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TanyaH

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24/04/2015 - 3:49 PM

attitude

attitudeI really like the pose, it's very strong (and he's kind of got the look of Ricky Whittle, which isn't a bad thing by any stretch of a girl's imagination ... Wink).

However, the light is really harsh and contrasty here which I don't think is doing your model any favours - okay, the squinting into the light is doing wonders for the whole attitude thing, but I think I prefer the play of light on his face/body in Intensity rather than here. Whether that's got anything to do with the colour/mono choice, I don't know. But it's almost too much in this instance (for me, anyway - others will no doubt see it differently).

Tanya
24/04/2015 - 2:36 PM

Between mountains and lake

Between mountains and lakeHi Juan

What an amazing looking place! It looks so precarious on the side of that mountain ... and I think the angle you've taken the image from highlights that feeling very well. It also doesn't look the easiest place for agriculture, either.

While this is a very good image, for me it's more a record shot than a landscape photograph. It shows the entirety of the village and its location, but without getting in close enough to give the viewer a real sense of the lives of the people who live in the village. Still, at a focal length of 18mm, I'm not surprised. Trouble is, going to the other end of the lens's range would have given you a closer image, yes, but also not enough to really pick out individual details. It's also quite contrasty, especially up in the upper mountain area where the green trees and shrubbery are.

There's a white cloud on the upper edge of the frame that's half in and half out of the image - I'd suggest one or the other, in or out. In my mod I've cloned it out completely. I've also adjusted the shadows and highlights throughout the image, to try and get more of a balance between the lightest and darkest areas and to bring out more detail in the green of the upper mountain and also in the water that's right up against the land at the edge of the town.

I've cropped up slightly from the bottom too, as for me the land coming from the lower left corner seems more natural and balanced, rather than having what looks like the edge of a bush of some sort in that corner? As the image looked a little on the soft side, I've also sharpened a touch which seems to have given more definition to the buildings.

Anyway, have a look at my mod and see what you think of the changes I've made.

Tanya
24/04/2015 - 11:20 AM

*****

*****I'll second the idea of a fractional crop in from the left, to remove that light strip Smile If it's a window, then it's one of those either/or situations ... leave enough of it for the viewer to fully realise that it's a window, or take it out completely as it adds nothing to the image and is ultimately distracting. Oddly, I don't mind the white blob above her head - it looks to me like a picture frame of some sort and, because my mind can subconsciously recognise it as such, it feels right and isn't distracting.

Other than that, though, it's a superb image. Softly sensuous, good eye contact and you've got the hands looking nice and natural - they're sods, normally, hands ... either they look like a bunch of bananas, or they just look plain wrong no matter which way you try and pose them Grin
24/04/2015 - 11:09 AM

Sunset on La Digue

Sunset on La DigueWell, I personally think it's amazing Smile I absolutely love this and am wondering why on earth you put it in for critique? This is an image that would do really well in the main gallery instead.

Would I change anything about it? Probably not, if I'm honest. There's a fractional yellow colour in the white cloud, top left, but that could (a) be reflected light from the rocks or (b) maybe just how the clouds were at that particular moment.

In terms of composition, again, I don't think there's anything I'd change. The figure could be positioned so that there's more separation between her arms, so that they don't merge into one limb (look at the legs to see what I mean - they're both very clearly delineated and separate). However, there's a lovely sense of 'as is' with the position of the model so it's only a personal choice thing for me.

You could, if you chose to, also crop this to a square format (and yes, I know you're a purist and don't really do much in terms of cropping etc). However, the rock formations, the colours and everything do also lend themselves to square. I'll do a mod to show you what I mean, for you to consider.

Tanya
23/04/2015 - 2:13 PM

Caldera. Santorini

Caldera. SantoriniHi Alexander Smile

When you upload your images here, you're forgetting to 'tell' the system what format you captured the image in, that's all Smile On the upload screen, after you've attached your image, go down to the next box called 'Exif Data (Optional)'. In there, at the bottom, where it says 'Recording Media:' - make sure you change that from JPEG (which is the default option) to RAW (which is the format you took the original image in).

Then, once the image is completely uploaded to the Gallery, in the exif data underneath your image as well as saying what camera you used, what lens, what aperture, shutter speed etc., it will also say what format you took the image in (i.e. instead of saying 'JPEG (digital)' it will say 'RAW (digital)' instead).

