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29/01/2013 - 7:24 PM


LonlinessGood idea and concept. A couple of things to consider: i am not sure that all the footprints in the sand convey loneliness; getting a higher pov would stop the top of the chair crossing the horizon and add more depth to the picture enhancing the loneliness concept; the positioning of the chair which points out of the scene and reduces the depth of the image. As a challenge - does it need to be B&W? That said it is good effort as it is very hard to convey emotion in an image with so few elements. Steve.
Ben Klibreck across Loch Naver - SutherlandThe sunlight contrasting against the dark mountain and sky makes this an appealing scene - the thumbnail definitely drew me in for a further look. I guess if you are loading in this gallery you are looking for something more than - great light! A more critical look identifies a few distractions: the large white cloud area at the top; the light coloured rock on the lower centre and the larger bush on the left. It is possible with a crop to remove all of these to make a more clear focus on the subject - the dark mountain and highlighted trees. I'll try it on a mod in a minute. On the processing side some might say it is slightly over processed but that is a matter of taste - I think I see a sharpening halo above the mountain for example. Hope that helps. Steve.
18/01/2013 - 6:02 PM

Stormy sky

Stormy skyLooks a great place to take photographs. Compositionally I like the placement of the people in the frame and this gives sense of scale and space. I do think that the picture is dominated by the sea as already said. This can be reduced at the taking stage by crouching down (if crouching is possible, without going over the side Wink ). Less sea would not impact on the impression of scale or sea. I have tried to demonstrate this in a mod. Also quite naturally my eye wanders to the left and out of the picture - I want to see more of what looks like an inlet and receding hills. This takes the eye away from a really interesting shaped mountain on the right which makes a very good subject. The decision again is at the taking stage - do you open up the left by moving (if possible) to the right and taking the picture or do you stay put and compose with the interesting mountain as the subject - again I have demonstrated this in a mod. If you do stay put the people are directly below the main subject which could be said to unbalance the composition. Another factor to consider is the light area on the sand - if possible I would exclude this because light areas draw the eye away from your subject. Lastly, it is a dull day but I think you have under exposed which compounds the issue - you may have darkened the image to capture the threatening clouds but as stormy skies go it is not the most dramatic and I would be tempted to concentrate on the other elements ( although it probably did look threatening at the time Wink ) - see mod which brightens everything up a bit. Hope that helps and gives an insight to some of the thinking that I often fail to do when I am composing! Steve
21/05/2012 - 9:08 PM

St Petersburg sunrise

St Petersburg sunriseI like silhouettes but they tend to be less common now as software allows blending of different exposures. I don't think it is over done for digital display. I do however think that a 1/3 of the image in black is to much and this is dead space in the picture. I would therefore be tempted to crop a little bit below the lowest sky line point. Steve
15/05/2012 - 4:55 PM

Day After Day, Alone on a Hill

Day After Day, Alone on a HillSingle tree on a hill - can see why you wanted to capture it! Your problem with a high contrast B&W is that green goes grey in B&W. Your sky blue (?) has too much green in it and therefore is becomes muddy when converted. So the solution is - make your blues blue with a simple colour balance adjustment (see first mod) - blue will then move towards black in B&W when a red filter is applied. Then to further separate the sky and the grass go one further than the red filter and apply an infared filter - this sends greens towards the white end of spectrum. Make further shifts with curves, perhaps a bit of diffuse glow add some grain for moodiness and you get my mod - not sure if this is what you were trying to do but I enjoyed having a go Wink Steve.
The L S Lowry centre Salford QuaysIt looks better without the car - as in Trevs mod. As a record of the Lowry Centre I would say it was fine. In terms of improvement I would say it needs more of the photographer in it. By that I mean your interpretation of the seen - may be an unusual angle, exceptional light or an abstraction of the building. For example the textures, angles and shapes of the building lend themselves to close in (via zoom) work. Having said this, it is far easier to advise this than to do it and that I guess is the challenge of photography! Steve
31/03/2012 - 9:03 PM

