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dark_lord's Gallery Comments

dark_lord > dark_lord Recent Activity > dark_lord's Gallery Comments
Family trip to the beach by remos08

Family trip to the beach

I agree with what John and Moira have said. The rotation and crop have produced a stronger image.
I understand what you mean about including some of the landscape, but it doesn't add anything to the image that you'ce captured, it's all about the family at the sea.

If the landscape wasmore identifiable or had more interesting elements e.g. some boats or hills, then including it would help give a sense of place. as it is, the strip of land is quite non-descript (apologies to the locals, but at that size in the image it is quite featureless).


By: remos08

willow3 by unk001


I like the fact you set yourself a task and worked through it. That's a good way to concentrate on your photography.
It's also good you've uplaoded the full original but as John and Ishan say, you can still upload your editied version. Not many upload a before and after to the Critique Gallery, which is a pity as it's useful.

This would suit a square or squarish crop, even a portrait format (more conventional) but whateve you choose, remove the flower on the right. It is a distraction from the mqin flower and that diffuse background that sets it off. And as it's cut through by the frame edge it looks more mistake than intended.

I was intrigued by your comment on V4 that that was the result of aperture priority, then you later commented about the sun bleaching the flower out. That's the crux of the matter, the harsh light on that shot, nowt to do with exposure mode.

I have no problem with shutter priority and your logic is fine in that you wanted to stop any movement. However, the resulting aperture chosen by the camera will have a marked effect on how the background is rendered. As this can make or break a picture, that's why most photographers in this field (no pun intended) tend to use aperture priority. For example here, going for a smaller aperture than you did would render the details more obviously so the flower would tend to blend in, which would not work so well.

Your +7/3 (on this original) did not have the effect John indicates because the lens couldn't be opened any wider to give that much compensation at your chosen shutter speed and ISO in those lighting conditions. When the sun was out, and conditions were brighter, it would do that.

There's some good advice re spot metering and manual exposure from others here.


By: unk001

The Old Farm by rtenny

The Old Farm

Willie's mod of the colour balance has definitely improved this image, as warmer tones are what most of us find very appealing.
Yes some images benefit from a cool look, but not this.
An image that is 'warmer' in tone than something that is 100% accurate can be the nicer image. Experimenting is fun.

In the days of film, if a photographer felt the light was too cool he may use a warming filter in front of the lens. In the same way, back on the computer the colour balance can be changed to give a warmer rendition. This is easier and less destructive shooting RAW, but is perfectly ok to modify a jpg. Most imaging software allows you to do this, they all work in a similar fashion. They may have more than one way of achieving it, so you'll find your preferred way, no right or wrong.

I also would go for the panoramic crop. One question you could ask yourself when taking an image is 'does the extra space/sky/forground/ etc. (delete as appropriate) add to the appeal of the image or add interest/information for the viewer?'
in this case, no. We have some blue sky, there isn't any need to include more, we all know the sky carries on up. Of course if there were say a bird circling very high up over a vast plain, then lots of sky would need to be part of the image.

On the other hand, a large area of plain sky can be great for text, such as in a magazine or book, it depends on what you're shooting for.


By: rtenny

Pondering life by remos08

Pondering life

Sometimes the sun is in the 'wrong' place but we have to manage with it. You may have wanted something different than you have here, but i wouldn't say the sun was 'wrong'.
Yes there are some dappled highlights but in no way distracting. You may want to get rid of them, but they are a nice part of the image. Sometimes we can be too much of a perfectionist!

Applying half a stop of exposure compensation at the time of shooting would tone them down.
I shall try a mod selectively 'burning in the bright areas. You could also try selectively reducing brightness or exposure on Jack.

It would be better to see all of him - nothing wrong with cropping bits off if it looks ok, but just clipping the body looks more like a 'mistake' than intentional, something to be aware of, but we all do it from time to time!

He's a little bit central too, nothing a crop can't sort out. And then he's got more space he's looking into for his pondering.


By: remos08

Dream Weaver by mmz_khan

Dream Weaver

This is very well shot.

It would be nice to see just a little more of the face, as the eyes are what the viewer looks at first. The direction of her look would still connect with her work. A small point, and something I'd usually only comment on in the Critique Gallery.

A square crop would be an alternative here. I'll upload a mod, see what you think.

That strong angle of light, and those highlight spots on the blue background that suggest a starry sky help give the impression of a dream, nicely done.


By: mmz_khan

Looking up at gold by ladigit

Looking up at gold

I agree with Willie, that is a very good way to find the effect you like. There are no 'best settings' to use. Each image is different, though many people will have their preferred settings they use as a start.

