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23/10/2014 - 10:50 AM

Eye on the prize

Eye on the prizeA wonderfully captured moment in time, I think Smile It's also kind of poignant too, with the figure trudging along with their head down, oblivious to the drama on the wall. Age comes eventually to us all, and for me this image kind of reiterates that somehow.

I'm wondering whether cropping a little from the right hand side to remove that pillar (corner of a building?) would work? Then the face on the wall would butt up against the extreme right hand edge? (Hopefully you'll know what I mean by that ... the light bit on the right hand side I find a tad distracting.)

I'd not crop at all from the left hand side - the majority of the words "The Third Eye" are, for me, absolutely brilliant and very telling. The 'Third Eye' could allude to the viewer looking at the scene Smile

Other than that, I think it's great. I know what you mean about colour almost being too much - the black and white choice does make me look at the whole thing more intently, trying to figure out what it's about; whereas colour would have smacked me between the eyes (no pun!) and I may well have missed a lot of the little things that make this such a worthwhile image.

So I'd say include it in your panel. I'd also say to seriously think about the lady in the rain one too - yes, it's alternative but sometimes it's good to think outside the box. It's often those images that are so far outside the boundaries of the box that really make people sit up and think.

I'll be interested to see the other one you're thinking about, and look forward to seeing it when you upload it Smile
22/10/2014 - 3:31 PM

Hard Sell

Hard SellHi Keith - I like the idea with this one but would you mind me making a couple of suggestions?

The pose is good and quite well though out, although you may want to try putting the hand that's currently behind her back onto her hip instead? To me, that would be a more 'natural' place and would fit in more with the whole "Look at the scene beyond the window" feel that I think you're going with here. The lighting is nicely realistic on her body, but perhaps adding a shadow underneath her (quite muted, almost a suggestion of one) would 'anchor' her more within the scene and add to the realism.

The other thing to possibly try is to reduce, if you can, the saturation of the red in the tattoos - I'm trying to imagine how real tattoos are, and for me they're more subtle than this one currently is.

Overall though, I do quite like this. I particularly like how you've blurred the scene through the window, which is how it would be in reality with distance and atmospherics.
21/10/2014 - 3:24 PM

Pebbles and rust

Pebbles and rustNo, don't bin it Bill!! There's lots you could do with this ...

For such a 'simple' image, it's very nicely composed and there's an awful lot going on in here. There's the smooth, cracked textured surface of the red stone in the foreground; the wonderfully knobbly rust on the metal and then the cool tones and rounded shapes of the pebbles in the background. It's almost too much for the eyes to rest on, as there's no obvious, definitive, focal point.

The image has a very diagonal feel to it, running from corner to corner, left to right. Round things to knobbly things, and then on to smooth things Smile

Seeing as the image seems to be about textures and shapes, I've done a very quick mod where I've (a) gone with a square crop and (b) gone with black and white, instead of colour. Yes, you may lose those wonderful colours, but you gain form and texture and with no competing colours for the eye to worry over, it then becomes much more of a 'fine art' type image. The other thing I've done in my mod is to extend the canvas size out a bit using white, and to add a thin black border around the inner image.

It's just another way of looking at the same scene, and we all see things differently Smile You may not agree with the crop I've done, but it's an option.

[Edit: I've just realised that the mod's come up on a pure white background, so I'm just about to do a very quick second one to fix that Smile]

21/10/2014 - 11:28 AM

Paint horse jump

Paint horse jumpThis is great, Carl - you've really caught the action at a good point, you've left space on the right of the image for the horse and rider to move into, and you've got a nice side profile on the guy's face too. Taking the image from both a low viewpoint and while the horse is in mid-air lets the viewer really feel a part of the process. It all adds up to a very good image Smile

The only thing I'd say post processing wise is that your image has a slightly red colour cast, which I've removed in my mod. (I just used a Colour Balance layer, and toned down the red in the highlights and the midtones a little.) I also added a Levels adjustment layer and toned down the midtones in there to 0.88, just to increase the contrast a touch.

