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23/08/2010 - 2:14 AM


DreamingLovely shot Neil, youve captured the personality so well.

The 100mm macro is an excellent portrait lens, as you can see.
next time let us know you shot settings.

Ive loaded a mod with some suggestions:

Crop a lot of space from the right, - it will optimally position her eyes, and remove the distraction of the wood. Crop a little off the top for the same reason. Add more sharpening, and increase contrast. This also provides lots of great eye detail, - makes them sparkle.

Ignore the first mod, 0 its the original un modded shot.

Hope this is helpful,


19/08/2010 - 7:24 PM


SolitudeNice shot, well composed, lovely soft pastels.

A little more contrast, sharpening and a warming filter doesnt hurt, as in the mod.

19/08/2010 - 5:29 PM

Hoverfly CLOSE UP

Hoverfly CLOSE UPIts not a bad macro. Can benefit with some more sharpening (sharpen after you re size for the web), and also against the white flower the bee needs a tad more exposure.

I dont think the vignette blur you use for many of these shots actually suits, and youd be better off without it.

Loaded a mod showing the effect of sharpening, brightening the bee.


19/08/2010 - 2:39 PM

Bike in lane

Bike in laneI like it. The rising cobbled street going into the distance works nicely, and good foreground interest with the bike.

Dont know if you were going for a ghostly shot, but it does look like one.

I think the colouring is appropriate for street lights, with slightly less yellow. I would like to see it sharpen overall, with the vertical distortion caused by the wide angle to be straightened. I would blur the figure more, make him more transparent by cloning the background over him at a very low opacity, and the desaturate him slightly so hes a little grey.

Loaded this is a mod.

Hope it helpd,


18/08/2010 - 6:33 PM

Out of Africa

Out of AfricaIts a good shot, great expression that can look better if he is higher in the frame, and is a little brighter and sharper as in the mod. Sorry about the two mods, - my internet connection dropped.


18/08/2010 - 5:36 PM


RoyaltyShoot from a lower point of view, and not down; get the child to smile; have her look at the camera; use some lighting behind the camera, or a small fill flash to get a nice sparkle in her eyes.


17/08/2010 - 3:57 PM

glass blowing

glass blowingHi Wayne, - thats a difficult shot thats been done reasonably well.

To get the mood of a place like this likely requires a fair amount of time, and lots of shots.

I would think that you might see a glow, or heat reflected from the glass ball that would give some illumination in the area. You might have changed this with the mono conversion.

In the mod, - the shot is a tad too dark, Ive brightened it, and also cropped, and replaced what I would see as a normal glow from the hot glass. Sharpened a little also. The crop is to move the glass in from the side onto a third. The glow was dome by copying the glass colour, and painting in at a low opacity in the appropriate areas.

I hope it gives the mood that was likely there at the time.

Hope this is helpful,


16/08/2010 - 11:50 PM

Another of Nic

Another of NicHi Jacques,

Not a bad effort, and its generally good with lighting and detail.

Theres some good points made already about the framing and composition that do need some attention that can make it work better. Its also a good candidate for a mono treatment.

In addition, I find the subject a little too low in the frame, and the hat is dominating the shot. A darker colour, or less light on the hat would help. The hast is sitting rather high on his head, which tends to give the impression that its out of proportion..

A central position in a frame rarely works with a portrait, so having him off centre, or shooting in portrait mode is the way to go.

To illustrate this and the comments above, Ive loaded 4 mods.

Mod1 is the original shot cropped, sharpened a little, and the hat darker as if in shade; mod2 is the same one in a toned b&w; Mod3 is a portrait crop; and mod4 is the same in mono.

Hope this gives you some ideas and is helpful.


15/08/2010 - 2:41 PM

Light house amidst the sunset

Light house amidst the sunsetWelcome to EPZ Karthick.

This is a nice shot overall, and has good compositional elements and nice light.

The filter used, - was it a graduated filter?

The long exposure has given the water a glow thats a little too bright compared to the sky, - perhaps you may not have needed the filter if the sky and the water required similar exposures.

theres too much rock in the foreground for me, and it can look better with less rock and more sky, while still maintaining you objective. Its also a good idea to try to get the horizon on a third.

Ive re formatted the shot in my mod, placing the lighthouse, as a focal point, closer to a third. I increased canvas size on top and right, cropped the left and bottom. Also balanced the exposure some more and sharpened a little. You usually need to sharpen after you re size for the web.

