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10/03/2012 - 12:01 PM

Bridge Over Troubled Water

Bridge Over Troubled WaterYes, good composition. You need to darken the top right corner though which is lighter than the rest of the pic. This will hold the viewer's attention on the main action of the waterfall, fence etc.

Mod attached.

Best wishes

08/02/2012 - 4:34 PM

Veg Prep

Veg PrepLooks good to me Jack. It's nice and bright with a variety of colours and textures. I agree with Nick about losing the pestle and mortar though. It looks a bit out of place both compositionally and with the theme of veg prep. Plus the oversharpening is apparent in the grain of the wood.

On the oversharpening point I have finally managed to get my workflow sorted out after what seems like many years of not getting it quite right. I leave my raw file pretty much untouched, then save my main work as a photoshop file with all the layers. when I want to do an output version, either digital or print, I take the photoshop file flatten the layers and save it as either a tiff or jpeg then apply the sharpening. That way if you balls up the sharpening you can always go back to the photoshop file and have another go.

Best wishes

Stephanie Agari - In the name of the fatherSpooky stuff very well executed (is that a pun?) as usual. To add to the character of the shot the model's eyes don't look level to me. I don't think it's the shot, maybe just how they are.

I am not sure I can offer more in the way of critique. I'm sure the shot would pick up some votes in the main gallery.

Best wishes

23/01/2012 - 6:18 PM

Ford GT40

Ford GT40Nice treatment - very dramatic.

I have had a go at the cloning work. Certainly not perfect - not being a car buff at times I wasn't sure what was car and what was not, in the wing mirror area Wink but it's not impossible to do it well. You just have to take it slowly and nibble away at the distractions bit by bit using the surrounding tones as your source point. I put a horizontal guide line in so that the transition from ground to sky was at the same level on both sides.

best wishes

01/01/2012 - 3:14 PM

Autumn in the Lakes

Autumn in the LakesIt's a very pleasant scene Elaine and the water has that dreamy look you were after. The auto fix on the contrast hasn't done you any favours though as the waterfall has become very overexposed with little detail in the white water. It's quite a challenging pic technically as there is a large contrast range between the white of the water and the dark rocks and shadows. any auto processing setting is going to struggle. I'm not sure what procesing software you are using, so it is a little difficult to offer advice but I would try a manual adjustment using levels if you have photoshop. I would try to get the water right even if it means that the shadows are too dark.

Also you have been a bit heavy handed with the saturation slider. You want a nice green but your foreground goes beyond the natural. The brown leaves look good though. They add a warm colour which offsets the cool grey/blue of the river.

Best wishes

Looking over Staffordshire from Mow CopVery nice foreground Phil. Lots of crunchy textures and I like the pinky colour in the foreground. The shadows from the fence add that extra element of interest as well. So that part works well.

the sky looks a bit heavy though, the blue is quite dark. I assume you graded that part (?) not sure what you mean by "reverse grading". To me it means turning a ND grad upside down so the dark part controls the foreground. You may have done that here with the snow, but the sky looks graded as well. Maybe you used 2 grads?

I guess it's a matter of taste but I find sun in the middle of the pic a bit overpowering unless there is broken cloud cover to tone down the impact. It's just my opinion of course but maybe you were a bit too late with the shot when the sun is already highish above the horizon. If you are in that situation having the sun off to one side might be best.

I find the framing a bit over strong as well, a tad funereal with the black band.

It has the makings of a good shot but it just misses that top spot for me largely because of the sky area. the foreground is really nice though.

Best wishes

22/12/2011 - 10:15 AM

Caerphilly Castle - South Wales

Caerphilly Castle - South WalesYou've got everything nicely in focus here Chris and it makes an imposing shot. The light is quite strong and difficult to handle though, so you have a large contrast range between the dark shadows and the clouds where there is not much detail. I have uploaded a mod for you where I have tried to give the shot a bit more impact by increasing the contrast in the detailed areas. I have steered clear of the areas of high contrast - clouds and shadows.

Just looking at your exif data, I think you could have had a slower shutter speed - 1/400 is not necessary even hand held, half that speed would be more than enough and then you could have dropped your ISO to 100 and/or stopped down the lens a bit. It's best to use ISO 100 where you can for the best quality.