Other than that, well done indeed. To be honest, I'm not surprised you've been asked to help out with the photography at the local equestrian event - and I hope you enjoy every moment of it!! Smile

20/10/2014 - 1:07 PM

Front on jump

Front on jumpHi Carl

I do like the fact that the background of the image is pretty uncluttered, as it allows the viewer to focus on the action in front of them. I know you used a 200mm lens, but the way that brings the viewer close to the action and almost makes them feel like they're about to get ridden over is great Grin

I think the image, as it currently stands is okay but maybe a little boring? (Sorry!) It's not easy to photograph horses jumping straight on, as often you won't get a straight on view (as is the case here, it's slightly off so you're looking down the body of the horse as well). Although this can work, I think it needs to be either more so in this case or not there at all. I think too, that a straight on view would work better with a much higher fence, so that the viewer can really see the power and effort the horse (and rider, of course!) puts into getting lift off and getting over it.

Bright white bits on the wings of the fence are, as you describe, a nightmare in bright sunlit conditions but to be fair you've done really well here to keep them from blowing out completely. The grass is green, the sky is blue and the horse's feet are all up off the ground (bar one slightly lazy back leg Grin)

I'm not going to suggest anything more post processing wise with this image, as I think it's been covered above, but maybe give you some things to think about for next time. Looking in your portfolio, you've got a few cross-country and show jumping images and I think there's a couple in there that are more successful than this one (Freedom and Freedom 2 are obvious choices for me).

One of the beautiful things about watching horses perform is the 'shape' they make in the air as they go over a jump (known as 'bascule') and I think sometimes that getting a side-on angle is more pleasing as it allows both the jump and the horse to been seen in all their glory.

Another thing to maybe think about next time is the creative side of photographing show jumping (or cross country) and use a panning technique to capture the horses as they approach, take, and then move away from a jump or obstacle. You'd have to time pressing the shutter, or pre-focus on the jump itself, but that kind of technique can produce some beautiful images which are much more about power and movement, and less about a static moment in time.

Although it's an old thread, you may find this interesting reading. It's a short thread, and may go over what you already know, but it also might give you some other ideas as well Smile

(And if I sound really enthusiastic about this kind of imagery, I used to do show jumping and eventing as well as dressage, so the beauty and power of horses and what they're capable of really does resonate with me Smile Smile)

17/10/2014 - 6:51 PM

Shells spread...

Shells spread...Hello Dibyajit

I love the fact that you've got down to sand level to take this shot! So many people don't think to do this, and it can make a huge difference to the overall feel of an image and how the eye perceives the scene. By getting down low like this, you make the viewer feel like a part of the beach - almost a 'crab's eye view' Smile

In terms of overall exposure, you've got some nice deep blacks in the holes of the shells, and some brighter areas which haven't been blown out - they still retain detail. It can be hard for any camera to expose accurately on a beach, as the meter can so easily be fooled by the light reflecting off the sand and ends up underexposing a bit. So for me, you have produced a nicely composed, well exposed image with plenty of contrast here.

The only thing I'd say about the composition is that the objects closest to the camera in the foreground, although nicely blurred by using a wide aperture, are a little intrusive into the calm of the rest of the scene - they almost stop the eye going forwards into the vista to explore the textures and shapes of the further rocks, shells and sea. I don't know how much control you have over the settings for your camera, or what mode you used though?

I've done a very quick mod where I've cropped up from the bottom in order to remove the majority of the large brown object on the left. By cropping to a much more letterbox format, the image is then one of three parts almost - the foreground sand, the shoreline where the surf is rolling over the sands, and the distance horizon.

I've also used a Curves adjustment layer to lighten the darker hues in the image and give a brighter feel. I've removed a little of the yellow tones from the shells and the sand, using a Selective Colour Adjustment Layer and set the Yellows to -100%. There are lots of different way to probably do this, but this is the method I used here.

I also cloned out a couple of stray pebbles from the foreground, to clean that area up a little. And finally, adding a very fine black border 'contains' everything within it. Not everyone likes borders or even uses them, but I personally like them so have taken the liberty of adding one to my mod Grin

I don't know what post processing software you use, if any, so my mod is very much just an alternative way of presenting the image. The overall tone of my mod is slightly cooler and less vibrant than your original image, which you may or may not like. The other I though of trying, but didn't in this case, was converting the image to black and white and letting the eye concentrate just on the shapes, tones and textures of the scene, rather than colour. This may be something you could think about in the future with other shots like this, though.

