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31/01/2015 - 2:23 PM

Dark Side

Dark SideI like the harsh look. It suites better. The Hoodie doesn't matter to me but I would try and tone down the two highlight skin areas just a bit if any detail is left. The face would look better close to the left edge of the frame, moving it away from dead centre.

I,like Willie, use Photoshop. What you cannot do in Photoshop is not worth having in terms of normal photography. Elements is pretty well as good in almost all respects and costs a lot less. I've looked at these additive programs and, much like buying an up market car, you buy lots of bits and pieces to get just one you need, or think you need.

I'm a keen angler. Much of the content of an angling shop is there to catch anglers, not fish. That applies to many sports and pass times.

28/01/2015 - 9:01 PM

Wroclaw Church Poland

Wroclaw Church PolandEffective and a good conversion with full range of tones. When blown up the top of the image looks less sharp than rpthe bottom to me. It is acceptable, but I think you have focused lower down and f5 has not quite been enough to give overall sharpness.

A tripod and f11 at least with use of the hyper focal distance would give top to bottom sharpness.

27/01/2015 - 8:45 AM

First time at sea - 1/1 in B&W

First time at sea - 1/1 in B&WBasically, you need to decide yourself on crop. It is very personal to get composition right for the eye, or for the purpose. Without general reference to your image, I would use mono, it does suite. I would crop below the horizon. You do not need any sky and the yacht draws the eye. I would crop quite close with most room on the left. Might even flip the image so they are running left to right. Fits the eye better.

I would run the dodge tool with a very small brush lightly over the figures to brighten them up a bit.

It is a well seen and recorded shot with considerable potential but there are many images in there? Which is best?

Maurice cleaning up "dead fall"A good interesting shoypt. Possibly just needs a bit more room on the left. The bucket is near the frame edge. Spot entering on auto is dangerous, but worked well here. I assume you used shutter lock?

23/01/2015 - 8:40 AM

Winter Rose

Winter RoseWell composed. It is just a touch under exposed and lacks that crispness of a really sharp image. Nothing is pin sharp, so I suspect a touch of movement, but the rose is a deep flower, so should you focus on the front of the petals or the stamen? Matter of taste.

Even on a compact, you could have done with more depth of field. The lighting was dull and thus, against you.

21/01/2015 - 7:21 PM

Deutschland's Sunset

Deutschland's SunsetWe need a bit more information to comment fully. This looks over exposed and I suspect a very high ISO due to the lack of contrast and heavy blue cast. The deep shadows should be black ideally to give the image some bite.

What is the subject? Ideally, you need something dominant on which to base your composition. A focal point.

18/01/2015 - 10:55 PM

The Hand-off

The Hand-offA good image. The quality is not good but I would say adequate due to conditions. The softness and flat image with huge grain is due mostly to the very high ISO. However, the lighting may determine this setting to get a result at all.

You are not at 500mm. Was the camera supported? A monopod perhaps?

If not, you should get one. They are cheap and most people shooting this kind if subject use one.

Here, you could improve things by darkening the image a bit and adding a touch of contrast. The image would then have more impact.

Sale? Yes, possibly. Several possibilities. The team players if amateur level. Local newspaper, but only on a quick turn round basis. Libraries might have an interest in off the ball action like this as it might have more general appeal. Otherwise the action is only viable for a short time.

Some libraries would demand a model release and that is usually not practical. That is unless the shot is newsworthy, then it would sell as editorial.

The other possibility is if the players are well known. There are then library possibilities.

Quality does matter and you should strive for the best possible in the conditions prevailing.

15/01/2015 - 9:09 AM

Wise Woman

Wise WomanThe content and crop are excellent and, despite the following comments, a fine image in many ways.

There are a couple of technical issues which, had I been the judge, I would mention although I assume, in a competition, you submitted a print? The sharpness is just off and, for this kind of face you needed it pin sharp. I guess this is a tiny bit of movement. You have a shutter speed rather too slow for the focal length and, even with VR, you can shake enough to cause softness.

I would have wound the ISO up a bit for the circumstances. Sharp with a bit of grain is better than soft.

You are a touch under exposed. Spot metering is not a good idea with any auto setting unless you meter from a suitable tone and then use shutter lock to hold that reading. To use a spot meter reading without any compensation, the tone must equate to as near as possible, 18% grey. That is how the spot meter is calibrated.

You should never use spot metering on auto for snap shooting.

Waiting for the right compositionVery nice ****. Really good in my opinion. The heads are in the same plane and sharp as they should be? The only weakness is the slightly over exposed background which needs tonung down a bit. You do need some image processing software. Not sure just how much you can do in Light room, but you do not need to spend on the full cwpersion of Photoshop.

Photoshop Elements does everything a photographer needs. You need the burning in tool for the background.

I am very pleased with my Fuji XE-1. Superb little camera. Cannot do everything the DSLR can, but pretty close in many cases and better in some.

04/01/2015 - 11:22 AM

Old Man

Old ManThere is a great image in there but I would like to see the original as the image structure here is beginning to break up and is not terribly sharp. It is either a big crop or you have over processed somewhat, or both.

