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24/06/2015 - 2:43 PM


AlleyWell, I'm no expert but I've given it a go for you Grin

In my mod, I've done the following:

1) I used Photoshop's Shadows/Highlights feature to push and pull different bits of the image around to bring more details out where I could (if you want to know the exact settings, just yell and I'll put them up here, as I did save them just in case Wink)
2) I then used a Levels adjustment layer where I tweaked the midtones a little (to 1.27).
3) I added a black and white adjustment layer, just to take it back to true mono, as your image above has a bit of a purple/magenta cast in some places. (I used the eye droppers in the b&w adjustment layer, to set the black and white points.)
4) Then I smart sharpened (50% at a 0.8px radius).

Et voila!! Grin I did mess around with the perspectives of the two pillars at the front, but didn't end up leaving that bit in the mod as I wasn't sure if that's what you'd want. You may have been going for the "oh my god I'm drunk in an alley" kind of feeling Wink

Anyways, have a look and see if my mod does what you were hoping for.

21/06/2015 - 11:56 AM

Dun n Broke

Dun n BrokeOverall, I really like this. The car's wonderful and the whole image works. There's just one or two tiny tweaks that if it were mine, I'd make. Firstly, there's a hard dark line at the top of her head where (I think) it's the shadow of being under the bonnet? I realize it's not easy when you've got someone's head underneath a bonnet, but perhaps a slightly different head position would have eliminated this?

The other thing is ... well ... the thing I've always found with rubber is that normally talc is needed in order to actually get in and out the damned stuff with relative ease. However, talc really shows up on the rubber afterwards and makes it matt and untidy, when what you want is shiny. So perhaps a wee buff with something before shooting may have taken the obvious talc marks off of the derriere area? Blush

(Mind you, looking at the highlights on the bum from the studio lights, you may well have utilized the talc as a mattifier, to stop excessive highlights?)

21/06/2015 - 11:30 AM

Sily Sunday sidewalk sculpture

Sily Sunday sidewalk sculptureThe glow from those bottles is quite glorious Smile I've done a mod which is pretty obvious really, but it had to be done ... the pavement gives the image context but I so wanted to crop so it's just the bottles themselves!
18/06/2015 - 12:03 PM

Clay Mystery

Clay MysteryIf it helps at all, I used to have that same problem with uploading images here - they always came out darker and more contrasty on here than on my PC at home. However, one thing I did find really useful was using Photoshop's soft proofing feature, and soft proofing for Monitor RGB instead of sRGB. Yes, sRGB is the internet standard colour space and there are a couple of web browsers that do support colour management (Firefox and Chrome, I believe) but I don't think that IE has caught up with that yet (although I may be wrong on that point).

I now softproof for both sRGB and MonitorRGB before uploading - if there's a massive difference between the two, I often adjust the image to something that looks good with either proof space, and go with that Grin

(Mind you, once I'd stopped being an idiot and realised that it wasn't enough to just 'view' the proof setup, you had to toggle the proof colours on and off to actually see the differences ... well, it all became a heck of a lot easier!! Blush)

18/06/2015 - 11:39 AM

Last Rays

Last RaysHaving looked at the other image you've uploaded, I'd probably also opt for midges being the culprit - especially if they weren't present on any of the other images from that same evening. Looking at their dispersion pattern, it is quite reminiscent of midges flying around in clustered groups. They also seem quite close to where that bush is on the right of the mod image, so if you were standing in grass or something like that, you have have disturbed them and they've flown up?

With the main image above, as gorgeous as it undeniably is, I find myself wanting to see more detail in the foreground and middle ground areas. That sun star, being so bright, is the first thing my eye want to - whereas I wanted to explore the textures in the foreground more, the grass, the nooks and crannies of the dry stone wall, that kind of thing.

So I've had a go at a quick mod, where I've tried to shift the balance of the light in the image more towards the foreground. I used Photoshop's Shadows/Highlights feature mostly, but then also used a neutral density graduated filter (set to the Divide blend mode, oddly, as it seemed to work), which I then softened the effect of on a layer mask. After that, I added a Levels adjustment layer, moved the midtones to the right in the upper box and the whites to the left in the bar below, and then used a large soft brush, set to black, on the Levels layer mask to bring back some of the gorgeous warm light on the wood, grass and stones in the foreground areas.

What I've done with my mod may not be at all what you wanted for the image, which is fine Smile But for my eyes, I can now see the bits I want to explore more and the brightness of the sun star and sky are background players, rather than the main event. (Oh, and the vapour trail went as well Grin))

17/06/2015 - 2:12 PM

The Nobel.

The Nobel.Hi Mario

It's very hard indeed to find any fault with this image Smile I love the light on the man's face and, though I've tried really hard, I can't actually see anything amiss regarding your selection at all. Perhaps a hint of a shadow of something coming through in the hair on the neck, just above the collar on the left side of the image, but equally that could be natural shadow of some sort. The whites of the shirt could be just a touch whiter, though that's strictly necessary.

