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Davesumner's Gallery Comments

Davesumner > Davesumner Recent Activity > Davesumner's Gallery Comments
Remember! by AndyHale


Ah the good old 'Out of Bounds' technique but perhaps not quite the right image to test it on. There is a very good tutorial on this very technique by Gavin Hoey somewhere here on EPZ.

Here you go: http://www.ephotozine.com/photography-videos/video/out-of-bounds-effect-in-photo...

My attempt is HEREHERE anks


By: AndyHale

Leaning Tower, Vertical Cathedral by SkySkape

Leaning Tower, Vertical Cathedral

So am I right in assuming that from the comments above, you take the lens off your camera and hold it in front at an angle instead of it being attached to get some sort of tilt and shift result or am I totally wrong?

I have never heard of free lensing but, if I am right then stick to the perspective tool in Photoshop or invest in a tilt and shift lens if these are the results you getting.

Hot Update - I looked it up on Professor Google and I'm bang on. I would suggest that free lensing was invented by a sales executive from a camera company to get sales targets up on new cameras rather than for an actual realistic results. If you want my two penneth, frame your shot, zoom out to create more space around the subject and then go wild with the perspective tool. Photoshop is relatively cheap compared to replacing broken lenses and damaged sensors.

One thing that does puzzle me is that if you use tilt and shift or lensing to get the perspective right on buildings etc. why on earth would you test it on the Leaning Tower of Pisa that will only ever be straight when it falls over, which it will?



By: SkySkape

Brisbane at Night by Broodhound

Brisbane at Night

Looking at the camera model and the exposure time of 2 seconds I would suspect that you didn't use a tripod at all and that you've tried to handhold this. Was this taken from the Ferris wheel or are you further along by the footbridge? From memory that is the footbridge but I'm not sure, am I right? As Willie has said you need to take shots like this at dusk and not really at night time. However, you're never going to get a sharp shot without a tripod or a firm support such as a bean bag or the likes especially if you are handholding on the Ferris wheel. Some of the smaller Gorilla Pods work well with compact cameras and with the flexible legs they can be wrapped around balcony rails etc. As for exposing for the brightest part of the image, I would agree but not the lights, expose for the brighter parts of the roadway bridge across the river. The lights on the buildings and signs etc, you will have to accept that they will blow out (overexpose) unless you are prepared to do some multiple exposures.

Hope this helps


By: Broodhound

Collared Kingfisher by Davesumner

Collared Kingfisher


Quote: had one before but the colour of yours is quite different

Not sure how accurate the colours are as I had to use the fill light slider quite extensively just to get any light on the bird at all.


By: Davesumner

Splash Man by Tonyd3

Splash Man

Very nice, I like the effect, well done


By: Tonyd3

Perching by Lulukirk


Hi louise,

Great try but I feel you were a bit up against it with the light looking at the birds overexposed white breast and the dark background. I think the culprit here is the multi segment metering which has probably looked at the background and set the exposure accordingly which ultimately lead to the white breast being overexposed because the camera could not capture the entire tonal range in this scene. With shots like this you have to take the circumstances as they are because you can't change the background easily and you certainly can't ask the bird to move. With this in mind I always have my camera set to spot metering and I only use the centre point to focus. The technique I use is as follows and this is especially relevant for seabirds:

When I see a subject, I can't always select my background, lighting circumstances or the amount of time the subject will remain in position, I therefore have to grab the iniatial shot or two as quickly as possible and then try and improve it the situation allows for it. With a shot like yours the first thing I would do is fire off a couple of shots, the main priority being focus. If after the initial shots, the subject still remains I will then look for anything that is white or bright in the scene especially white feathers, I then spot meter on that area and use exposure lock to keep that exposure. I then recompose and take more shots which are probably going to be a better exposure for the highlights than the first two. You have to remember that the background isn't really of any relevance at this point and is probably going to be out of focus anyway so exposure and sharpness of the subject are the main priorities. Usually and especially if the light is bright, the rest of the image will be a little underexposed but that is okay because we can usually lighten this in post production but if we overexpose any part of the image we normally cannot get anything back in those areas because there is no detail left in overexposed areas.

Also with your composition, it is definately better to have the subject on a third with the wider part of the image for it to look into. Unfortunately, even though this bird is actually looking at you sideways, as humans we just naturally assume the the position the head is facing is the way the bird is looking.

I did a quick mod where I added space on the left, adjusted levels and sharpened to show you what I meant.

I'm happy to explain in more detail in a PM if you need it.

