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21/01/2015 - 1:43 PM


TimelessThis one's great, Keith. Fantastic texturing on the clothing and the light is, once again, pretty much spot on. I also really like the background, which conveys (very subtlely, admittedly) a 'timeless' element that's very pertinent to your images Wink

The only thing I'd say (you know there's always one with me Grin) is that the eyes look just a tad unnatural. I understand that she's doing the 'looking out from under the lashes' kind of thing, but I'm wondering whether the angle is a bit too much and so there's too much white showing under the irises as a consequence? It almost makes her look a bit ... gormless, for want of a better word ... which is a shame with this image.

Other than that very minor point, though - it's a great piece of digital work and certainly up to the standard I've come to expect Smile

20/01/2015 - 2:51 PM

She is the Dark

She is the DarkHiya - thought I'd try and add my own interpretation of this, based on your original image (in the mod section), your comments above about turning night into day and the effect that I think you're working towards ...

I've basically taken the unworked-on image and added three layer adjustments - a Selective Colour one where I've taken the Red colour and whacked up the Cyan slider to 100%; on top of that is a Colour Lookup adjustment layer, using Moonlight.3DL preset, and set to Darker Colour blend mode and Opacity 55%; on top of that is another Colour Lookup adjustment layer set to HorrorBlue.3DL and Dissolve blend mode at 100% Opacity.

Then on top of that stack, there's a Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer set to Brightness=14 and Contrast=51.

Then on top of THAT lot, there's a duplicate of the original image with a Hide All Layer Mask, where I've done a bit of brushwork with a white/grey brush set to about 9% opacity to bring back a bit of 'light' on her face, arms and neck area.

And then, at the top of the layer stack, there just a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer, with the Master set to Hue=+18, Saturation=-59 and Lightness=-3. The Red slider I set to Hue=-11, Saturation=+45 and Lightness=-9.

Oh, and I cropped a bit after seeing what Dudler did above with his mod - I liked the tighter emphasis on the girl against the tree and felt that some of the space to the left and below wasn't necessary.

Yes, I know it's a lot of faffing around but I wanted to see where I could take your original 'sunny' image and have uploaded the mod to see if it's anywhere near what you had in your mind.

Sometimes, though, experimentation is the only way ... either that, or get up and out in the middle of a very bright, moonlit night Grin

(BTW - you say this was shot at 9am, but the exif data says it was taken at 2.21pm ... ?? Is the time setting in the camera wrong or have I had too much coffee again?!)

the DRAWING OF DUNDURN CASTLE in HAMILTON, ONTARIO (CANADA)I'd say it's a very successful outcome of using the tripod and no flash, Timothy. It's a beautifully grand room and you've done very well indeed to capture lots of details. Yes, the light coming through the windows is blown out, but the wonderful textures and detail in the shadow areas more than make up for that.

Willie's right in that it needs a counter-clockwise rotation, and it could perhaps do with a little lens distortion correction too, but other than that it's a fine image.
16/01/2015 - 1:48 PM

Street Portrait

Street PortraitHi Tracy, I'm not going to comment on the technical side as I think the previous upload, and Moira's and Paul's insights above have done that well enough. I personally don't find the two highlights top right overly intrustive, but can see what they're saying about the hat side of things.

The one thing that's just really struck me about this image and the previous one of the older chap is about time, more than anything else (stay with me for a moment, it'll become clear Smile)

The younger chap, with his open face and smile, bright eyes, long free hair, hippy style scarf and Trilby hat is obviously at ease with both himself and young ladies like yourself who want to photograph him Grin He's probably lapping it up, and takes it all in his stride as an unconscious entitlement of good looking youth.

The older chap, however, with his open but slightly guarded/curious gaze, his sensible flat cap and his warm (as opposed to trendy) scarf is almost what this young guy will morph into as he gets older.

The openness is there in them both, just separated by about 40 years or so ... an interesting comparison!

15/01/2015 - 3:09 PM

Wrapped up

Wrapped upHah!! While I've been fiddling, Moira's got in before me Grin (Note to self: need to work quicker ...!)

Anyway, my (very) quick mod is basically along the same lines as what Moira's suggesting above. I used a Levels adjustment layer and moved the midtones to 0.60. Then added a new layer and filled with 50% gray and then dodged and burned around the eye area. Lightening the whites a bit (okay, quite a bit ...) and also toning down the highlight on the top of his ear.