Big Bird

Big BirdI am thinking that your issue may have something to do the with white balance settings. I am not familiar with your camera and I can't give you a long explanation of colour temperature and white balance, however, I suspect that your camera gives options that allow you to describe the day - cloudy, sunny etc. There is probably an auto option as well. The wrong option can cause a colour cast. This can be corrected with software - see mod. I am sure someone more technical can explain this better for you. Welcome to EPZ. Steve.
15/01/2012 - 9:22 PM


ladybirdUsing f2.8 restricts the depth of field and therefore some of your subject is out of focus. Sometimes a shallow dof can be used creatively and to good effect but this demands careful selection of the focus point. Increasing the depth of field with macro requires more light on the subject which is not always possible. Another alternative is to stack several images with different points of focus - this requires software to combine the images e.g. Cs5. Hope this helps. Steve.
16/05/2011 - 5:59 PM

Dream of the fallen

Dream of the fallenLike the idea. I think the statue could be resized to provide a bit more space around the head. Also I think I would soften/blend the edge of the statue a little more. Happy to share how to do this on a PM if required. Steve.
07/05/2011 - 3:37 PM

Piltdown Lake

Piltdown LakeI can see why you decided to take this image. Bulrushes make great subject matter particularly when light catches them. I think I agree with Frank though to a certain extent. I see a numbers of difficulties with the composition. The light is on the other side of the lake. As the eye tends to head for light areas the bulrushes become a bit of a barrier. The chalk bank is a particular distraction that takes you away from the subject matter. The tones of the bulrushes are similar to the tones of the background so it is hard to isolate the subject from the trees behind. So what is your solution? If possible isolate the bulrush heads against the lake. Where this naturally occurs in your picture the definition is much better. This means getting in close to the subject - not always easy by the side of a lake! Go at a different time of day when the light is on the bulrushes and the background is darker. Use a wider aperture to keep the bulrushes sharp and the background blurred. Good luck with the future photographs I think your on the right track but as most of us find photography can be really tough! Steve.
29/04/2011 - 10:16 AM

Gothic Stairway

Gothic StairwayIt is a great staircase. You don't give much info about your processing technique so I am going to guess that you used perhaps HDR software as part of the workflow. Firstly I think the finish is a little soft in places. This can happen with HDR particularly in three shots are combined and not quite aligned. Alternatively your exif data says you used a aperture of 7.1 and a focal length of 25mm. This seems a little low for the subject matter causing softness in parts of the image depending on your point of focus i.e. a lack of depth of field. You used ISO 100 and a 100 of second. 100 of second wopuld be right if you where hand holding without image stabilisation. But ISO 100 is probably too low. Increased ISO would have allowed a smaller aperture whilst retaining the shutter speed. I might have tried an aperture of f11 to f16. The HDR processing gives an interesting effect which I don't mind however it does often mean that natural light and shade is missing. This means that the staircase blends too much with the building brick work e.g. the staircase support. In doing so it becomes less distinct as the subject matter. Ideally I would want the shadow in the right places to emphasis the flow of the staircase. Lastly in compositionally terms there is a bit too much foreground leading to the staircase - this can be cropped or alternatively the whole image can be stretched. I think I would prefer the latter at this would give extra height to the subject making it more dramatic. Hope that helps. Steve.
08/04/2011 - 12:55 PM


MistyMist is definitely the friend of the photographer - great atmosphere. In terms of improvements I think your mist is a little too grey and slightly underexposured. My eye keep being drawn to the angled tree so I guess that is the subject of the image. If so, the trees on the right unbalance the composition. I would prefer to use the line of the bank to draw the eye more to the angled tree. That nice bit of grass is required to balance with the other trees on the right - hard expalin in text so I'll show what I mean in a mod. Whether real or not the horizon, such as it is, looks to be on an angle - which can be corrected. Steve.
14/03/2011 - 11:21 PM

Rocky Path

Rocky PathI see good compositional skills in this image. The horizon is on the third and the hotel/house on the thirds intersection. Whilst it is not a fixed rule it does help composition. However, for the two thirds rule to work well it needs a clear subject. I think the subject is ambigious - starting from the title. The rocky path is not quite distinct enough to take the eye through the image - it sort of stops a third of the way in. If the hotel was the subject I could sort of buy if there was a strong lead in. If the rock was the subject - well it would be in the wrong place. OK so how to improve - I agree will Phil about the colourful car. This can be removed by desaturating cyan totally and masking the rest of the image or by cloning etc. To enhance the sense of the path I think you need to crop away at the rock on the left. You can also use another little trick - stretch the path. This involves increasing the canvas size, selecting about third of the image (from the bottom) and using free transform to elongated the third. It has the effect of looking from a slightly higher aspect. Most basic software would allow this type of tranformation. I will demo the outcome in a mod which I hope will strenghten the composition - here goes - Steve.

