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Curiosity Shop

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I happened upon this lovely little shop in a little back street in Kos Town. It was full of unusual colourful items and I couldn't resist going in to browse. I bought some hand made bracelets, and had a nice chat with the lady, practicing my Greek. I asked if I could take some photos and she was pleased to agree.

I'd really appreciate your opinions on this shot. In my last upload of the wonderful Greek children I processed the image in Topaz Adjust and increased the detail far too much..........and ruined the shot!

I've been a bit more reserved with the slider this time.

I've uploaded the original version so you can compare the two, and would be grateful for any advice. Have I improved on the original?

I've been trying to emulate some of the excellent shots I see on EPZ where the colours, tones and details are rich - I don't know what that kind of processing is called - is it Tone-Mapping, and are there any turorials to explain how it can be done in Elements 10? Thanks for any advice you can give.

Brand:NIKON CORPORATION
Camera:Nikon D3100 Check out Nikon Nation!
Lens:18.0-55.0 mm f/3.5-5.6
Recording media:RAW (digital)
Date Taken:20 Sep 2012 - 9:49 AM
Focal Length:18mm
Lens Max Aperture:f/3.5
Aperture:f/5.6
Shutter Speed:1/15sec
Exposure Comp:0.0
ISO:800
Exposure Mode:Aperture-priority AE
Metering Mode:Multi-segment
Flash:No Flash
White Balance:As Shot
Title:Curiosity Shop
Username:WeeGeordieLass WeeGeordieLass
Uploaded:1 Oct 2012 - 10:10 PM
Tags:Portraits / people
VS Mode Rating 101 (51.16% won)
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Comments

This photo is here for critique. Please only comment constructively and with suggestions on how to improve it.
Sooty_1
Sooty_1 Critique Team 41262 forum posts United Kingdom203 Constructive Critique Points
1 Oct 2012 - 11:45 PMConstructive Critique!This comment was flagged as constructive critique! 

It's a nice shot of the shop, but I can't help wishing you we're engaging with the shopkeeper - she looks uninterested. My only other crit is that it's quite hard to see what the shop is...without your description, you can't see many of the wares clearly, so might be left wondering what it's all about.

Processing is much better, and much more natural than the last pic.

Tone-mapping is a process whereby you reassign the luminance information of a pixel or group of pixels. So you might have very bright areas that you want toning down from white to pale grey, or black areas you want to be dark grey. Thus you can bring areas within the tonal range of your recording medium.
Say you have a scene which is too much for the sensor..over bright in areas and deep shadow in others. Your camera won't record all the tonal information in one frame, so you take the same picture several times, exposing for each area separately and combine them later (this is the basis of HDR processing). The best exposed parts of each frame are combined, and shadows that are too dark are tone mapped to a shade that has detail, using the parts exposed for the shadows. The opposite applies...you use the well-exposed highlights and discard the overexposed bits. The resulting picture then has the highlights and shadows within the range you can capture...ie the tonal range that was too great has been compressed. When this is done too much, the picture displays the characteristic bad HDR appearance...everything looks mid-toned with no bright highlights or deep shadows (a grey, muddy appearance and uneven processing). With only one frame, you have less information to start with, so it's easier to overcook it. Subtle is best!

Nick

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pablophotographer
2 Oct 2012 - 12:14 AMConstructive Critique!This comment was flagged as constructive critique! 

Kalispera GordieLass.

O.k. Enough with the language lessons for today.

For me, your image manipulation offers more vividness and make the items more interesting. It could be that a smaller aperture (more than 5.6) may had helped you with the same time used to record a darker image and colours. I think my biggest issue with the picture is that it consists of a plethora of colours, shapes and direction of leading lines that end up making it confusing. The biggest eye catcher is for me the rug that leads to the inside of the shop bypassing the shop-assistant or owner. The picture seem to lean somewhere, I can't figure where to but that is my impression of it, as it stands. I think you might had a better chance if you were actually shooting with your back on the right wall (euphemism for as close as you could approach the wall with that marble top furniture there) and shooy with your lens on its wide setting to encompass an area that could capture the inner room probably after the dressing doll and all of the ornaments opposite of you. Was the shop assistant aware of your presence when you shot?
A "good morning" greeting would have been replied and I bet she would also raise her head to see you. I think a smile is a professional reaction to such occasions in touristic places.