It's a good strong image and, as Moira rightly points out above, the expression on the guy's face is what makes this image so intriguing.

15/01/2015 - 10:27 AM

Cracked Lips

Cracked LipsIf I'm being completely honest, I find it a slightly weird image. I think that, creatively, what you've done is great and done well. But I think for me, the subject matter itself is offputting, but I don't necessarily know why. Maybe it's the 'cracks' in the lips themselves, and combined with the blood red crackled texture it gives the image an almost gross, 'broken' feel.

Like I say, it's definitely eye catching and makes the viewer want to explore it, but for whatever reason it makes me feel slightly uncomfortable. Maybe that's the point of it though? As humans, we shy away from things we're not comfortable with, and sometimes those tendencies need to be faced and conquered Grin

09/01/2015 - 12:35 PM

Flat Cap

Flat CapHi Taron - I also think this is a lovely character image and it's got the feel of an Old Master painting to me, for some reason. Whether that's the warm skin tones or the unsmiling formality of the pose used, I don't know, but it does definitely work. He also reminds me of a young Amish man having his portrait taken formally. (Forgive me for saying that, and apologies to your subject if he's a strapping, beer-drinking lad from Yorkshire who just happens to bear a passing resemblance to a stylized idea of someone who follows the Amish way of life!).

The Canon 50mm f/1.8 is a lovely little lens which, for the price tag, is capable of producing some amazing results Smile

Using such a wide aperture here is given you a wonderfully limited depth of field which really helps to focus the viewer's attention on the man's face. Your lighting, which I know you said is utilising natural light, also helps to focus attention on the face because of the way that the shadows are falling and the fact that it doesn't look like you used any kind of fill-in light to give some modelling to the darker side. While this is an effective technique, I'm finding myself more drawn to the dark side to try and pick out the little bit of detail that is there ... I'm wondering if you should have gone slightly lighter with your post processing (if you did any?) or darken it completely to really make a striking image?

Still, that's a personal choice. I may well have a quick play with a mod where I'll try and give some more light to the darker side, just to see what the overall effect is. I think the image could do with a bit more exposure anyway, as it looks about a stop or so under exposed at the moment. Looking at your EXIF information, I see you used spot metering ... which point did you meter from? The skin tones? The white shirt? If it was the shirt, then that could explain the slight under exposure. (Others may not feel this is under exposed though.)

I may well be back!

22/12/2014 - 3:45 PM


GhostsHi Lee

Okay, Brian above beat me to it Smile Although, for me, I just want to see the fingertips in focus, rather than the whole hand. And yes, I know that for you the way you've done it is exactly how you wanted it, so I'm not going to harp on with what's just a personal choice for me Smile

You say you want thoughts about making it darker without going overboard ... I've done two mods which will hopefully do this.

Mod1 just has a Black and White adjustment layer, set to soft light blend mode and 80% opacity - it gives more contrast without losing that menacing edge you've got.

Mod 2 is with a small vignette added and confined to just the hand area. Done using a Levels adjustment layer where I've moved the midtones in the histogram to the right a bit, and the white slider underneath that to the left a touch. I've then just added a soft round dot (using the paintbrush and black) on the adjustment layer's layer mask. Resized to be just larger than the span of the outstretched hand itself, and moved to cove it.

They're subtle differences to your original, but I didn't want to do anything drastic as you've basically got the image to where you want it already Grin

16/12/2014 - 2:50 PM

A truth we can't unknow

A truth we can't unknowIt's good. The concept is there, her pose is right for the mood you're going for and it ties in well with your title.

For me, the plug isn't necessary (even though it's accumulating interesting cobwebs ... Grin) - trouble is, your 'old habit of not using a tripod' has resulted in slightly out of focus cobwebs, which for me distract rather than enhance the image.

There's also a slight light halo around the top of her head and hair, and also around her back. Obviously, it's coming from that window behind her and the natural light coming through. But for me it's a bit too dominant and I want that area behind her to be dark and disturbing, as though things (nightmares, fears, whichever you will) reside in there. By having her back to them, she's almost metaphorically ignoring (or refusing to see) them Smile

So my mod crops that right hand side a fraction, to remove the plug.

I've also added a bit of contrast using a Black & White adjustment layer, set to Soft Light and 50% opacity.