07/10/2014 - 12:02 PM

Avenging Angel

Avenging AngelI really like the concept here, even though personally I'm not to keen on the helmet (even though it does ensure anonymity!! Grin). The lighting on the girl's body is lovely and soft and that's why, I think, the wings jar slightly with me. I think the lighting on the wings is too harsh (presumably taken from a fully sun-lit bird image?) and doesn't quite match the quality and direction of the light on the girl herself. The angle of the wings though, in relation to the line of her shoulders, is just about right. I would expect to see a very slight shadow between the left hand wing and her left (as viewing) shoulder, just to add to the realism of them.

Good concept overall though and done well.
02/10/2014 - 2:29 PM

Horse Fly

Horse FlyHi Ewan - I know from the title that this is more about the fly than the horse (in a way) but I actually think that it's a more powerful image without the fly Smile There's a lovely balance between the horse's eye and half-face and that soft focus green on the other side, that the fly is actually a distraction for me.

The eye of the horse is a bit soft, and could do with being sharper though. Even if it was just the edge of the eyeball and the eyelashes that were sharp, the rest of the image could be as blury as hell, and it wouldn't matter.

I like it Smile
01/10/2014 - 12:40 PM


ROAD TO NOWHERETish, I'm glad my weirdness has inspired you a bit Grin

You've enabled mods, so I really hope you don't mind me having a play around with V1, which I like the best of the variations you've done. The selection of the road/bridge is lovely and cleanly done and sits well in the clouds. I love the concept of the road going absolutely nowhere, and whoever has the misfortune to be on it better be prepared for something at the end of the road, even if it's nothing ...

I don't know whether you use Photoshop or not, but I'll try and describe what I've done below in PS - although the principles should be similar in Elements or something like that.

Mod 1 - I've taken V1, duplicated it on another layer and applied a black and white adjustment layer. I then added an inner glow to this layer, changing the blend mode of it to Overlay, and the size of the glow to 250 pxls. I also set the 'source' of the glow to the centre of the image, rather than the edge and the colour to a murky reddish brown. I really like the vanishing point of the bridge/road in your image, but felt that it needed a little bit more 'misty fog' to give that sense of hopelessly walking into 'otherness' ... so on another layer I just created a short reflected gradient in the middle of the layer (running from top to bottom and 'foreground to transparent' with white as the colour) and set the blend mode to 'Lighten' and the Opacity to 60%.

Mod 2 - this is the same as Mod 1, but with the added element of the twisted 'thingy' ... I'm not entirely sure how I got that, although it's essentially a separate layer that's had the Filter/Render/Clouds applied to it, and then the perspective distorted hugely. At some point during that distortion, the thing flipped around on itself (which wasn't what I intended, but hey ...) and I kind of liked the results so left it. All I did was line up one of the lines coming from it with the right hand edge of the bridge, and set the layer blend mode to Overlay.

I really hope you didn't mind me playing with your playing? All the right elements were there in your image and your title just kind of made my imagination get a little excited, that's all Smile
29/09/2014 - 2:00 PM

I hear you whisper Alibi's

I hear you whisper Alibi'sI love the idea behind this, although I would have gone the other way and wanted to see the 'dead' body more in focus, with the villains themselves being in soft focus. For me, that would then feel like the body is the 'immediate' focus of the story, with the shadowy, fuzzy alibis more in the background (inkeeping with the thoughts of lies, alibis and underhandedness ...) Maybe I just watched different movies to Keith!! Grin

I realise that this was taken with film, so not easy to go back and redo it in a hurry (I don't know what your neg is like, and whether reprocessing it is an option?).

Still, I think the image is very effective as it stands and my comment and what I would like to see is only that - my interpretation of your skullduggery Smile
26/08/2014 - 10:06 AM

enginn tími fyrir svefn

enginn tími fyrir svefnFirst off, good on you for doing this.

Secondly, there's a couple of things that I think would improve this image no end - (1) is to crop in from the left a bit, to remove that half a lampshade and half a picture, (2) clone out the base of the overhead light that's intruding in from the top, and maybe the edge of the table on the left and the power cord for the lamp and (3) crop up from the bottom to remove the bed base and the bit of tucked-in duvet on the right hand corner. That then puts the focus of the image firmly on you, rather than the bedroom furniture Smile

Oh, and smile a bit - at the moment it looks like you're about to shout at the viewer for looking, and your expression is a tad fierce !! Grin
12/08/2014 - 10:44 AM

Heavenly body

Heavenly bodyAs a female viewer of this image, I love it. The lighting highlights the power and grace of the female form, without going into the realms of sleaze. The pose, while coy in some ways, is also very strong. The lens flare, while it can look corny in some circumstances, actually works really well here and definitely adds something to the image, rather than taking it away.