Well, you may attempt it next time you visit then. The coffee is on me.

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WeeGeordieLass
WeeGeordieLass e2 Member 3385 forum postsWeeGeordieLass vcard England
2 Oct 2012 - 7:56 AM

Hi Nick and Pablo,

Thanks for your great advice. I'm rushing off to work just now so will reply properly to you as soon as I get a chance. It may be a couple of days as I have a very busy time coming up Sad

Just wanted you to know that I appreciate your help, and the time you've taken to post your comments.

Cheers, I'll be back soon Grin

Elaine

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Focus_Man
Focus_Man  4481 forum posts United Kingdom631 Constructive Critique Points
2 Oct 2012 - 9:13 AM

Accepting all the above advice, this to me is a calssic example of where I would like to see verticals corrected. Apart from the visual aspect you are then also able to see the angled entrance to the rear of the shop. See my mod.

Frank

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NDODS
NDODS e2 Member 43667 forum postsNDODS vcard United Kingdom107 Constructive Critique Points
2 Oct 2012 - 12:29 PM

After all the modifications have been completed I would love to have a rummage.

Regards Nathan

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WeeGeordieLass
WeeGeordieLass e2 Member 3385 forum postsWeeGeordieLass vcard England
3 Oct 2012 - 10:00 PM

Hi Nick,

At last - I've found a window in which I can reply to you!

I'm glad I seem to have improved with the processing.

Thanks very much for your detailed explanation of Tone Mapping. You've explained it really well, I'll have to practice as I have already found out, it's not easy to produce good images using this processing.

I really appreciate your help, thanks very much.

Cheers

Elaine

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WeeGeordieLass
WeeGeordieLass e2 Member 3385 forum postsWeeGeordieLass vcard England
3 Oct 2012 - 10:14 PM

Hi Pablo,

Ti kanis..........eisai kala? Eimai polu kourasmeni simera! Thoulevo polu.

Thanks for your very helpful crit.

Looking at the shot now I can see what you mean by the picture leaning -- I think it may be due to distortion due to my using a wide angle lens - not sure though.

I had just bought some hand-made bracelets that the lady had made herself, and when I took the shot she was wrapping the bracelets up in little hand-made bags. I love buying personal things from people who have hand-made them - the items always mean a lot more to me than mass produced stuff!

We were chatting away as she was working - I liked the shot as I thought it showed her at work in her shop.

I think your advice on the shooting position is great, and I'll bear that in mind the next time I'm faced with a similar scene.

Thanks very much for your great help.

Take Care

Elaine

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WeeGeordieLass
WeeGeordieLass e2 Member 3385 forum postsWeeGeordieLass vcard England
3 Oct 2012 - 10:18 PM

Hi Frank,

Thanks very much for your mod. I think the problem may be that using a wide-angle lens has caused distortion in the walls of the shop, and maybe a different shooting angle, as suggested by Pablo above, would have been a better option.

I appreciate your help.

Cheers

Elaine

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WeeGeordieLass
WeeGeordieLass e2 Member 3385 forum postsWeeGeordieLass vcard England
3 Oct 2012 - 10:19 PM

Hi Nathan,

Oh, you would have loved it Nathan - it was a little Aladdin's cave..........I was in there for ages - much to the annoyance of my husband!!!

I hope you're well and enjoying your photography.

Take care marra.

Elaine

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WeeGeordieLass
WeeGeordieLass e2 Member 3385 forum postsWeeGeordieLass vcard England
3 Oct 2012 - 10:21 PM

Hi Jeff,

Thanks for the mod - I love how the brighter colours lift the image. My version looks rather dull now.

I'll increase the brightness in the final image.

Thanks for your help.

Cheers

Elaine

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Jestertheclown
3 Oct 2012 - 10:32 PMConstructive Critique!This comment was flagged as constructive critique! 

Hi Elaine,

I've had a go at your original too.
Instead of using Topaz, which seems to have an effect all of its own, I simply applied a white threshold and a gentle 'S' curve.
I didn't correct the verticals in the usual sense, because I found that that just caused distortion and the RHS side looks vertical enough to me anyway. Instead, I used the distort tool to pull the top left corner vertically a bit. That's corrected the LHS somewhat but without distorting it.
I used CS6, I'm not sure if the curves tool in Elements will be able to give you the same effect but it's an idea.
Hope this helps.

