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26/05/2015 - 9:49 PM

The Moon

The MoonHow did you trigger the camera? By the shutter button, a remote or self timer? If using the shutter button then that would introduce vibration even if the camera was firmly fixed to the telescope and the scope was motor driven. A remote release is the best option as you can choose exactly when to fire the camera, but using the self timer will mean all vibration has subsided by the time the picture is taken (and means you don't need to buy a remote release!).

You must raise the ISO, even ISO 200 would result in a better image. Use Aperture priority mode, not the mode that is shown in the exif - using creative slow speed is not going to result in a clear image, which you do need for this subject.

Saturday evening. The dweller of Santa Brigida. Gran Canaria.Tanya's crop is how I see this image. If the guy had been facing the other way I'd leave the doorway in as there'd be a stronger connection then between the customer and the cafe.
sheffield train station at night timeHi Mickael,
It's good to do some photography at night as a scene looks completely different.

You've chosen a strong foreground object which dominates the scene. There's nothing that says 'railway station' here, and unless you're local or have been there it's not obvious either. That isn't to detract from the image at all, just given your title I'm trying to look for it! The 'subject' for me is the sculpture, and you've done a good job with it.
you've shot when there's still some colour in the sky, which always looks more attractive than pitch black.

The interest lies in the right hand two thirds of the image, so I've made a square crop. In fact, this frames the sculpture and water very well, so don't be afraid to crop your image to a different aspect ratio if it nakes a stronger visual statement.
Normally we wouldn't put a bright area at the edge or corner of an image but I do like the placement here especially in the square crop - I tried removing it and the image was lacking.

I can see you used f/16, and I guess it's to get a slower shutter speed for the trails. However, it's not the best for ultimate image quality. If you want to use longer speeds, tryusing an ND filter. If you use a 3 stop type, you could use f/11 and 10 seconds, and you'd get more joined up trails - you have a few gaps in the white trails.

In my mod I've also adjusted the colour balance to a more natural look. Of course, with many different light sources in the image, many people prefer a warmer tone. Nothing wrong with that, my adjustment is for comparison purposes. Using Lightroom you can adjust the sliders to get the exact effect you want, and you can create two different versions easily.

21/05/2015 - 6:49 PM

Seagull on the spot

Seagull on the spotHi Marcin, welcome to the site and to the Critique Gallery. I hope you will enjoy it and find it a good place to learn. We try to give advice that will help people to improve their photography both the taking and the editing of images.

in this gallery the more information you give us as regards your photographic aims and intentions, the better. You've been veryhelpful here giving us the exposure details and what you wanted to achieve.
It also helps us if you respond to critique and indicate which ideas you find helpful. That means we can tailor advice according to your needs.

It can be difficult to show rain. If the rain is light, it's harder to show but you can't organise the weather.
A slower shutter speed is required so that the falling drops appear as streaks. That goes against the advice of faster speeds for longer lenses, so you need to ensure the camera is firmly fixed to a tripod or well supported for example by a bean bag on a wall or post.
You used 1/400 here. With the short focal lenght used here you could have used a slower speed even unsupporte. Supported, I'd start with 1/60. The gull isn't moving so you don't have to worry about subject movement blur like you would for example with the smaller birds that always are on the move.

If you can shoot against the light, the raindrops and their streaks can be picked out more easily, especially if the background is dark. It'd be ok here. so it needs a bit of planning and thought about your viewpoint. Clearly wild creatures can't be directed, but observing their favourite perches will allow you to find a good viewpoint. And gulls can be easily tempted with food, so you can increase your chances of getting a shot. You may need a helper to administer the food while you wait and shoot.

This picture doesn't look particulalrly noisy, but often resizing an image to smaller dimensions reduced the appearance of noise. It may be more visibnle on the full size original.

However, this image is underexposed. Take a look at the histogram. Most tones are toward the left side and there are no lighter tones - the graph doesn't reach the far right of the Levels dialog.
It looks like the white bin has influenced the camera into giving less exposure. Trying to extract detail from such an image will increase the appearance of noise. I won't try and describe the maths and physics!

In my mod I've adjusted the Levels to get a full range of tones and brightened the image using Curves rather than Levels as I can then control contrast too and have finer control over how the lightening works.

Finally, I cropped the image so that there is more space for the bird to 'look into'. Such an off centre positioning provides a more balanced looking image too.

