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Sooty_1's Gallery Comments

Sooty_1 > Sooty_1 Recent Activity > Sooty_1's Gallery Comments
empty chairs and deck of green by youmightlikethis

empty chairs and deck of green

Colour, definitely. Black and white version just looks over processed, while the colour version suits the treatment more. It's still over processed, but the limited colour palette doesn't overwhelm.
It could do with a clockwise rotation to level the horizon. Due to the angle of the shoreline, it might be level, but it doesn't look it, and a rotation makes the image look a whole lot better.

Willie: too much of the sauce over christmas? Btw, it's next to the vent pipe, hiding behind the rail!


By: youmightlikethis

A KIND OF EMPATHY by youmightlikethis


It isn't the darkness, it's just over processed, as most of your skies are.

If the figure, and it's connection with the landscape, is the subject, why make the sky compete? You could have had a sorrowful, contemplative, powerful image, instead you have a post-apocalyptic world, where every single part of the image screams for attention. It doesn't suggest sorrow to me, it's just .... alien.


By: youmightlikethis

Shrewsbury Square at Christmas by Fogey

Shrewsbury Square at Christmas

It looks to me like like you have a spot or two of rain on the front of your lens. That's what's causing the flare, which as mentioned, takes on the shape of the aperture.

Difficultly in exposure is less to do with the type of lights, and more to do with the brightness relative to the shadows, and their placement in the frame. You used spot metering, which is tricky in night scenes, as you need to know exactly what you are metering. It's easily fooled if you are off target by a fraction, and I would suggest using matrix metering and/or bracketing exposures either side of the suggested meter reading. That way, you get a little insurance for better exposures, or even just a different take on the scene.

I would also suggest sticking with daylight balance with different light sources. Here, most of the lights will be tungsten, with maybe a few halogens in the shop windows and sodium slighting the building on the right. I wouldn't bother with the flash either, unless you are attempting to balance it with a foreground subject that you want lit. All it does is cause atmosphere-destroying highlights on shiny objects and fluorescent jackets!

I would also suggest you shoot in RAW, mainly because you get to tweak the WB without losing information, and also that there is much more information to play with in processing.

Here, you really need to lift the shadows ever so slightly, don't just brighten it as you will lose the highlights, and crop from both sides (get rid of the figure, and get rid of the green lights left go the statue, then you will have a pretty good night shot.


By: Fogey

SITTING BY THE BY by youmightlikethis


For me, neither.

It's just a shot of a street: no story, no cohesion, no obvious reason for taking it. There are several interesting aspects in the picture that maybe you should have concentrated on (the man on the box, the man with the dogs, the umbrella woman), but that would mean perhaps not being anonymous (which is "safe"). Just snapping away in the street doesn't produce great photos.

You ask us which works better, but really you need to be asking yourself that question. If you can't answer it, you have to consider that neither do, and look at why. Then maybe go back over the comments you've had on previous uploads and see if common themes keep recurring.

If you are familiar with good street photography, you will know when it works.


By: youmightlikethis

shapescape by youmightlikethis


I would suggest that for cohesion whenever you montage images together, that you ensure uniformity. ie, make the two landscape oriented pictures the same size, make the vertical shot the same height as the other two, and the spaces between them all the same. That way, with the white key lines around the images, there is uniform amounts of black and it doesn't look lopsided.

I prefer the colour versions, but they are very blue, purely a matter of taste. The processing is severe, but with modern architecture like this, it suits it, unlike your images with older buildings, but it isn't an abstract montage, it's an architectural one.

You don't really need critique if you're only asking which version we like best. You really need to be making decisions like this for yourself by now, especially if you're not going to change anything about your processing or presentation.


By: youmightlikethis

London Bridge by Tonyc49

London Bridge

It's not as easy to capture the river as it seems at first!
The lights often fool the metering, everything on the river moves slightly unless you hike the ISO (as you have here) to get a faster shutter speed, and the cloudy sky always exhibits the orangey glow from the multitude of tungsten and sodium lights.

It is usually better to shoot when here's a trace of light in the sky, as the balance between the shadows and highlights is better, plus the artificial light doesn't dominate the colour balance so much. The exposure isn't bad, but a little lifting of the shadows will help.
When I enlarge it, it doesn't look too sharp, but then balancing on the balustrade of London Bridge (as I suspect here) allows traffic vibrations to shake the camera. Even a tripod won't help much on a road bridge, but waiting for traffic to stop may be the only way to mitigate the effect unless you have a damped tripod head. One other way is to use a lens with a wider aperture to allow a faster shutter speed, as the ISO is already high. Shooting just after sunset would mean more light in the sky, and probably a nicer colour balance.

