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TanyaH

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Evening, rain, the restaurants are closed.Okay, I think I know where you're coming from now.

Of the two similar images (the main image and your first mod) I prefer the composition and colouration of the mod version. In the main image above, that seating area in front of where I, as the viewer, am standing I find a barrier to the rest of the street. The bright colours draw me and and make want to explore, but that horizontal block of the seating area is, I feel, inhibiting.

In your mod version of this place, the slightly different composition, I feel that there's more room for me to breathe. I like the oblique angle onto the street scene as I think that adds a sense of invitation. I also prefer the slightly more muted colours of the lights in the mod variation.

In your second mod, the completely different scene, I think I agree with Willie. Remove the post and pavement area in the foreground and the rest of the image has a better feeling of balance and tranquility.

Tanya
Hot Summer Evening, Berthong RoadAnd a very warm welcome from me as well, Bob (or should that be a 'wet' welcome, given all the recent rain we've had here!?).

Anyway - this is a lovely landscape to start your portfolio off with. Expansive views, gloriously warm evening light, and a vista to die for. Charlie Waite would probably be salivating at this location!

I've nothing to add really to the comments above, but will ask this ... did you use a polarizer? The only reason I'm asking that is that I can see a bit of uneven blue up in the right hand corner of the sky. A 20mm focal length is still probably wide enough to cause this effect when used with that particular filter - and it's more noticeable now that I've adjusted the Levels a touch in my mods (I only adjusted the black point).

For me, this is very much not one image but two - the left hand side and the right hand side. Even the clouds seem to be playing along with that Smile So as well as adjusting Levels overall, I've split the image into two separate images - Mod 1 is the left hand vista; Mod 2 is more a square format of the right hand side. I love just those two single trees in the distance, and the relatively cloudless sky increases, for me anyway, that sense of lonely tranquility. I did take a slight liberty here with your colours and applied a Color Lookup adjustment layer in Photoshop CS6, set to the preset of FoggyNight.3DL. As much as I love the warm tones and blue sky of your original image, there's something beautifully moody and slightly dangerous about that right hand side (for me, anyway) and I wanted to try and draw that out if I could.

Have a look and see what you think anyway (and it's also fine to disagree with anything we do or say here - we all see things differently and this critique gallery is an area for discussion between us and you; not a place where we tell you what you've done 'wrong' and you go away vowing to do 'better' next time ... that's not what it's all about. It's a learning zone, but in my own experience I learn as much in here as (hopefully!) the people posting the images for feedback Grin)).

Tanya
The Hadrian passing through WylamI think the crop works much better now, although I'm still convinced there's a slight lean to the left with that lamp post!! Grin

For me, the colouration of the previous version actually works better to give it the old style feeing - here, the yellow is too saturated to my eyes (although this may also just be a difference between your monitor and mine).

Have you applied any grain to this new version? I don't know why, but it appears to be slightly grittier than last one? Whether that's a byproduct of the new toning you've used or not, I'm not sure. It doesn't detract at all, though - just gives the whole image a different feeling again Smile

I've done a very quick mod to straighten the lamp post up (I used Photoshop's Skew tool on the top edge, just to take the image over to the right a touch, using a vertical guide on the right hand side of the post - it wasn't a lot needed in fairness). I've also taken some of the yellow down, so that it's now somewhere between the original sepia-toned version and this yellowish one.

So ... when's the next train due?! Wink

Tanya
The Hadrian passing through Wylam, Northumberland.I'm another one who doesn't photograph trains - however, I can definitely see why you wanted to get this one, and your processing has given the image a lovely sense of olde-worlde charm.

In addition to Dudler's suggested crop from the bottom up, can I also suggest a slight crop from the top down, in order to remove that little light patch in the top left corner? It's small, but that little gap in between the tree branches unbalances those two top corners for me.

I also think that a slight clock-wise rotation may be needed (and I do mean really slight ...), just to bring the lamp post on the right into true vertical alignment?

Other than that, though, good job! Smile

Tanya
29/05/2015 - 2:32 PM

Tired Hunter

Tired HunterHi Lily - welcome to EPZ Smile

For someone who says they're "new to this", I'd say you've done a cracking job with your first upload! Well done on catching 'the moment' here, just as the cat's yawning (I always want to put my finger in their mouths when they yawn, but that's probably not the best idea in the world Grin).

Exposure-wise, you've got nice detail across most of the fur - there's a couple of tiny bits where there's no detail (what's called 'blown out whites' or 'blowing the highlights') - mostly noticeable on the upper part of the cat's nose. As you become more experienced and familiar with your camera and its features, you'll start to recognise situations like this where brightly lit areas might possibly 'blow out', and you'll learn to adjust your camera's settings accordingly.

