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Paul_cats

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30/07/2009 - 12:09 AM

Duck

DuckHi Tracy,
This has the makings of a really nice image. I like the ducks pose and the green foliage around the rocks sets it off nicely. Well done for that. Composition wise I think I would have left some more space to the left to give the feel that the duck is looking out across the water. IMHO the duck as it is is too central. In addtition the shot is a little overexposed. You may have exposed for the dark areas which means that the lighter areas of the pic are overexposed. When taking a shot like this where there is a strong contrast between light and dark, try to expose for an area with an average brightness and then recompose the shot. Apart from that it is nicely focused and detailed. I have made a mod which compensates for the overexposure and also cloned in some additional water to the left of the shot to show you what i mean about the composition.
Hope you like the mod.
29/07/2009 - 6:03 PM

Gray Heron 2

Gray Heron 2Hi Chris,
Firstly may i say this is a wonderfully well timed shot showing the Heron in all its glory. Well done for that. Unfortunately, the shot is overexposed and you have some blown out areas especially on the neck. Secondly, it is not as sharp as it could be. Judging by the ducks in the bg I would hazard a guess that you were "frozen" with the camera in one place as opposed to panning with the bird. Had you been panning the ducks in the bg would have been more blurred. Thre is also a lot of noise in the shot probably due to high ISO. I dont know what the conditions were like but you probably had the ISO set high to get a better shutter speed due to poor light conditions and you probably had the zoom at the top end which gives a minimum aperture of 5.6. Just a guess. I would be very interested to know what the camera settings were then I could give some more advice. Having said all of that some post pic editing can recover some areas mentioned as my mod demonstrates.
Hope you like the mod.
Paul
29/07/2009 - 9:30 AM

White Rose

White RoseDecisions decisions eh? I like both versions. The crop in V2 is a little close and you could always have darkened the bg in V1. The shot of the flower itself has excellent light and detail with lovely raindrops. If I had to choose I would go for V1 with darker bg but thats just me.
Paul
23/05/2009 - 10:41 AM

Barberton Daisy 3

Barberton Daisy 3Hi Johan,
I like the idea behind this shot of 1/4 flower composition. The lighting is good giving good contrast and colour and the bg colour is very complimentary. I speak only for myself as compositions are a personal thing and everybodies idea is different but I agree with Mavis about a square crop. The main problem for me fere is your point of focus and depth of field. I would have preferred to have seen the whole of the centre of the flower in focus. As it is there is nothing to draw the eye to any one focal point. Another couple of f stops perhaps or moving round to the right a little so you were more square on to bring more of the flower in the depth of field. I would liked to have seen just a litle more space to the right of the flower so moving back just a fraction would have achieved this and at the same time bought more of the flower into focus.
Just my opinion and a couple of alternative suggestions.
Hope this helps.
Paul
21/05/2009 - 7:10 PM

Innocent Pink

Innocent PinkHi again Emma,
Willie has made some good suggestions above especially regarding the lighting. You have already PM'd me regarding some of the above issues raised and openly admit it was basically a point and shoot with in built flash and hope for the best. Unfortunately, the camera was left on shutter priority at 1/160 which is a little slow for moving subjects hence the slight lack of focus and blurring. Your camera has a face detection feature which ensures that the face is in focus, but only works if either Auto or Portrait Mode is selected. Until you are familiar with the camera, I would start taking your shots in this mode and let the camera do the work for you. Then check the EXIF data to see which settings are giving you the best results. Then you can fine tune that in manual mode once you are a bit more confident. In addition to the photo modes, you also have colour and sharpness adjustment. If you do not like the colours that your camera is giving you can set up a user defined colour saturation and sharpness. your manual should tell you how to do this.
Fortunately in this instance the end result was not unretrievable with a bit of post pic editing. I understand from your PM that you have Corel PSP. Brilliant, cos thats what i used to make my adjustments which were as follows.
1) Under Adjustments on the main menu click on "Digital camera noise removal."
2) Select tha areas with the most noise and then set the amount of noise reduction followed by the correction blend and sharpness. In your case I selected 50% for each of the noise reduction options, 70% for the correction blend and 30% for the sharpening.
3) For the saturation select adlustment, Hue and saturation, Hue/Saturation/Lightness.
4)Use the slider bars to increase the saturation and lightness until you achieve a colour that you like. Dont oversaturate. Try to keep the image looking as natural as possible.
5) To adjust curves Select Adjust, Brightness and Contrast, curves.
6) In the dialogue box thre are some Auto adjustments that can be selected for Contrast Colour and levels. In general I only ever use the Auto settings but you can click on the line of the histograph and drag the line to fine tune. To do this correctly I suggest you first get a grip of how to understand histograms.

