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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,


01/09/2014 - 2:48 PM

beggar and the blonde

beggar and the blondeUploaded a mod as a suggestion. The curled corner might look better if it appears that there is another side that the mono is covering.

See what you think.

Beside the Seaside in Southwold, SuffolkThanks for getting back.

Its quite a good lens you have here. There is a possibility, and the likely issue unless the lens had something on one side like a smear, is that your aperture is too wide. Using a smaller aperture will give you deeper depth of field, which means the depth of the area from in front of the lens, to where the sharpness starts to fall off, is greater. So using f/8 rather than f/3.5 would have rendered more of that right side sharp.

Most lenses are a little softer at the edges compared to the middle, but this if not how it would look, - it would be very close to the edge.

Apart from that, its a pleasant beach shot. The composition works nicely. Perhaps crop the left to exclude that partial dark hut?

You have the saturation quite high, - I think that works for most people. You can lso have the saturation a little less, and improve overall contrast.

I will upload a modification, - scroll up and click the tab above, and view the image large. I cant do anything about the right, but the left is cropped, and the colour is less saturated.

So to answer the original questions: good subkect; good composition, exposure is good, but quality is impacted by using too wide an aperture.

To assist with understanding aperture and depth of field, heres a link that is very helpful: http://www.dofmaster.com/dofjs.html

Hope this is useful for you, and enjoy the site


31/08/2014 - 4:40 PM


TRADITIONAL KITCHENIts a nice shot. Very natural, even though its posed.

My only suggestion would be to allow more room at the bottom, below the lady, which I have done in the mod.

I also reduced the intensity of green just a little.

I did spend some time trying to figure out how I had accidentally copied your logo onto the woman before I realised it was in the original!


31/08/2014 - 4:24 PM


WishfullThis is a really nice street shot. The scene, the connection berween the old lady and the windows are excelllent. The rich reds are so attractive.

Just look at the mod that Chris (SlowSong) has uploaded, - it makes a very big improvement I think. Ive uploaded something simialr. The crop, apart from concentrating attention on the lady, also makes it an all female shot.

I would, and did in the mod, increase contrast a little, and using the burn tool in Photoshop, reduce the highlights on the ladys hat face and hands.
Well done.


30/08/2014 - 4:57 PM

House on the Lake

House on the LakeIts a very nice shot Mike. I seems to need a CW rotation, about 0.5 degrees.

I dont find much of an issue with the heaviness on the left, but it can be reduced a little by cropping the rising black line of the right tree, and increasing contrast on the left which darkens that side slightly?

See mod.


30/08/2014 - 4:40 PM

Cornwall 1

Cornwall 1Does my mod look any better Isabel?

Im a very casual landscape shooter, - opportunistic like you. So no real life experience, but Ive picked up quite a bit here on EPZ from others.

A landscape shooter would, as you know, take a number of bracketed exposures, used ND grads, etc to achieve the desired result. That will be a composite image, and it will usually look very good.

With this, you have two chances; one, when you take the shot, - and as Sandro points out its got a whole lot to do with the quality of the light at the time; the second change is in post processing, and thats what can be improved.

I of course downloaded the shot, and did what I usually do. I check the histogram, and not unexpectedly, it indicates you have really two images, the land, and the sky, both with their own areas of the histogram.

This indicates to me that the land area is underexposed, - again nor real surprise, as the camera will produce an average image of the land and sky.

So this can be addressed by lifting the exposure for the lower area, leaving the sky as it is, with the assumption its reasonable.

Then, looking at your setting, the white balance was set in camera to a cloudy preset. I dont know what this means with the leica, but from the distribution of colours, and the preponderance of blue, this looks like no other cloudy white balance Ive seen. Its too blue.

So thats whats in the mod.


30/08/2014 - 3:38 PM

Crag Lough and Hotbank

Crag Lough and HotbankA nice scene Nigel, and quite good as it is.

Your uploads elicit such a wave of emotion its something to behold! Theyve even started a detente between grumpies!

I looked at the embedded data that can be seen in PS, and for me, I think contrast is too high looking at the +50 or so thats there.

So the mod had that reduced to zero, and is very slightly brighter. Miniscule different really.

The white balance is 6050K, which is not unexpected at this time of day, so looks good to me.

Nice work

29/08/2014 - 2:26 PM

Moonwalking sushi

Moonwalking sushiPeople in San Fran must wear out their knees walking down these steep hills.

Its a decent shot. The real issue for me is that awful construction platform, but it was there, and you didnt have any construction tools with you I assume.

So a good opportunity here to talk about sharpness. Look at the Sushi sign, the wall, the bricks, the paving stones that come out about two pavers from the wall; all sharp.

The person walking should be a little less sharp and he/she is (its San Fan). So wheres the issue with sharpness. One thing you notice is that the closer you come to whre the camera is, the less sharp the image is. Two possible reasons for this; one is the aperture could be too shallow, - but its really not; the other is the bus is moving, so even as you focused on the wall, the area further from the bus will look sharpener than the area closer, which will be moving faster as far as the camera is concerned. Either way, it really doent matter, because you have the important elemnts right.