I think that, for me, the only adjustments I personally would make is to (1) remove a little dead space on the left of the image and (2) I would have liked to have seen the complete ends of the collar points (the ones on the left of the image).

Very minor points though, to be fair. I've done a very quick mod where I've done both of these things for you to consider. I have whitened the shirt just a little, although I'm in two minds as to whether I think it contributes anything or not.

16/06/2015 - 10:21 AM

Feral, Molonglo River

Feral, Molonglo RiverMoira's description made me smile, as it said what my mind was thinking while I was looking at the image. I really like it. I love the way the main tree and the smaller twigs on the right are leaning towards each other, like they're having a lazy private conversation. In your image above, the way that small tree on the other side is leaning away from the other two just reinforces that in my imagination, as thought it's being excluded somehow from the 'in crowd' on the bank Smile

However, that smaller tree on the right is, in some ways, out of place. Looking at the V2, I can see that it wouldn't be easy to decide where to crop in order to just isolate the two main parts (centre tree and the bit on the right). If you include too much of the vegetation on the left, then it can unbalance things and the image then becomes something other, perhaps, to what you intended.

I've done a very quick mod where I've cloned out the tree on the left and a little of the other twigs and stuff. I've also tried to clone out the reflection as well, thought I'm the first to admit it's not the most seamless cloning in the world! That way, for me, the focus is now firmly on the main tree and the twigs on the right, with that little stand of bushes on the left taking a far less intrusive role than they did.

The other thing I did was to add a very soft, neutral density gradient from the top down, to try and balance the two halves of the image a bit more.

See what you think anyway. And please, if you feel that any mods that are done don't fit your vision for the image, don't hesitate to say so Smile

15/06/2015 - 4:10 PM

Pa sa re lla

Pa sa re llaHello Bernabe, welcome back to the critique gallery Smile

I can completely understand why you wanted to record the beauty and tranquility of this place, as it's absolutely gorgeous! I love the muted colour palette, where everything is softly gentle and ... 'quiet' is I think the word I'm looking for, although it's perhaps not the best one to use. There's a sense of hush over the scene, as if a careless heavy footstep could upset the balance of calm.

The other thing that really does strike me about the image is that it's got a very definite oriental art feeling about it. All simplicity and contemplation; everything placed carefully in order to lead the visitor through almost a meditation. Does that many any sense or am I off in a world of my own, here ? Grin

Although I don't think the image needs any changes, other than perhaps a bit of work on shadows and highlights, to give a little more modulation and structure to some parts of it, I've taken the liberty of doing you a mod which is a personal interpretation of your scene. As well as cropping to a square format (in some ways the bit on the right isn't necessary and is perhaps a little messy and distracting) I've also done a bit of noise reduction in order to introduce an almost smoothed out, slightly artistic feeling overall. You may not like that, which is absolutely fine. It's just another way of interpreting the feeling that the image inspires within me.

Have a look at the mod and see what you think of it, though.

15/06/2015 - 3:47 PM

Bursting at the seams

Bursting at the seamsMany moons ago, I used (and even still have) a little gadget called an SRB Monovue Eyepiece viewer that enabled you to look through it and 'see' a scene in black and white. It was basically a little eyecup on a stick that had a couple of filters you could insert into it - a 'mono' one and a 'colour' one. It didn't work perfectly, of course, but what it did do was enable you to view the tonal range of a scene without the distraction of colour, in order to previsualise how it might look in black and white. (This was back in the film days, by the way, when nothing was certain until you got the film/slides developed; and were then either really happy or really depressed ... Grin)

Anyway, I digress ... Of your two images, I'm firmly in the mono camp. I completely agree about the bright visual impact of the colour version, but the mono one is a piece of art first and a picture second to my eyes.

Having said that, though, I wanted to see where I could take the colour image in my mod and do something somewhere between colour popping and pure mono. I like your idea of olde-worldy and for me, in either image, it's the droplets that are the stars of the show. So I've done the following in my mod:

1) I added a Color Lookup adjustment layer, set to the FoggyNight.3DL preset (I love that one - it's a Photoshop CS6 onwards feature, though, so you may not have it?)
2) On top of that I added a Levels adjustment layer, and pushed the midtones a fraction to the right.
3) I made a stamped image of the underlying layers and used the Image/Adjustments/Shadows&Highlights feature to push back and bring forward various elements in the scene - I was basically trying to give more prominence to the droplets themselves.
4) Another Levels adjustment layer just tweaked things a touch.
5) Finally, some smart sharpening to give some clarity to the water.

