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17/07/2014 - 8:35 PM

X Marks the Spot

X Marks the SpotThere are another couple of approaches you can take.
As you shot this in RAW, you can make two different conversions, one for the land and another for the sky and blend them together using layer masks. As you have quite a defined horizon with nothing sticking up into the sky this should not be too hard to achieve.
The second approach is to take two images (so you'll have to use the tripod) at different exposures and blend them as above.
The benefit of this over using two conversions from one RAW file is that you optimise the exposure and get the best quality for each part of the image.

15/07/2014 - 8:53 PM

Susie at Glendalough House

Susie at Glendalough HouseSometimes in flat lighting the image looks less sharp, especially with a RAW file. Using the lens at full aperture doesn't help that perception.
As Willie says, it sharpens ok.
I have been through this myself, thinking an image is not sharp, but applying a little sharpening to the final image works wonders. That's different to trying to sharpen something that is unsharp as such an image never looks right.
A soft looking RAW file that has been well taken will sharpen up fine and the detail and clarity will be there.
When you convert your RAW files, do you apply any sharpening on output? Applying a small amount is often beneficialespecially on flatter images taken at wider apertures.

15/07/2014 - 8:12 PM

Milford on sea, lymington

Milford on sea, lymingtonThe line of the beach and wave make a good diagonal.
i would expect this to be warmer in tone. Did you set Auto for white balance? If so, the camera would remove much of the warm tone of the setting sun. Next time, try setting Daylight balance to keep the warm tone.
I shall try a mod, putting the warmth back in using software.

The sun is very central. Positioning it halfway between the centre and the edge, on an imaginary line a third of the way in to the image would give a more pleasing composition.
However, if for example you find a symmetrical foreground, a central placement could work very well.

14/07/2014 - 8:43 PM

Snake V2

Snake V2This is one of those images that is very subjective, so it's harder to give critique.

However, you've asked specific questions which can be answered, albeit from a more personal perpsective.

V1 does work for me, for the feeling of mystery, the unknown and infinity that has been mentioned.
It also reminds me of a day with sea mist, where you wouldn't see the horizon, and again that appeals to me. If the mist was in the distance then the end of the breakwater could still be in bright sun. So John is right, but there is also the case of abnornal weather conditions.

V2 looks mundane in comparison, especially with a central horizon and a large area of mid-grey sky. Mod 2 I see adresses that with a crop. Perhaps better if the sky were darkened.
I shall try a couple of different mods myself.

08/07/2014 - 11:42 PM


ArcsA slight crop would remove edge distractions. Mod uploaded.

I'd try for something like this at the time of shooting, or make more of the arches.
One or the other works best.
Just having a little bit in looks careless, even though you may not have been.

03/07/2014 - 9:02 PM

A bridge

A bridgeYou've captured the lovely warm ligth of early morning on those bridge pillars. This contrasts nicely with the deep blue of the water.
A very pleasing image.

I take it that this is a crop from the whole frame. This subject lends itself to the panoramic format, so it's a good place to ry taking three or four images and stiching them together as I suggested on a previous upload.
You don't need to have any special equipment as I have done seamless panoramas from a series of handheld shots, and even one from shots took at slightly different focal lengths which did surprise me when it worked.

27/06/2014 - 7:19 PM

Green on Red

Green on RedThis is effective.
As an abstract image there is little to suggest for 'improvement'.

There is a remnant of some background behind the glass which spoils the illusion. This needs to be erased or masked out using a layer mask for a clean white overall backdrop. I take it that you still have the layered psd file so that you can go back and make adjustments.
Alternatively a textured backdrop across the whole image. Either way at the moment it's a halfway house.

I've roughly cleaned it up using the clone tool. And I used the Hue/Saturation tool selectively to change the colours, I couldn't resist a play!

25/06/2014 - 8:49 PM

Shades of mountains

Shades of mountainsYes they are bith very nice shots with tha mist and the way the hills fad as you see further into the distance. This has a different mood. No two days will be the same.

Using f/5 here is fine, there is nothing close to the camera, and the hills are essentially at infinity focus so are all rendered sharply.

This suits a panoramic image.

So the next question, is this an image cropped from a single shot?
This is such a great location and one you can easily and regulalrly get to, it is worth trying to stitch several images together.

If you hae a short telephoto lens, taking say four or five images with some overlap between them and using software to stitch them together. Affordable programs such as Photoshop Elements can handle this. There are others, so the technique is accessible and not prohibitively expensive.

23/06/2014 - 9:17 PM

Sunset over Rio de Janeiro

Sunset over Rio de JaneiroHi Mile,

Thank you for your feedback and questions for the Critique Team, it is appreciated and we like to know if we've been helpful!