I really like the way the lighting has accuented the musclature of her back too. It speaks of strength, and beauty, and grace.

Excellent work Smile
06/08/2014 - 10:52 AM


TreeHiya - I really wanted to have a play with this as I think it's beautiful and definitely has more to give. I hope you don't mind what I've done. I first added a Curves adjustment layer to adjust the tonal range, and then a Black & white adjustment layer. I changed Reds to -94; Yellows to 67; Greens to 82; Cyans to -2 and Blues to -51. I added a tint to the B&W adj layer of #fce4c3 and then did a bit of selective painting on a layer mask to bring out the rows in the corn a little. Flattened the image, and added a feathered black border to contain it all a little.

[Edit: I also went with a square crop, just because I like them and felt that it suited this image of yours Smile]
11/07/2014 - 2:30 PM

Wear and tear

Wear and tearTo be honest, I think you've done well to get the tonal range you have here ... okay, there's a couple of areas that are burnt out and have not details, but in a way it kind of adds to that old, worn out feel.

I'm sure the critique team will step in with advice for next time, but if it was me I'd be tempted to do a bracketed series and then combine them in editing software. That way, you'll have detail in the highlights, and still retain detail as well in the shadows.

HDR 'proper' may kill the atmosphere you're trying to create - I don't know. But there's surely got to be a middle ground somewhere between the two approaches?

I like the image a lot, by the way. Beautiful sweeping curves and lovely sharp lines always make a nice combination. I'm curious as to the choice of yellow background though ... not that it's not nice, but for me black seems to solidify the elements of the image better (and also, oddly, seems to reduce those bright white highlight areas a bit too). Smile
10/07/2014 - 3:54 PM

Toadstools on windblown Ash

Toadstools on windblown AshFor someone who says they're a beginner, this is a cracking shot!

You've used a fairly wide aperture (f5.6) which has given you a limited depth of field (the bit in front of and behind the main thing you focused on). This has the effect of directing the viewer's attention firmly towards the main subject, rather than wandering endlessly around an image that's sharp throughout. In your image above, the sharpest point of focus seems to be on the little ferny fronds in front of the mushrooms (or toadstools?) ... and while the fronds are beautifully sharp, I think the mushrooms (as the main subject) should be the sharpest point. (Mind you, it is only fractionally out, so it's not too bad Smile)

You've chosen to use a 'Daylight' white balance, rather than leave it to the camera to decide - and while this has given the image a slight warm cast, I think it suits the subject well.

Your ISO of 1400 has given the image quite a grainy look (although not as much as I would have imagined ... Nikon must be good!) - the higher your ISO, the more 'graininess' you'll see in an image. If you want clarity and quality, you'd be better off using an ISO of 100 or 200 ... this may mean, though, that your shutter speeds get a bit longer as a result, so using a tripod is definitely the way to go for this kind of image. Okay, you may have already done that, but given the shutter speed of 1/15th second, if you didn't use a tripod, then you've got very steady hands!

You've shot in JPEG mode ... and I would also hazard a guess, from the very saturated colours in your image, that you've got some sort of image enhancing mode turned on in the camera settings themselves? Something like vivid colour mode? I know you said in your earlier forum post that you're looking at post processing and editing software, so I don't know whether you've already got something that you're using, or whether you're just relying on the camera's picture settings at the moment ... once you get into the editing side of things, if you shoot in RAW format (the one in the camera; not where you have to take your clothes off Grin) and then edit the RAW file in an image editing software, you'll have much more control over how you want the colours to appear in the end result. JPEG is great, but it also throws away a lot of information once it's taken the image ... you don't necessarily get the choice afterwards to make the editing decisions you'd like to.

The other thing I'd say is that you've placed the main subject (the shrooms) dead centre in the image ... while this is an easy thing to do, and seems to be the best position, it's often the most boring. Try composing with your main subject off to one side a bit - it'll make the end result far more dynamic and appealing to the viewer. It's not always possible, depending on what's to either side of your main subject, but if you bear that in mind when you're composing your images, then you'll do yourself a favour. (Having said that, sometimes something will look far better placed dead centre ... but also this often looks better when in a square framed image, rather than the landscape format you've got here (i.e. longer than it is high).

