Back Modifications (5)
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A Walk in the garden II

By AliEscobar
I'm trying to do a series of photographs of the marble statues in the Glasgow Botanic gardens, framed by the plants, as they change with the flowers and light conditions coming and going with the seasons. This is taken on my camera phone Microsoft Lumia 950 but most I take on my compact Sony Cybershot HX60 and I'm just learning to use my Pentax K20D DSLR so I hope future pictures will be taken with that. I've created an album on my profile. Any advice is welcome as I'm really new to this 1/160 F1.6 ISO50

Tags: Art Sculpture Flowers and plants Flowers and plants Artistic

GB Sports Photographer & The Panasonic LUMIX S1


capto Plus
7 5.8k 12 United Kingdom
29 Apr 2019 10:18PM
Nicely framed and taken. With a dslr it may have been possible to have the statues sharp and the rest a little blurred, which may accentuate what is the main subject. I have done a mod to attempt to achieve this effect.

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dudler Plus
16 950 1521 England
30 Apr 2019 8:00AM
On holiday, working on my mobile phone, so I can't do a mod - but I'd be inclined to shoot a little closer, or edit to exclude the dark area to the right of the column.
mrswoolybill Plus
12 1.6k 2080 United Kingdom
30 Apr 2019 9:31AM
Hi Alison, welcome to ePHOTOzine! You've just joined, this I think is your first gallery upload. You ticked the critique box - that disables votes and awards but invites more in-depth comment. Sometimes people do that by accident, I think it was intentional here!

Photographing sculpture is a passion of mine. It's about creating your own image that remains true to another person's creativity. For figurative sculpture you can treat it as though you were photographing a living subject.

You have been building up your portfolio nicely, including several other pictures from the same location - I particularly noticed this, and this. In all these, you have been using the vegetation very thoughtfully as framing.

This I reckon was potentially the best. The light on the sculpture is good - coming from the side, it moulds the figures well. You have a problem in some of your images in that you were shooting with the light behind the sculpture, so that the subject is in shadow and underexposed.

Framing a subject is a great way of leading the viewer towards it. This type of location gives wonderful opportunities, the problem really is that you cannot control the setting. You can't go round dead-heading flowers or moving an inconvenient leaf...

And for framed compositions, the edges of the frame are crucial, it has to be right otherwise it actually distracts attention outwards rather than leading the eye inwards. Does that make sense? Problems here are the gap to the right of the column, that's dead space; the dead flower (I think that's what it is) bottom left; the leaf poking in on the right. So framing is about moving round, looking through the camera / phone's eyes, checking out different angles.

By ticking for critique you enable members to download the image and modify it, I shall try cropping. If I can manage anything that I like it will appear under the blue Modifications button below your upload.

I also want to get a bit more 'body' into the white flowers, they are quite well exposed but the angle of the light did not show up their form very well.

One possibility where you cannot avoid a distraction at the edge of the frame is to add a subtle dark vignette - not too heavy but enough to tone down the obstruction.

Thanks for adding the settings for this in your description. Normally the site picks the information up, but if you use Save for web, that strips the data from the file. So when uploading for critique, please don't save the file like that!

I hope we shall see some more from you here. Including from your 'real' cameras. And I hope you find the site useful, it's a good place.

I have a meeting this morning but I shall work on this one later today.

mrswoolybill Plus
12 1.6k 2080 United Kingdom
30 Apr 2019 2:04PM
I'm back. I've added two modifications. For the first I reduced exposure very slightly, and also reduced contrast. This gets some more detail in the white flowers.

For the second I cropped to square. People who know me will not be surprised at that... But the advantage to my eye is that it gives an enclosed, private feel. I needed to clone out a tiny bit of green leaf on the right. Then I added a dark vignette.

See what you think.
30 Apr 2019 3:13PM
I do indeed prefer critique to ratings, I think they will help me more! Capto and Dudler Thanks very much for your feed back and for the mods.
Mrs Woolybill, Thanks so much! I like the square frame and dialing back the contrast. Definitely like the slight vignette. I struggled with the placing of the column, I like the swirling pattern enough to include it, and it seemed to bring balance to the picture but it seemed bit dominant when there was no gap on the other side. Its a tricky one.
I struggle with white and red flowers photography wise, so its nice to bring out the detail! I like to visit the gardens after they water them around 10am so there's lots of water drops.....
I will need to add the story and idea to each of the pictures in my "Botanical gardens" album.
mrswoolybill Plus
12 1.6k 2080 United Kingdom
30 Apr 2019 3:42PM
Thanks for your feedback, it's always good when we hear back from people! (Sometimes we feel that we are typing into the void... )

Regarding the specific points that you make - for white flowers try to avoid bright, direct light if you can. Depending on your software, very gentle application of the burn tool, just say 3% or 4% exposure, large brush, set to midtones, will often help bring out detail.

Digital cameras still struggle a bit with hot colour. For red flowers, try reducing saturation on reds by around 5% to 8%, that can reveal more detail. For both greens and reds, it sometimes helps to reduce saturation slightly on yellows.

And I forgot to mention, the water droplets are lovely. Because of them, I would like to try focusing on the foreground, allow the sculpture to be soft in the background. In sharp focus, the water would sparkle much better and there would be a really tactile feel.
pamelajean Plus
13 1.2k 2094 United Kingdom
30 Apr 2019 8:17PM
Good Evening, Alison, and welcome to the Critique Gallary.
I recognised the name Escobar from frequent visits to Spain, and particularly remember the little town of El Escobar. I understand it's also a popular Spanish surname.

I like the way you have framed the pretty statue with flowers and foliage. I also like the very tall stem with leaves which goes over their heads so nicely.
I wonder if it's possible to move a touch to the right in order to get the couple inside the gap without some leaves overlapping the sculpture. You have quite a bit of space on their right.

You have good light on the statue, and it's also well focused.
I've had a look at the other statue pictures in your portfolio, and agree with Moira that this looks to be the best. I hope you will continue to build up your set, and also that you are able to go back and try some of them again, using some of the advice you have been given here.

I have done a modification with a square format, and with the centre of the frame running in the centre of the two figures. In other words, I've put them in the middle. This isn't something I often suggest because offsetting your subject usually looks better. But to keep the elements that I liked and to include the pillar, it needed to be this way. I decreased the amount of the white flowers because I felt they were quite large and drew the eye away from your statue.
I reduced the brightness for the flowers, but liked the slightly less overall brightness because it gives the feeling of privacy for the pair, and it feels like we, the viewers, are intruding on their private worldSmile.


paulbroad Plus
12 131 1285 United Kingdom
5 May 2019 6:14PM
A good well composed record and, as such the job is done. The lighting has resulted in a quite flat effect with no shadow and thus little modelling. In this situation, if time and the location allows, put the camera on a tripod, set he exposure on manual to about 1 stop under, then use an external flash at about 45 degrees to one side.

A TTL dedicated flash on lead or radio link will then expose correctly and give that modelling.

I realise at this stage in your career you may not have the gear, but that is the way to add impact and general interest.

6 May 2019 7:38PM
Hello Pamela,
Thanks very much for analysis and mods, My husband in Bolivian so the surnames not technically mine... Grin

Thank you Paul, definitely not there yet, but I would like an external flash, if I can get one for a 10 year old camera.....

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