This is one of those subjects where increased contrast (such as in the mods already uploaded) really does help, as the lines and shapes are bold.
There is nothing wrong with lesser contrast, at least we can see the details. It's good to try something more individual and not follow the 'I must boost the contrast here' approach, but sometimes the subject does benefit.

But that's the great thing with mono, so many interpretations and approaches, before we even get to toning!

A well composed shot with those diagonal lines and a good illustration of where converging verticals are great.
On balance I'd crop the lamp off the bottom.


By: ladigit

Beside the Seaside in Southwold, Suffolk by Cotswold88

Beside the Seaside in Southwold, Suffolk

The softness could be exacerbated by overexuberant noise reduction. The right hand side of the sea wall is particularly soft. I can't see why (and I doubt you did) applying noise reduction using only ISO 200.
Another possibility is high jpg compression settings. I don't know what your camera was set to, but the file size of this image suggests little compression here. The site will resize images quite aggresively if you haven't resized them yourself.
Either way, I'd expect to see more clarity in the image. It does have a look as though a watercolour effect has been applied. Indeed that is something worth trying.

The image could be better balanced if the steps were less central. However, that's where they were, the architects aren't thinking of our photos when they come up with there designs! Nonetheless, it's always worth trying a few different compositions at the time to give you more options later. There is only so much you can do with cropping.

Talking of which, I'd trim the left a little to get rid of that half roof, as has been done in the mods. I'd also correct the lean of the buildings using the perspective or skew tools. The lean is created by tilting the camera up to get the subject in the frame and is much more noticeable with lines near the edges of the frame.
It's a strange thing that a small lean looks bad (or a 'mistake') whereas a strong deliberat lean such as with very tall buildings can often work well.


By: Cotswold88

beggar and the blonde by youmightlikethis

beggar and the blonde

The curl doesn't add anything to the image. Not this image anyway, some subjects would be better suited, perhaps a shot of a modern building, a flashy car or a still lie of metal and glass objects.
The subject here is more gritty, so maybe a dog-eared corner rather than a perfect curl woud be more in keeping.

I can see what you intended to show, and why you've given it that title.
The mono works better in that sense as the viewer concentrates on the girl and the crowd and beggar behind, whereas the colour has more distractions, or at least places the eye is drawn to in the crowd, thus reducing impact.

By: youmightlikethis

Bird market. by WimpyIskandar

Bird market.

I looked at this for a while and my eye just wandered around the image, not settling anywhere. That indicates that there is no point of interest here. The person in the middle distance is only partly visible. The chicken at the front looks as though it's crept into the composition by accident. As Moira points out, making this a centrepoint would give a strong image.
While the cages set the scene, that's about it, they don't say bird market, rather a stall selling cages.

I can see why you were attracted to the light at this location, but you haven't framed your subject to make the most of it. The viewer will move on to the next image.


By: WimpyIskandar

Taking to the air by Lillian

Taking to the air

Cracking shot.

By: Lillian

Autumn Birches by MalcolmM

Autumn Birches

Beautiful shot.

By: MalcolmM

Silver Studded Blue by BenKiteley

Silver Studded Blue

Prees Heath, I must make a note of that, all I associate it with at the moment is the car auction site Grin

Super shot.


By: BenKiteley

Atlas Moth by FeatherFriend

Atlas Moth

A pity you can't appreciate the size of this from the image, even at 1000 px Smile

By: FeatherFriend

Holy Austin Rock Houses at Kinver 2 by DicksPics

Holy Austin Rock Houses at Kinver 2

Very interesting, I've never been but always known of these even before the NT took them over.

By: DicksPics

Worth Waiting For by DicksPics

Worth Waiting For

Manual focussing is definitely the way to go. Auto would be confused and may not lock on properly, especially as you may not have a focus point exactly over a firework as it explodes.
Wide apertures are ok as the lens would be focussed on the distance and even at say f/4 there'd be enough depth of field, as you'd be using wider angles (generally) anyway.
Lower ISO would give longer shutter speeds so the fireworks would render as trails. However, I like the high ISO approach as the bursts have some detail, as you see them. You just need to watch the noise so it's good you've a 5D2.

By: DicksPics

Fab 1 by DicksPics

Fab 1

I remember seeing this at one of the Motor Shows on the Ford stand, thinking back it must have been 2004.

By: DicksPics

Down the hatch! by Holmewood

Down the hatch!

Excellent timing, a ery common piece of behaviour but not often captured, or as well as this.

By: Holmewood

Juvenile Goldfinch by Holmewood

Juvenile Goldfinch

We've had a few of these visit the feeder briefly, but not been able to get a shot.

By: Holmewood

The No-Sunflower by SlowSong

The No-Sunflower

I agree with Moira about the square crop.
Toned mono works well enhancing the shapes of the leaves, something that colour wouldn't do so well.

