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02/03/2015 - 3:06 PM

Bluebell Impressions

Bluebell ImpressionsI've added another mod where I've altered the colours quite a bit to a more autumnal feeling, rather than spring. I realise full well that if you'd wanted autumn colours, you'd have probably shot in the autumn, so do forgive me for altering your season Grin While there's absolutely nothing wrong with the blues/greens of your original image, for me it needs to feel stronger colour-wise, somehow. And I've always liked this kind of image, and doing a mod enabled me to have a play to see what effect I could actually get to.

Tonally, I added a Selective Colour layer adjustment and set the values of Yellows to Cyan: -38; Magenta: +51; Yellow: +100. I set the values of the Greens to Cyan: -100; Magenta: +100; Yellow: +100. Magentas I set to Cyan: +100; Magenta: -100; Yellow: +32.

On top of that I added a Hue/Saturation layer adjustment and set the hue of the Reds to -5 and the saturation to -100. For the Yellows I set hue to +3 and saturation to +40. Blues were given a saturation level of -34.

On that same Hue/Saturation adjustment layer I added a white layer mask and painted in black down the lengths of the tree trunks, leaving that green (yellow) sharp cluster in the middle alone.

Then a Curves adjustment layer set to the preset of Medium Contrast (RGB) was added above the Hue/Saturation layer.

Then (last bit, I promise ...) I created a stamp of all the other layers (Shift+Ctrl+Alt+E on a PC) and then painted in black on a white layer mask around the yellow cluster of leaves in the middle.

I recreated a vertial motion blur effect on the image, over and above what you'd originally done with the Topaz filter, and put it everywhere except that yellow cluster of leaves.

A quick bit of cloning to remove those whiter patches between the trees and a slightly more letterbox style crop to your original and voila! A completely different version of your original image, which you probably don't like Grin

However, there's huge potential in your original image and there WAS missing something, as you rightly pointed out.

I think my mod is more evening in the woodlands rather than morning. I know the bluebells possibly don't git with the autumnal colours, but at the end of it it's just another possible way to process the image. You will, of course, process it the way you want, with your vision and creativity. However, it was a great one to play with, and for that I thank you Smile

25/02/2015 - 12:01 PM

Moods of Morlich

Moods of MorlichHi Kate - I don't know what post processing software you use, but I've done the following in Photoshop:

I added a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer, and under the Reds option, set the Hue to +11 and the Saturation to -100.
On the Magentas option, I set the Hue to -64 and the Saturation to -69.
Saturation on the Master option was set to -25.

I then painted on the layer mask with a large, soft (black) brush set to 25% opacity and painted over the foreground a bit and more so over the sandy road on the right of the image. I left the warmer tones in the road as I didn't want to desaturate them too much or change their colour.

There is still a very small amount of magenta hue in the fringes of the fluffy cloud on the right of the image, but taking that bit too far started to degrade the image too much, so I left it alone! Smile

There may well be easier or more straightforward ways of correcting that magenta caste, but that's what I've done in my mod.

20/02/2015 - 11:10 AM


RunNow that I've closed my mouth, all I can think is 'wow!' Grin

Okay, you may have wanted more fog, better shadows, the light falling from a different direction, yada yada yada, and I completely get that part of the art of the image ... but my god, for me this is incredibly effective just as it is!!

Re the shadow of the axe ... I didn't realise there even was an axe until I read the description Blush It does get lost a bit in those wonderful light rays, so I'm wondering whether the arm holding the axe should be pointing downwards towards the ground, instead of up in the air? That may then allow the light behind to fall on both the arm and the axe handle/head and perhaps give you the shadow you want? Or did you specifically want the shadow shape of the axe to be created by the light rays?

Just a thought, though. I'd be chuffed to bits to have taken anything approaching this level of goodness Grin

19/02/2015 - 12:47 PM

Dublin at night - The Ferryman

Dublin at night - The FerrymanIt's actually a very good mono conversion - good depth throughout, nice inky blacks and bright whites.

I'm also not the best with correcting verticals, so I'm not going to do a mod, as you're already aware of that issue by the sounds of it. The only thing I would suggest is that you recrop this to include the pointed bit of the roof belonging to the glass building on the left, perhaps with a fraction of space above it to give it room to exist in. Given all the other pointy bits in the image (the starbursts, the edge of that same glass builidng and the head of the arrow on the road) my brain wants to see the pointy bit on the roof too, for the sake of continuity, if nothing else.

I absolutely love the addition of the disembodied trainers in the middle of the road, waiting to cross ... it's like a little touch of humour in an otherwise quite austere and structured image Smile

Silbury Hill, taken from West kennet long barrow.Oh, I don't know ... I can just see a kingfisher perched atop one of those stones Wink

It's a great scene, though. Nicely composed although for me the right hand side of the image is a little lacking in interest. The colours, also, are a touch too washed out and bland for a dramatic landscape.

But rather than trying to adjust your colour original to something else, I've gone the opposite route and done a black and white mod instead. I also cropped a little off that right side and down from the top. I think stone structures like this really suite the mono treatment, although you may hate it - which is fine - it's just another way of looking at processing your images.