I hope this helps

By: Lulukirk

Bare tree by dunda66

Bare tree

Hi David,

Welcome to EPZ and especially to the Critique area. As you have seen by the two comments above, you will get some great advice here but if you do find it good advice, don't forget to nominate it as 'good critique' as I have done with them.

Just to elaborate a little more on Frank and Willies comments above in regards to sharpness, I don't see anything sharp in the entire image. Now this could be for a number of reasons but one thing to watch out for is the use of focussing modes and focus points. Now i'm not sure with Nikon cameras because they all seem to be different to me but you will get best results from a shot like this if you are in a non dynamic focussing mode such as AF-S. I believe the D40 has a new AF-A focus setting as well but I'm not sure how that works. What this means is that when you half press the shutter, it locks in the focus and it stays locked as long as you keep the shutter half pressed. However, if your camera is using multiple focus points you will find that it may focus on something closer than the tree and make the tree blurred which you obviously don't want. To avoid this and to take control of what is happening, I always use a single focus point (usually the centre one) to ensure that what I focus on is what I want sharp. Once you focus on the tree, as long as you half press the shutter, it won't matter where you point the camera, the tree will be sharp.

now if you are attempting to blur the background in your messing around with focus, this is controlled by the aperture of the lens with the focal length, distance to subject and distance from subject to background all playing their part in how this works. This is covered in depth of field and expalnations of this can be found all over the internet.

I hope this helps


By: dunda66

North Beach Tenby by chrisheathcote

North Beach Tenby

Hi Chris,

Great critique above from Willie and I second his comments about the image being small, try using the panoramic option next time you upload a shot like this.

I did a quick mod myself because on first look the image seems flat which is generally a lack of contrast and adjusting levels/curves normally sorts this out but I liked the darker sky and thought the image would look better with the buildings standing out more. Therefore, in my mod I have darkened off the sky using the graduated filter tool in Adobe Camera RAW, adjusted the levels but then masked out the sea and sky from the levels adjustement in Photoshop. I then dodged the buildings and sand, the island and headland followed by some slight colour adjustment and sharpening.

I hope this helps


By: chrisheathcote

January by Ploughman


Hi Richard,

I think a 12 shot montage or the likes would be a very good idea although you would need to marke the tripod etc so you get the same shot everytime, you could then use Proshow Producer or the like to create a slideshow to some music with the twelve images.

For me though, I would have picked a better composition that this, yes you need to show a building in case it snows or something but I would find and old barn in afield or something and not those typical 50s houses you have on the left of the image. The field is good but what about some trees at the front as foreground interest or a fence or something? Also i would talk with the farmer and tell them what you intend because if he leaves that field dormant for a year you'll end up with a quite dull non changing field. I would think that you should have as many elements as possible in the image to show the changing conditions.

My suggestion would be to take more than twelve images though, why not take one per day for a year and then run through that in a quick slideshow?

Hope this helps


By: Ploughman

Flight by handlerstudio


It's a nice shot and a good capture, I would be almost tempted to crop off the other bird and desaturate the green tree a little. I'll havea go at a mod tomorrow and see if i can show you what I mean.


By: handlerstudio

Time and Tide, Sandsend Dawn 2 by phil99

Time and Tide, Sandsend Dawn 2


I haven't read any of the other replies but I have a lot of experience with camera club judges and if the UK one's are anything like the Aussie judges, take no notice. most camera club judges are so full of technical bullshit they forget to look at the images artistic merit at all. Why on earth would you crop that image?

For e.g. at my local club someone had entered an image of a golfer on a green with all the trees behind them had been pruned right down to the trunk. Not a great image but the image was intended as a bit of fun. The image was titled 'No Birdies Here' and the judge completey missed it.

Look for yourself HERE

I rest my case, so keep going with the image and treat camera club judges with the contempt that they earn themselves.


By: phil99

Moonlit Problem by Davesumner

Moonlit Problem

Thanks Everyone,

For you kind words on this image, I never thought it would be this popular. I'll definately consider this for the club competitions this year now.

Thanks again


By: Davesumner

Winter sat on the fence by Notters1

Winter sat on the fence

Hi Ryan,

This is a really well seen shot, the snow on the fence coupled with the shadows makes for a pleasant image. The only problem I have with it are the composition and the overall blue tint. With the composition I feel that there is just a bit too much sky and the shot could be cropped a little more panoramic. Secondly is the blue tint which although it has a feeling of the cold and a lot of people like this, it isn't really what you would have seen when you looked at this with your eyes.

I have uploaded a quick mod with a crop and the white balance adjusted to give you a comparison.