If you're still having trouble, just say and I'll upload a mod which has some screenshots for you to look at, showing the options and where to find them Smile

In the meantime, by the way, I've done you a mod of your image above where I've brought out the details a bit more in that dark band of rock, below the town. It's a beautiful image, by the way, even though it's predominantly blue in tone. I love the combination of the warm glows within the houses and the cool, cold aura of night time outside.

I also cropped a fraction in from the right hand side, just to remove that little bit of orange light in the bottom right corner - it's lovely, but it's distracting to the eye Smile

Tanya
23/04/2015 - 1:48 PM

Killarney, April 2015

Killarney, April 2015Tracey, I've just had another thought about this (sorry!). When you say that the histogram appears fine, even though the image seems underexposed, what shape is the histogram for this one and what's the distribution of tones through the length of it?

The only reason I'm asking is, thinking about a conversation I had with a guy the other week who does an awful lot of very good landscape imagery, his advice was to expose to the right. I'm still trying to get my head round that theory and it's one that not everyone holds dear to, but the logic behind it seems sound.

The idea is to expose 'to the right' as far as you can without clipping the highlights (particularly if you shoot RAW, which you do). Apparently one of the advantages of doing this is that it minimises noise and in post processing it's easier to take down shadow areas without the risk of introducing noise. As opposed to lightening them afterwards in post processing - that always runs the risk of introducing unwanted noise in those shadow areas.

You're probably one step ahead of me already here, but have a look at this article on the Cambridge in Colour website. It gives several techniques (as well as the ETTR one) that you may find interesting and/or useful.

Tanya
23/04/2015 - 11:50 AM

Killarney, April 2015

Killarney, April 2015Hmm ... I've just had a play with this and I can see what you mean about it easily breaking down. However, I've done a mod which is has brought out a bit more detail, particularly in the distant hills. I can't see anything untoward in terms of breaking down, or at least no more than you had on the upload here, but I also think that the image when I opened it in PS had an AdobeRGB profile attached, not an sRGB one? I don't know how much difference that made to anything I've done at my end. I did convert to sRGB while I worked on it, so I don't know what it's going to look like here afterwards ...

I basically had a quick play with the Image/Adjustments/Shadows & Highlights feature in PS6 and used the following settings:

Shadows: Amount = 16%, Tonal width = 35%, Radius = 0px
Highlights: Amount = 0%, Tonal width = 50%, Radius = 30px
Adjustments: Colour correction = -61, Midtone contrast = -35

Everything else in the Shadows/Highlights settings was at the default levels.

I personally struggle with this sort of thing, so I don't know how helpful this will be for you. It'll be interesting what else comes up as better way to do what you want to do.

Tanya
22/04/2015 - 2:21 PM

Raingazer

RaingazerGosh, he's rather ... err ... buff!! Smile

Great shot, by the way ... the right combination of dark menace and lighting on his body. You've got three light spots in the foreground rocks that are pulling my eye a fraction, but that's a really niggly minor point given the rest of the image.

Tanya
22/04/2015 - 11:35 AM

Photo Shoot - Portrait

Photo Shoot - PortraitHi Tyson - welcome back to the critique gallery Smile

First off, well done for having a go with this genre. Sometimes, it's easy to get put off in a situation like this, surrounded by other photographers (some of whom are either pro or semi-pro) and end up with nothing because you were scared of being seen as 'pushy'. Secondly, good on you for wanting to do something a bit different to the normal shots in this kind of scenario.

There's one or two things that immediately strike me about this image - firstly, you can tell that she ain't used to holding a camera! Secondly, your skin tones are a fraction warmer than I personally like (others may say different though). Okay, the light is perhaps a little harsh and you can spend ages thinking of what you should have done, but you've actually ended with a very good portrait of this lass.

I've done you a mod which I hope will present a different way of doing this image - both at the taking stage and the processing stage. As well as cropping the image overall, I've moved the camera over so that she's looking 'through' the viewfinder - that to me seems more natural. Okay, you don't get to see both of those beautiful eyes, but that's a small point. It may not be the best cut-and-shut job in the world, but it is only to illustrate the point Grin

The other thing I've done is to go black and white instead (the red on the camera strap was bugging me Smile), fairly high contrast but still dark and moody.

I've never done this kind of shot, so in terms of the technicalities I'm hoping that someone else will come along and advise you on that side of things, if necessary.