Rain and wind. Lago Maggiore. ItalyA pleasing scene Alexander.
I like the contrast between the blue far distance and the warm foreground. The richness of colour and the very deep shadows reminds me of shots taken on Fuji Velvia back in the days of film. It looked punchy as a projected slide but these days it is worth retaining that detail. Or, produce two versions!

I'm with Paul on the placement of that metal structure. A pace to the left and move the camera round so that it's nearer the edge and so less of a draw to the eye. you'd retain that distant view, but get more of the shore on the right (interesting middle distance) and avoid cutting that one boat in half.

As this iamge was taken around the same time as you other uploads it still suffers from the f/22 issue. Yes, it gives great depth of field, which is more important here than in your other images, but at this focla lenght f/11 to f/16 would have been fine. Something to remember when posting work done after the feedback you've been given.

17/05/2015 - 8:34 PM

Pier Bellagio. Lago Como

Pier Bellagio. Lago ComoI'm not sure a polariser is much help for a shot like this. There's no blue sky (the type you'd expect to be using the filter on) and hno reflections. Yes there is the water but the conditions don't look as though there would have been a lot of glare. I could be wrong of course, but without a comparison shot it's difficult to say. Put it this way, in that situation I wouldn't be upset if I realised i hadn't got one with me.
The gradient is much more useful.

I can see how you've composed this with the town visible on the left hand shore, but I'd like to have seen more of the area on the left. It's closer and so the detail would be clear. Moving the camera a little is all it needs. You'd then have an almost two thirds occupation of the frame with the near details, which would give a more balanced look too.
As it is, the left half of the image looks empty. Perhaps not a problem normally but that post exactly in the middl;e of the image stops the eye wandering across.
You could have moved a few steps to your right and got that foreground in and the far shore, as you were using a 17 mm lens. Small adjustments to position make a big difference to composition with such wide angles. Of course, I'm assuming you could move to your right, I'm assuming you were on a jetty!

16/05/2015 - 5:29 PM

Lighting attempt

Lighting attemptA simple arrangement but so many things to think about.
I'd move the glass a touch to the right so we can see the full curve of the jug. I checked the image using the Grid in Photoshop and it looked level according to that but a tilt correction still made it look better but I finished with a skew correction as the jug looked more even that way. I thought I'd mention that as it's something to look out for in general terms.

Now to the lighting.
The ratio between your two lights is 4:1, hich is a good starting point. However, due to using a light tent all the light has spread (which is what a light tent is for) so the shot looks more evenly lit than that ratio would suggest. The almost similar highlights on the jug say this also.
Try a ratio of 8:1, either reducing the one flash to 1/64 or the main flash to 1/4.
Alternatively, try a reflector inside the light tent with just the one flash to the right, then you would replicate very closely the classic window light set-up.

Of course, this depends on how much room you have in your light tent, and the size also has implications for your background. This, I think, hasn't helped with th eblack becoming a very daek grey. The light has bounced around in the tent, as indeed it's supposed to, but that can be fixed somewhat as Willie has shown.

I've shot in a light tent with undiffused flash and flash fitted with softboxes, the latter giving a really soft light due to double diffusion. the softbox was near the sixe of the light tent walls which clearly helped.

So there is some experimentation to be done. Each will yield different results, none of them necessarily 'better'. for example, the above shot is quite evenly lit so it's fine for say a product shot, while using one flash would be more moody and 'artistic' if you like.

I aplaud your use of real wine, but as you found, you may need to dilute it so that the red shows up as we'd 'expect' to see. Nothing wrong with using coloured water if that gives the intended look. (You can always have a glass of the real stuff to hand for when you've finished shooting!).

I know you're only after lighting help, bit a third element in the image would finish it off well (they always say odd numbers work better). A handful of grapes or maybe a piece of cheese. Must go and get something to eat now!

Silence, just  the boat swaying. Lake Mergozzo. italyWell your title does reference the movement of the boat, and the boat is what the eye is drawn to.

Quote: but your version I also like. It was better to make a vertical shot as a separate shot

And that's something we should all remember, try other compositions, framing and orientation. There may be one you prefer and a different one someone else prefers. Make the most of the picture opportunites as you can at the time.

16/05/2015 - 12:52 PM


ForagingHi Marc,

It's really interesting to sit on a bench and watch the birds at close range as they have some toleration of people.
While a landscape format is often more appropriate, there's nothing wrong with trying a vertical format. It depends on what you want the image for, and what you want to portray which you've explained. That always helps when posting in the Critique Gallery as it helps us in turn with feedback.