It could do with a slight clockwise rotation and I'd clone or crop the highlight in the bottom left corner.

A couple of small points too, it might be better to call it "Tower Bridge" as that is the main subject, and the warship is HMS Belfast.


By: Tonyc49

WISTFULLY BLU[moods on the mile] by youmightlikethis

WISTFULLY BLU[moods on the mile]

To answer your question, no, not for me.
It's all too dark and over-heavy. I don't think the selective colour is selective enough, and it looks careless the way some of the sky and background has been missed. The picture is too dark, and the processing heavy and unsubtle: for me, not really suitable for this image.

Whilst it is undoubtedly street photography, ie it is taken in the street, I don't find much direction in it. It is easy to just shoot random images, but they don't all make good final versions, and this is one of them. There is no feeling of cohesion, and by emphasising the sky so much, it competes with the people for position of main subject. The only bit I find remotely interesting is the dialogue between the two women in the middle of the bustle. And they're almost lost in the darkness.

There is more to good (successful) street photography than just shooting in the streets. There has to be more of a story and fewer disparate elements.
Check out people like Gary Winogrand.


By: youmightlikethis

WHATS WRONG WITH THIS IMAGE by youmightlikethis


What's wrong with the apostrophe?

For me, it's all a bit dark and sombre. Brightening it up will make the man stand out a little more, but you might be better off with someone in lighter clothing. The background is just too busy for him to be so dark.

I'd also lose the vignette and the alarm. The figure doesn't really fit anywhere in the image, there isn't a space for him to naturally fit.
IMHO, a near miss, but you aren't going to improve it much by working this image, a better composition is really required, and tbh, a person walking past a shop/sign/wall/poster has been done so many times, it really needs to be really top notch to stand out.


By: youmightlikethis

Just a perfect day. by JeffHubbardPhotography

Just a perfect day.

I would like to see the seed head sharper, but to me the black and white conversion is not quite as sympathetic to the dandelion as it might be. The bottom of the seed head is starting to get close in tone to the graduated sky. Darkening the sky all over (adding red filtration) would allow it to stand out more, and with the added sharpness it might make the seed head pop more. I'd also clone out that bit of cloud to make the sky background cleaner.

It's just a bit...bland, for me to want to own it, but more impact would definitely help.
Any particular reason you wanted black and white for a subject that would probably have more impact in colour?


By: JeffHubbardPhotography

Book Signing with author, Robert Harris by JeffHubbardPhotography

Book Signing with author, Robert Harris

In this situation, you cannot get everyone's face unless you set the shot up, so I'm not that bothered by it, but I would say seeing what the author is doing more clearly would be better, and you would get at least a profile of him. Moving a smidge to the left would do that.

The only way to answer the question is to see the colour and mono versions side by side.
The black and white is fine, though the feel is very dark due to the flash lighting the people closest to the camera. Again, not much you can do unless there was enough light to not use flash, but as it is gives a sense of intimacy in the room. To that end, I'd suggest cropping the guy on the right out, though it does also get rid of the only other clue it's a book signing, ie the piles of books. Doing this creates more of a feel of the crush of people round the table.

The guy on the right could warrant a picture of his own!


By: JeffHubbardPhotography

Not Me! by ade_mcfade

Not Me!

A competent environmental portrait. The shop tells us more about him than he does, as his face is largely covered, it's a shame the shutter speed has cut half the pictures off on the TV screens.
Not sure what the white protrusion is at the bottom, but it could go as it cuts the clean line of the frame edge.

Getting market vendors and shopkeepers onside in places like this makes it quite hard to take a bad picture, as long as the technical side is ok, as there is always so much interest and animation. I'm not sure whether a colour version would work better, but it don't feel the b&w is very sympathetic to the subject here. It falls between two stools for me....on the one hand, the pure portrait doesn't give you enough information about his character, yet environmentally there is barely enough detail to make the picture either.

I think maybe you could crop it tighter, making him fill the frame, for more impact, and a slight clockwise rotation to square the shelves up slightly.


By: ade_mcfade

Flight. by revilo


Revilo, I just wanted to ask a few questions...

1. Why did you post this image in the critique gallery, instead of the main gallery?
2. What is it you want help with, regarding this image?
3. Why did you not upload the later version of the image, with the corrections included?