But - I like the image and will be interested to see some of the others you took, too Smile

Tanya
21/04/2015 - 4:59 PM

What happened to the view?

What happened to the view?I've nothing really to add to the others' comments above. If one of your fellow coach travellers was wearing a bright red jacket, or had a red umbrella or something similar, you could have asked them to move into the misty area and capture them that way. Something bright in amongst all that mist would have caught the viewer's eye and drawn it onwards and upwards into the image.

Alternatively, you could have asked the pro photographer to put his money where his mouth was and pose with his tripod for you in the mists Grin That could have been classed as 'not fighting the weather and making a picture of it' ... You could then have (possibly) had something intesting by photographing a photographer, who was trying to photograph something in impossible odds!! Wink
17/04/2015 - 3:09 PM

Storm on the Vestmann

Storm on the VestmannHello again Alexander Smile

It's great to see another one of your images in the critique gallery, although I will say that had this been in the main gallery, I'd have definitely voted on it! However, as you've put it into the Critique Gallery, I'll give you my thoughts on it.

I love this view. It's harsh, uncompromising and says 'storm' incredibly effectively. It puts the viewer very much in the image, with that big wave about to crest over and tumble towards them - that's a good technique, as we instantly become a 'part' of the image, rather than a passive spectator.

I can't personally see anything wrong with your settings technically, although I would say that if you chose to shoot RAW instead of JPEG, you'd probably get a heck of a lot more out of the image in the post processing stage. The trouble with JPEG is that the camera makes certain decisions for you, at the time of taking the image. It will also throw away some information in order to keep the file at a manageable JPEG size. Unfortunately, you can never get this information back - it's gone, for good. RAW, on the other hand, records everything and discards nothing - it's then up to you as the photographer to process the image as you want, using every single bit of available data that the camera recorded at the time of taking. You're probably already aware of all this already, and shoot JPEG deliberately, but it doesn't hurt to reiterate it, sometimes Smile

I know you see yourself as a purist with your photography, only taking what was there at the time, and will have composed this view deliberately in your viewfinder to include the big chunky rocks on the left hand side, but for me I see this as being more about the upward pointing shards of rocks and that wave, then the heavyness of the left hand side.

So I've done you a mod where I've cropped to almost a square format, excluding the left hand side of your original image. I've left part of them in for the sake of context, though.

The one thing I absolutely love about this image is that emerald green colouration of the wave, mixed in with a tiny bit of blue here and there. That, for me, is what makes this image. So I've tried to concentrate on that aspect of it and, as part of doing that, I've reduced the blue from your sky a bit as I felt that it competed too much for attention with the colouration of the water. By doing so, I also think that it goes along more with my idea of a storm - blue skies never give me that impression!

I've also adjusted shadows and highlights a little, just to try and bring out a bit more detail in the rock areas. I cloned out a couple of the larger, paler coloured rocks that were sitting on the bottom edge of the frame, as they distracted my eye from going forwards ... that rocky foreground should serve as a pathway to the main event of the wave - it shouldn't prevent the viewer's eye from delving into the image at the outset.

I realise that these aren't things that you would do yourself, given your approach to the naturalness of your imagery. However, for me I think it improves the image. You may agree or not, and that's absolutely fine Smile

Tanya

[Edit: I've actually done you two mods - the first is exactly as I've described above. The second, however, I used a bit of artistic license and I hope you don't mind. Sometimes, imagery needs a little bit of something in order to make it into something else, and I've done that with my Mod2. I've retained the emerald green of the water, but given the rest of the image a darker, warmer tone throughout.]
Light and volcanoes, new versionLooking back on the previous version of this, I much prefer what you've done here.

A slightly different crop by the looks of things which really does highlight that gorgeously rippled water. The colours in this version are also much more pleasing on the eye - gentler and, because they're on the warmer end of the colour spectrum, it makes the image much more inviting to the viewer in lots of ways.

You've addressed the slight rotation needed, and you've also brought out much more detail in the grassy bank, which is lovely. It's now an invitation towards, rather than a barrier across, that wonderful scene in the background.

I see that the little white blob on the bank that Moira pointed out before is still there Smile It's not really an issue, given the beautiful serenity of the rest of the image, but I think like to see it gone as well.

Other than that, I think this is a massive improvement over the last image of the same place. I don't want to change or correct anything in the image, but I am going to try a mod where I want to introduce a dreamy, otherworldly feeling if I can. I'll be back in a bit ...