Okay, if you're still awake at this point ... I really like your image. The colours zing, the tiny ferny fronds are amazingly beautiful and to be honest it's a damned good start to your photography journey!

Keep it up Grin
08/07/2014 - 11:34 AM


RGBFunnily enough, I've just been looking at info on the RGB colour space settings in Photoshop! Grin

I like this image - it's simple, yet very effective. One thought though ... if you put a piece of black card either side of the left and right hand bottles, that should give you a definite black line down the outside of the glass, which would help to stop them bleeding into the white background so much. (At least, that's what the normal advice is for glass photography - never tried it yet, but that's what 'they' say ... Grin) You may have already done this, but for me it's quite noticeablely absent on the red filled bottle ... ?
24/06/2014 - 12:37 PM

Storm Clouds at Dusk

Storm Clouds at DuskHiya - I love the electric blue of this one, it's very striking. Given the high ISO and the conditions you took it in, it's amazingly clear and free of noise.

I can't decide whether the horizon is fractionally off or not, and also for me the light patch in the clouds on the left hand side detract a little from the lovely little reflection below it.

So I've done a very quick mod where I've straightened the horizon a touch, cloned that light patch in the clouds and cropped a wee bit top and bottom (as well as left and right, to accommodate the canvas rotation).

I don't know whether it's improved the overall image or not, as that's always a subjective matter anyway. But thanks for sharing Grin
13/06/2014 - 10:21 AM


BrokenThis is actually quite a disturbing image, and I can't make up my mind about it.

On the one hand, I feel as though there should be more detail in the facial features, but on the other hand ... by eradicating virtually everything that conveys a feeling of 'identity', you've effectively reduced the person to a 'thing' (hopefully you'll know what I'm trying to say by that!?); and that does tie in with your title.

The one thing that does snag my attention completely with this image, is that even though almost all features have been obliterated by the processing style and choice, there's so much emotion in just that one eye ... and that's where my gaze keeps going back to. Eye to eye, so to speak ... and that sparks a feeling of recognition and empathy ... and also, hopefully, support for the healing process.

So now, I think I've made up my mind about it ... it's bl**dy good Grin
30/05/2014 - 1:29 PM

Lydia IV

Lydia IVI really wanted to comment on this, from a woman's perspective, so given that it was the fourth of what's obviously a series, I had to go and turn on the adult content thingy so I could see the others (I didn't want to make a comment out of context, so to speak).

So ... having seen the others now (where the lighting is much more subdued), I think that in this particular image the lighting doesn't do your model justice. The features are quite strong and bold, and I think that the makeup is too heavy in this bright light. The hair is very obviously a wig, which while not a bad thing in itself, becomes far more obvious with harsh lighting.

The background is also very obviously in a house/domestic setting (the skirting board) and to be honest, the pose itself doesn't look very relaxed. It's almost as though your model is trying too hard to be seductive, whereas in the other images in the series the facial expression is far more natural (and therefore more appealing).

I'll probably get shot down in flames for saying this, but it's more like a parody of a glamour shot, than an actual glamour shot. However, if that's the look you're actually trying to create, then discount everything I've said above because in that case you've nailed it (as they say on Britain's Got Talent).

But if you're trying to create a feel of soft seduction, glamour and sensuality, then I think different lighting, a different pose and a more considered background would go a long way to achieving that effect.

I really hope you're not offended or p'd off with my honest thoughts on this image.

28/05/2014 - 5:37 PM


SimoneI really like this - it's suggestive without being sleazy and sensual without being sexual, if that makes sense? Given the very bright backlighting of the window, there's beautiful detail throughout and nothing so massively burnt out on the figure that it's a distraction.

If I would suggest anything, it would be to crop slightly on both the left side to remove that dark upright bit of the wall, and the right hand side to remove that very thin sliver of lighter wood on the post thingy she's leaning against.

Part of me also wants to suggest straighting the horizontal of the edge of the bit she's sitting on (brain's gone, can't think of the word?) but looking at the left hand side of the window itself, it looks pretty straight vertically ... so maybe it's just an old building where none of the woodwork and walls are true Smile

Either way, I think it's really good and would love to see what it would look like as a mono conversion.