By: revilo

Christmas in Chester by Danny1970

Christmas in Chester

The images are indeed all slightly underexposed, due to the bright lights fooling the meter.
The good news, is that you can check each exposure as you take it and adjust accordingly.

With a tripod, you are less bound by having a faster shutter speed, and in these lighting conditions you are unlikely to have a fast enough speed to freeze motion in passers by unless you hike your ISO right up. The downside of that is the quality decreases and noise increases as the ISO goes up, and here, you'd need it to be at least ISO 800 to have any chance of sharp people. You can either accept it or avoid it when shooting in busy places, or try shooting when it's not busy.

I'd also suggest (if using a tripod) shooting in aperture priority mode, and dial in some exposure compensation to adjust the exposure, based on what you get on the screen. Perhaps even bracket exposures one and two stops either side of the meter reading. On a tripod, slower speeds are fine, and with night shots, noise in the shadows is the main problem, so I'd aim for the best quality and use a low ISO. Plus, shoot RAW, as it records the most information, and it's possible to drag out shadows and highlights that would be lost using jpg.


By: Danny1970

Canoeing Diablo Lake by Meganbf

Canoeing Diablo Lake

I'm afraid I'm not really a fan of this selective colour, and I feel the image lacks the balancing effect of colours in other parts of the spectrum.

I'd like to have seen a shot a few seconds later, as the canoe moved into the space between the headland and the dark trees on the left, which would have had the added bonus of putting the canoe in the only space where there's no real detail. It would also have been closer to the bottom left third, which may have balanced the image a little.

I'd be interested to see the original, with colour on the right.


By: Meganbf

Star Trails by Nigeve1

Star Trails

Not quicker, but better, look at photo stacking software online. The inclusion of dark frames and flats increases the signal to noise ratio and cuts pretty much all sensor generated noise. I use Deep Sky Stacker (free) and there are lots of tutorials out there about its use and processing. Other stacking programs are available.

For me, the trails just need to be longer here.


By: Nigeve1

Thank you Critique Team!! by ladigit

Thank you Critique Team!!


Anything that gives you an excuse to take photographs is a good thing.

On to the next challenge!


By: ladigit

Warhorse House by withakat

Warhorse House

Quote: where the NEX-6 doesnt do well at all above ISO 800. Other camera models using precisely the same Sony sensor perform much better, - the Fuji XE-1 being the most notable. Its output will look smeared/smudged, quite like you have here.

Not quite, the Fuji uses a CMOS x-trans sensor, developed for the x-pro 1, which differs in some detail to the standard CMOS Sony sensor. I would have confidence in using the Fuji up to 1600/3200, with a good noise reducer. I've even used it much higher and got decent results. Though the "smearing" has been documented, you are unlikely to have to worry about it too much (google Sony nex landscape images and you'll see what can be achieved). You will however get better results with a lower ISO, wherever you can use it, and the image will be easier to work with later.

This image does appear to have a flattening of the tones, but I think it's more to do with the poor light. Some post production work can boost this image, mainly a separation of tone between the sky and the stonework. For now though, you're better off trying to get as good an image as you can at the taking stage.

The composition is not at all bad and, with the advice you will get here, and some practice at the various camera settings, you'll soon get the hang of good exposure in most situations.


By: withakat

'Lest We Forget' by flatfoot471

'Lest We Forget'

Most of it has been said above. I'd prefer to see wild poppies too, but it hangs together pretty well as it is. In the interests of uniformity, I'd prefer to see the same font used for all the text, I'd prefer to see the figures look more like archetypal "Tommies" and I also think the flag is superfluous. Otherwise, the sentiment is right there, and the blending looks ok, especially on a small screen.


Ps: they aren't forage caps, they are wool cap comforters...this looks like the commando monument at Spean Bridge, Scotland. And yes, the service is to commemorate all those that have died in the service of their country, military and civilian. The fact that this year is the anniversary of the start of the First World War is incidental.

By: flatfoot471

Stealth. by paulbroad


Doesn't really work for me, I'm afraid.

The join with the replacement background is still a little obvious, and the lighting on the man is a bit harsh (flash or just a very bright day).

Tactically looking at it....yes his fingers are bright, but then so is the shine coming off him! It looks like the idea of Hollywood gucciflage rather than real special forces!
I usually find it irritating that reenactors seldom have much real idea of military ways: most are just wannabes that are not brave enough to do it for real (and I include paintballers/air softies in that).


By: paulbroad

Portland Bill Dorset. by Nigwel

Portland Bill Dorset.