Compositionally, overall not too bad either Smile Things like eyes they always say to try and put on an intersection of thirds (google the 'Rule of Thirds' - it's a compositional guideline where you overlay a series of lines across your image, side to side and top to bottom). Ideally you want a point of interest in your image to sit on or near one of the intersection points of two lines. However, these are guidelines and not rules to be stuck rigidly to ... although it's a good idea to learn them first to get a good basic understanding of composition, and ways that you can place elements within your image for maximum effect.

I think the only other thing I'd suggest is to be watchful for things coming across your subject - here, the grass is coming across the cat's face which can be a distraction to your viewer, as they'll be looking at that instead of your main subject (i.e. the cat). It's not always possible to move things like that out of the way, as sometimes you miss the moment while trying to 'tidy up' the area around your subject, but just be mindful of it as you go about photographing things.

I'd best shut up now (I always talk too much!). One thing I would suggest you get yourself at some point (if you haven't already) is a good basic book on photography - one that deals with all the bits you probably want to know, or don't yet realise you need to know, and give it a good read. You'll pick up all sorts of advice, tips and inspiration from it.

All in all, a very nice first image to start your portfolio off with Grin

Tanya
28/05/2015 - 4:15 PM

Jean Gabin from Santa Brigitta

Jean Gabin from Santa BrigittaI personally don't mind the wheel above the doorway, even though I can fully understand what PabloPhotographer and Moira are saying about its intrusion into the rest of the scene, and the tension that creates. For me, it's about circles within squares, rectangles framing squares beneath a circle and a square format containing the whole of the image Smile

I think the original image with the foliage either side (your 'mod') actually works better with the wheel in its entirety - there's a lovely triangulation between the wheel at the top and the foliage either side of the doorway shutters.

There's sufficient detail inside that dark doorway to intrigue me, and make me want to venture inside to see what it's all about.

All in all, a very nice image!

Tanya
27/05/2015 - 2:30 PM

fiver

fiverI'll be completely upfront in saying that I didn't comment on this one at first, as I honestly didn't know what to say other than that it was a little underexposed Smile
However, reading the other comments above has given me a couple of ideas that I never thought I'd be applying to a fiver, but there you go!

The level of detail you've got is actually really very good - it's amazing how much we take for granted in our everyday lives, and how something like this image can tip it all on its head. I never realised that the texture of paper money could be so flamin' interesting ...

Still, having said that, I think the only think I'd have liked to have seen on yours is the 'F' of the words 'FIVE POUNDS' that come from the left hand side at the top. Given Moira's comment about how we read from left to right, visually, starting off with a word that's not complete isn't right in my wonderfully straight mind Wink

So I've added a little space on the left and put an 'F' back in ... not sure if it's better or not?

The other thing I did in my mod, as well as adjusting levels (like the others above) and blurring that bottom signature a little, is to go a bit arty farty with your fiver ... I initially converted it to black and white, to see whether taking colour away made the puzzle of the subject any different. Then I decided to add a soft blue to yellow pastel gradient to it instead, to mimic the original colours, but using a Soft Light blend mode.

I'm not sure what you'll make of my mod, but it was definitely an interesting one to play with and to really see, rather than just look at, so thanks! Grin

Tanya
27/05/2015 - 12:38 PM

Shearwater.

Shearwater.I love the soft, dreamy tranquil feeling you've caught here, so full marks on that score. Getting up at stupid o'clock in order to catch magic like this is well worth losing a couple of hours worth of kip for Grin Given that the image was actually taken at just after 5am, you'd have had to be in position ready and waiting well before that time - and if this is your first conscious attempt at landscape photography, I definitly think it's something you should pursue.

So just to give you another, completely different approach to try with post processing, I've done you a mod as well Smile I've cropped to square format and removed the two things I found most distracting in your original - namely, that tree stump bottom left and that tent. I don't personally find that grassy area so much of a problem, and as my mod really utilises that diagonal river bank to disect the image corner to corner, for me it now almost becomes an image of two halves.

The other thing I've done, to try and counteract the oversharpening evident in your original and to capitalise on those soft dreamy colours, is to give it a bit of an Orton treatment Grin (just google the Orton Effect, if you want to try it yourself some time). You may hate it, you may not Grin Either is fine, because it's just another way of thinking about presenting the image after you've taken it.

Tanya
27/05/2015 - 11:25 AM

OF SOLITUDE AND

OF SOLITUDE ANDV1 for me of the two images - although the sky does need taking down a bit, as currently it's overpowering the scene underneath it.