Photography books, and online resources too for that matter, are good places to learn, but it is also good to interact with fellow photogrpahers such as here.
You only need small apertures for landscapes where you need large depth of field from a short distance from the camera to the horizon. Nothing is so close here, so wider apertures are fine.

Even so, I rarely go below f/11 or f/13 as any extra depth of field for very close objects is not worth the loss in lens performance over the whole image. I must add, we are only talking small differences.
All lenses differ so it is worth experimenting yourself.
Getting to know the capabilities of your equipment is an important aspect of your photography.
And we're always here to help,

22/06/2014 - 10:26 AM


BelgradeInitially I thought this ws not level, but the verticals at the edges of tyhe image are fine and the lamp posts are vertical, so well done for that.
It's the obelisk that looks odd, and those (water outlets?) do look like comical piggy faces! Sorry but once I saw that I had to mention it.
Talking of which, as this is a strong foreground feature it would have been better to see the complete feature rather than cropping in so tight.

I see another image here too. Moving to the right and waiting for that couple with the umbrella in the middle distance to become larger in the frame and create a bold semi-silhouette against the wintry backdrop.

Checking in Photoshop using the histogram in Levels, and holding down the Alt key while clicking on the white point slider reveals it's only the edges of the structures that show oversexposure clipping, so your exposure isn't so wildly out.
I selected the burn tool at 3% opacity set to highlights and ran it over the edges. This has improved the density of those edges. I then created a mono version as it suits the wintry scene quite well and there is not a huge amount of colour there to start with.

20/06/2014 - 8:05 PM


THE CHAPEL IS OPENWell done for venturing out at night and trying for images without a tripod. It's good to try something different now and again, and you will learn something.

I'd just like to have seen the whole of the building in V1. According to the exif you could have gone a bit wider, but maybe that risked getting extra elements in that you didn't want?
Nevertheless, you've captured the dramatic lighting, and that colour is striking, whether that was the colour of the floodlights or not.
Quite spooky. If you could have got your fellow student to cast a shadowy figure, that would have been great!

It looks like there is some noise in the shadows in V1. Did you lift the shadows any in post processing? I don't know how well your camera handles higher ISOs, and this excursion would have been a useful time to experiment yourself so that you gett o know its capabilities. You may not need such high speeds often, but it's good to know what can be done.
You can apply some noise reduction to jpgs but you'd have more control over it if you shoot RAW images.

Having said that, the noise in mono images can often add to the atmosphere, like grain used to in film days.

16/06/2014 - 8:34 PM

Barbadian Sunset

Barbadian SunsetWelcome to the site Adam, I see you've joined today. I hope you like the site.

This is an attractive image, as the warm oranges of a sunset are always appealing. Your exif data says you used auto white balance - it is better to set this manually especilally when the scene is predominantly of one colour, as the auto system will try and correct for that 'excess' of colour.
This doesn't seem to have created so much of a problem here, but is something worth bearing in mind.

There is some lens flare (the patches visible against the sea) which is inevitable when shooting directly at the light source. These can be darkened down in software to make them less of a distraction.
This is less of an issue when the sun is diffused by thin cloud or mist. again, something to be aware of.
More importantly is the risk of sensor damage when pointed directly at the sun, even when low in the sky.

Having said that, there is some very nice rim lighting of the cloud and the ship does provide a good focal point. It is very central and a better balanced image would have the ship placed to one side, on one of the image 'thirds'. I shall upload a mod to demonstrate this.
A portrait format image would work with a central composition. I shall upload a mod.

It's a good idea to try several different shots at the time.

It is hard to see the fishing boats, and they are quite small in the frame that they add little to the overall image, as the sun and ship are so dominant.

02/06/2014 - 4:32 PM

Skin-rice cake.

Skin-rice cake.You've timed the capture very well, with the position of the hands, the rice cake and the expression on her face. The lighting is nice and soft, not harsh, allowing plenty of detail to be seen.

There is little you could do about the bright orange plastic bag in the background without interfering. It's part of the scene and although I'm aware of it my eye goes straight to the person.
Converting this to monochrome would remove that issue, but the colour in the rest of the image is important, so I'd rather keep this as it is. I'll upload a mon version anyway, just for a different presentation.

I've also cropped a small portion off the top of the image. It doesn't add anything - we can already see what the background and location look like - so it doesn't need to be there.

29/05/2014 - 5:17 PM

Libertia grandiflora

Libertia grandifloraThis is a nice group of flowers. The narrow crop is gives a bold presentation. Personally I'd have left a touch more image room around the subject, but it also depends on what you want to do with the image.