Bren.

Last Modified By Jestertheclown at 3 Oct 2012 - 10:37 PM

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WeeGeordieLass
WeeGeordieLass e2 Member 3385 forum postsWeeGeordieLass vcard England
3 Oct 2012 - 10:43 PM

Hi Bren,

Thanks for the mod - you've done wonders with the verticals on the LHS. I'll take note of how you've done it. The shot looks a lot better.

It's an idea for me to try in the future.

Thanks for your help and support.

Cheers

Elaine

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Jestertheclown
3 Oct 2012 - 10:48 PM

Hi Elaine,

Glad to be able to help.

I've just tried modding my mod. and it's possible to pull that top left hand corner up a little farther if you want to try. Doing so straightens it a touch more but don't get carried away! Also, make sure that you only pull it directly vertically. If you pull it sideways at all, it will cause distortion. Try it and see!

I also tried using the lens correction tool on your original as an alternative but I was wasting my time. This way worked better.

Last Modified By Jestertheclown at 3 Oct 2012 - 10:52 PM

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pablophotographer

hello again Elaine; thank you for your kind words, keep shooting!
!

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banehawi
banehawi Critique Team 10986 forum postsbanehawi vcard Canada2983 Constructive Critique Points
4 Oct 2012 - 1:30 AMConstructive Critique!This comment was flagged as constructive critique! 

Hi Elaine, - this shot, and your comments have certainly got a discussion going.

So, from what I gather, you thing you may be missing out on some method to get rich colours and tones in your shots. Take a look at my mod of you original and tell me if this is closer to your goal, than your Topaz or original shot.

Then the secret youve been missing: There is no secret. Photography is all about light; the quality of the light is super important; the exposure is very important, and your decisions made during the exposure, - one or more exposures; is the dynamic range beyond the capabilities of my camera for a single shot; composition is very important, and getting the subject engaged.

Shoot in RAW, - its the best tip you will get. It allows you to alter white balance, which is this shot, seems to me to be too cool, - which is already a bad place to be when looking for deep colours; your shutter speed is a little too slow, but youve got away with it.

So whats makes colours and tones have depth? Contrast is a big factor. That means the blacks in the shot have to be absolutely black, and in this shot, they are not. Look at the histogram; look at the left side; notice how the graph doesnt extend all the way to the left? That alone has a big effect on your image; use the levels tool and just drag the triangle on the left bottom line in to the right to meet the graph. Already a big difference.

So a combination of a very good exposure, and a good technique in post processing a RAW image is most of the battle. And, I know I will get into trouble with this, - abandon Topaz. I have yet to see an image that Topaz has improved, but many that have been ruined.

I have mentioned anything about straight verticals, - getting down lower and holding the camera level would have limited much of this distortion; try never to tily a wide angle lens to avoind convergence, or do it deliberately for effect.


I hope this helps, and Im sorry if its bad news. Theres just practice


regards



Willie

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WeeGeordieLass
WeeGeordieLass e2 Member 3385 forum postsWeeGeordieLass vcard England
5 Oct 2012 - 7:42 PM

Hi Willie,

Thanks for the mods, yes - your versions are closer to what I'm trying to achieve in my images, and no.................it's not bad news - it just means I have to be more thoughtful at the shooting stage.

I can remember years ago when I first started photography and I had a Minolta Dynax (I wasn't much cop as a togger then either)!!. I used to shoot with Fuji Velvia and I knew a lot more about exposure, composition etc. back then because you only got one chance to get the shot right. Now, I must admit to being guilty when I'm preparing to shoot, of thinking "oh, if I don't get the exposure, comp etc right I'll just fix it in Elements". I know I must change my ways if I want to get better shots - I need to brush up on the basics again!

I agree to some extent with your views on Topaz, but sometimes I like the effect that the photo pop preset can give, and I think as long as it's just a subtle "pop" it can look ok in some instances. I'll certainly take on board your advice though and will use it less and with caution in future.

Thanks for your tips on wide-angle lens shooting, I'll remember this in future.

Thanks for all your great help.

Cheers

Elaine

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