Best wishes

20/11/2011 - 2:41 PM

ducks on warter

ducks on warterThe ducks have come out well Christine. You have got plenty of detail in the feathers and the exposure is fine. Next time, to take your photography to the next level, try to find a more interesting composition. Rather than having all the ducks milling around perhaps pick one or two which stand out for some reason and then you can organise your composition around them. it's not easy, I know, because everything looks chaotic and you will need a lot of patience but it will pay dividends in photos which stand out from the crowd.

Best wishes

31/10/2011 - 10:23 AM

The Painted Lady

The Painted LadyWelcome to the site Lee and thanks for your upload.

I've never seen such a close up of this particular butterfly before. It's almost like an abstract. Nice diffused background. It's sharp round the eye area (presume it is the eye?) and you have got some good detail in the "fur" in that area. The sharpness is going off a bit towards the left hand side of the frame. Does it matter? The blurriness does focus attention on the sharp part of the eye but in this case I am not sure that the eye needs to be the focal point for the photo. The maxim is that the eye always has to be sharp in wildlife photography. This is because the eyes convey so much of the character of the creature. But in this shot I don't relate to the eye so much. It might have been interesting to get the wing detail sharp because there are some lovely shapes and colours there. In my opinion for what it's worth possibly more interest than the eye.

But excellent work in a difficult field of photography. Hope you enjoy being part of the EPZ community.

best wishes

27/10/2011 - 4:29 PM


EllyIt's a very effective style you have developed for your portraits Rhobbie. the soft focus is quite flattering. this is just a personal thing but I might like to see a bit more definition around the chin. The eyes are nice and sharp but the focus drops quite quickly away from this area. It works fine with her fringe but not so well to my eyes going in the other direction around the jaw.

I am just wondering about your camera settings. Are you deliberately using 800 iso to get come noise in the pic? Otherwise there is some leeway with your shutter speed at 1/160 to go for a slower speed and a lower iso.

Nice work

27/10/2011 - 4:06 PM

Spurn point

Spurn pointBeautiful Martin. it really sings. Lovely light. you have got a bit of lean on the tower from the very wide angle lens but I might be inclined (oops, no pun intended) to leave it as is because it gives a slightly "other world" feel about the pic. What I would do is clone out the two birds dead centre. They would have added something to the pic if they has been a bit bigger but as they are so small they look like marks. But excellent shot.

Best wishes

26/10/2011 - 5:21 PM

dry dock

dry dockGood bold composition Billy but you are not making the most of the dynamic range to give more punch to the shot. The boat looks a little dull. Look at the histogram and you will see that there is a gap at both the highlight and shadow end. I have uploaded a mod where I have applied a curves adjustment to add more contrast. Of course doing this blows out the sky completely, so I applied a mask so the changes do not affect that area. I have burned the sky in a little to give you more depth in that area.

It's a good shot but needs a bit of tweaking to bring out the best.

Best wishes

05/10/2011 - 10:36 AM

Groundhog Day

Groundhog DaySome of us moan about the weather in this country, being so changeable and all, but it must be weird living somewhere where you can predict what the conditions are going to be like every day. Not good for photography, as you say. Nevertheless it is a very pleasant shot. I agree with Sooty about the exposure. The early light is nice but it's still quite harsh, It may not have been possible to get the exposure right with a single shot, especially with the white elements in the pic.

The tilt thing is odd. The horizon looks level but the water in the middle distance looks like it is sloping down to the right Smile

As our "indian summer" looks like it is over it's great to have some sunny pics of holiday places.

Best wishes

27/09/2011 - 11:00 AM

Thames Path

Thames PathGood wide angle shot with plenty of drama with the reflections in the water. Presumably you have used some kind of hdr processing? The exposure of the sky is not quite right though. The right hand side is very burned out. There is quite a marked gradation in the sky above the house and the tree behind it where the sky suddenly gets quite a lot lighter to the right. Worth revisiting your processing to see if you can bring that part of the sky within normal range.

Best wishes

23/09/2011 - 12:13 PM

Todi, Umbria

Todi, Umbriait's an interesting shot Jeremy so worth persevering with the processing side. To my eye the shot looks a little red whereas what you want for the oldy worldy look is more on the brown side rather than anything magenta. brown gives you a warm feel to the shot as well. I have uploaded a mod for you - obviously overlaying it on top of your processing is not ideal but it may give you an idea. I have a book called The Digital SLR Expert - Landscapes and there is a pretty cool method in there offered by Tony Worobiec for tinting photos. You work with your image in rgb mode, add a solid color adjustment layer and choose r210, g 165 and b90 for the sepia colour. Use the overlay blending mode and the image will appear through the color fill layer. You can adjust the opacity - here I used about 60%. The beauty of this method is that you can adjust the colour fill to suit your tastes. Magic, I reckon.

