Back Modifications (3)
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Agility demo

By Sus  
Taken at an agility demo. Should I crop in closer to the dog? SHould I include the handlers arm directing the dog at the side?

Tags: Pets and captive animals Sports and action

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This photo is here for critique. Please only comment constructively and with suggestions on how to improve it.


RonnieAG Plus
8 154 118 Scotland
7 Aug 2010 12:43AM
Have taken the liberty of trying a mod for you, Sus. Cropped as shown, then cloned out the feet and railings in b/g, and reduced the highlights in the grassy area behind the dog.
You have timed the capture of the shot of the dog well though, and I'm not sure if you'll feel my mod. helps or not.

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Sus 13 3.2k 9 England
7 Aug 2010 8:52AM
Thanks Ronnie, that's just the feedback I was after. Your crop looks better. I have decided that blown highlights in the background of an agility shot don't matter - after spending ages on photos fixing the background I realised that its really only the dog that matters.

Anyway, off to shout some support for my own pooch whose strutting his stuff at agility today!
RonnieAG Plus
8 154 118 Scotland
7 Aug 2010 9:11AM
Thanks for feedback...glad you feel mod was satisfactory.
Philo 8 99 83 England
7 Aug 2010 1:41PM
Hi Sus, I have to agree with Frank that the blown highlights in the bg do matter as they tend to distract the eye from the main subject. The side of the dog is also blown out which is more of an issue.
I think the real problem here is that it has been shot in bright sunlight. I know you can't control this so you need to expose for the highlights i.e underexpose the shot. You will be able to recover shadow details in processing, especially if you shoot in RAW.
That said I think the composition of the shot is fine and you have captured the action of the dog rather well. I would just crop the top to lose those distractions but leave both posts in.
I hope this helps and, time permitting, I will have a go at a mod later.
paulbroad 10 123 1244 United Kingdom
7 Aug 2010 5:03PM
You really must not accept blown highlights anywhere - they are dead right above. The crop is a must, the top is very distracting, but you needed much less exposure, then lighten the shadows later - or try some flash fill - modern guns are very powerfull and carry a long way.

pamelajean Plus
12 1.1k 2016 United Kingdom
7 Aug 2010 7:31PM
One thing that you asked has not been addressed, and that is about including the arm of the handler. I would say, leave it out unless, of course, it overlaps the jump structure, in which case it might be interesting and even necessary to include. The picture is about the dog, and I think it works as in the modification above.
Sus 13 3.2k 9 England
7 Aug 2010 8:59PM
Thanks for the comments. I take on board the point about the blown highlights. My thinking was - yes, for an art print, but what about a print you want to produce on the day and give to the owner, without any post processing? I sneaked a peek at an agility photographers shots today and you're right, they were careful not to blow highlights in the background (or on the dog). I don't know how they manage to do that, and not leave the eyes too dark however. I didn't see them using flash, but I think I may try that next time.
Jestertheclown 9 7.7k 252 England
7 Aug 2010 10:51PM
I've cropped and cloned this to remove the stuff at the top and reduced the exposure (-0.3) overall, omitting the dog's face.
Given more time, I reckon it would be possible to improve upon this further using the shadows/highlights tool.
Hope this helps.

Jestertheclown 9 7.7k 252 England
7 Aug 2010 11:02PM
I'm back!

I've modded my first mod (!) using shadows/highlights in CS5, lassoed and "auto toned" the wall, then straightened it using Picasa.
Then, thinking I was finished, I spotted whatever that is behind the dog's hind legs and deciding I didn't think it needed to be there, I got rid of it!

My final offer!

Sus 13 3.2k 9 England
10 Aug 2010 4:07PM
well spotted Jester, thanks for the mod. I quite like a bleached background on these, but can see the benefits of using shadow/highlight tool.

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