16/02/2015 - 3:43 PM

Erasing my final memories

Erasing my final memoriesThere's some superb comments and observations above about your image - yes, it's dark in the most troubling sense of the word, but it's damned effective! This girl you've worked with has a fantastic look for this kind of thing (I know that probably sounds odd, but I mean it in the best possible way!!). The makeup you've done is also very good, given that it's your first time doing it.

I think the thing for me is that the reflection of the killer is too small to make out unless, as Dudler says, you know it's there and what it actually is. I know that it's from Ghosts, and I remember that image well. I'm not sure how to make it more obvious and recognisable though, although I've attempted to do so in my mod. It's similar to Robert's, but I've cropped in closer and enlarged in order to try and make everything a bit more obvious. Sadly though, definition does suffer as a result of that enlargement, but it's just an illustration. (I also selected just the reflection in the eye and tried to enlarge it a touch further too ... it's made it less definite, which I think is working, but going back and re-editing it from the start is probably your best bet in some ways.)

In addition, I've used a Colour Lookup adjustment layer (god, I love those things ...) and used the filmstock_50 preset. It's given the image very much a more 'dead' look, if that were possible. It may make some people uncomfortable looking at this kind of thing, but I think boundaries are there to be pushed ... and you certainly do that with your imagery!

Have a look and see what you think ...

The Sun tryed to overcome a barrierNo. Just ... 'no' Sad The sun may have tried to overcome a barrier Friedrich, but you haven't.

I'm sorry if that sounds negative, but all of the feedback that people have tried to give you has resulted in virtually no change on your part. Critique is a two-way process which should benefit you as much as it does us.

If this is the kind of imagery you like to take and process and you're happy and determined to continue with this style, then I think that (as Moira suggested above) you should upload to the Main gallery, rather than the Critique Gallery, as I don't honestly think we can help you any further here. (When you upload to the gallery, just don't tick the 'Critique wanted' box.)

The Critique Team will always, always try and help, advise and guide ... if people genuinely want that advice and guidance. You don't appear to. Having all our efforts disappear into a big black hole is disheartening, to say the least and I for one am no longer going to bang my head against a brick wall - it hurts too much and is pointless.

06/02/2015 - 2:24 PM

The darkest of thoughts

The darkest of thoughtsI think your composition is exactly right here - I love the way the lower arm and the upright one echo the bottom edge of the frame and the right hand side. Doesn't matter if that was serendipity or conscious choice on your part - it works Smile

Mono was also the right choice with this image, I think.

I realise you took this in quite difficult conditions, so it's not a negative point in any way ... but have you tried a bit of selective sharpening on the face at all? It's currently quite soft, and although that does kind of add to the pensive feel of the image, I'm finding my eyes want a definite point of sharpness, even if it's only a small one, from which to explore the rest of it.

TREES IN SNOW DISCOVERED WHILE A WALKABOUT ON THE 4TH FEBRUARY 2015You've done well with this one, Timothy, to get the snow the right colour without any kind of colour caste. Not always easy to do, so big thumbs up for that one.
May I suggest a very slight crop on the left hand side, just to remove that half-a-trunk in the top left corner? it does rather draw the eye away from the very nice composition of the other three trunks - and they always say that odd numbers in an image provide a more dynamic feel than even numbers, which can sometimes feel too static.
Rivière La Chaux, Mahébourg__Mauritius series-7My word, what a difference!

Your previous over-saturated images made me want to turn away from them; this one, however, invites me to look and see, enjoying the interplay of colour, light, shapes and textures Smile

I have also had a go at a mod, using Moira's as the basis (sorry Moira!) but doing the magic wand thing and adding a boat into the expanse of water, just to see what difference it made to the overall feel of the image.

To be fair, though - the images works without the addition of the extra boat. Hopefully, you've taken on board some of the feedback from the team with your last few images and, even if you never responded directly to that feedback, if this is the result then keep them coming like this one - they're a pleasure to view, not an assault on the eyeballs! Grin

Colorful earth__Mauritius series 5Hello Friedrich - I think the pertinent points have been covered above by Moira and Paul. With all of your images so far that you've uploaded, there's a definite issue with over-saturation of colours. While this in itself can be hard on the viewer's eyes, it also doesn't do your work any favours - from what I've seen so far, your compositional eye and the ability to 'see' an image is absolutely fine and by over-saturating the colours in this manner, it doesn't do your images justice.

Having said that, I've actually tried two mods for you to look at - Mod1 is where I've tried to bring back the colours to a more natural palette, as well as a small crop to place the structure on the hill on a point of intersection (using the 'Rule of Thirds' compositional guidelines).

Mod2 is a mono version of Mod1 - just to try and illustrate the point that colour isn't everything in an image. Sometimes, the natural forms and textures of the land are also beautiful in their own right, and sometimes colour (particularly when it's overdone) can just get in the way of enjoying an image.

