Back Modifications (7)
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By PatrickCampbell
I haven't posted anything in a long time. So when I came across these five padlocks on a gate whilst doing some hillwalking I just had to snap it.

The shot was taken on my TCL smartphone which ha Snapseed installed for a quick edit.

Tags: Drama Close-up and macro Secure Locks HDR and tonemapped

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dudler Plus
17 1.6k 1848 England
26 May 2020 12:31PM
Welcome to the Critique Gallery - as you've been a member for a while, I'm sure you know what we do here.

If we're going to give you the best feedback that we possibly can, we need some real input from you, including a lot more information. That way, critique that we give is far more likely to be what you are looking for, and consequently far more helpful to you.

What is your reason for requesting critique?
What inspired you to take this photo?
What were you hoping to achieve?
Do you feel that you succeeded or failed?
Are there any specific elements of your photo that you want help with?
Do you want advice on camera settings, processing, composition, or something else?
Do you have any particular questions you would like answered?

Without that data, it's only possible to offer limited comments. The more you tell us, the more we can help.

You've upped Drama, I think - maybe one or two other tweaks. My main thought is that the bright area top right could do with cropping or cloning - anything very light along an edge will pull the eye from the main subject.
26 May 2020 12:59PM
Thanks for the feedback. Yes I have used tonemapping to make it a bit more gritty. To bring out the rust colours.
mrswoolybill Plus
14 2.8k 2408 United Kingdom
26 May 2020 1:13PM
A warm welcome from me. A good subject. The combination of rust and new metal has a lot of followers here...

I would be interested to see the original, can you add it please as a modification? Just click on the blue Modifications button below your upload and follow the instructions.

Gritty, yes. But I'll admit that what I am seeing primarily here is processing rather than subject. When the processing becomes the story, that's not generally a good sign. I suspect a well exposed and focused image is hiding under this.

That's just a personal response. If it pleases you, that's what matters. But do hang on to the original. For the photographer, discovering such effects can be a bit like being a child let loose in a sweet shop, it's easy to get carried away. And similarly the attraction can pall.
dark_lord Plus
17 2.8k 769 England
26 May 2020 4:50PM
Welcome from me too.

Thank you for uploading the original. That does help in the Critique Gallery as we can see how far you've gone in post processing.

The original is a decent record, but a little flat tonally so I can understand you wanting to enhance the image.

Tonemapping is supposed to be used with a proper series of images for High Dynamic Range subjects and used on its own looks unnatural, though there are a group of people that like the effect. A certain brewery by-product springs to mind.

One way of leeping the effect but not have it appear so strong is to have the image with the effect on a separate layer above the original and reduce the Layer Opacity.

There's no harm ion trying effects, but as Moira mentions, it's how the end result is perceived. If you like it, that's fine.
But the Critique Gallery is a learning zone and a place to discuss ideas, so I'll do a couple of mods just to show that different people see different interpretations, bearing in mind your desire for a grittier look.
mrswoolybill Plus
14 2.8k 2408 United Kingdom
26 May 2020 5:16PM
Thanks for adding the original. Your own modification is the way to go, much subtler, less of a sledgehammer effect.
dark_lord Plus
17 2.8k 769 England
26 May 2020 7:27PM
Yes, a good mod.
pamelajean Plus
15 1.5k 2218 United Kingdom
26 May 2020 7:50PM
Hello Patrick, it's good to see you uploading again, particularly to the Critique Gallery.

I like this kind of subject, honing in on the textures and shapes, and especially on the well-loved rust.

Thank you for uploading the original, and I see that you already have some modifications based on that image. That's the one I have chosen, too. I looked at this earlier but had dinner to get over and done with before I could comment. In the meantime, several people have commented.

You say that you used tonemapping to bring out the rust colours, but there are more subtle ways of doing that, and I don't need to repeat what has already been said about HDR. Love it or hate it. I think your own modification is far more natural and far more pleasing. Well done.

It was mid-afternoon when you shot this, so the light was still quite strong, hence the highlights on the metal. I do like the highlights on the padlocks, though. Anyway, I think the original benefits from a bit less exposure.

In my modification, I straightened using the right-hand post only. It's a good idea to have at least one line level. I then cropped to remove the white bit in the top right and a bit of the post on the right. I reduced highlights, reduced brightness, and did a Levels adjustment to enhance the rust, as well as a boost in saturation. I cloned some of the fencing into the triangle bottom left, for a cleaner finish.

I hope you can see from the modifications that the image doesn't need anything fancy, it's a strong statement about metal and rust, it speaks for itself.

26 May 2020 9:44PM
Thanks for all the comments and honest critiques.
chase Plus
15 2.1k 562 England
27 May 2020 2:15PM
Hi Patrick,
I am late to this one and most has been said.
HDR /Tonemapping is so very easy to overdo and yes, this is overdone, your own modification is the much better image, nice and gentle, not too much in your face as obvious tone mapping either.
I do use HDR but generally only when the light is not even across the image or there is a particular bright spot that needs to be there but not quite so bright even then you have to get the exposures correct.
Here, the rust has a great texture of its own...I like rust.
I do like your composition and pleased to see you did crop out the very bright bit at the top, good choice.

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