Hope it helps


By: Notters1

Stormy Waters by AndrewCee

Stormy Waters


A quick question, did you have VR switched on or off with the camera presumably on a tripod? Sometimes VR or IS on Canon will give you blurred shots when used on a tripod, switch it off and use a remote shutter release or the self timer to reduce movement.


By: AndrewCee

Sea Eagle by FionaB

Sea Eagle


I really love this shot but i just wish its eye was a touch brighter, otherwise a very good effort indeed.


By: FionaB

Watchful Dawn by iancrowson

Watchful Dawn

Quote: but you could try and just lighten up the front woodwork on the lifeguard tower just a tad

I agree so I've uploaded a mod to show this


By: iancrowson

Reflections by tamasalucy


Hi Simon,

Obviously by your description you are not happy with the results and there are a number of factors against you here with your choice of lens etc. However, before I talk about any of that, the biggest problem is that you've stuck on your signature/name right over the most interesting area of the image. Put signatures on the back of the print or in a border, don't ruin your image with it especially putting your name on an image you're not happy with.

First of all is the composition, you've taken it in portrait mode obviously to capture the reflection and there is nothing wrong with that but it restricts the scene and bear in mind the absolute majority of landscapes are taken in landscape mode. Your positioning of the windmill isn't the best either as in my opinion it is at the wrong side, i would have preferred it on the left third of the image. Also the background isn't sharp and this is largely due to the aperture used which is f/4 according to the exif data. I can see why because the shutter speed is down to 1/50th second and if you had used f/16 you'd have been down to about 1/4 second or so and that isn't hand holdable. So the first thing is, use tripod for landscapes so you can use smaller apertures and then the shutter speed doesn't matter. Also longer lenses tend to have shallower depths of field which also doesn't help with landscapes and even though you have used the lens at 70mm, this is a veritable telephoto in landscape terms.

When shooting landscapes it often doesn't pay to walk around looking for them, you have to be there when the light and sky are right so it often means finding a great spot and returning several times over. Use a tripod, a wide lens with a narrow aperture and be patient. Don't forget your elements in the shot, foreground, middle and background which you have managed okay in this shot. Set up for your shot and wait until conditions are right then take lots of images with differing settings to get the shot you want.

The shot here has come out flat and needs contrast to give it some punch, I have uploaded a quick mod where I added fill light and contrast in Camera RAW, adjusted levels in Photoshop and then added colour and sharpened.

Hope this helps


By: tamasalucy

Rock Steady by Lulukirk

Rock Steady

Hi Lulu,

just thought I'd have a go at quick mod myself, pretty much the same crop as Nick but i've adjusted the white balance and tweaked the colours a little. I also didn't crop out as many boats.

I know it isn't always possible and sometimes you have only a few seconds to grab a shot but try to take images like this in less harsh sunlight, you've got some harsh shadows going on in this shot. Also just be a bit mindful about where you place your foreground interest in your images, this one is too central.

Hope this helps


By: Lulukirk

on cruise by k2

on cruise

Hi Kypros,

A great attempt an ideallic holiday shot and although you have given the ship some space to sail into there are a couple of elements here working against your image. The first is the position of the cruise liner in your frame, it is too central vertically and the palm tree frong/branch thingy is probably not the best. Given that the ship isn't going to speedily leave the scene I think you could have probably either picked a better palm or moved back to include more of the tree and get some beach or other foreground interest into the shot to get the viewer to look up through the image and finish with the cruise ship. have a look at the image on this page HERE to get an idea of what I am getting at.

Hope this helps


By: k2

Dolgoch Falls by nicktg

Dolgoch Falls

Hi Nick,

Pleant of advice above on the image but not much on the techniques of shooting waterfalls in the daytime. Your image here is overexposed, hence no detail in the water and it's much easier to get this right in camera than in Photoshop. I would suspect that it is because of the amount of light at the time and I noticed that your image was taken in the afternoon in August and that would more than likely mean a lot of sunlight. I also notice that your aperture is set to f/6.3 which I am suprised about.

First of all, it is very hard to take a slowish exposure of a waterfall without overexposing the water so you should ensure that you meter for the brightest part of the water especially if the sun is shining on it. Also to get the water effect you desire, whether it be cotton wool like or just frozen, you need to adjust your exposure time. The problem comes when you shut down the aperture to the smallest hole usually f/22 and the shutter speed is still too fast to capture the effect you want and slowing the shutter any further only results in overexposure. This happened to me once and stupidly I'd left the essential filters back in the car and all I had was a circular polariser. With the polariser fitted I did manage to lose a further stop of light and with the sun covered by a cloud I did grab the shot. Lesson learned what I should have done is taken and fitted my variable neutral density filter which allows the camera to use much slower shutter speeds in bright light by blocking the light entering the lens, of course a tripod is essential as well.