Hope that all helps.
Paul
21/05/2009 - 11:25 AM

Innocent Pink

Innocent PinkHi there,
I am no expert on portraits (unless its cats) but this image is very appealing and has enormous cute factor. I like the crop, the composition and the expression captured. The main problem here for me is focus and colour. It seems a little flat and lacking in sharpness. It also has quite a lot of noise in the shot which is maybe due to high ISO. I have made a mod with the following changes:
1) Reduced noise and sharpened.
2) Adjusted curves and increased satuaration
Hope you like it.
Paul
16/05/2009 - 8:02 PM

Reflections

ReflectionsThis has the makings of an interesting image. The idea of the reflections is good. However, the top left hand side of the image is overexposed. Since the strongest reflections are in the windows on the rhs I would be inclined to crop the tree branches out thus removing the overexposed part of the image. I would also crop the car out at the bottom as IMHO it is a bit distacting and draws the eye away from the terrific reflections in the main windows. In my mod I have cropped as suggested and increased saturation a little. I have also adjusted highlight, midtone and shadow to make the reflections more prominent.
Paul
11/05/2009 - 12:03 PM

Aphid & kids

Aphid & kidsA briiliant and well detailed macro. 10/10 for effort. As you rightly say the flash is a little harsh and you can try to diffuse it a bit more. Alternatively you could use a reflector to bounce the sunlight onto the image. There is also a large amount of noise present. The wee fellas form an important part of the image here and IMHO they are lost slightly in the harsh green of the stalk. In my mod I have run the shot through a noise filter and sharpened by just one px. I have then clarified and adjusted levels to reduce the bright green so the wee fellas become a bit mo re prominent in the shot. Mod was done very quickly but I hope you get the general idea.
Paul
09/05/2009 - 3:39 PM

Dragon fly

Dragon flyHi there Binoy,
You are right, a dedicated macro lens is much better for this type of shot. Having said that I like the angle from which this is taken with the light shining through the wings. You also have the right idea with your DOF to blurr the bg so that the subject stands out so well done for that. Your main problem here is your point of focus with the right hand wing being the sharpest area. I would have focused on the head and increased the DOF by about 2 aperture stops thus hopefully getting more of the subject in focus rather than just one part of it. And of course use a tripod wherever possible.
Hope this helps.
Paul
06/05/2009 - 11:21 AM

Dublin Reflection

Dublin ReflectionHi Rick,
Having looked at your pf you are obviously not a novice at post pic editing and cropping to achieve the best out of your shots so I guess this is a matter of personal preference. Whilst the main theme of the pic is the reflection of the man and shops, it would be a shame to crop out all those nice silvery shiny bits. So all i have done with my mod is to reduce noise, sharpen, clarified and mad minor adjustment in highlight midtone and shadow to give the shot a more punchy feel with the reflection being more prominent as well.
Hope you like it.
Paul
01/05/2009 - 9:33 AM

Bridge Over Calm Waters

Bridge Over Calm WatersHi Dennis,
Agree with the above posters comments. Since you have not uploaded the pic of the sky to use as the bg I cannot have a bash for you. But what i can add is that the original shot is a tad overexposed. I have made a mod for you to compensate for the overexposure. This is quite easy to do. Duplicate the layer in PS. Select the blend mode as multiply. Multiply compensates for overexposure and screen compensates for under exposure. You can select the amount of blend you want by dragging the slider bar. In this instance I have left it at 100%. I think you will agree that the end result is not a bad image without having to address the blown out sky issue.
Hope this helps.
Paul
17/06/2008 - 4:01 PM

