least ISO 1600. BUT the image will be quite a bit sharper.

I loaded a mod also, and its mainly been sharpened. You do have softness all over due to a slow shutter, - but you will notice it most when you compare a sharp image to the original. Make sure too that you resize and sharpen as you should.

The mod has a little more contrast, - its quite good as it is, but sharpening increases contrast. The crop is simlar to the one already uploaded, though the top is cropped less.

Thanks for the information on the Baul.