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26/07/2010 - 5:35 PM

Blue Serenity

Blue SerenityAnother nice shot, - like the tones. As with the other shot, this benefits with some more contrast, and perhaps a crop off the left as in the mod.


26/07/2010 - 5:17 PM

A Storm Brewing

A Storm BrewingA nice scene Daryl. Storms can provide terrific clouds and skies, and that luminous light is very nice.

As there is so much of interest in the sky, the shot can look better if theres less foreground and more sky. Theres not a lot going on at the bottom beyond that light, and if cropped here it provides a lead in to the scene.

Ive cropped in the mod, and closed in a little more sky just to place the horizon on a third. Increased contrast and applied a warming filter to add to the drama.

Nice work,

Hope this is helpful,


24/07/2010 - 5:41 PM

Hadlow Road Railway Station

Hadlow Road Railway StationNice scene, well hsot Frank.

I do see that line as the sky meets the trees, so perhaps a bit of darkening done here, - but not too bad. For me the colour saturation is too high and can be reduced somewhat, and would crop a little from the left, but a good record shot. Its worthwhile checking you monitor calibration occasionally to make sure its OK. If you have Photoshop, you will have Adobe Gamma available from the Control Panel, - you can use this for a quick check if you dont have access to a colorimeter.

Im sure this would look god as a mono also, will load a mod.


23/07/2010 - 10:12 PM

I'm Going To Try Birds Instead

I'm Going To Try Birds InsteadYouve got a few decent bird shots here already Dennis.

This one isnt bad, but can be better. Upload your shot settings for a more comprehensive critique by the way..

Its shot with you looking down on the bird, so its reasonably sharp at the top and falls off as you move down, - i.e the lens and the bird were no in the same plane. The colour is a tad off, and its overexposed slightly. This is where loading the shot settings helps, - I done know how you set it up, so cant tell you why!

Ive loaded a mod with some colour correction, exposure correction, and sharpening where it needed it.


23/07/2010 - 2:53 PM

*** Humming Bird ***

*** Humming Bird ***Congratulations on getting a shot at all under the circumstances!

I have loaded a mod with a few suggestions.

Removed noise using Noise Ninja; removed the bright areas by cloning; used a curves adjustment to improve contrast and reduce glare. Re framing, - avoid using the same tone for a frame as the shot, it detracts from the subject, - try a plain white or off white, or even black border.

Hope the mod works for you,


23/07/2010 - 1:09 PM


BreakfastExcellent shot.

Loaded a mod with some things you might want to try; sharpened; toned down highlights; increased contrast; increased canvas size adding space right and top for a landscape crop.

Well done,


23/07/2010 - 12:53 PM


-*_*-#2The shot is good overall Andrew. Theres a couple of comments that come to mind.

The pose makes this look like shes either avoiding something/someone or is scared, - so if this is the intent it works.

Its a little tight in the frame with her hand very close to the edge, and cropping at her elbow joint is not usually recommended as a rule, - avoid joint cropping.

Her eyes are a little dark, - would be good to see some catch lights.

The background is well done, however would personally have selected a colour other than one similar to the dress on the left - the rhs tone looks good.

Hope theres something useful in this,


22/07/2010 - 4:14 PM

Kids in the Ruins

Kids in the RuinsPrabh, - nice shot as is.

The best way to get this without the line is to go for a portrait crop as in the mods. I think you were trying to maintain the landscape aspect and include more of the wall on the right, which would work if you had enough of the wall, but you ended up stretching the entire shot to fit. You could add the wall stretched on its own, which might work, but dont stretch the kids.

In mod3 Ive taken the wall from your V3 and overlaid the kids on it, and then cloned in a few area of the wall where they original kid was still showing. This is probably how you should approach this.


21/07/2010 - 3:46 PM

Washermens Beach or

Washermens Beach orHi Prabh,

An interesting idea to Westerners, both washing at the side of the ocean, and also the concept of the men doing the washing!

The image is a good record of this daily activity, and Catherine has provided goof feedback on settings above.

