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New York Empire State Building.You have a decent rdcord. Why put 'nothing special'? You are degrading your own effirts. There is slight movement due to the sliw shutter speed. Ideally, for such shots, a tripod, but you probably didn't have one in these circumstances.

There is a slight lean and I would correct it. Slight leans look obvious, major leans and distortion can be very effdctive and interesting.

22/03/2014 - 5:42 PM

On the sunny side

On the sunny sideNot sure on this one. Interesting but I wonder if it is a little over exposed? I would prefer the shadow darker and the detIl in the windows is a little bright and lost. It is also a bit confusing in the background and a darker shadow would assert itself as a stronger main subject.

18/03/2014 - 8:29 AM

Slave memorial face

Slave memorial faceBasis of an excellent image but you have two main problems. Despite the slow shutter speed, you are quite sharp, but about a full stop over exposed. You have thus lost the detail and texture in the statue and bird droppings! You need to look at the background. Even quite soft, this one is rather distracting but could be reduced in intensity a lot with the burning in tool.

Both of Paul's mods show considerable improvement and, for once, I would advocate mono. You must get exposure right.

17/03/2014 - 6:47 PM


Preparation.Excellent possibilities. You are rather a long way under exposed and you really do not need f22. Not the best aperture for lens performance and, as all the main points are close to the same plane, f8 would do. Your LCD should clearly show you that this is under.

I would actually use partial metering with the usual care involved in any metering technique. Partial, on a Canon, I assume the DX too, is the central 10% or so.

11/03/2014 - 7:30 AM

No Chocolates In Here!

No Chocolates In Here!Exposure is the most basic principle of photography and you must crack it. Focusing is next, you have several out of focus frames here too. The camera usually does a decent job on exposure, but angle of light, subject content and angle of lens and chosen metering mode will all cause auto systems to fail. You must learn what a correctly exposed image looks like and use the LCD and Histogram.

I still often use a hand meter with incident light attachment and any keen landscape photographer would be well advised to use external metering.

However, on auto settings, meter, shoot, check the histogram or LCD, add or subtract compensation if necessary and shoot again.

Your settings are strange. I would be on aperture priority, (or manual with external meter) ISO 100 if at all possible and about f8 or 11. The majority of lenses are computed to work best at about f8.

No one can tell you the best way for each particular image without being there. Too much sky, under exposure, dark shadows, over exposure. Bright sun, under exposure and so on.

You must learn to recognise the situation and expose accordingly. Some lighting situations cannot be recorded without special filters and techniques. Another subject!

Sunken boat on Loch Ness. ScotlandPossibly a bit too much info!

Crop the bit of sky at the top to shift the highlight from the edge, then clone out the red buoy. Then quite an interesting shot. Composition rather better with the boat at an angle to the camera if possible.

07/03/2014 - 7:23 PM

Comin' Thru

Comin' ThruBasically, youneed a better viewpoint. You have not done badly, but you need to see the basket. I realise you will be restricted but this is not a stisfactory position. The sports pros use f2.8 lenses flat out, but the cost is prohibitive.

The 55/250, at 250, is likely to be only f6.3 so down goes your shutter speed, not up and I woouldn't be going above ISO1600. Plus, at the greater magnification, the shake factor increases proportionally. Not easy.

A better position and a faster lens. The cheapest, but still expensive way to a fast lens is something like a 105mm Sigma EX f2.8, currently about 399 if you shop around. Or see if you can borrow one. Small, fast and very sharp.

05/03/2014 - 4:34 PM

Well Wisher Street Dog

Well Wisher Street DogThe basis of a nice doggy shot, but pulked in to the head and paw and without the text. For me, the text detracts and makes no point as such. A bit of work to darken the background to increase separation and a tight crop.

02/03/2014 - 3:03 PM

On Hold

On HoldDunnock, it is. Not a bad effort at all. Sharp where it needs to be and can accept the rear view because thd head is turned and the eye gisible.

01/03/2014 - 10:42 AM

Orange Butterfly

Orange ButterflyQuite strong pictorially, but there are a few problems. Two really.