Don't know what you'll think, but it does give you other options and looks to consider Smile

12/06/2015 - 1:24 PM

Damn Cute

Damn CuteGreat, apart from one small thing for me - the double-nipple effect! I realise it's an angle-thing, but I think either include more of the other one or don't have it at all?
Other than that, though, good work as usual Smile
10/06/2015 - 3:06 PM

different hay

different hayI'm another one who would definitely advocate sharpening for each image individually, rather than using one set of parameters for all images. For instance, here, those settings haven't done you any favours.

However, well done on merging the two images - if you hadn't have said that's what you'd done, I would have been hard pressed to see that it was essentially a composite image. The quality and temperature of the light between that sky and the foreground are well matched.

The image is a blank canvas in some ways, but rather than adding something (as Willie's done in his mod - took me a while to figure out what it was, but I think it's a church spire?) I've tried to tailor my mod to make the most of the bales themselves.

As well as using a neutral density graduated filter on the sky (in Photoshop), I've also cropped in a little from the left hand side, adjusted Levels and Vibrancy, and tried to play with the shadows and highlights a bit to bring the focus of the light forwards to the front of the image, so that the bales are the main event, not the supporting act, within the image as a whole.

You'll also notice that my mod is quite a bit less sharp than your original Grin That's deliberate on my part - I wanted to take away the gritty feeling that the over-sharpening had given yours and make it more dreamlike and soft. In using the 'Reduce noise' filter, I chose not to retain or preserve or sharpen details. Not everyone will like this effect, which is absolutely fine.

See what you think anyway
09/06/2015 - 4:14 PM


CurvesHi Anita - I've added a quick mod for you to have a look at, mostly to illustrate the point that just because it's architecture, your imagery doesn't have to be an absolute record of what you saw at the time of taking Smile (I can't add to the great advice given above by the others, so thought I'd have a play instead ...)

I've messed around with your image quite a lot (in Photoshop, which I know you don't have, but once you get into software a bit more there's loads of things you can explore and exploit) - mostly, I've duplicated the image and used the Polar coordinates filter which does some pretty funky (and often weird) effects. Blending those two layers and adding some fairly obvious noise gets round the problem of sharpness in the original, and I've also added a slightly warm tone to the image overall.

Just because it's architecture, doesn't mean you can have some fun with the images afterwards Grin It can be artistic - it doesn't have to be a straight record shot at all!

05/06/2015 - 5:08 PM

In Desert

In DesertIt's a superb image, whichever way round you look at it Smile What an amazingly bleak, hostile landscape! I think this image of yours is incredibly effective, even just as it is without any post processing.

Technically, I've nothing to add to what's been said above, although I have done you a mod for an alternative 'feeling' to the image. As well as adjusting levels a bit, I used a neutral density gradient from top to bottom, to try and give something to that bland sky, but without causing any posterisation-type banding from overworking the image. I used a LateSunset preset ColorLookup adjustment layer, but used a soft grey to blend it out of some areas, while leaving it in others. I tried to give the feeling of more light closer to the horizon, while letting it fall back towards darkness the closer it got to the top of the image frame.

A Levels-generated vignette with a soft dark grey 'spot light' around the figure itself (it's subtle, I'll admit) and that's about it for what I did with my mod. It's an alternative view, and you may not like it, which is absolutely fine. If I'm honest, I only did a mod 'cos I was itching to get my teeth into this image to see where I could take it emotionally ... !! I really, really wish it was mine and that I'd taken it! I envy you this one Smile

05/06/2015 - 12:07 PM

The vineyards of Lanzarote

The vineyards of LanzaroteWell, that's not a scene you see very often! The visual contrast between the vibrant life of the vines and the black lave is astonishing.

Of your three versions, I think the 16:9 crop works best. However, there are a couple of very minor things which are distracting and which I've removed in my mod of this version - the rock at the bottom of the frame, dead centre, the rock on the right hand edge (just down from the top) and I've tidied up the top left corner a little.

Other than that, a very interesting image.

04/06/2015 - 3:18 PM

Iceland Birds

Iceland BirdsHi Alexander - when you say "Is there an interesting solution ..." what do you mean? A solution to what?

Of your images here, I think the main one is good but very blue in the shadow areas - my mod addresses this, and I've also cropped to a more square format.

Of the others - the puffin (first one) is lovely - nicely sharp and some beautiful feather details.

The middle one - nicely exposed, although a little more exposure in the black areas would be ideal. However, all I can see is a bird's bum, so although I can see what you were trying to do, it needs a definite focal point for interest's sake.

The last one is, for me, the best of the bunch. I like the three vertical areas in the image - the rock, the birds and the golden glow of whatever it is on the right. I've done a mod of this one where I've cropped in a little from the left hand side, and brought out more detail in the black feathers. I've also toned down the warm colouration a touch, although that's a personal preference for me and I know you like your saturated colours.