One additional item to think about is white balance, and setting it to what the conditions are is usually better than leaving it at the default Auto setting. Or shoot in RAW and modify white balance in post processing. I notice a slightly yellow cast, which may well be accurate, but when adjusted to correct this cast the scene regains some contrast and a better tonal range as in the mod.

I hope you find this useful,


21/07/2010 - 12:58 PM

Running away from the rain

Running away from the rainHi Xiaoli,

The success of the conversion to mono usually depends a lot on the colour content of the original shot, and its range of tones. Its possible to emulate quite well the use of filters in mono film photography with the channel mixer in digital photos, or using photoshop plug-ins. I have used the Fred Miranda B&W Workflow Pro in the mod and selected an Orange filter.

There is little colour in the original as you know, so the conversion to mono has to either enhance the original, or at least maintain the mood of the original. A straight greyscale conversion does make the light dull, while using filters can enhance the light depending on its colour.

The original shot is rather busy, - I remember well your original wedding group, and this one does not have the impact of the wedding version. I would think that you would need a fair bit of manipulation, removing signs, ideally the Volkswagon, to make it worthwhile, which may be more effort than you may want to put into it.

If you like b&w, I would recommend you check out that filter I used, - you can download a free trial, and play around with it.

Hope this is helpful,


20/07/2010 - 10:37 PM

Shades of Batala

Shades of BatalaLooks like the area you cropped is quite small in the original so youve ended up with few pixels to work with. It seems too blurred overall with no sharp areas, though the idea is a good one, you would have needed a closer shot to work with I believe.

20/07/2010 - 9:15 PM

The Blizzaed

The BlizzaedExcellent image, well exposed. The positioning of the man is important, and though it does work, I have suggested a crop to bring him in an up a little more. Also added a tough of additional diffuse glow.


20/07/2010 - 6:40 PM

Eibsee Lake, Garmish Germany

Eibsee Lake, Garmish GermanyAnother nice mono image.

When I opened this in Photoshop, it said it had an invalid ICC profile, - so when your saving for the web, make sure to use the sRGB profile. What will happen is that this will look different here on EPZ than it does in your image editor assuming your using a colour managed browser, such as Firefox.

Though I like the play of light and the tones, Im not sure why you would leave such a small lake area at the bottom. Either remove it, or leave more in. In the mod Ive removed it, and compensated by adding some more sky, - which is a nice feature here also. Ive cropped a little space from the left to balance, and sharpened a little.

I have also adjusted curves to increase the tonal range and bring out the mid/light grey areas to enhance the sunlit regions.

Nice shot overall,


A cross between a pup and an angel a pungelHard to critique this as it obviously meant to be a fun shot, and has had a lot of post processing applied. I can only comment on the halo. These look better if theyre lower and circle the head, though your rendering is not a bad attempt and you may well prefer it.

The mod halo is made by adding a new empty layer; drawing in an ellipse on the layer; make the ellipse a path and stroke the path; add a layer mask and remove the ellipse behind the head.


20/07/2010 - 5:10 PM

seed head

seed headA beautiful image. Very creatively presented, love the large frame, - the tall thin shot in a central position works beautifully, and that long shadow is terrific.

I would only suggest a little sharpening which Ive done in a mod, - this was run though Noise Ninja which sharpens and removes noise, so it looks slightly smoother. Remember to check sharpness and adjust after re sizing.

Well done,


19/07/2010 - 5:29 PM


GarmischA really nice shot Mark. I do like the monotone, but I have to also wonder what the colour version looked like, - I imagine the scene would also look good in colour. The mono does make the building stand out well though.

From the pov of composition, it looks better if the building is moved left some more away from the edge of the frame. Tonally it needs a little more white, and the whites look slightly gray, so adjusting this in curves or levels makes it pop a little more. remember sharpening, - check it after you re size and add a little more as needed, - this does benefit with a little more.

Ive loaded a mod with all of the above incorporated to illustrate my comments.

Hope this is helpful,


19/07/2010 - 4:54 PM


ElviraWelcome to EPZ Douglas.