This looks a touch soft and I'd second upping the ISO to 400. Your camera should be fine at that setting. Of course, softness could be due to compression for upload or not applying sharpening to the resized image before upload. A couple of points to remember.

I'd say that was a small seed or crumb it's eating, as these birds don't eat worms and aren't insectivorous (though they may have a go if they're foraging around I suppose!).
The egg you mention may be from his brood's nest but not actually his as this is an adult male (nice specimen too) so at least a year old. Still, worth a shot, and if it is a chaffinch egg it could tell a story.
I hope you don't mind me mentioning this as it's not technically about the image but it's important to get the biological details as accurate as you can with natural history subjects. It's a fascinating subject and there's always something to learn.

I'll look out for your next image Smile

14/05/2015 - 12:04 PM

Beach near Setubal Portugal

Beach near Setubal PortugalThe pattern of sand and water is an attractive feature. Together with a brooding sky there is the potential for a dramatic image.

Unfortunately, the result here lacks impact.
However, all is not lost, it's down to the processing.
In my mod I made this black and white rather than sepia, as toning can reduce contrast which is a cornerstone of monochrome.

Although there is a full range of tones, most of them are bunched into the middle of the histogram, so the image lacks 'punch'.

I boosted contrast in the foreground and sky separately, and darkened the clouds for that brooding look.
I cropped the top of the image as a light area at the top of the frame is a distraction and reduces the impact of the dark clouds.
This has made the image into a squre, or almost square, with the horizon fairly central which isn't ideal so I've addressed that in my second mod. A landscape format works well here. That's not to say a portrait format wouldn't - it just needs the camera to be pointed down for less sky and some more of the channels in the sand.

14/05/2015 - 11:12 AM

thin kin

thin kinThis is a very nice image with attractive light.

It looks as though you've done some post processing here. It looks like you've used a cross-processing type effect.

You have lost detail in the white dress, and it is quite a large area so it draws the eye. The same is true of the skin, noticeably on the cheek. Applying some negative exposure compensation, around one stop, would have avoided this.

There is a dark area on the wall immediately behind her head which blends in and makes it look like a strange hairstyle. Moving the model, or simply just lowering your viewpoint a few centimetres would avoid this.

There's also a white halo around the back of her head which looks like aggressive sharpening, and likely exacerbated by your processing. you don't need to sharpen this area of the image, the face and importantly the eyes are the areas that you should concentrate on when applying sharpening.

Aiguille du Midi (3842 m). On the way to Mont Blanc.That's an impressive location. You were lucky to get that white cloud situated nicely behind the building.

However, the building is on the slant, and so I've corrected that in my mod. That's the downside of pointing a lens upwards, especially one of that focal length. The converging verticals are so easy to create, but fortunately it's relatively easy to correct using the Transform tools.

There is also a magenta cast which I've addressed in my second mod. As you were shooting RAW, you could have found the best colour balance using the bright snow as a neutral white rather than relying on the camera's Auto feature.
I assume your monitor is properly calibrated so that you are able to see such differences.

I don't see why you used f/20. Diffraction issues become apparent at small apertures, especially on shorter focal lengths and I'd expect your D800 to show up this softness. Better to use f/11 here, for better sharpness (though at the size on the site and with jpg compression it looks ok here), and it'd give you sufficient depth of field especially as the scene has no foreground elements that are close to the camera.

27/04/2015 - 9:05 PM

Katie Anna

Katie AnnaThere are a lot of different images here (albeit the same subject) that can be critiqued, so i'll restrict my comments to just a few, for time and lenght of reply.

V1, the bed knob is very intrusive and quite distracting. I get the idea, so try shooting through the bed frame so you frame the model's face that way. The bright area on the pillow behind the model's bottom is also distracting. These are things to look out for but easily forgotten in the heat of the shoot. Non eye contact can work, especially on these images as it can give the idea that there's someone else there in the room. But, try one with and one without.

V2, some distractions but the eyes need to be sharp. It's not as though the area that is sharp is especially important to the image.

V7, good eye contact, but too much hair over the one eye. The composition has a lot of redundant space, moving the camera a touch lower and to the right would give a more balanced image.

V8 is nicely done and what I guess you wanted when shooting V1, it's often how a shoot progresses.

V3, very nice play of light and shadow, but cropping off the top of the image to remove the highlight on the head keepos attention on the face. Works well with no eye contact.

V5 the best of this bunch.

I'm sure dudler, our glamour and portrait expert will add more!