Above that, I've used a Colour Lookup adjustment layer, set to FoggyNight, and again Soft Light blend mode and 50% opacity.

For me, I feel as that retains that mad purple hair, which I really do like (particularly as it's echoed by the purple shoelace) and it also keeps that slightly unhealthy palour to her skin, which also fits with the pose.

See what you reckon?

08/12/2014 - 11:07 AM


RookLove the perspective on this one, Keith - it really works Smile Also the texturing of the wood is wonderfully realistic. It makes me feel as though if I reached out and touched it, I'd actually feel wood ... amazing!

I also really like the way that the curve of the horse's (oh, okay - 'rook's') neck seems as though it's responding to the girl's touch ... it gives the element of connection between the two.

The shadows of the girl are done well, although I'd like to see a fraction more darkness underneath the ball of the foot that's just resting on the floor (her right, our left) as at the moment it looks as though it floating a tad too much? Don't know on that one though ... what do you reckon?

I don't mind the tattoos, even though they're quite dense. Body art is some people's way of cataloguing their journey through life and not just done for vanity purposes. Her skin is a little blotchy as if she's cold ... which, okay, could well be the case with that granite wall behind everything Grin

Although it's nice to see a realistically proportioned woman like this, part of me is thinking that her calves and thighs are, perhaps, a little too muscular given the rest of her (i.e. the torso and arms)?

But ... it's good and it works well Grin
Ferry Landing Stage on Derwent WaterVery moody and definitely something I could see on the cover of a murder-mystery type book. I wondering whether your horizon is fractionally off dead straight though - a couple of degrees down on the left?
01/12/2014 - 11:00 AM


Creep.Hi Graham - and welcome to the Critique Gallery Smile I see this is your first visit to this gallery, so hopefully you'll find what you're looking for in terms of feedback on your image.

Given your description of what you wanted to achieve with this one, I'd definitely say you'd managed that - very successfully, in fact! Almost to the point where I didn't actually want to play with it at all, as I felt that emotionally it completely hits the nail on the head for me. The concept is great and has produced a very powerful social message about the dangers of not only being out alone at night, but being so engrossed in something (ie the phone) that she's not paying attention to the potential of what's around her.

You don't say whether you used a tripod or not, or whether this is hand-held. At 1/10 sec, if hand held, then you've done very well indeed to get the sharpness that you have. It's not critically sharp as you probably know already, but I don't think this kind of image relies on that for its impact - it relies on an emotional connection with the viewer. I find myself wanting to shout at her to look up from her phone and use her eyes for something other than 'Facelessbook' or whatever she's so engaged in.

All I've done in my mod (I use Photoshop, by the way) is to correct perspective a little using Lens Correction, so that the furthest lamppost is properly vertical, and to crop out the extra space on the left of the bus stop to move the girl herself so that she's on the left hand third (using the Rule of Thirds compositonal guidelines). I was in two minds whether to do that or not, as part of me likes the extra space beyond the space that she's in, as it gives a visual 'out' if anything does go wrong, but I removed it in the end to reinforce the feeling of containment and being trapped within a structure (the bus stop itself).

I then added a soft dark vignette to concentrate the view more on the centre of the image, and to push the details at the edges of the image back a bit. I then did a little dodging on the face, hands and coat of the girl and the walking man in the distance, to restore their prominence and the obvious connection that adding a vignette took away slightly.

My mod isn't hugely different from your original and I didn't want it to be, as I like what you've done so much. It's more a case of a little tidying up visually Smile

Anyway, you'll find my mod (and any more that other people may do) on the tab labelled 'Modifications' next to your description tab. Do please bear in mind that any mods that are done are just someone else's way of viewing your image - you may or may not agree with what's done, and that's as it should be. Photography is a very personal thing, and we all see things differently Grin

30/11/2014 - 11:41 AM

My Mentor

My MentorI don't know why, but this one is making me smile Smile

It's certainly different ... odd, but very good. And the chair? I've always wanted one of those 70s style retro chairs Smile I really like the concept (although I won't ask where the idea for a shiny red devilish lady came from ...)

Shadows are good, the perspective of the floor is also good. The only tiny thing I'd say, if pushed, is that there's no 'shine' on the red lady's legs ... her face and chest area look as though they've been plastic wrapped, but that doesn't extend onto other prominent bits like her arms, tops of her thighs or lower legs.