Quote: Added a bit of sharpness to it and I like it.

A bit? I've seen fewer haloes in religious artwork.

The sharpening doesn't affect all areas of the image evenly, leading to an impression the the posts have been outlined with a white pen, and that some elements of the image are just cut outs stuck on top of a background. I don't really get added 3-D effect, more a flattening of the layers, and the tonal compression makes the colours look muddy. I'm guessing the light wasn't that great, and unfortunately, you can't force it if it isn't there.

I think the bird has to go too. If it was on the right side it would balance the obelisk, but it looks too crammed in where it is, all the detail is on the left.

The composition is nearly there, but Dudler's mods are better, IMHO. The lead in of the path takes you to the obelisk nicely, but you need more dramatic light to make more than a record shot, I'm afraid. Midday on a cloudy day isn't the best time for this kind of image, as it's very flat. If you could have only gone back late afternoon when it was sunny.


By: Nigwel

Red Crane at Portland Bill, Portland, Dorset. by Nigwel

Red Crane at Portland Bill, Portland, Dorset.

These are the kind of images (along with the lighthouse one) that polarise opinion. Some seem to love the fact that it looks completely unreal, others hate it. Personally, I'm in the second camp, with most HDR and pseudo-HDR effects that just look completely OTT.

Looking at the original, I'm guessing you used a hefty slice of highlight/shadow adjustment, followed by injudicious use of the saturation and sharpening controls. It didn't need cropping, just rotating to level the horizon, unfortunately, you've cut the seagull in half! It would have been better to just clone it out. There is a certain graphic quality, which may have worked better in black and white, but either way, it could have done with more exposure. As it is, the tonal relationships are all wrong, and this technique tends to a mid toned uniformity. If you were to convert it like this, it would be predominantly one shade of grey. You need more contrast and a range of brightnesses to give the impression of three dimensions, not vivid colours and sliders pushed all the way to the max.


By: Nigwel

Seaham Tommy by Frank_Reid

Seaham Tommy

Nice simple picture, nice crop, good subject, yes, even nice light. My only criticism is the lack of light on his face. You may be able to lighten that area, but something to reflect the light back under the helmet when you shot it would have made all the difference.
Even a bit of fill flash would have worked, just at low power, to give the face some detail.

Otherwise, a striking image in the making.


By: Frank_Reid

Forth Bridge by ISP6712

Forth Bridge

It does...the end of the bridge!

You obviously wanted to have as broad a view of the bridge as you could cram in, so losing the near end is a bit of a faux pas. You could have moved slightly closer to the bridge and/or used a slightly wider setting. The exposure isn't far off, though you would get a little more colour in the sky and a brighter red if you'd added a little exposure.

At least you've got the bridge without scaffolding!


By: ISP6712

BEAUTY by tjt4002


Nicely constructed and shot. Simplicity is the key, and my only minor criticism is I think it needs to be brighter. Maybe a result of the tone, but I'd like to see a pure white background, easily adjusted in processing, but a little more exposure would have done the trick at the taking stage. The flash was probably fooled by the predominance of white in the picture.

It would also be better using a much lower ISO, which would entail a much longer shutter speed and probably the use of a tripod. Otherwise pretty good.


By: tjt4002

Big Sur California Slow Flow by bgfain

Big Sur California Slow Flow

I think you've pretty well achieved your aim. There's only a couple of things that I might change.
Firstly, the rocks at the edges of the frame...they need to be either in or out, distinctly. Not half and half as they are now.
Secondly, the small strip of sky adds little to the composition. I'd like to see the image taller, perhaps even portrait, to give the impression of the flow out to the wide ocean beyond. It's a bit constricted at the moment, not helped by the rocks at the edge.
I'm not sure if it also needs brightening a touch, as the texture of the sand is hard to see, but not so much you lose the brooding feel of last light.

This will obviously divide the sharp water/blurry water factions, but otherwise a simple, peaceful image.


By: bgfain

B&W sunflower by unk001

B&W sunflower

I'm viewing on an iPad, so it may not be the best screen for this but a few things stand out, to me.

The flower is right in the middle of the frame, and is surrounded by untidy bits. If you aren't going to tidy the frame, you need to fill it with the main subject.

The flower looks a little worse for wear. If possible, choose as perfect a specimen as you can find, unless you deliberately want to show it past it's best.