May I also suggest a finer inner keyline around the image? That heavy white one is too distracting and actually takes the attention away from the drama and mood of your mono conversion. I think I'd also like to see a fraction more detail in that very dark headland - at the moment, it's a very dark black lump of stuff. For me, a touch more tonal contrast and detail would allow the eye to wander through the scene towards that point, where there's still something to linger over.

But yeah, as far as drama goes - V1 has it all Smile
Saturday evening. The dweller of Santa Brigida. Gran Canaria.Well, it's not blue which is a big bonus in my eyes Smile I do like it though - he looks like a happy chap, who's just sitting enjoying a beer and a smoke in the sunshine. I think that even at that time in the afternoon, the light's quite harsh (especially on a head that is slightly lacking in the hair dept) - so you've got quite a bit of extreme contrast happening here.

I think my mod is very similar to Willie's in terms of brightening the shadow areas, although I've cropped in more from the right hand side. I don't think that dark doorway does anything for the image and is therefore a distraction instead of helping the image.

Tanya
Rain and wind. Lago Maggiore. ItalyAnother nice scene, Alexandar.

I rather like the combination of the cold distant sky and hills, and the warm reds of the fallen leaves and splashes of red paint and rope in the foreground. For me, they don't clash at all or seem out of harmony with each other.

I think your horizon needs a slight anti-clockwise rotation (about 0.7 degrees) and I'd suggest either leaving the small boat on the left edge out completely, or ensuring that when you compose in-camera, you include all of it instead. Having it cut in half, the way you've got it here, makes that side of the image feel incomplete to me.


Tanya
18/05/2015 - 1:25 PM

Contemplation

ContemplationI completely agree with Albert about the stained glass not being necessary. With it, the eye is immediately pulled upwards to that top edge and the rest of the image almost doesn't register.

Without those windows, the softness of the light, the importance of the solitary man, the book and the wonderful lines of the pews takes on a whole new meaning.

I'm tempted to think it needs a fractional CW rotation, though? Looking at the edge of the wall just below the windows, it seems a tiny bit down on the left hand side?

Tanya
Lake Mergozzo - satellite Lago MaggioreThis dark blue isn't an effect that appeals to me personally, but it does give a very dramatic feeling to your image here, Alexander Smile

I really like the placement of that rope, which does indeed draw the viewer into the scene. The other thing that's quite intriguing (for me, anyway) is the position you were in to take the image? Were you standing on the jetty, or the quay? It doesn't matter in a way, as the position gives the feeling of being part of the lake.

I've done you a quick mod where I've just straightened up that little house on the left a bit. While I do like the crazy angle of it in one sense, I suppose for the sake of 'correct' verticals it really should be upright, and not be looking like it's had one too many in its own pub Grin

The other thing I did, like sawsengee and John above, is to crop out a lot of that foreground. It's so dark that it's like a black hole before the boats ... yes, there's some interesting bits of green algae in that area, and I've tried to keep some of that in my mod, but it really doesn't contribute anything to the image and I personally think it's better off removed.

Anyway, see what you think.

Tanya

[Edit: Oops, just realised there's a fine white line down the right hand side of my mod from the lens correction which I forgot to remove. Please ignore that piece of rubbish editing!! Grin]
14/05/2015 - 2:04 PM

Beach near Setubal Portugal

Beach near Setubal PortugalHello again Martin Smile

There is so much potential in this image! Keith has covered above many of the reasons why it currently doesn't have that impact - but as you'll hopefully see from the mods uploaded so far, that's very easily sorted with a bit of tweaking in post process.

I've also done you 2 versions to consider - both of them are an absolute square format (600 x 600 pixels). I've cloned out the very small boat and other tiny bits on the horizon line - they're not big enough to be recognisable and as such, are just a distraction for the eye.

Mod 1 is a mono variation of your original which, although very similar to Keith's, I think puts emphasis on different parts of the water rivulets in the wet sand.
Mod 2 is a dark, moody warm-toned version of my Mod 1. I liked the warm tone of your original, but it was just a bit wishy-washy, so I 'oomphed it up' a bit Grin

There's so much good in this image and the shapes that water makes through sand is one of those endlessly fascinating subjects ... and they also look fantastic as artistic images.

Tanya
14/05/2015 - 11:50 AM

Green Waves

Green WavesDon't stop, as I'm loving these Smile

With this one, I think the combination of greens, yellows and the greys in the sky are gorgeous. The tiny line of trees on the left of the brow, and the small individual ones on the right of it, are perfectly placed.

