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28/09/2014 - 8:22 PM

I hear you whisper Alibi's

I hear you whisper Alibi'sI think you've nailed it in your own text, mostly.

More space below would be good - and if you are a PS type, you can add that... If I can do it, however crudely, I am sure someone who loves PS can do it!

I also rotated them a degree clockwise - they are slightly askew in the original.

I think that the effect you have used works nicely, suggesting hand-coloured stills.

My biggest concern is the sharpness: unless you were deliberately making this very fuzzy (which is very possible, as part of the aged look), the camera is seriously ill if it won't produce far sharper results than this! Film studios were pretty fanatical about sharpness, though, and the genuine article, as seen outside the cinema, would have been pinsharp.
28/09/2014 - 8:12 PM

Jaguar at 150mph

Jaguar at 150mphWelcome to the Critique Gallery, Ewan. As you've been on the site a while, I suspect you will have worked out how most things operate here, and you have posed a commendably exact question.

What I've got to contribute is simply an elaboration of the two comments above.

You really convey the sense of speed well with this shot: the 1/125 shutter speed is clearly just right for the circumstances. Prefocussing is a sound technique, and is what a lot of professional sports togs have always done (and will possibly always continue to do). Manual focus removes most of the shutter lag, so that the timing is simpler, and you can choose the place which suits you lens and so on.

My one suggestion is that you don't put the car right in the centre. Compositionally, it usually looks better heading into the frame. Even at speed, slap bang in the middle can give a static look!

I've done a mod accordingly.

Everything else about your technique looks good. And, if you are still experiencing a delay with the shutter, it's possible that using manual exposure may cut processing time further, and give you the real time release that you want...

And a question - what is less good about the results with digital? Shutter effects can vary with the type of shutter fitted, but I assume you're using a digital body of broadly similar spec to your F801s, with a conventional vertical-run focal plane shutter?

If you feel so inclined, try posting one of the digital shots into this gallery.
After the Ball a modern CinderellaAs Moira says, there is a lot going on, without any particular structure to it.

The ornate thingy top left is a big distraction, and although my mod leaves some of it in view, it seems less distracting now. As it goes, the crop also puts Cinders on the right-hand thirds.
23/09/2014 - 10:14 PM


LeaA lovely shot of a wonderful model. The light on her eyes is perfect.

There is an odd colour to this - but Willie's mods make it look perfect.

I'm not sure it needed vast amounts of processing: the art is in taking the shot to begin with, here. (A thought - it would be good, if you want comments on processing, to say what you've done when you psot the picture.)
20/09/2014 - 10:44 PM

Vintage Driller

Vintage DrillerWillie and (especially) Pamela have set out loads of good advice here.

I'd like to add that I think you've suffered "tripod droop" - you obviously used a tripod to get this sharp at such a long exposure. And, if your tripod is anything like mine, less than perfect tightening of handles means that as soon as you let go of the camera, it points sightly lower than you intended.

That, I suspect, explains why there's so much foreground...

I've done a crop, reducing this, and correcting the tilt, as well. And then I used the dodge tool in Photoshop Elements to lighten the bright areas of the drill and chisels, and the burn tool to darken the table at the bottom.

Does this work, do you think?
20/09/2014 - 9:51 AM


PlagiarismAn alternative would be to frame the other way round, with all of the shadow, and the spot nibbling at the edge of the frame on the right. Some games to play with relative positions of model and wall, if you want, too.

A fine attempt, and it works pretty well for me. I might tweak levels a bit to make the shadow more prominent (or have you already done that as much as you can without losing detail elsewhere, I wonder?)

By the way - a lovely model: a bit of a Billie Piper look - and perfect styling with the clothes and bag.
18/09/2014 - 6:34 PM

little 'n' Large

little 'n' LargeA lot of good advice above.

My only thought is that you've used an extremely long lens for the shot, which brings pluses (nicely limited depth of field, even at f/16) and minuses (far too far away to use cards as Keith suggests). It works, and that's fine, and it gives a unique perspective that a shorter lens won't.

However, it's worth being aware that you have given yourself a bit of a hill to climb to get the technicalities all lined up (in a field where there are quite a few techie issues to control anyway).

For an example of an artificially-introduced background, by the way, see this post from DalesLass.
16/09/2014 - 10:23 PM

Northern Light

Northern LightI've been offline for a day or two - this has attracted a lot of comment!

For me, the grasses on the right need a fractionally lower viewpoint, so that they stand really tall.

Resting the camera on the wall might have helped - or was this not feasible?
12/09/2014 - 1:22 PM

Harley Davidson

Harley DavidsonIt's an effective shot. I wonder if including the handlebars and bottom of the tyre would make it better, or not?

Increasing contrast (or darkening midtones, perhaps) appeals to me.