Following on from John's comment above, I suppose there's other things she could have been twiddling in order to get better reception, so maybe I'm thankful that it's only the buns! Grin

30/11/2014 - 11:16 AM


SilenceHello Palaghioi - welcome to the Critique Gallery Smile I think I'm right in saying that this is your first visit to the CG? You haven't said in your description which aspects of this image you'd like feedback on, so it's hard to be specific about any particular aspect but I'll happily give you my thoughts on the image as it stands.

I really like the composition here. You've got some lovely detail throughout the depth of the image, and the stones and leaves in the foreground are very crisp and sharp. Obviously, the water in the background would have been making a racket at the time you were there, but looking at the image as a viewer, coupled with your title, there is definitely a sense of serenity and quietness about it. I think the placement of that leaf in the foreground really helps to add to that feeling, as that's what my eye focuses on rather than the waterfall in the background.

Use of a long shutter speed also contributes to this feeling, as it's turned the torrent of water into a lovely silky smoothness.

All I've done in my mod is to increase contrast a little, to give the image a touch more 'bite' and to adjust the saturation and hues of the foreground leaves a little, to give them a bit more prominence in the image. I also took the blue in the water down a touch, so that it didn't compete with that foreground too much. I'm in two minds as to whether that works or not, but it would be good to know what you think?

Overall though, I think's a beautiful image and certainly one that I'd have been happy to take myself Smile

26/11/2014 - 1:18 PM

My Late Autumn

My Late AutumnHi Andreea - welcome back to the Critique Gallery Smile It's been a while since you were last in here, but hopefully between us all we'll be able to give you some useful feedback on this image.

First of all, I really do like it. There's a wonderfully calm serenity about it, and the distant light through the trees is quite magical. You say you wanted to capture mood and seasonal change, and although I think your image does this very well, there's a few things that I think you could do to push that feeling even further.

The first thing I want to dp is crop the image to get rid of that blockwork concrete on the right hand side. Although it serves to anchor the other side of the bridge, part of me wants to leave the viewer wondering where it goes, so in my Mod I've cropped this out. I've also cropped slightly from the left as well, so that the point where the bridge turns and goes upwards is on a third (the Rule of Thirds principle). For me, this particular point is a pivotal one, as it's reminiscent of change, which is what your image is about - change in seasons; change in perspective; change in height, perhaps? Ascension, if you like Smile

I've done one or two other things in my Mod as well (I use Photoshop, by the way). I've increased the contrast throughout the image, to give a much more moody feel. I did this a really easy way, using a black and white adjustment layer. This may sound odd at first, as my Mod isn't in black and white ... BUT, use a B&W adjustment layer and then set the blend mode to Soft Light. This immediately adds contrast, but also leaves the colour intact as well. I then just played with the sliders a bit, moving the Red one to -13, the Yellow one to -7, the Greens to 18, and the Cyan and Blue sliders all the way to the left to -200.

This has effectively deepened a lot of the warm tones in the image, and hopefully gives it much more drama and impact.

The other thing I did (badly, admittedly, but hopefully it'll illustrate the point) was to take the front portion of water and apply a motion blur to it, and change the angle so that it sort of goes in the right direction Smile I wanted to really try and capture the sense of movement set against stillness, as you say in your description. An easy way at the taking stage would have been to use a slower shutter speed to capture that movement, and although you used 1/30th, you could probably have gone a bit slower too.

Hopefully you'll like what I've done in my Mod. It is, admittedly, a bit different and darker than your original image. Both have their merits, though - for example, your original has a lightness and softness that my Mod has diminished, mine has richer colour that yours doesn't. It's just another way of looking at the same scene Smile

26/11/2014 - 12:15 PM

Dim Lights

Dim LightsThis is actually a really interesting image, but for some reason it didn't work for me visually until I flipped it horizontally, so that the eye then travels in from the blank side, slides over the bar at the end and then onwards towards the furnishings and the large window. Possibly a left to right visual journey through coming in, getting a drink and then having a sit down to enjoy the view Grin

So in my mod, as well as flipping the image horizintally, I also did a few other things.