The image is dark and lacking some contrast. I looked at the histogram in Levels and there is a lack of lighter tones. The edge of the histogram ends three quarters or so along the baseline. I moved the end white point slider back to meet the edge of the histogram.

This gave a fuller distribution of tones, but it was still dark, so I used Curves to lighten the image further. You could adjust the midpoint slider in Levels, but Curves gives greater control.

26/05/2014 - 8:17 PM

tides out

tides outPaul's comment has appeard as I was making my own mod!

I too have lightened the foreground. I used Curves as this not onlylighterns it but adds some contrast too, giving it some 'pop'. If you don't have Photoshop with curves (you may bit others reading this may not), you could use Levels and then boost contrast.

For the sky I went the opposite way to Paul, darkening it to give richer colours and boost that 'end of day' look, as you say the glow attracted you.

Either approach is valid, it depends on how you see it as to which one you prefer.

You got a strange effect on me,......and I like itThis is an interesting take by inverting the image.
I find my eye goes straight to the bottom of the image rather than the reflection.

This is quite a crop from the original and this has only magnified the error in focussing. The water behind the gosling is sharper than the bird, which spoils the effect you were after.

The original is underexposed due to the light reflecting off the water, fooling the camera into giving less exposure than is required.
Your exif says you added -1/3, and this has worsened matters. You should have increased exposure rather than reduce it. I'd say +2/3 would have been ideal in this case.
You have lightened the image well for V1. The histogram shows a gap at the right hand edge so there are few highlight tones. This has made the image look flat, so I've adjusted the Levels and also boosted contrast.

20/05/2014 - 9:00 PM

Ignore The Cameras

Ignore The CamerasAn interesting capture, an isolated slice of life.
There is nothing her to say where this is, could be any city or town, and that's what gives it appeal, we can all identify with it.
Well spotted and well timed.

The guy is positioned nicely with more space to 'walk into' and I like the inclusion of the whole of the No Parking sign.

I have made a small crop to remove the windows at the top of th eimage, just to give more weight and attention to the figure. the viewer wants to look into the windows, whereas in the crop they eye stops at the cameras which, pointing down, return us to the figure.
I'm not saying the windows distract, but you don't lose anything by not seeing them, they aren't essential.

This image relies on different bold shapes - the figure, the pipe, the cameras, the text, the brickwork, and is therefore ideal for a monochrome image.
It's just a different interpretation, some images translate better than others and this is one of them.

16/05/2014 - 3:25 PM

Danika Upon a Railroad Car

Danika Upon a Railroad CarWelcome to the site Marty, and welcome to the Critique Gallery.

From your comment and previous upload it appears you are a fan of monochrome. There are a number of us on here too.
A fair family momento, and in the mono version I am drawn to the child's face first, but in the colour one it's the yellow of the car.
So it's not just you that prefers the mono!

When uplaoding a mono image to the Critique Gallery it does help to upload the colour version so we can help on any mono conversion issues.
I can't say there are any here, though mono conversion can be very subjective and each person has their own preferred mono look. To that end I hope you use the black and white adjustment in your software where you can control the relative mix of red blue and green. Just desaturating or using greyscale often doesn't produce the most pleasing rendition.
If you want to get into mono there are many tutorials out there.

You have thought this out well by going for a low angle. Not omly does it look more dramatic and make the car look larger but it reduces the chance of a distracting background.
It is a pity that the hair is covering much of her face. A scenario where you should be taking several images and picking the best. Hair over the face can work in a humorous environment but here we need to see her clearly.

13/05/2014 - 8:06 PM

Duplicity 1

Duplicity 1It's only relatively recently that multiple exposure in digital cameras has become a feature.
I remember doing it in camera in the film days when I shot transparency. Darkroom workers could combine any images together at their leisure, just as Photoshop users do now albeit with more control.
And that's a point to note, as despite the various controls you have, software alows so much more by allowing changes to opacity and blending modes and the possibility of masking certian parts of the image as desired.

However, there is a lot of fun and experimantation to doing this in camera, and it can yield great results.
In cases such as where you are building up an image of the same subject from cumulative exposures it may be easier to do it all in camera.
Do not discount either method Smile

11/05/2014 - 7:27 PM

Drama in heights

Drama in heightsThat is straighter and definitely looks better.
The darkening makes it more like evening, but at the expense of some detail in the minaret. Lifting the shadows is a good approach to keep detail there, though.

However, you can use the Adjustment Brush to paint a mask over the minaret and increase exposure to counter the effect of darkening the rest of the image.
Alternatively, you could paint over the rest of the image and darken that, leaving the minaret as it is.

The Adjustment Brush is a very useful tool for making selective adjustments.