And I have to add: as an Englishman, if I wanted a bike, I'd buy a Triumph or a Norton: friends who know about these things don't rate Harleys as riders' bikes. But they look and sound great on straightish roads...
11/09/2014 - 8:29 PM

Ready for action

Ready for actionMaybe, Tracy, but in the meantime...

In Elements 12, click on Image, go down to Transform, pick Skew, and then drag and drop the corners. Click the green arrow, then save as a JPG.

Simples, as they say in comparison website circles (in the UK, at least...)
10/09/2014 - 11:03 PM

Mystic Falls

Mystic FallsThis is a lovely use of an extra-dense filter, and it merits loads of care in the finishing, as well as the taking.

Adam's right - in my mod, I've worked at reducing the effect by using a fuzzy-edged cloning tool at low opacity - around 20%.

I've also cropped. It's a matter of opinion, given the lovely dark detail on the right, but I've gone for a composition based more on the thirds, and less on the detail. But that's only my interpretation of the shot - your crop is perfectly good.

Worth getting up early for this!
08/09/2014 - 10:11 AM

Mainz am Rhein

Mainz am RheinI don't think I've seen a picture from you in this Gallery since I've been on the Critique Team - so hello!

You've been a member of the site for a very long time, so I'm sure you know how this all works, and that the Critique Gallery is a place for focussed and supportive comments and suggestions.

And I really like this shot. It uses the thirds (more or less, which is fine) and some fantastic leading lines. It's altogether a zappy composition, and it appeals to my black-and-white roots and instincts.

There are a couple of masterly little touches - the lamp post and its reflection, and the little weir opposite it, at not-quite-the-same angle. All of this gives the eye plenty to feast on, and definite food for thought. I also notice, and like, what is either definite lens vignetting in the corners, or (very probably) burning in to keep the image "closed" and hold the viewer's eye in the frame.

The one area that seems less certain to me is the sky. It's hard to control the contrast on a bright day, and the strip of brightness is perhaps distracting. In the Sixties, there would have been obvious and heavy burning in of the clouds, but negative films and digital sensors work differently, and the detail would be very hard to recover.

My suggestion, therefore, is to crop at the top, and rob the shot of some of the context - making it even more about the lines and shapes.

This is simply my suggestion, though, and isn't in any way a definitive "better" idea! What do you reckon?
07/09/2014 - 6:26 PM

Waiting for right Fish :)

Waiting for right Fish :)First of all, welcome both to Ephotozine, and particularly to the Critique Gallery.

This is the part of the site where we aim to provide positive and helpful feedback on pictures - and there's a team of volunteers signed up to do this, although all members are welcome to add their views.

I hope you'll enjoy the site, and find the advice you want here. Where members do modifications to your pictures, you can see them by clicking the "Modifications" tab below your picture, on the left, then clicking on the thumbnail.

A nice shot, although you didn't need to dial in plus exposure compensation - that's led to the blown highlights that Nigeve mentions. But they don't detract too much form the view. You might be able to pull back the detail from a RAW file, if you have one.

Cropping in would make the composition tighter - and the results will be better doing this from your full-size file than the 1,000 pixel version we've started with for mods.

Do the cropped versions look better to you?
07/09/2014 - 2:20 PM

My AZ backyard V1

My AZ backyard V1These shots convey a real feeling of heat and sun-bleached ground - and a contrasting coolness.

The colour shots are far more compelling for me. I wonder if others will agree.

I'd guess you might have used a tripod for these? Is that right, in fact? If so, you could have taken the ISO lower, and compensated by reducing the shutter speed. No matter - it all worked anyway.

My main comment on both is about framing. Vv1/2 seem slightly tilted, and maybe aimed a little low. I'd like to see the top of the plant in frame. I've done a mod addressing the tilt.

Vv3/4 might benefit from framing slightly up and to the left, to get the visual centre onto a third. Everything radiates out from a point on the edge of the frame.

Normally, we don't critique multiple pictures - but as you've offered an interesting wet-dry pair, in colour and B/w, it seems like a natural sort of a set, and I've no problem in commenting on all of them.
07/09/2014 - 2:12 PM

Forgotten Knight

Forgotten KnightIt's interesting that Paul is impressed: and I am definitely attracted by this.

The tilt and the flare are entirely part of this. I'd like some tone in the bright cloud, but you can't have everything in a picture like this!

I've done a mod increasing the tilt, and cropping so that the rider is on the left-hand third. I hope this adds a felling of even more movement and action.

Nice work!
06/09/2014 - 12:59 PM


SMUGIt's a clever picture. Nicely done.

As the comments above suggest, you are crossing genres a little here.

This is really successful as a piece of surrealism.

But the caption complicates things. You want us to read something into it, but the picture is too complicated to interpret that way, without the explanation.

I think, also, that there's a linguistic difficulty. It doesn't come as a natural thought that being lucky fills the head with "stinking thoughts" - the more usual thing is that it makes you "big headed".

There's also a question about whether trainers are always stinking - it depends on the feet in them!