Hope this is helpful, and look forward to more shots of my home turf,


15/08/2010 - 2:21 PM

A cobbler of souls

A cobbler of soulsHi Prabh,

You have a number of these interesting street shots in your portfolio.

Its not easy to take good street shots, - I know I have trouble with worrying about the subjects seeing me with the camera, and this often results in rushed shots.

Dont know if you have the same problem as me, - perhaps this was rushed. Looks also like you were making sure the man with the paper was included at the expense of the cobbler, when, to me eyes at least, the cobbler is a more interesting character.

Its a little overexposed overall, - Ive seen this is a few of your monotone shots, and I wonder if you need to set you exposure compensation at perhaps -2/3 most of the time in this light. You are probably better off with an image a little underexposed rather than the other way around, as you can recover detail in the underexposed areas.

You can experiment with the conversion to mono to try to get deeper blacks for better contrast.

The mods (I accidentally loaded you original un modded shot first) are the original with a layer copy multiplied with a 40% opacity, and the light area top right cloned out. There appears to be something coming out of the mans left ear that Ive removed; Mod2 is the cobbler alone, - the quality is not great as the image is quite small, but you may be able to crop this if you have the large original.

Hope this is helpful,


15/08/2010 - 1:47 PM


CatchNice idea Paul, and the shot is clean and well done. Some blur on the hat is a must if its to look real, and Ive applied a radial blur and a motion blur in the mod1.
Mod2 has her hand also blurred with a small amount of motion blur.
Ive also added a little more canvas at the top to lower the lady a little more, placing her eyes on a third.


11/08/2010 - 9:49 PM


ingletonWelcome to EPZ Peter.

Your question is a little like why is the shy blue, - you could spend a lifetime trying to perfect landscape shots.

So I will look at this as a one off and comment on what I see.

The shot is not a bad shot, - the scene is nice, and theres an interesting cloud.

It seems over saturated to me, -the greens are extremely dense.

the clouds dont have a lot of detail, though theres some. This brings up the fist component of landscape shooting, - do you expose for the sky or the ground. In this case, the sky lost the argument, - but if you invest in a neutral Density graduated filer, you can tame the bright sky and get a better balanced shot overall.

From the pov of composition, it can look better if you place the horizon on a third rather tha in the middle as here, - so you end up with more sky than ground or the opposite. There actually another shot in the critique gallery at the moment from denis Bromage that illustrates this perfectly.

Another point is time of day, and the resulting light. Better landscapes are usually shot in the early morning or late afternoon when the sun is low, and the light that results is warm, and the low angle provides lots of shadows which increase contrast.

Last point for me is the image appears soft, - i.e not sharp. You can lose sharpness when you re size for the web, so shceck and sharpene after you re size.

I have loaded a mod to illustrate the points above; de saturated; sharpened; cropped to place the horizon closer to a third; and cropped a little space off the left.

Hope you find this constructive and it helps with future shots,


11/08/2010 - 8:58 PM

Red Red Robin

Red Red RobinIts a nice shot, and you did well to get it as sharp with what was a relatively slow shutter speed for the lens.

Its unfortunate that than distant tree runs vertically into the bird, - but thats how it was.

Its such a nice shot its worth considering either cloning the tree out, as well as that added piece top left, - OR painting in more of the sky.

Ive done the painting approach in a mod, and also suggest a square crop suits better, - you can do this by adding canvas to the right and colouring as in the sky.

A little added sharpening makes the Robin pop a little more, especially making the eye sparkle.

Hope this is helpful,


10/08/2010 - 11:26 PM

Rob the Farrier

Rob the FarrierI think the mono conversion and appearance in V1 dont work well, and the colour popping could work if supported by a stronger mono.

Ive loaded a quick mod in mod1. In this Ive also desaturated the colour of the shoe a little, so its more subtle. The hammer movement works well.

However, - V3 is by far the better shot. Its a better composition with a square crop, and the conversion is much better.

Ive loaded a cropped, sharpened V3 as mod2, and also increased contrast quite a bit.

Hope this helps,


Cedar Creek North View Summer MorningHi AJ,

Youve used a graduated colour filter here to tame the bright sky, whereas the better filter to use for this is a Neutral Density Graduated filter. You can get them in various "stops" and they are specifically made for exactly what your doing here.

The colour filter will simply give a graduated colour which is what you have. Colour toning can also be done in Photoshop.

Perhaps best to take the shot just before the sun rises, - there will be less glare. Where you are its likely also quite hazy, and one filter that helps with haze is a circular polarizer, - works like Polaroid lenses.