It's one of those scenes that, for me, could even go softer in appearance rather than harsher. I suppose I'm thinking softly diffused, possibly something like the Orton effect, to give a sense of dreamy timelessness? Personal choice, obviously Grin

I've done a mod (seeing as you did enable them Wink) where I've gone with a much more letterbox format. I love the foreground and the brow of the hills and for me the sky, though lovely, is only a secondary supporting act. Keeping it in does give a huge sense of space and balance, but hopefully you won't mind my alternative view of your gorgeous scene Smile

Tanya
12/05/2015 - 12:48 PM

Butterfly

ButterflyI think that hand-holding, even at a supposedly high enough shutter speed with that focal length, has given you a touch of softness here (or that could be down to the textures?). Great in many way, as I know you're not trying to create something that's pin sharp. Using the textures has also enhanced this creative feeling too, so all good there.

I think the only thing I'd say is that you almost need to go more obvious - either with the texture side of things or with the grain side of things. As it is, it might be easy for someone to briefly look at this image and think "Well, that's not a good macro - it's not even sharp!" (Yeah, I know, but they would ... they wouldn't see past the technical in order to reach the creativity involved.)

I love the soft muted colour palette and the placement of your (two-legged?!) butterfly on the flower. But for me personally, I think it needs to be more obviously a 'creative' image ... does that make any sense? (That is only my own personal thought, of course - you may well be thinking along completely different lines!! Grin)

Tanya
12/05/2015 - 12:36 PM

His Highness

His HighnessHi Mario - to be fair, apart from one or two very tiny areas, this is probably the best yet. I know you're a perfectionist though, and as you've put the image in for feedback, I've uploaded a mod where I've marked in red two very small areas on the right hand side where the background is showing through fractionally (along the edge of the coat) and another area just under the feather where there's a very tiny part of the feather that seems to be floating in mid-air. These aren't even really visible unless the file is blown up a bit (200%) but those are the bits that jumped out at me and I know that you'll want to sort them out.

I've also marked in red an area under the furthest eye and along the edge of the nose - there's no background issue here, but here your selection is almost too crisp. (I know you may be thinking that sounds contrary, but in real life humans aren't that perfect Smile). You could go along this edge with the blur tool, set to very small and very soft and using a low opacity. This will just eliminate that sharp perfection and help it to blend in with the background just a tiny bit. Feathering your selection mask a touch would also sort this one out if you want to.

As for the rest of it - it's very well photographed indeed. I love the way the light is on the guy's face ... that is just beautiful. There's no direct eye contact but I don't personally find that an issue at all. and the clarity of that hat and feather is just wow Grin (You could, if you wanted, take down the sharpness and brightness of the hat and feather a touch, just to stop it dominating the top half of the guy, but that's my own personal preference and you may well feel differently about it.)

Your selection around the beardy bit, the eyebrow and the eyelashes is superb, by the way - I'm amazed you got all those tiny individual hairs in the beard!

There's something very classic about this series you're doing and I like them a lot.

Tanya
08/05/2015 - 11:45 AM

BALD EAGLE AT MONTSBERG 02

BALD EAGLE   AT MONTSBERG 02I have to confess I didn't see the first upload of this gorgeous chap, and now that I have this one, unfortunately, isn't as good Sad There's some fairly obvious camera shake going on here, due no doubt to your fairly slow shutter speed at a focal length of 200mm (I'm assuming hand-held?). That is such a shame, as I definitely prefer the composition of this one over the other one. You could possibly rescue it to a degree in post-processing, but that's nowhere near as good as getting the focus bang-on in the first place. It's a great effort, but I do prefer the other one personally.
07/05/2015 - 4:14 PM

Butterfly

ButterflyTracy - have you thought about one of the (fairly) inexpensive lens-mounted ring flash type thingies? They're LED, so not a 'flash' as such and provide a constant light source, but it might be worth it for this kind of thing. No chance of blinding the butterflies with the flash when it goes off and (in theory) gets the flash where you need it - i.e. on the end of the lens rather than on the top of the camera.

The other thing is to get an off-camera flash cord and use between the hotshoe on the top and the bottom of the flash unit itself - then you can just hold it to one side or the other (or wherever, really) to get the benefits of flash without the problems of shadows on the subject from the close focus and the end of the lens interferring with the light from the flash Smile

Tanya
07/05/2015 - 1:39 PM

Savoy Truffle

Savoy TruffleHiya Kurt - hope you don't mind, but I couldn't resist a mod to see whether I could tone down that bright blue/magenta effect from the window light. More of a technical exercise for me, than anything else.

There's nothing wrong with it, by the way - it's very colourful and does add something, in its own way, to the overall feel of the image. All I did was to use a Hue/Saturation adjustment mask and take down the saturation (and lightness) of the blue and the magenta sliders. A little bit of noise reduction and a minor crop left, right and bottom and job done Smile I may have taken the noise reduction too far and it's now too smooth, and although I did try and bring back some details it doesn't have that lovely gritty quality of your original.

Hope you don't mind.
Tanya