For critiques, if you provide all of the Exif data you can it helps a lot with critique. Also, with lighting, try to provide the details, strobes or continuous, type, power, etc. If you have done any post processing, include details. It makes for a better critique.

This is a classic pose, and is good apart from the diffuse appearance of the face. Either too much light, or something done after processing. It looks better with the light toned down a little. The eyes look better with catch lights, - theres one small one and none in the other, possibly blocked by the veil. I would suggest a little less space on top and more on the right.

Ive addressed these issues in the mod which I believe looks more like you may have intended.

Hope this is helpful,


19/07/2010 - 4:17 PM

Try Again!

Try Again!Hi Phil,

Compared to the previous upload, this is a better composition, focusing on the building.

Im not certain that filter is a lot of benefit, as its lost some of the warmth of the original.

I look at this as a practice shot, - your getting a handle on comp and lines, lens distortions,etc. Its a record shot, and doesnt have a lot of drama of interest in itself if youre not familiar with the location. Closer shots of architectural details might be worth exploring.

I know your interested in feedback, so I would point out small issues in this that I would sometimes pass on. Mod2 shows some evidence of cloning duplicates which can make post processing obvious, - so you need to be careful with cloning to avoid this; the centre post in the building is slightly off vertical, and V1 has these items corrected. Mod1 is simply your V2 with a curves adjustment and a little noise reduction, - its retains some of the original warmth of the evening light that the filter is removing. You could apply a warming filter after the filter if you wanted to retain this light.

Hope this is helpful,


15/07/2010 - 9:51 PM

Fiery sundown

Fiery sundownIts a nice sunset. The composition can look better with the horizon on a third, - also the sun as in the mod.

It benefits with some added contrast, also done in the mod.


15/07/2010 - 6:53 PM

What are you looking at?

What are you looking at?The shot is not too bad, but as its shot into the sky, you are going to end up with an underexposed subject unless you use exposure compensation when shooting. You would use a +2/3 compensation for example.

Ive uploaded a brightened mod, which is cropped to place the bird on a third.

The camera settings, - this is where you need to try something different.

If you look at the settings, you used shutter priority, and set it to 1/125, and used ISO 200. You havent mentioned the focal length, but I will assume its 300mm.

So, firstly, what the camera has done is select f/20, which is a very small aperture "hole" in the lens, as there was so much light. This is directly related to your selection of a shutter speed of 1/125, and ISO 200.

What the ISO setting does, - the higher the number, the more sensitive the sensor is to light, so the less light is needed for an exposure. As an example, if you had selected ISO 100, the camera would have selected a wider aperture, probably f/11. This would have resulted in a sharper image, as once you get smaller than f/11, you tend to lose sharpness.

But back to the choice of shutter prioruty and the actual speed. Shutter priority, and ISO 200 are good settings when shooting objects in motion, like birds. This is to ensure your shutter speed is fast enough to allow you to hand hold the camera, and freeze small movements. BUT to do this, theres a rule you need to be aware of, - and thats the MINIMUM shutter speed you need to select. This is determined by you focal length, and the longer the focal length, the faster the shutter speed. So at 70mm you can use a slower speed than 300mm. But since you are using a zoom, its a good idea to set the shutter speed for the longest zoom, 300mm.
You are using a 450D which has whats called a "crop factor", which has the effect to multiplying the focal length by 1.6. So your 300mm lens becomes in fact a 300X1.6 = 480mm lens. Therefore the MINIMUM speed you need to set is 1/480, - which is actually 1/500, which is the next higher speed available to you on the camera.

So to recap, - if using shutter priority (Tv on Canon) set it to 1/500.

Then you can also use exposure compensation, and as suggested above, when shooting into the sky to capture a relatively dark bird, use a positive exposure compensation. What this will do is make the camera select a larger aperture to a allow more light than it would do if left to make its own decision.

For general shooting, most would use Av and set the aperture to f/5.6, unless shooting landscapes, where the higher aperture numbers, - which are smaller openings, are used.

I hope you find this helpful as you get to grips with photography. Once you grasp this concept, you will make great improvements in your work.