Your shutter speed is too slow for the focal length, so I suspect the lack of sharpness is movement. Image stabilisation helps to get sharper images, but does not guarantee them and I fear a lit of people rely to much on vibration reduction.

Best keep the shutter speed up. You could have gone to ISO 800 here and used the nousecto enhance the grain in a string sharp image. In these circumsrptances, given time I get one or two shots off, then try a few different settings.

02/01/2015 - 9:54 PM


StareI like it almost exactly as it is. Very strong male portrait. I just find the skin tones a tiny bit muddy? Us it up just me? It is minimal, but I might just lift the brightness a touch.

I realise what you were replicating, and you probably have, so my feelings are totally personal.

near cressage shropshire this morningThe problem for me is the sun. Heavily burnt out and that reduces the impact of the treeline and mist. I would crop the whole top off leaving a letterbox shot ogpf just the foreground.

The other potential issues are covered. Really, it is quite effective as is, but would be even better with a touch less exposure and the trees a littke sharper. It would be nice, compositionally, if one tree were dominant.

29/12/2014 - 9:00 PM

What goes beyond

What goes beyondA. Decent image, but about a stop under exposed. Lacks the brightness of snow and a blue cast. Auto exposure with no compensation will be influenced by the snow, causing under exposure.

29/12/2014 - 9:31 AM


RobinIt's nice, but to me the edge is off the sharpness. Not much, but is the case. Look at the eye. I'm not surprised. Add the camera sensor factor and you are well over 600mm and hand held! So you have done pretty well.

Who made the converter. Is it the Sigma EX version or a third party. Converters usually reduce quality a touch. Very little with dedicated versions, Canon on Canon, Sigma on Sigma and so on, but some can be very poor. Lets see some tripod stuff.

I would test the set up with a tripod and shoot a test subject with a lot of detail. I did this with my Sigma 50/500 and proved it was capable of very sharp results at f8. Getting them in the field was a different issue altogether.

MAYOR FRED EISENBERGER OF HAMILTON, ON (CANADA)A perfectly good standard portrait of it's type. I might just lift contrast a little to brighten things up but, in line with comments on an earlier cat image, just shows that flash can be managed properly and can be a necessity.

Try and do this, in this lighting, without it!

15/12/2014 - 2:37 PM

Bubblemaker part 2

Bubblemaker part 2I think you have done pretty well this time. A good crop, I think and the bubbles stand out well and the crowd is natural. If you increase exposure you will loose some of the highlights. I would just do a bit of careful dodging to lighten the bubble mans face a touch.

Good shot.

04/12/2014 - 10:56 AM


SpitfireWillie has said what I was going to. The dust, I fear, is not on your lens, it is on the sensor and there is quite a lot to be this visible, even at f14. Try shooting a white wall or clear blue sky, correctly exposed, at f22. Then blow up the frame. You will see the sensor dust then.

If you clean the sensor yourself, be very careful, or you have a ruined camera. I use the Article Butterfly anti static brush tool. Better have itdone professionally. Then try and restrict dust access. Never leave the camera more than seconds without a lens or body cap.

Change lenses as quickly as possible. Keep the camera body pointing down and try not to change lenses in dusty and/or windy environment . prevention is always best.

In this shot, you needed the Spitfire rather larger in frame. Should have been at full zoom and f would be easily enough givinfpg a faster shutter speed to avoid blur. Depth of field is not an issue here.

Problem with faster shutter speed, though, is a frozen propeller!

04/12/2014 - 10:44 AM

Sing away the blues

Sing away the bluesI go further. I double focal length, so would be looking at 1/1600 to hand hold. OS systems help, but can easily be beaten.

Actually, this is pretty good. Slightly soft but rather better than a lot we see. My photography mate uses a 50/500 Sigma as do I. He has been looking at Canon white lenses as he is a dedicated bird watcher, but cannot justify 5 or 6 thousand! Depends what you use your images for.

I find the Sigma on a good solid tripod to is plenty sharp enough at f8 and manually focused. In your case, on the tripod, switch off the OS. My lens doesn't have it. I can get sharp results at 1/60 sec providing I shoot plenty and try and shoot as the bird stops moving. Many fail but some are good.

I find auto focus can focus on the wrong bit of bird and I usually fine tune the focus manually or just use manual. The problem is the depth of field at f8, 800mm and only a few feet away is minimal and the focal plane needs to be exact.

02/12/2014 - 8:08 PM

Water Spout

Water SpoutSuperb idea and content. I do think a little less exposure would improve it even more. You used positive compensation. I would have been half a stop or so negative. That would increase density and reduce flare.

I suspect there would be a whole series of different images here depending on exposure. A high speed exposure bracket would have been interesting.

27/11/2014 - 4:12 PM

Grey Heron

Grey HeronThe cropped version for me. quite impressive. Just needs a bit of room extra under the feet. Even with modern gear, ISO2000 is a bit excessive for a natural history shot unless absolutely necessary. This is a tiny image, but you may well start to get image break up on a large print.

A tripod would allow much lower ISO manifested in a lower shutter speed. He's not moving much after all. However, a tripod is not the easiest thing to handle on a natural history shoot.