By: SlowSong

Mean Machine. by bricurtis

Mean Machine.

It has more of a look of an illustration then a photo, that's not a criticism but more of an observation. Attractively processed all the same Smile

By: bricurtis

Travelator by Philpot


Works well without a figure, as do many modern architecture shots, as they tend to be impersonal and clinical.
Having said that, a figure or three would add a different slant, and silhouettes would be good.

By: Philpot

Hardcastle Crags by MalcolmS

Hardcastle Crags

A popular subject, but I like your treatment of this.

By: MalcolmS

Pecket Well Sunset by gazza77

Pecket Well Sunset

You've captured a lovely scene, and those purples of the heather are really vibrant.

there are a couple of flare spots in the middle distance, while not being obtrusive, are better off removed, and are relatively easy to clone out, unlike larger spots that can appear. I shalll do a mod.

I like the use of wideangles to show lots of foreground. However, the extreme bottom of the image sees detail disappearing in the shadows, so it's worth trying to lighten that. Alternatively, if it's for display I would consider a small crop. Conversely, it would make a good cover image as text can be placed on that darker area and be easily read.
Sometimes you can look at a picture in different ways depending on intended uses.

Other than those considerations, I wouldn't change anything here.

Nice one.


By: gazza77

Two bottles of beer in colour by Madoldie

Two bottles of beer in colour

This does look better in colour.

The glare has been removed from the bottles well, though looking closely there are the tell tale highlights on the embossed lettring that give the light source away. I wouldn't expect anyone to 'remove' those in software. Rather like looking at the size and shape of catchlights in a portrait reveals what shape of softbox or umbrella was used!

As I mentioned last night, the key is in modifying the light source.

It's said that odd numbers of objects work better than even numbers.
Followin on from Paul's comment yeaterday about the out of focus bottle being dominant, it's worth trying another bottle on the right for balance. Then the eye should be drawn to the central bottle that's sharp.
I would also try a version where the out of focus bottles are behind the sharp one rather than in front, to give the sharp bottle more prominence but still retain the effect you're trying here.

It's always a good idea to have alternatives, and these ideas can be applied to other still life shots you may do.

Just another thought, if you could shoot with off camera flash from the side, that would complement the mood of the graphic on the label. You may need to play around with angles but the nights are drawing in now!


By: Madoldie

Potato Flowers by dark_lord

Potato Flowers

Thanks Richard.

I'm afraid I didn't get much of a crop, a few new potato sized efforts Grin.
I've done much better other years, these were a few left over from a bag and I put them in just on the offchance.
But the good news is that the carrots have done well Smile

By: dark_lord

The Last Two by lawbert

The Last Two

Must've been a great sight and sound despite the dull weather.

By: lawbert

Glamaig and the Beinn Deargs by billmyl

Glamaig and the Beinn Deargs

I know you haven't put this up for critique, but it did catch my eye in the thumbnails as i like shots of mountains!
This would benefit from a warmer colour balance, as 'auto' has made it appear cool. It may well have recorded the conditions as they were, but it's nice to add some warmth as it makes a scene such as this more appealing.

By: billmyl

Two bottels of beer by Madoldie

Two bottels of beer

The weather was bad today, so well done for trying something indoors.

With abstract images it's harder to give critique as it depends a lot on how the viewer responds.

Having said that, I would rather see this in colour, given the label. I'm guessing that being Caribbean it is very colourful. It's always a good idea to upload the original colour version for comparison in the Critique Gallery.
Nonetheless, I like the close crop, though a square format would work very well here.

To make this work well you need to pay attention to the bright highlights reflecting off the bottle (unless that's what you intended). This looks like direct flash or at least a strong point light source was used. Diffusing this by shooting through a diffuser or in a (improvised) light tent would reduce or eliminatee these.
I shall try a mod cloning out the highlights to give an idea of what a softer light source would do.


By: Madoldie

READ THE WORDS by youmightlikethis


I like the toning treatment in V2 but I'm less happy with the blurring at the edges, especially the feet/sandals area. It doesn't add to th eimage and once noticce it's annoying, the cleaner lines of V1 work better. I know it is intended to focus attention oin the centre of the image, but perhaps a little less strong.

The frame is heavy going, especially in V1. The frame in V2 is less intrusive as it's simpler, more like you'd see a framed print on the wall. V1 is a double frame and competes with the image.

As for the image itself, good low angle making the most of the subject and the close crop emphasises the feeling of being right in the crowd, so that's a thumbs up from me.


By: youmightlikethis

Snipe in Rain by Paintman

Snipe in Rain

I agree with Derek, an excellent shot.

By: Paintman