Although your intention with the processing of the three exposures was to get a pronounced light on the beams, I actually added a bit of contrast back in. I also added a Shadows/Highlights adjustment layer on top of that, and set the shadows to 49% and the highlights to 52%. Yes, it may have taken down the effect of the bright light on the beams a bit, but to my eye is more natural and pleasing. (You may not agree, of course, which is absolutely fine Smile)

I then took the saturation of the reds down as well (to -33). Even though I know your intention was to colour pop the cushions a bit, they're just a little too popped and, I think, take something away from the warmth of the others colours of the wooden beams and that lovely chest next to the nearest sofa.

Funnily enough, the one bit my eye can't rationalise is the reflection in the bottom corner (bottom right in your original, now bottom left in my mod). There's a squiggle on the reflection of the overhead beam ... that squiggly effect doesn't happen anywhere else, as far as I can see - all other straight lines reflected in the floor are just that ... straight.

It might just be a by-product of the tone-mapping exercise, and I do find it pleasing none the less, but it's just a tiny anomoly that my brain can't process this afternoon! Grin

(Oh, and apologies that your watermark is now back to front!)

25/11/2014 - 3:04 PM

Braemar Castle

Braemar CastleHiya

I can't add anything to what's been said above, although I have done a mod where I've given it a different treatment. As it stands, it's a nice image of a rather austere building - it's well exposed, some some very interesting shapes in the builidng, and a nice sense of the grounds. Yes, it does need more context around it and the sky is pretty much featureless, which doesn't do it any favours.

So, as well as allowing a little bit of space at the top just so as to give room for the topmost branches of that tree, I've added contrast, a slight blue tone, a Colour Lookup adjustment layer (where I used the FoggyNight preset) and added a Diffuse Glow Smile

I think I wanted to bring out the austerity of the building, as it looks so unloved and eerie. Hopefully I've done that, but you'll have to be the judge of that.

25/11/2014 - 12:44 PM

Here she comes

Here she comesHi Keith

I'm going to stick my neck out here, and be completely honest with you about this one. It doesn't work for me as it stands. There's a couple of reason for this:

1) She's standing in mid-air, basically. Even with that abstract background, she needs something solid under her feet (even if it's so dark as to almost not be there, the viewer's subconscious will still pick it up because it expects to.

2) The boobs - I'm sorry, but the shape is all wrong on these. I don't know how much control you have over the size and shape, but they're too round, the nips are looking in different directions (which isn't a problem, as such, but doesn't quite look right) and if you look closely you'll see the curve of the breast underneath the scrap of material going across them. It look as though they continue way too far down her rib cage (and they can't be imagined as ribs, either, cos ribs don't look like that!).

I hope you don't mind my bluntness. I do like the idea with this one, but when I compare it to the naturalness of the shapes in your last upload (It's that way), there's no competition.

23/11/2014 - 11:26 AM

Pondering Soldier V3

Pondering Soldier V3Hi Keith - I've done a mod where I've tried to address to ageing photo issue, and give that feel of having been taken on an old plate-style camera. Whether I've achieved that or not remains to be seen, but here's what I did to get it (I mainly used Nik's Colour Efex Pro 4 in order to do this, but you may not have that software).

The first thing I did (in Photoshop) was to crop the image (not square, but just to take out some space either side) and then desaturated the red of the guy's jacket a bit to a more pinky, washed out tone. This seemed more natural than the brighter red in your original. I smoothed out the grain in your original using the 'Noise>Reduce Noise...' option, but then applied more grain in Colour Efex (see below).

I then used Colour Efex 4 and applied a preset of 'Classic Camera 8', which hopefully gives it a more olde-worlde feel, as though it really is an image that was taken in yesteryear. I did play with the slider options a bit regarding grain, but not too much as I wanted to retain some details in the faces of the two people.

I applied a more obvious border than the one you've got here. I did want to use a white, torn effect edge to the image, but for some reason I couldn't find that option! Smile So you've got black instead ...

I'm not sure whether what I've done is how you saw the image in your mind, or even comes close to the effect you were trying to create. However, have a look and see what you think.

23/11/2014 - 10:51 AM


BodyscapeI like the idea and the concept, they work well. I'm not sure how you did your lighting, but I'm wondering whether it's too full on? Have you tried more directional lighting, so that it picks up not just the oiled skin and water droplets, but also gives more modeling to the contours of the body? The other thing to consider, if you haven't done so already, is this kind of thing in mono. For some reason, I always think bodies (male or female) look better in black and white and with the oily thing going on, it provides all sorts of opportunities Smile