With regards to your shot, you need to use a smaller aperture such as f/16 and with it, a much slower shutter speed. A tripod or some way of securing the camera is also advised for shots like this. Your shot seems very saturated and it definately looks like you've oversharpened it although I may be wrong it may just be like this. Remember that you should still consider foreground interest even with shots like this, there nearly always rocks or the like at the bottom of a waterfall so use them to enhance the scene a bit like the fallen branch in this IMAGE and also in this IMAGE which helps to lead the viewers eye into the shot.

Hope this helps


By: nicktg

Mariner's Falls by Davesumner

Mariner's Falls

Thank you all for the comments, votes and best wishes, Happy New Year to all of you too.


By: Davesumner

Winter Water by AliciaWxoxo

Winter Water

Hi Alicia,

When I first looked at your image, I will be honest and i thought that's a picture of nothing in particular however, the more I have looked at it the more i like it. Having looked at Willie's mod I did a quick mod of my own and what I think was wrong was the 4 x 3 format. I cropped the image into a landscape panoramic format and i think it works quite nicely so i then adjusted the levels, straightened the river bank, cropped top and bottom, dodged some highlights and burned some of the brighter bits, cloned a few items, added some colour then sharpened. I now think it is a great image Wink The rough water makes a great foreground with the reeds/plants as a middleground and the trees and houses beyond a good background.

Well done


By: AliciaWxoxo

I'm out of here by billspencer

I'm out of here

Hi Bill,

No need to apologise for the camera operation, we all have to start somewhere. Looking at the exif data before the picture i notice that your ISO is set on 3200 and that isn't a good thing at at all. Therefore even though you haven't mastered the dials yet, you need to do two things before you take any more pictures. The first is to change the dial on your camera from the green square to the 'P' mode, the only difference you will notice is that the flash will no longer annoyingly pop up. There are other differences but that is the thing you will notice. Secondly, press the ISO button on your camera and take it off 'Auto' and put it onto 100 and leave it there and only change it back to auto if you are in a dark room with hardly any light and can't use flash. The quality of an image at ISO 3200 is vastly less superior to one taken at ISO 100 especially in the darker areas.

Here your image is not sharp and this looks to me like movement in the image because the tree seems sharp at the point of focus. I would suggest that the bird was just moving enough to blur in the 320th of s econd that you took the shot.The wings being blurred is a good thing though because that shows movement and lets us know as a viewer that the bird is alive and not stuffed so to speak. i think shots like this are mastered with a little bit of practice and knowing where to focus. I would be using the centre focus point only and i would be pointing it straight at its head.

The shot itself is not bad, a little dark under the wings but at least there is no overexposed parts in the image. the subject is a little central in the image and would benefit for the right side being cropped a little. the branch in the top right corner does not need to be there as it is not adding to this image and is therefore a distraction, the crop will alleviate this.

I have done a quick mod where I have cropped the right, top and bottom of the image, added a little colour and adjusted the levels. I then dodged under the wings to get some detail in there and I then sharpened.

Hope this all helps


By: billspencer

Winter by Szturmowiec


Hi Lukasz,

A truly beautiful image which is worthy of some sort of award. I think it is just slightly flat and could do with a slight increase in contrast but apart from that, well done.


By: Szturmowiec

soccer 01 by photomf

soccer 01

Hi Massimo,

One of the better sports shots I have seen in a good while, no distracting parked cars, fences or advertising boards that are dominant in the image. Colours are quite good and the action is there to be seen but i certainly wouldn't crop out the guy on the right. For me the big distraction in this image is the referee sticking out of the other players back in his yellow colours with white pole sticking out of his head, a bit unavoidable but alas still an distraction. Also the other white posts are also an issue for me as not being goalposts they are not really adding anything to the shot. I like the space around the players so for me cropping isn't necessary.

I uploaded a quick mod where i have cloned out those items to to give you an idea of what i was meaning, otherwise a great effort and well done.


By: photomf

Cottages-by-the-sea by k2


Hi Kypros,

By your description the cottages are the main focus of your image yet they play thrid best to the two boats in this image. Had you presented this image with no description everyone would have just commented on the boats with the cottages being treated as background material. You really need to find a better place to the shot from whether that is in front of the cottages with a wide angled lens or from another vantage point but you must minimise the foreground distractions of the boats.

The image itself is quite flat meaning that it lacks some contrast to make it jump out at you and the boats are greyish white so levels need to be adjusted to get the boats white again. A great record shot but that's all i'm afraid.