Tanya
13/04/2015 - 10:58 AM

The angry swimmer

The angry swimmerI know you say you don't like post processing and like your images to be natural, but this is one time where I think a little more contrast and colour saturation would really push this image to another level. You've caught a wonderful expression on the swimmer's face, so your timing is spot on. A quirky angle gives the image a dynamic feeling of movement and although it could be a little sharper, the fact that the viewer can see the swimmer's eyes really gives a feeling of connection between the subject and us.

One thing I would suggest though is to remove the date stamp from your images (preferably in camera). Although it's useful in some ways, it gives a feeling of a 'snap' rather than a photograph (I know from your About page that you describe yourself as an amateur, but even so Smile).

Try this - put your finger over the date stamp on the image ... the image immediately takes on a completely different feeling, a far more serious feeling where the viewer can overlook the technical aspects of the image and concentrate on the action contained within it instead.

Tanya
13/04/2015 - 9:54 AM

Pairc Life II

Pairc Life IIHi Ian - I did look at this yesterday, but didn't comment at the time as I wanted to think it over a bit before doing so Smile It's hard to critique these creations, to be honest, because they're exactly that ... a creation. If it were a scene in reality, it's easier to pick up on what works and what doesn't. Non-reality is difficult because we have to imagine where things like shadows would be, depending on the light intensity and direction etc.

So ... in addition to the great observations above, I think that the one thing I'll add (and it was something I noticed yesterday that stood out for me) is that the guy's face seems to have conflicting light, given that the light source is behind him through the windows. Not by a lot, admittedly, but I'm wondering whether a slight shading on his stomach area and face would embed him more in the image?

Looking at where the light is entering (from the left, behind him) and trying to visualise how it would naturally fall, his face seems to have light coming towards it from the viewer's perspective as well, and yet there's nothing on either the floor, or in the direction of the shadows on the other objects in the room, to give this credence. For example, his shadow on the wall would indicate (to me, anyway) a light source from, say, the bottom left corner somewhere as well, but there's no soft shadows going in the same direction from the legs of the table or the chairs ... Also, his shadow is soft (indicating a diffused light source) whereas the shadows from the legs of the table/chairs are hard edged, indicating a much more direct, point light source. Might it be better to have them (the shadows) either all soft edged, or all hard edged?

Don't know what you think? One of the reasons I may be picking up on that is because I'm currently reading about matching light sources, light intensity, light colour etc when doing compositiong ... so I'm probably overthinking it no end, but it is the one thing that I keep coming back to.

Got to admit, though - these creations of yours are brilliant and definitely give me ideas for my own stuff and also about the 'integrity' and realism of a constructed scene. It's not about plonking stuff together and hoping it works ... there's a hell of a lot of thought and skill goes into creating a scene like this, where the viewer suspends belief in reality because what they're looking at is actually so good Grin

Tanya
12/04/2015 - 12:21 PM

Dijana

DijanaI really like this actually. I love the combination of old, retro grunge combined with the glamour and cultured poise of the woman. I think the only thing that detracts from it a little is the dirty windscreen ... I know that's part of the grungy feel, but there's quite a bit of detritus on it that is, unfortunately, spilling over onto the face of the woman. On one level, it kind of doesn't matter, but it does make her face look a little too bitty.

I've done a really quick mod where I've tried to clean a couple of the bits up on her face, without taking away from the grungy feel. I've also cloned out the skin wrinkles on her arms where she's leaning on the steering wheel. I know it's part and parcel of the pose in a way, but I do find those little bits distracting. I've also cropped a little off the bottom and a small amount off the top as well. I adjusted the levels a little, just to give the image a bit more contrast.

Tanya
08/04/2015 - 1:04 PM

No refuge for the innocent

No refuge for the innocentAnother beauty, with a powerful message as well Smile I love the slightly (okay, very) sinister feel to this one and the expression on the deer's face is heart-wrenching. Obviously it wasn't like that while it was happily grazing, and was probably wondering where its neighbour was as it's more quizzical than scared.

But the addition of the shadowy figure and the 'gun' makes the image something else entirely.

I think the only thing I'm wondering is whether the deer's shadow should be slightly less defined around the edges? I think she (presumably?) is standing on what looks like a wet surface, but it still seems very sharply defined, particularly around the leg area? (And trust me, the only reason I'm picking up on that one is because I'm rubbish at shadows myself ... always mess them up, so I suppose when I see other people's shadows that they've done, I look more closely! Smile)

Tanya
02/04/2015 - 2:58 PM

Portrait

PortraitHi Ishan, nice to see you uploading again Smile

I love the background here - I think it's beautifully blurred and provides a lovely backdrop to this portrait.