This is an in-camera mono as far as I can see. Some cameras do a good job of this, some dont, and this may be in the dont category. But you can process this to increase contrast. High contrast works well in street mono.

So I uploaded a mod, with the majority of the effort spent removing that platform. The rest is simply applying a medium contrast curve, and a slight rotation to level, using the window ledge under the sign as a reference. No sharpening was applied.

Hope this is helpful


28/08/2014 - 3:43 PM

Daddy Cool

Daddy CoolGood subject. A leather jacket is what is expected I think.

Its quite soft, - responds well to some sharpening. I would crop to remove that dark blob on the left, lower.

Done in the mod.
27/08/2014 - 12:46 AM


MonaOh Maya, this is really beautiful. Not only Mona, but the very creative way you have shot into the mirror for the primary image, - very nice.

There is always a risk with mirrors of double images, - the reflection from the front glass, then the one from the silver backing, but you have avoided it here with her face. Theres a negligible amount visible at the top of her head, but, its really nothing.

I am assuming since this is a little girl, that the dress is a shade of blue.

I can suggest a few tweaks that might improve this, but youve done all the hard work.

The upper part has very bright highlights; they are not at all "blown", but when I reduced the highlight level there, I noticed there is a lovely delicate pattern on the dress that should be seen.

The rest is simply an improvement in contrast; slight colour correction and reduction of any over saturated colours due to my contrast adjustments, and a little sharpening. A very small crop from the bottom.

Hope you like the mod.

Lovely work.


26/08/2014 - 8:42 PM

Crag Lough 2

Crag Lough 2I have to say I agree with Mr Grumpy on this one Nigel. I like the mod hes done, - its an idea. You dont have enought pixels

Its competent, but I find Im looking for a focal point. Lifting that wall, - or seeing more of it from lower could work.

Technically is a little bit flat. I would increase exposure in the upper area, as in the mods.

Mod2 is an attempt to make more of the wall. and you can see quite readily I just moved it up over the middle grass area. Maybe thats whats needs to go, - too much grass!

Hope this helps.

26/08/2014 - 8:13 PM

Smoke on

Smoke onWelcome to EPZ Tony, and to the Critique Gallery.

Ill bet your happy with this shot! Its very nice, and especially with a 50mm lens.

The clouds are a very striking background, and the planes, though small are crisp and clear with those great smoke trails making a nice diagonal.

I have a couple of suggestion you can think about, and I have uploaded a modification to show what I mean. Scroll up, click the modifications tab.

Composition is what strikes me first. For me, this is really asking for a wide crop, rather than the tradition framing we have here; a wide crop focuses attention on the planes; places then ideally on a third, both vertically as well as horizontally, and gives a better overall balance. Less cloud is the downside, by the upside far outweighs this for me.

Next, though the colour temp is quite good, being very slightly warmer may improve the overall look; I would also crop off that tiny bit of blue sky, bottom right.

Brightening the planes works too, - just the planes. A slight sharpen and its done.

Take a look and see what you think. I can see this on a wall someplace!

Enjoy the site, and I hope this is helpful.


26/08/2014 - 7:36 PM

Metamorphosis #1

Metamorphosis #1Hi Mikhail.

Its a well executed and very different image.

I agree with many of the points made by Moira.

I dont like to see the audience reflected in the glass on the left, - I would darken that, as it makes it more voyeuristic and erotic than your intended meaning; That bit of blue could go; I would rotated this, its shot at an angle, - and it works, but lets look at it when its presented as if she is not on a slope.

I have uploaded 2 mods, taking my commnets into account.

Enjoy the site.


26/08/2014 - 4:14 PM

enginn tími fyrir svefn

enginn tími fyrir svefnSome good tips from Tanya.

I would add some more, I tried these in a mod and it looks quite good to me.

Selfies like this are very difficult, so its a success overall.

The fact that the wallpaper is striped, creates a need to ensure that the very centre line if the shot is vertical; the rest can converge.

I would do this straighten tweak; then remove that side table and the half picture on the left completely. Its a nice clean look.

If you would like a copy of the od, send me a PM with your mail, im at wbaneham@gmail.com. Or just mail me with MOD as the title.

That's another fine mess I got myself into...Looks fine Fred.

I cant really comment on the conversion unless I see the original colour. Whites on the head are a bit bright.

That bottom left looks fine too.

There another way to fix this Fred, and its easier than cloning. that top right corner, - select a triangle that includes the corner; copy it and paste it, and then patch it over the bottom left. You will have to flip it to orient it the right way. Just another option that can work for you. I did it this way in the mod, which also have the highlights toned down, and the shadows lifted a bit.

Patch tool can be used also as Kate suggests. The mode must be content aware, and the setting = strict.