NB - when doing the mod I realised that the path starts from the centre of the image in the orignial - and IMO it works alot better if it starts on a third - see mod.
23/02/2011 - 8:59 PM

You name it

You name itReally like this type of texture shot but it needs a bit of power - see mod. Not sure if you applied sharpening but if so I think it is a bit overdone - possibly to try and overcome that fact that it is not critically sharp? If not it might be my monitor or probably more accurately my eyes Wink Steve.
23/02/2011 - 6:52 PM

In Sync!

In Sync!What a great statue. I think though once you have removed the support stems you have changed the focus of your picture from a record shot into something more akin to digital art. Having made that step I think you need to follow it through. The noise and the lack of over all sharpeness are then irrelevant as blur become the most obvious tool to employ. I think you need to emphasize movement with the blur. I would also give the first diver something to dive into and agree that three is better compositionally than four. I would also boost the colour and contrast for greater impact - as demonstrated in my mod (having relooked at it - I might also put some additional room above the top diver). Steve.
20/02/2011 - 1:03 AM

Back home

Back homeHi Mario - I was not sure whether to load my mod or not. It may not suit your style of photography but I enjoyed the 20 mins of photoshop playing so I thought I might as well share it. The aim was to represent the scene by pasteling the colours and introducing some selective blur. Like the other mods I "turned on" the third light. I altered the lady's appearance and I also stetched the canvas as I thought the height suited the scene. You may feel that it is not much of a critique of your image, however, the core of your image is solid as a record of your home town - in terms of photographic art may be there are other possibilities Wink Steve.
05/01/2011 - 6:21 PM

A Winters Tale

A Winters TaleAdding to Lynne's comment - try destaturating cyan by 100% and blues by 50% - makes a difference IMO. Steve.
04/11/2010 - 5:10 PM

Ingleton falls

Ingleton fallsBlimey...he's a strong lad is Frank Wink Welcome to EPZ Mark. I think you got the exposure right on the fall and there is detail right through the image. Agree with Frank about the position of the rock. Often it is hard with waterfalls to get the feedom of moving to the left or right - without wet feet - but that is probably the solution. There is possibly some room for a bit more contrast in this image to emphasize the waterfall and B&W might be an option for this scene as an alternative. Steve.
25/09/2010 - 10:07 AM

Textures and Reflections

Textures and ReflectionsI would like to concentrate on version 2 which I really like as a composition. When taking this I think you metered for the highlights in the cloud and in doing so the rest looks underexposed. Viewing large there also seems alot of colour noise in the shadows which again can be a symptom of underexposure. The solution? You mention not being sure what to include in your composition. I think you actually do not need too much sky in the shot as this is taken care of by the reflection - it would have also been easier to control the exposure at taking stage. In addition, if experimenting why not experiment further with the processing. The best of this type of shot IMO includes removing contrast and saturation in favour of muted colours and indistinct edges. I have tried to demo this in a mod - however this will not make it an epz friendly image where saturation and contrast seems to work better but it would make a great print Wink

Version 1 - sorry doesn't work for me compositionally and for the same reasons as above - controling the highlight is so difficult and it dominates the image.
21/09/2010 - 9:13 PM

A Moment in the Lake District

A Moment in the Lake DistrictI am a big fan of B&W photography. I guess this low cloud on the hill is the main subject of your image. If this is the case you may want to emphasize this by altering the composition by either cropping from the top or the bottom (both could work). The aim would be to remove the 50/50 land/sky split in the image thus signalling your subject to the viewer. As the land and trees are dominated by green a black and white conversion means that greens = gray. It is possible to introduce a bit more variation in tone through some dodge and burn. I haven't access to photoshop this evening so can't demo this in a mod. Hope the comments helps. Steve