You must check camera settings. I leave all my camera bodies on standard settungs when I put them away. All quite standard and basic so that, should I need to grab and shoot, the result will be reasonable. Vivid is rarely a good idea.

Your focal point is behind the butterfly, making the flowers back there sharp and the butterfly less so. Lighting levels make things difficult, but you need to get the focal point spot on, the head here, then, if you can, a rather smaller aperture, f11.

At means a tripod, higher ISO or flash. Higher ISO is not a good idea for quality. A tripod may not be allowed even though these butterfly house insects will often stay in one spot, and you need an offcamera flash.

So, not easy. The final possibility is a smaller aperture and a monopod to support the camera. That would be my choice.

Portrait - Elinchrom D-Lite one RXBoth images are pretty good by the standards we often comment on. I much prefer colour for this type of thing. V2 is easily the best pose, but with the girls colouring, it is far, far better in colour. In this day and age, mono is not, to my mind, for pretty girl portraits.

The pose is a bit over contrived in v1.

I used to do a lot of this type of thing and you do need at least 2 lights. Can get away with 1 and reflector, but not ideal. I agree with the 45 degree thing too. Main light high and to one side pointing down. Second light on the other side, lower, as fill on half power. To really lift your portraits, you need a hair light and, on occasions, a back light.

I have 2 studio heads, but used small, cheap guns on skaves for hair light and backlight. The back light on a home made single post stand to flash back towards the camera through the hair. The hair light high, pointing at the hair with home made cardboard snoot.

Doesn't matter what the kit looks like, it's the end product that counts.

22/02/2014 - 1:54 PM


oNLY mARINAYou make your own prime comment. Think when you pose someone. that cropped leg spoils the whole thing. Not close up/macro. Better if both legs were up together. Eyes need brightening again and a bit of dodging on the hair and jacket which are both rather dark, but the overall effect is of a pleasant portrait.

Why are you using ISO1600 in bright sun? Really not a good idea. You should never go above 400 unless there is a real need and f8 would have been quite enough for this shot, two stops for a start. Possibly f5.6 with digital. There is no need for the background to be sharp, better, in fact, if it were not.

21/02/2014 - 3:07 PM


OPEN RAVENBUFFETThe basic idea is good, but the result lacks contrast which detracts from the impact. You have a lot of dust on your sensor which needs a clean. You must be ultra careful changing lenses with digital. Switch camera off, point it downwards, don't change in wind, remove and replace lenses as quickly as possible. Never lsave the camera without a body cap or lens fitted.

You have a lot of processing artefacts, brighter lines round black areas. Possibly over compression.

14/02/2014 - 9:05 AM

A leap of faith

A leap of faithYou need to give us a bit more information to work with. Shutter speed and so on.

This is an Oyster Catcher, a common seashore bird. It has one basic over riding fault. It's not sharp. Not even close I fear. There does seem tobe a slightly sharperplane at the back of the bird but I suspect both focusing errors and camera shzke. Do not rely on VR to stop shake, it just doesn't work like that. The performance of any VR system is relative to how much shake there is. It reduces shake, it does not eliminatd it.

You still need to hold the camera as steady as possible and support it if possible. A wall or fence top, a mopnpod.

There is a focus issue. This is a grab shot I assume and there is no time to play with changing autofocus points. Just leave it on the central spot, which should have been OK for this image anyway, or use focus lock. Place the central spot on the bit you want sharp, half press the shutterbutton to focus. Keep the half pressure on the button to keep focus locked, re-compose as necessary and shoot.

Or, with moving subjects, select servo autofocus and let the camera track the subject as you shoot. Most shots will be pretty close.

You must crack getting an image sharp where you want it. Unsharp images will fail unless they are hot bews. Even tben, sharp is best. The two basics of photography are get the exposure right, get it sharp. All else follows on. On the first point, the exposure here is OK, but the shadows are blocked up due to backlighting. These areas can be lightened by using the dodge tool in your imaging software, but with care so as not to destroy contrast.