Regarding the manual focus on your camera, I can't help you there as I don't know which model it is? Or is it a camera phone? It sounds like it didn't switch to manual focus for whatever reason, and the zooming in bit sounds like the autofocus trying to take over ... don't know on that score, obviously, so maybe someone else will be able to help there.

Moving the guy into the shade was the right thing to do, as it's given you a lovely even light across his face. If anything, I'd say in your desire to not underexpose the image, you've actually gone a fraction too much the other way and it appears to be a little bit overexposed on my screen. I'm looking particularly across his nose area and I am talking a tiny bit - literally less than 0.5 over. I don't know how that will appear on anyone else's monitor, but that's what I'm seeing here.

I've done a very quick mod where, as well as taking the exposure back a fraction, I've also adjusted your colour balance a little too. Although I really like the warmth of the tone, I think that the greens of the background are a little too bright, so I've reduced saturation in the greens and the yellows to -25.

I know you chose not to crop the image, but I have done - just in from the right hand side a little. I also sharpened a bit using Smart Sharpen.

Oh, and the little bits of white hair? I don't think he's gone prematurely grey - I think it's just the sunlight catching and reflecting back from that lovely glossy blackness Grin

Hope you like the mod - it's quite subtle, and perfectly fine if you don't think it adds anything to your original image Smile

Tanya
31/03/2015 - 4:11 PM

Freedom

FreedomNo, it's perhaps not as immediately striking as the colour version but you knew that already!

However it's a strong image in its own right and something which relies on tone and texture for its content and emotional impact. Without the subconscious visual 'clues' of colour for the viewer, the success (or not) of a mono image relies instead on composition much more heavily. Here, for example, your ghostly figure is quite central and as such gives a static feel that's at odds with the feeling of the 'rising' smoke.

That smoke, in turn, hits the top of the image with nowhere to go. I think the image needs more space at the top and to the right hand side, in order to place the figure more on a vertical third line (on the left) and with some space for the smoke to rise up into. That would increase the visual strength of the image for me.

You haven't enabled mods here, but I can send you a version via PM if you like that shows what I mean?

I hope you don't mind my comment, especially as you didn't ask for any feedback for this one! However, as an image I really loved the colour version and I think that this mono version is equally as good, but in a completely different way.

Tanya
31/03/2015 - 9:45 AM

Astrid

AstridI much prefer this style to the overly plastic feel of the last one (even though it was fun).
With this one, I think the light is coming from the right hand side, yes? If so, you may want to increase the depth of the shadows on the floor, perhaps?
28/03/2015 - 6:05 PM

Dancing Macabre

Dancing MacabreLove it Grin It's right up my alley and immensely creative and weird. You could go even darker and more moody in terms of colours, but I realize that's a very personal choice.

Having read the comments above and agreed with most of them, I'm not going to rehash them. One thing I did notice, though, is that the texture you've already used covers the end of the book facing the viewer, the paler bit with the pages - I don't know if that was a deliberate choice or not, but my eyes want it not to be there.

The larger skull on the wall doesn't bother me, even if it is quite prominent. You could, if you'd a mind to, change the colouration of it so that it's not quite so ... jaunty, for want of a better word! It almost doesn't fit with the macabre feel of the rest of it, in those colours.

The smoke is, I think, done very well indeed. However, I want to see it more in order to enjoy it! It curves beautifully around the two skeletal figures, hugging them and caressing them, and I suppose I want it to be more defined, so that the figures themselves almost become the support for the smoke, rather than the other way round.

The other thing, for me, is the skull and crossbones top right - for me, that one element isn't actually necessary and almost gives the whole image a slightly comical, very typically 'skull related' feel that I don't think does justice to your image. If it were me, I'd get rid of that one element.

However, having said all of that - I completely appreciate the skill involved in creating this image. I think it's very, very good as it currently stands - a couple of minor tweaks, and it could be very, very superb instead Smile

Tanya

[Edit: damn, just seen the mods (should have looked at them first, but never mind). Willie's mod, the much darker one, is where I think you need to be heading with this image. That's almost exactly as my mind would like to see it Smile)