The lighting is very harsh, and not particularly suitable for showing the delicate flower at its best. Better to choose an overcast day, or diffuse the light somehow, which will lower the contrast and allow more detail to show in the petals. Getting closer will also allow more detail to be recorded, which lower contrast light will allow you to bring out in processing.
In the same vein, are you processing for contrast (extending he dev time even slightly)? If so, you might want to process for lower contrast, and scanning in the same way for lower contrast. Scan as a 16 bit tiff to retain as much info as possible, and add contrast later, rather than trying to get it out of the scanner straight off.

I appreciate why you're trying this, but a bright yellow flower against bright green leaves??? It just screams out for colour unless you can show the most delicate of structure within the flower and make that the subject.

It looks like the dark leaves are more sharply focused than the petals or the centre part of the flower. I'm guessing you hand held this, and small movement has moved the plane of sharpest focus. A tripod will allow a smaller aperture and thus a greater depth of field, plus, it won't move when you trip the shutter. It will also slow you down and allow you to be more considered as you shoot, so you can take your time to see exactly what's in frame, and exactly what's in focus.

So, if you want to shoot flowers, especially in black and white, find ways to lower the contrast initially, then add it later, and use a tripod to make longer exposures and focus easier.


By: unk001

Longships Lighthouse, Lands End at Sunset in October 2014 by Nigwel

Longships Lighthouse, Lands End at Sunset in October 2014

A similar comment to the last really, a few seconds later and the boat would be in the bright area, and would be a much stronger subject. Smack (no pun intended) in the middle of the frame is the least impactful place it could be, though caught between the land (bottom left) and the Longships (top right) does help.
If the land goes, a slice off the bottom would improve the composition, and having the boat and rocks on diagonal thirds would (IMHO) give the best "feel" to the image.

The colour balance could be almost anything you wanted, as there are no other visual cues as to the correct hues.

Lastly, I know it's a visual impression, but the shapes of the waves and the angle of the Longships make the image look like it curves up at the sides. I'd be interested to see a slightly corrected version.


By: Nigwel

one for fun two for show by unk001

one for fun two for show

I don't think your developer is optimised for delta film. I'm not familiar with it, unless you mean Ilfosol, in which case it is eminently possible to dev Delta in it.
As Dudler says, Delta is a tabular grained film, so specialised developers will give better results (Kodak t-max dev is one such, intended for use with the films of the same name). So it may be better to change your dev for your film, or change your film to something like FP 4 or HP5.
Procedure, and sticking to it rigidly will enable you to fine tune times, dilutions, exposures etc to make best use of the process, but if intending to scan, a little less contrast will help. This shot is high contrast anyway, shooting with a high sun, which makes it hard to get anything other than a 'soot and whitewash' image.

For reference, check out this guy's site, containing some good tips for processing, scanning, post processing and printing...

It's good people are still using film, and finding it rewarding. Image quality can be stunning, especially with the larger formats.


By: unk001

House&Bridge by xwang


I also think that architecture should be upright, unless you are trying a wacky angle with a wide angle, for instance.
To me, tilting an older building like this doesn't give it any dynamism, and in fact here, it spoils the compositional elements, which in the corrected version are quite pleasant.

I'm very familiar with Tattershall, and know how hard it is to get a clean shot, and when the reeds aren't so verdant, there is just a dull brown puddle, so full marks for making it look pretty.

I agree that the building is a bit underexposed, and Willie's mod goes some way to addressing that, but your main enemy here is the dull light. Even though it's cloudy, you're shooting in the middle of the day, when the light is high and unflattering for almost everything. Hard to do much about it if your time is limited, but more exposure and a slightly warmer colour balance will improve the brickwork no end, if you can't be there at the time the light is better.


By: xwang

Longships Lighthouse, Lands End at Sunset in October 2014 by Nigwel

Longships Lighthouse, Lands End at Sunset in October 2014

I'm sure the sunset was spectacular, but it's really hard to convey that in an image like this.

I wonder if the lighthouse would be better if it was in the light reflection area on the water? As it is, it disappears a little in the shadow, though the other rocks would have to straddle the light area, so it may not work compositionally.
There looks like a lot of good structure to the clouds, but again, bringing it out has been hampered by the bright sun. You acknowledge it's blown out, and I think a little less blown would be better. A ND grad or differential exposures might help elicit more detail, especially as the sky looks like it could be really stunning. Some tonal balancing looks possible as there aren't many absolute blacks and whites.

There also seems to be slight distortion of the horizon, looks like pincushion due to it being fairly close to the edge of the frame. That could also be removed in ps.


By: Nigwel