12/02/2014 - 4:09 PM

Spider on lizard skeleton

Spider on lizard skeletonWell done. Many compact cameras, in the right hands, do a more than passable macro image and this shows that. Your EXIF would still be interesting to see, though, and would help beginners. Ideally, the spider could bd larger, but this does show a setting, although it could be misleading from a pure natural history point of view.

I like it.

12/02/2014 - 12:43 PM

Beach walk

Beach walkI never shoot without a lens hood! Unless there is a very good reason not too and I have to smile when I see people shooting with the hood reversed. They act as a lens protector. However, a lens hood will have no effect here. The people are walking out of the image, but your problem is that the sun is just too bright. You could try going down 2 to 3 full stops, but then everything else would be very dark.

First, with such shots, you must preclude the image of the sun itself from your image to avoid flare, which you have here. You must also be careful of live view and none viewfinder cameras. Full intense sun can permanengly damage the sens

The idea is excellent, but the execution and conditions let the image down. Try dialing in different degrees of exposure correction and see what the results are. Digital is free.

05/02/2014 - 10:52 AM


KingfisherWell, it's a good try, but we do see quite a few bird shots, several Kingfisher ones, and the bottom line is that they must be sharp in the right places. I am currently eyeing up two pairs of Kingfisher at our fishing pond ready for spring. I know where they fish and like to perch, so it will be using my brolly as a hide, a strong rigid tripod and my 50/500 Sigma, which is very sharp if supported.

Whilst the setting you have shows the bird and it's environment well, you could do with it larger and it must be sharp. You have problems. Such a high ISO is not going to give the highest quality image and you could do to be at f5.6 or 8 even with a high quality lens. If the converter is a Canon matched version, OK, except for the loss of lens speed, but a third party converter will loose quality.

The converter means you are at 400mm, then the Canon 1.6 crop factor you go to 640mm. 1/250 is just not fast enough without a tripod and you will have shake, even with IS. IS does not prevent shake, it reduces it and is proportional. I can shake faster than any IS system in some circumstances.

You are going to struggle. You are obviously in a very low light situation and the solution is not easy. Flash if you can get within range. Not natudal but sharp is preferable to blurred, natural or not.

03/02/2014 - 11:36 AM

First jump

First jumpWell done, she will be pleased. As with so many shots of this type, the problem is a cluttered background. Not easy to deal with as the manu bright colours will,still show very soft. You could try a lower viewpoint looking upwards to reduce background content, or carefully pre assess your vantage point. At my sons motoring events I pick my viewpoints before the events start by looking at the backgrounds.

I know you want shots at the events, but try some in the practice ring at home where you have full access and can get in close, low, wide angle, whatever as she rides round and over the same jump several times.

01/02/2014 - 8:51 PM

Pipe smoker

Pipe smokerIdeally, in this image, you needed a bit better angle to show the pipe more clearly, and a little less foreground, but it's not a bad effort and your conversion is reasonable. Not all images have a true black and white, but there usually should be a reasonable range of grey.

First, before conversion, get the historam right, so the curve touches each end of the chart as near the bottom corners as possible. That is simply done with the left and right sliders. Then adjust midtone density with the central slider tk get a good looking colour image.

I akways use the channel mixer. This gives access to the three channels of any colour image, red, green and blue, and the complimentaries. Tick the monochrone box.

The image will become monochrome with tones relating to hiw much of the three primary colours are present. However, this nay not produce the best possible mono image. Play with the three sliders and watch the tones change. Younwill arrive at an image that looks good. That is the image you want. You should finish by adjusting contrast which can make a significant difference and then you may need a little dodging and burnig to locally adjust density.

Ideally the values of each colour used will add up to 100 when you start adjusting and will still be 100, but made up from parts of different colours. Don't bother too much if the total is not 100. Does the sparation look good. That is always your final guideline.

I LoVe Orange Flavoured Ice cream'sNot a bad shot, but the face needs brightening a bit and I don't think it's terribly sharp on the face. A pity, because there is a really great image in there but lighting was rather against you.