Hope this helps


By: k2

Family Group by KLB

Family Group

Hi Kathy,

First thing I will say is 'WELL DONE' in the first place for having a go at such a shot. Many people shy away from a shot like this because of the management of all of those people but apart from one or two small children, everyone seems to be looking at the camera. The first ctiticism is that the scene is a bit cluttered and before you say anything about not having much room, you could have removed (or used) the two chairs in the foreground and removing the three white napkins from the table would also have helped, white is always a distracting element in a shot when it isn't the main subject.

The image has a colour balance issue because the faces of the people are very much the same colour as the surrounding wood and the white things aren't white, they are yellow. You can set a custom white balance before you take the shot if you are using Jpeg but if you want to adjust white balance correctly in post production you need to shoot RAW rather than Jpeg. not sure about the Panasonic Lumix but i would think that shooting RAW would be the best option because I'm not sure if cistom white balance will be available or not. The other issue is the depth of field, your shot looks reasonably sharp but if you want to shoot groups of people three or four deep like you have here then you need a greater depth of field otherwise the people in the front row (or wherever you focused) will be sharp and the others will start to go out of focus the further away from the focus point they get. I can assure you that if you'd used an DSLR with a 50mm lens for this shot, those people in the back row would be getting quite blurred at f/2.8.

Another handy hint is to position the chairs at the front at differing angles and not all pointing straight towards the camera. This helps to avoid those crotch type shots, luckily most of yours are hidden by the kids siting on laps. It also helps to make people more engaged with each other and not look so posed. A second tip is to avoid taking shots like this from your eye level, you need to get up higher so that people have to look slightly upwards at the camera. This is to avoid double chins and everyone who has one will thank you for not showing theirs.

With regards to the overall shot, there are a few darker areas in between people. I tried to increase the light in those areas using the fill light slider in Adobe Camera RAW (ACR) but there is too much digital noise which is a problem with smaller sensor type cameras in low light situations and the fact that the camera has used ISO 800. Fill flash light is the best way to avoid this but if you have used the on camera built in flash, it just isn't powerful enough to work well here. The image is also a bit top heavy where you included the windows and sky at the top at the expense of a couple of people losing their feet. I think pointing the camera down a little more would have helped with this and lit the shadows a little better as well.

I've done a little mod where I adjusted the white balance in ACR, cropped the top to lose the 'Exit' sign and a slight bit off the right side of the image. In Photoshop I then reduced the blues and reds in the background to help make the people more prominent, adjusted the levels to get the whites more white. I then roughly cloned out the chairs from the front and used the dodge tool to lighten the shadows as far as I could. Finally I straightened the crooked background using the warp tool and sharpened the image.

Hope this helps



Ogmore Castle by mokkkkk

Ogmore Castle

Hi Wyndham,

This seems a nice photogenic location and i think that the whole framing has been commented on enough above so i won't mention that. For me though, if you had got the framing right, you still would be struggling to get rid of unwanted elements such as the sign and the buildings attached to it. Also the white building off to the left of the frame which are all out of character with the main subject.

This is a case of getting into the right position for a shot like this because you can't get rid of the buildings unless of course you have a pocket bulldozer. I'm not a fan of cloning and removing things in post production, well not when they can be avoided in the first place. I think that given the ideallic scene with the horses in front of the castle that I would have been tempted to move forward into that field and get low enough to lose the buildings behind the walls of the castle. you wouldn't have gotten your framing but the composition would have been better. Don't forget that if you lose the framing, you will need to substitute this with some other foreground interest such as a fence post, rocks or even grass. then just wait for the right moment when the horses are in a good spot and there aren't too many toursists on the castle.

Hope this helps


By: mokkkkk

Wanaka, New Zealand by ChrisMcLennan

Wanaka, New Zealand

Hi Chris,

Being in Australia I see this image a lot, it has to be one of the most photographed trees and lakes in the world. A lot of HDR images of this are now appearing and all of them seem to capture grey stormy skies whereas yours is a beautiful blue which i think is fantastic. Having seen so many of this scene i don't think that the sun is over the top at all in fact if it had been accross in the right third it would have just made this image perfect.

I say well done and give yourself a pat on the back and you would have my user award too if we could have given it in this gallery. Blow this up as big as you can and get it on your wall.

PS - thank goodness you didn't add your signature like everyone else seems to be doing in this gallery lately, it would have spoiled the image.


By: ChrisMcLennan

untitled by artrbn


Quote: I created a pathway just to see if it alters the view

I like that pathway, it works really well.


By: artrbn