Best wishes

23/09/2011 - 11:45 AM

Loch Lomond

Loch LomondYou have created a nice mood here Martin with the blue tones and the soft water. the hills going back into the distance are lovely. There is quite a lot going on in the top half of the photo with not so much in the foreground. The rocks certainly help but they are quite near the front and there is an expanse of water, which is lovely and soft, but not much else happening. One option would be to crop the lower part of the photograph and just focus on the top part. There is enough going on there to hold the viewer's eye.

In my mod I have gone in the other direction and cropped the top. I did this simply to exclude the pinky area from the top of the photo. I think it detracts a little from the mood of the pic. If it is going to be a blue pic, let it be blue. I just did it to see the effect on the mood of the pic. Obviously cropping the top off the hill to the right is not ideal. At the same time I rotated the shot to straighten up the horizon. I sruggle to get my horizons straight when taking shots even though I use a spirit level attached on top of the camera. So it's pretty much the first thing I check when I load pics up to do the processing stage. It's easy to correct at the processing stage although you may lose bits of your image around the edges, as is the case here.
hope this helps

best wishes

18/09/2011 - 2:17 PM

1 to beat

1 to beatYoah you've really made a big leap forward with your shotsSmile. Good action, good focus and good exposure! On the aperture v shutter priority thing mentioned by Frank, some people favour one and some people favour the other. Neither is foolproof, as with aperture priority you need to make sure your shutter speed is high enough to freeze the action, and with shutter priority you need to watch the aperture if depth of field is an issue. Go with what you are most comfortable with.

It's wonderful when the EPZ community can help a togger like youWink. What makes the difference is that you are keen to improve and willing to listen. That's the Critique Gallery working at its best.

Best wishes

09/09/2011 - 10:34 AM


GeorgeGood natural looking portrait Ian. Perhaps he looks a little warm though? I have uploaded a mod for you where I used a selective colour adjustment layer just to tone down the magenta in the red channel.

Best wishes

02/09/2011 - 9:29 AM

however, it can

however, it canI can see why you were attracted to this scene Florian. Those mountains in the background with the low cloud make a very dramatic picture and the vines growing in the fields below are a big contrast. But any camera, even a top end slr will struggle with the huge range between the very bright sky/mountain area and the much darker vines without using neutral density graduated filters or multiple exposures. In the circumstances your compact has done reasonably well.

I have followed Canonshots suggestion and uploaded a mod where I have cropped off the top of the sky which is very burned out. It still leaves you with the mountains and some of the clouds, so I think the impression of the mountains and the vines growing below is still there. I used a curves layer adjustment to darken the sky and lighten the foreground, to give a more balanced exposure without hopefully losing the contrast of the scene. I also used a selective colour adjustment layer to take some of the cyan out of the pic. There is a hint of cyan in the mountains which I have attempted to neutralise.

best wishes

30/08/2011 - 10:33 AM

Old Vases

Old VasesI like the arrangement Louise although the flowers are perhaps a bit too delicate to hold their own against the much stronger shapes of the other objects.

The light coming in from the front plays well on the black vase and the lemon to give subtle highlights. The red vase is much more reflective and has picked up the reflection of something - possibly a door?. Lighting reflective surfaces like this is a bit of a nightmare but I don't think the reflections are too intrusive. The lighting has been too harsh though on the celery at the front which is burned out. Underexposing the shot a little might just have given you enough room to have controlled that overexposure. I think you have some leeway to underexpose the whole shot anyway - see below. Otherwise you have to find some way to diffuse the harsh lighting. Waiting for cloud cover is one possibility or diffusing the light through muslin or tracing paper is another.

I have uploaded a mod for you where I have darkened the whole shot using a curves adjustment. It helps to make the shot more contrasty and brings out eg the colour of the lemon. I tried to darken the celery but the problem is that once the detail is lost there is not much you can do to bring it back. You need also to get going with the clone tool to make the background all one colour down the sides.

best wishes