Rose

RoseFlower photography and indeed any form of macro photography such as insects etc is a bit of an enigma to me. Some pepople prefer to isolate the subject by good use of DOF or putting something behind the flower such as a piece of cloth or even paper. Others prefer to see the subject in its natural environment. You will never please everybody. Having said that, most of the flower shots that I have seen win awards have been of the isolated type i.e. in a studio with good use of lighting and a plain bg or in the wild with good use of DOF to blur the bg and really make the subject stand out. This is my own personal preference.
In your shot it looks as though you have attemted to blur the bg but because the flower is quite close to what looks like a concrete wall then it hasnt blurred sufficiently to achieve the desired effect. When trying to isolate the subject be very careful with your choice of bg so that it is uncluttered and make sure there is a fair distance between the subject and the bg. In your shot there is a black line above the top of the flower which is either a stich or a join in the wall. Try to eliminate this if you can. Also if you had moved round to the right a bit you would not have included the leaves in the top rh corner which are rather distracting. I cannot comment on the colour as I am offshore at the moment and the monitors on here have not been calibrated. However I do agree with Mary about the wilted petal at the top. Perhaps if you had done what i suggested and moved round to the right you could have obscured the wilted petal with a good one. For me, a good judge of how good my shot is is how much post pic editing I need to do to make a good shot out of a half decent one. After taking your pics sit down and think how you could have taken the shot better to eliminate the amount of post pic editing.
I hope you have found this helpful. If so please mark as good critique.
And finally, if you want really good critique, try posting a little more info about the shot i.e. Tripod/no tripod. camera settings etc etc.
Regards
Paul
11/06/2008 - 11:18 AM

escort

escortTerrific motion capture. I agree that the pic is a bit dark in places and the black area in front of the car is veryr distracting. Guess it was a post or tree or something. The capture itself is almost perfect and far better than I have achieved. It was just in need of a bit of post pic editing. I have done a mod for you and removed the post or whatever it was and cloned in a bit of extra space in front of the car. I have also clarified and adjusted the curves in ps to brighten the image and get nore detail on the driver.
If you find this helpful then please mark as good critique.
Cheers
Paul
06/06/2008 - 9:14 PM

gswood5

gswood5Amazing first attempt. There is a slight lack of detail probably due to being at the limits of your lens capability although you havent posted your camera settings which is always good idea if you want good critique. I feel that a tighter crop on the lhs would have made a better comp. (See mod) I dont know if you did any post pic editing but I have sharpened and clarified the image in ps with a tad increase in saturation.
Tips:
Always use a tripod.
Try and get as close as poss to get as much detail as you can.
Always focus on the eye.
Hope you find this helpful and fair critique. If you do please mark as good critique.
Paul
23/05/2008 - 9:36 PM

Nap Time Cat

Nap Time CatFirstly the cat. He/she is georgeous and reminds me of an identical one we had that got run over. We called him biscuit because of the ginger on the head just like yours. (Ginger nut)
Anyway I hope thats softened you up for the blow but you did ask for critiqu. This is fine as a bog standard moggy shot but not cat portrait material I'm afraid. The basket on the rhs is very distracting and the background is less than appealing. You have no real focal point on the cat to draw the eye to and your depth of field is too small. The canon EOS400D is a fine camera (I have the same) and takes good sharp pics. You haven't posted your camera settings which is always a good idea if you want critique but I would hazard a guess that the shot is overexposed (too long shutter speed) and hand held. Indoor shots with natural light must be with a tripod if you want any detail.

Next time, try focusing on either the eye or the nose and increase the DOF so that more of the cat is in focus. Also try to have a less cluttered bg.
Hope that wasn't too harsh but if you think this is good and fair critique please mark as good critique.

Regards
Paul
17/05/2008 - 10:39 AM

Reflections of a Spring Day

Reflections of a Spring DayLovely scene Freda but perhaps the water is a tad dark. One of those situations where exposing for the water would overexpose the trees in the bg and vice verca. Have you tried aperture bracketing for shots like this? i.e. Camera takes 3 shots automatically at different exposures. Then you can merge them in something like photomatix to get an evenly exposed balanced shot. Just a thought.
Paul