So while it's a really clever image illustrating your line of thought, it's not one that's easy to follow, and I can't see a way of making it so. It is almost like having to explain to someone why a joke is funny...

However, let it stand (on its head) as a well-executed piece of visual fun, and it's fine.
06/09/2014 - 12:50 PM

The Beggar

The BeggarChange the costume, and he could equally be one of the Apostles...

Well taken, and powerfully presented. Although convention might have the head further to the left, or eyes towards the camera, the way this is suggests a real drive heading somewhere.

I once took some pictures for a short-lived office that The Big Issue had in Coventry (for non-UK readers - a magazine set up to be distributed by people living on the street, so they can earn money, and not have to beg). As some vendors were and are sensitive about publicity, I was escorted by a chap called Martyn, who was a vendor, and keen to get back into mainstream society (which is what The Big Issue exists for).

He was utterly focussed, and moved through crowded streets at speed. Never pushing or shoving, but through every gap in the blink of an eye - no messing around, no diversions.

This chap exudes the same determination.

The one thing that I would be tempted to do is to brighten his eyes and face a fraction. Being in the shadows is an important part of the feel of the picture - but more compromise with visibility won't go amiss.

Nice work.
06/09/2014 - 11:48 AM

And then there were none

And then there were noneThis strikes me as a really difficult situation to cope with. on the one hand, the building gives you an absolutely definite fix on what is horizontal, and what's vertical: and then those chairs on the slope look so out-of-kilter (because they are!)

As you're looking at a local competition, and this is reportage, I'd be wary of any editing that really messes with reality (such as removing the block: it was there. Local people know it was there! Or rotating the chairs and people so that they look level, and cloning out the window, which in other types of photography would be fine.)

I'd be very tempted to do a panoramic crop, just above the window sill, and just below the change in the paving. While the kerb is an anchor, it brings in a good deal of dead space on either side of the concrete block...

I'd also be tempted to open up the midtones a little in Levels, and to see if there was a way to get a little more sharpness into the shot - I've tried using the download from the post, but because it's only 1,000 pixels wide, image degradation happens pretty rapidly: your original file will, I'd guess, be much larger, so may respond better.

A really well seen picture.
06/09/2014 - 10:47 AM

Get Me To The Church On Time

Get Me To The Church On TimeHi, Diane - and first, let me add my welcome to Moira's. I hope that you both enjoy the site (and the Critique Gallery), and find useful tips and good ideas here.

This breaks down into four areas for me. First, the taking, followed by composition, technical issues, and processing.

It's a brilliantly seen shot, whether it's a setup or a grab shot. There's a real air of a saloon girl in a Western film, maybe on her way to ruin the sheriff's wedding. Or, maybe, a girl out on a hen night (I'm not sure about the States, but here in England a hen night can begin any time after daybreak!)

I'm interested in how you came to take it, because the situation does affect how I view it, and it will be the same for most other people.

Composition is excellent, with the elements of the picture arranged around the frame in a way that helps tell the story.

Technically, all the settings are OK, although they aren't the optimal ones for the situation: I'd go for aperture priority, not action mode, and 100 or 200 ISO, plus manual white balance. That isn't to say that your settings are wrong - just that they suggest you haven't completely taken control of the camera's adjustments, which means that there is a slight risk that it chooses something that actually doesn't work well.

And, as Moira says, it's the processing that strikes the eye. It looks like some sort of off-the-shelf mod, the kind that 'phone apps do. These are fun, but they don't always work well for more serious applications, where some of the side-effects (like the halo around the church) can really get in the way of the viewer's appreciation, like marks and dust on a car windscreen spoiling the view. So I also encourage you to upload the original, so we can see it without the processing.

An alternative view (using another of those special effects that I am wary of, so it may be a little hypocritical!) is in faded monochrome - like an old photograph, found in a dusty attic. Photography and the Wild West did overlap, at least in terms of dates - I'm not aware of any great quantity of pictures having been taken, though...
03/09/2014 - 12:25 PM


FlakyExactly my thought, Tracy!

I would go for f/11 or f/16, and up the ISO to allow a shutter speed of at least 1/60.

However... There are a couple of considerations for you here that may not be such big issues for me, because i use a different camera. Mine's a Sony Alpha 900, somewhat later in design than you EOS 5D, and with a fundamental design difference.

The more recent the camera, the better the high ISO performance - that's why you body only goes to 1,600, and mine tops out at 6,400, while the latest bodies go past 100,000. You may, therefore, want to keep the ISO lower than I need to (and you may be more averse to digital noise than I am!)

The other thing is that Sony bodies (other than the Alpha 7 series) have shake reduction built into them, while you need an IS lens. This makes a significant difference in some circumstances (like this shot!)

The real answer is probably that we should both be using tripods for shots like this. But in the real world, we may use ingenuity, settle for less-than-perfect - or even take a chance!

All other things being equal, though, focussing slightly closer would, I think, have made a more accessible picture, if not a better one.