White Cliffs of Etretat, NormandyYou have a nice curce of land around the edge of the frame.
Lightening very dark areas in software leads to high,or at least unpleasant, noise, though at this size on here and with all the small detail it's not so noticeable (it would be in broader areas of plain tone).
This is a classic case of needing a grad, or two different exposures blended together. This is two extreme to be ble to use two differen tconversions from the same RAW file, as there'll be too much noise from the shadows and detail wouldn't be there from the sun.

Quote: this gallery for me much more interesting

I'm glad you think so, but that's because we're helping people try and improve. Take on board what's been said, shoot some new stuff and post in the main gallery. You can always pop back here now and again.

21/04/2015 - 10:07 PM


SpireaA nice delicate image you've shot here, in soft lighting which has retained the fine detail.
Good use of a wide aperture to give a beautifully uniform background with no distractions. the flower curves nicely through the image.

I can understand you wanting to retain the web as it's a natural part of the scene. However, it doesn't say much about spider's webs, and is a distracting element. If it were an interesting shape web, possibly with water droplets on, then it's look fine. but as it is I've quickly removed it from my mod.

Due to the wide aperture not all blooms are sharp, and neither could or even should they be, but in my mod I applied a little sharpening so that the ones that were sharp stood out well.

21/04/2015 - 9:22 PM

What happened to the view?

What happened to the view?I'm afraid I have to agree about there being no subject.

I'll just add a couple of suggestions.
Willie's mod has added contrast, which has helped the foreground, but I like the softness in the distance, so in a similar situation in the future you can apply a contrast boost to just the foreground using a layer mask.
Secondly, in the absence of a willing subject, get lower and closer to one of those ferns so at least there's some foreground interest to help to give some depth to the image.

Light and volcanoes, new versionI missed this shot first time around so I went back and looked.
This is much better and shows how processing differently can make a huge difference to the end result.
No centre of interest as Paul says, but some images don't need one. Imagine a boat on the water, or a bird silhouetted against the sky. Both will draw the eye. However, peaceful and relaxing as this is, would you want something as a focal point to change the overall feel? Perhaps, in an ideal world, but either way a nice mood in the image.
14/04/2015 - 9:43 PM

A Glance

A GlanceHow much of a crop is this from the original image? We can tell it's a crop as the aspect ratio is not the same as an original frame. If the crop is significant, then this will highlight any imperfections, such as lack of sharpness more so then a smaller crop.

You can upload the original image as a modification. we can then also offer alternative crops.
For example, if there was some room to manouvre, a version with the animal set to one side with space to 'look into' would be visually more appealing than a centrally placed animal.

25/03/2015 - 8:48 PM


JackrabbitSharpness looks fine to me too, at least at the size on here.
I know that (some) Canon lenses allow tweaking of the focus ring while AF is engaged just to adjust focus on the subject - not as an alternative to focus tuning but for example when the subject moves a little bit. I don't know if Nikon has a similar feature though I'd hope so. It's something I do use especially with birds.

You say you cropped this a little, but I'd prefer slightly more space around the animal rather than seeing it crammed in by the image edges.

Processing method (glad you included it, many don't) is good, pretty much the same as my workflow. Agree with Willie re white balance thoiugh my mod uses your original where I've tweaked the contrast using Curves. It's slight so the difference may not be so obvious on here but it made a difference when I was adjusting it. I prefer images with a little punch and those taken in soft overcast light can benefit. Your processing has retained all the detail, so my adjustemnts haven't lost any of that. As I say, a perwonal preference but worth thinking about now and again. I must admit sometimes I can't decide if the Clarity or the Contrast in LR is better for a particular shot!

That's the technical bit out of the way. If the animal's head was just raised a bit so there was good eye contact it would have been great, but a decent record as it stands and nice to see it taken on the animal's level too.

20/03/2015 - 8:32 PM

Cloud over the Island of Eigg

Cloud over the Island of EiggYour main image is a wonderful skyscape which you've captured well. It could even take a small crop from the bottom, though it looks good as it is.

Your crop version is less strong. Although there's a classic 1/3 land and 2/3 sky, the power of that towering cloud is lost. The foreground thus has to make up for the loss of interest. The island in that case would benefit from being larger and/or the tree at the bottom right needs to be bolder, protruding above the horizon. Neither make for a point of interest that holds the attention as they stand. You need to have some 'depth' to the image. I don't know how much leeway you had in your shooting position but moving forward or getting lower could have yielded some interestign compositions.

All of which points back to your first comment

Quote: the island is a bit perripheral to the Hebridean skyscape

And in this case that's all that matters.

I'll have a play at a couple of mods!