So no, not trite at all - all good. Although it's still preferable to only upload one image at a time for the purposes of critique and feedback Smile

03/06/2015 - 10:41 AM


DuneIt's a dune - there's sand and there's sky Smile The one thing that really does stand out about your main image above is the lovely contrast between the blue of the sky and the gold tones of the sand itself. Blue and yellow always go well together and complement each other beautifully in a scene like this.

It's nicely done, to be sure, but for me it lacks something ... whether that's a definitive focal point, a sense of scale or what, I don't know. So as I can't decide, I've done you a mod (which I know you're probably not going to like ...) where I've gone down the completely abstract route. For me, this image is much more about shape, and texture, and abstract reality than just a sand dune.

03/06/2015 - 10:18 AM


SidestreetCan't help with the lens choice, I'm afraid, but I do love your image above Smile
I might be tempted to crop down a fraction from the top, to remove that bright top left corner while still leaving the sense of backlit sunlight on the cars and street, but that's very much a personal opinion.

02/06/2015 - 2:58 PM

Lake - Mont Tremblant

Lake - Mont TremblantYep, I echo everything John, Paul and Keith say above. Sometimes, you just have to accept that a particular viewpoint or compositional technique hasn't worked, learn from the experience and move on to the next images. No one ever said that good photography was easy!! Grin

However, the one part of your image above that I do think works, in an almost graphic way, is that central stand of small trees. There's something almost 'brave' about them, standing there in amongst all the other trees that are no doubt bigger, better and more dominant. Fanciful, perhaps, but I don't always see things 'normally' to say the least.

I've done you a couple of mods to consider - they're not ideal, as obviously the bit I've gone for is quite a small crop from the overall image itself. But hopefully they'll show how you can change the feeling of something in post processing after the event. Both mods are square crops, bordered by a fairly large white border:

Mod 1 - this is a slightly warmer, more autumnal colouration than your original.
Mod 2 - is simply a black and white version of my Mod 1 (I think I used the High Contrast Red filter preset in Photoshop, having added a black and white adjustment layer).

There's always more than one way of looking at, and capturing, any scene. However, it's also hard not to be bowled over by the sheer majestic presence of a scene like this, and discipline goes out of the window Grin

02/06/2015 - 2:31 PM


ConifèreHi Roxane - I'd also like to welcome you to the site.

I've nothing to add in terms of feedback, as I think Moira's covered everything I could possibly have thought of Grin However, I have done you a mod to consider. Please bear in mind that's it's just my interpretation of your image, which I actually like very much despite the technical side of things. I completely understand what you were trying to do here, and I think that soft bokeh in the background is absolutely gorgeous. It provides a wonderfully soft, crazy backdrop for the drama of that one single, sunlit conifer branch.

In my mod, although I've also tried to lighten certain areas of the buds themselves (as Moira did) I've processed the image as a whole a little differently. I wanted to draw out the feeling of burgeoning life within a world of darkness - which, I think, is where you were heading with your idea of contrasts in the original? I don't know what software you use, if any, to process your images afterwards, but I've used Photoshop CS6 to do my mod.

Anyway, let us know what you think of the mods so far. As much as there are guidelines for exposure, composition, etc etc etc as far as photography goes, something that Ansel Adams said always sticks in my mind ... "There are no rules; there are only good photographs" Smile So while it's a good idea to get your head round the technicalities of image taking and processing, and understand how to put them into practice when and if you need to, ultimately it's the end result that matters - not the journey you took on the way to get there.

Hot Summer Evening, Berthong RoadBob - a fantastic dialogue on our feedback, thank you so much for that. It really helps us engage with the intent of the photographer at the time, and stops us pointing out things that were an artistic choice on your part, but which we may see as an 'error' in either the taking stage or the processing stage Grin

Also, your thoughts about softness - I can completely understand what you're saying there. So often, with the advent of the technology within lenses and their component elements, we 'expect' a crisp, sharp image and see this as the 'norm'. It's easy, as a viewer, to look at an image and think "It's not even sharp" and swiftly move on, whereas that softness may have been a deliberate interpretation on the part of the photographer. Mind you, it does also illustrate the point that if you're going for a particular effect, don't leave your viewers in any doubt as to what that effect is Grin Be bold, not ambiguous!!

I get the feeling, both from your image above and your comments, that you're a photographer of subtleties? Whether that's confined to just landscapes, or will spread out into other genres, I don't know (but I'm looking forward to finding out!). If I may, I'd like to suggest one thing to think about with future uploads ... while pastel colours are fun as backgrounds for your images on here, it's sometimes better to use a plain black or mid-grey as your backdrop. That way, subtleties of colour, tone or contrast show up better without having to compete with a potentially garish colour behind the image. (That is, of course, my own personal opinion ... if you like 'em, don't let me stop you from using them!! Grin)