Look forward to learning more about NJ other than what Ive seen in the Sopranos!


09/08/2010 - 8:18 PM


Dragonfly?HI Harriet.

Ive looked at your portfolio and read your forum posts on macro to get a sense of what your doing.

Yes, - its normal to have to get used to macro and take many many shots that will look soft, blurry and its easy to get discouraged. That macro lens doesnt make taking the shots any easier, - its a tool you need to learn to use.

The Tamron 90mm is an excellent macro lens btw.

Its worthwhile getting to understand some basics, then practice using what you know. Macro means large, not small, and what macro photography means is to make small things large. So you are magnifying subjects by getting very close to them. You can fill the lens with a an insect, or get close enough to show only s single stamen in a flower.

First thing to remember is that when you are close to the subject, and you are magnifying it, the tiniest movement of either the camera OR the subject will ruin the shot, as tiny movements are magnified. So tip #1 is use a tripod. Tip # 2 is to use a remote shutter release, or the self timer to you dont cause even the slightest movement in the camera by pressing the shutter.

Start with indoor subjects, like flowers where theres not breeze to cause movement.

Next thing to know is that the closer you are to the subject, the shallower the depth of field is.

See dofmaster.com for a good read on this and you will understand.

Essentially this means that at f/2.8, which is the largest opening for the aperture on this lens, the distance from the camera that is sharp to the end of that distance, - i.e. the depth, is extremely small, - in the range if millimeters.
This will work to your advantage as you can isolate a single flower stamen and have the rest of the flower blurred, - one of the traits of macro shooting. This also means that when shooting a subject with depth, - even a 1/4 of an inch such as a fly, you need to use a really small aperture size, - like f/11 and up. The bigger the number, the smaller the aperture (hole) size, and the greater the depth you can achieve.
You may notice that many good macro shots of butterfly's for example are all shot from the side, so the need for depth is minimal. Id you try a macro shot of one of these requiring depth of say 2 inches, you will end up with part of the insect sharp and part blurred.

next thing to think about is, - the smaller you aperture, the less light will come through to the sensor, therefore the slower the shutetr speed will be to allow more time for the light. This is whay you need a tripod, or a support, and you need to become familiar with increasing your ISO setting to allow reasonable shutter speeds.

Basically, set you camera to Aperture priority; set the aperture value to f/11; use MANUAL focus (important); set ISO to 100; take a shot using a tripod. See the result, then take more shots sing smaller apertures without touching focus or ISO. The to the same with higher ISO settings, and you will get a very good "feel" for whats going on.

Wish you luck, and look forward to seeing progress.


08/08/2010 - 11:59 PM


nikitaWhat are you trying to achieve?

I read you last post and if this is another in that series, your struggling to take a good indoor portrait?

This clearly has problems, - the subject isnt looking at the camera, and her face is not visible, - major issues taking a shot of a person!

theres a lot of overblown white from her cardigan that may be a result of direct flash.

The best indoor shots are taken near a bright window, - with NO sunlight coming in, just a bright overcast sky. Sit the person looking towards the camera so shes at 45 degrees to the light (most but not all the face if lit) and then take the shot. Fill the frame with the face, placing the eyes 1/3 down from the top, and in from an edge.

Flash can work, but I would recommend you tape some tissue paper over the on camera flash to soften the light. All this needs a cooperative subject, and if the person doesnt want to be involved, it wont work well!


08/08/2010 - 11:41 PM

Renfrewshire Fields

Renfrewshire FieldsV1 I like best. Originally I thought it would make a good monotone, but I cant get it to look as I want, so a mod in colour is loaded.

Cropped, and space added at the top. Cropped from the bottom, - mainly to remove the heavy copyright type. Increased sharpness and contrast to give it a little more life.

And flipped horizontally.

Hope this is helpful,


08/08/2010 - 7:33 PM

Alien Flower

Alien FlowerWelcome to EPZ John.

This is a really nice shot. I like the glow, and the vignette, and the background colour complements the flower head nicely.

Not a whole lot to suggest. Consider cropping to place the flower a little more to the right, and lower, by increasing the canvas at the top a little; sharpen after you re size, - its a tad soft.

Done in my mod,

Hope this is helpful,


08/08/2010 - 7:26 PM


FestivalWelcome to EPZ. Definitely not something you see every day.

I would suggest as in the mods that you crop off space on the left to move her eyes closer to a third, - this will place them optimally to attract the viewer. Might consider flipping also as in mod2. Ive applied some additional sharpening in the mods.

The shot is exposed well with good tones.