(I did notice that your colour space in-camera is Nikon's sRGB space - when I assigned a standard sRGB profile to the image above, it didn't make any difference to the saturation of the colours. So I think the problem is definitely either camera settings or the way you process the images after taking them. Have a look back over the advice you've already been given in this critique gallery on your other images, and then look at your work again with an objective eye, if you can.)

03/02/2015 - 10:40 AM

The Studio

The StudioEileen, am I right in thinking that you already use a light tent? I've got a feeling you mentioned in one of your other images (the pears?) that the tent only came with the basic four coloured backgrounds (white, black, red and blue)?

Re the white background coming out grey, I notice from your EXIF data above that you don't use any kind of exposure compensation. I know you say you're still using the Auto exposure mode, but try this ... meter the scene how you normally would. If using one of the Auto modes, make a note of what the shutter speed and aperture the camera's metering system suggests for the scene. Then:

(a) Write those two settings down and then put the camera to M (manual) mode and then alter just one of the settings. E.g., if your camera's meter suggests f/2.8 at 1/8 sec, leave the aperture as it is (f/2.8) and alter the shutter speed to 1/4 sec. Basically you'll be allowing twice as much light onto the sensor - which will brighten your whites to more white, and less grey. This is the slightly more complex way of doing it if you've not experimented with anything but Auto.

Or, easier ways are:

(b) Leave the exposure setting as Auto, and just add (e.g.) +1 exposure compensation if you can, or
(c) if you've got some sort of 'Scenes' modes, choose one for snow if you've got it, or one for predominantly 'white' scenes. The camera should automatically give the extra exposure needed in order to record whites as white, and not grey.

I'm not familiar with your particular camera, so can't say where you'll find these settings if the camera has them - the instruction book is your friend in situations like this, utilise it! Grin Sometimes, the only way is to have a play ... what's the worst that can happen? So you may have to delete some images because they didn't come out for whatever reason. You'll learn more about the camera and how to use it by experimenting than you ever will by using the same settings over and over, and being disappointed with the results for whatever reason.

I'm really enjoying the creativity of your work so far and am finding myself looking forward to what you'll produce next! Smile

03/02/2015 - 10:09 AM


AlidiaHiya Keith - Tonyguitar has mentioned the fingernails, so I'm not going to labour that point (no pun, honest ...) Smile
I really like this one. The facial expression is absolutely perfect and the position of the eyes and the shadows on the face from the hair spot on.
The brightness of the bum is bothering me a tad - I don't know whether it's because it's so close to the horizon line, or whether it just needs a bit of shadowing on it (and down the spine a little), given the strength of the shadow on her neck/chest area - don't know.
The arm that she's leaning on seems a fraction thin when compared to the one on the other side, but I can't work if that's an optical illusion to do with the nails or not?

However, even with those niggles, it's amazingly realistic and I think it's great Smile

02/02/2015 - 5:00 PM

The Studio

The StudioNow why on earth would I want to modify this? I think it's charming Smile

I actually prefer V2 ... I think because it's more 'natural' (and I use that word loosely Grin) ... yes, the lighting is brighter in V1 and there are more shadows, but somehow V2 is more realistic.

The other thing is that in V1, there's quite a lot of 'blotching' in the large expanses of white, i.e. your background paper and the canvas surface. I don't know whether it's processing that's caused that or not, but it's not there (or to nowhere the same degree) in V2.

Instead of a self-portrait, I suppose you could have started the 'still life' image on the canvas yourself ... that could then introduce a further sense of realism? (Doesn't have to be anything fancy ... just a few coloured strokes of paint on the canvas, like an underpainting. You'd also then get a bit of paint on the end of the actual brush, again adding to the sense of reality.)

Great image, fantastic use of props and a real sense of fun about this one Smile

30/01/2015 - 3:22 PM

Four Pears

Four PearsI can see Mediator's mod, Eileen, so I think everyone else should be able to as well Smile
Of your three versions, I love V1 the best ... mostly because the pears seem to be in random conversation situation - the two on the left engrossed in discussion; the foreground pear desperate to overhear what's being said, and the poor pear on the extreme right desperate to get into the conversation, but not sure how to interject itself!

Re changing the background colour ... this may be an obvious answer (and I certainly don't mean to be flippant) ... but what about changing the actual paper itself to a different coloured one? Or is that not possible for whatever reason?

The other (but possibly less easy, judging by your description) answer is to really try and get to grips with layers ... a whole new world of post processing opportunities will open up to you. Even if you only figure out how to blend two layers together, that would give you the option of using a textured/coloured image on top of your pear one (or whichever) and using a blend mode to affect how the top layer interacts with the one underneath.

Different colour background or not, there's a lovely almost endearingly gentle humour in this image of yours, and I really do like it.

30/01/2015 - 3:10 PM

an American Bullfrog

an American BullfrogLovely to see the eyes on this one, Timothy Smile A beautifully soft focus background too, which really concentrates attention on the frog itself.
In an ideal world, I would have liked to have seen the tips of the toes in the bottom of the frame. But hey! Sometimes the world is not ideal.

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!