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barry the pidgeon man

By krebsbaum    
this photo is of a bradford character called barry the pidgeon man, he is an old jamacan immigrant been in bradford 50 years and feeds the pidgeons at least twice weekly in the city centre, he is a kind and freindly man and well liked.

Tags: Pidgeon Portraits and people

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mrswoolybill Plus
14 2.5k 2345 United Kingdom
17 Oct 2017 12:34PM
Hi again, this is another really attractive informal portrait. You have a warm-hearted, relaxed subject, doing what he enjoys. You have a good rapport with people, they are comfortable being photographed by you - that is invaluable.

As with previous portraits in the CG you have isolated the background for blurring and perhaps darkening, as with the previous uploads it jumps out! The hard cut-out edges, particularly to the beard... The sudden transition from sharp to total blur... The pink halo round the top of the turban...

We all preach - large aperture, shallow depth of field, isolate the subject against a soft background. But looking at you settings I would expect the background to be quite soft in the original file. Did you need to push it further? Is it your Camera Club telling members that they 'should do this'? Can you upload the original please? You can add it as a modification.

It would also help if you let us know what help and advice you are looking for in the Critique Gallery. I think my advice would be to look very carefully at each stage in processing and ask yourself if you are actually adding anything positive.
pablophotographer 9 1.8k 394
17 Oct 2017 12:51PM
Rasta man, a smile, and two pigeons which symbolise peace.
Perfect portrait theme and execution.
17 Oct 2017 2:40PM
dear mrs woolybill

i am confident in my portraiture approach, but not confident in my digital darkroom there are some members in our club who are masters of digital darkroom but i am not one of them, the background to this picture was a doorway and old pipes i suppose i could have left the slightly blurred back ground alone but i wanted it smoother and in so doing i have overdone the edges, any how i am thankful to you for pointing it out.
banehawi Plus
16 2.4k 4201 Canada
17 Oct 2017 4:06PM
Its a very nice shot; timing and eye contact all work well.

I did upload a mod with the edges a little cleaner and tweaked highlights down and contrast up.

Keep in mind, - the stronger the blur is, the harder it will be to avoid those fuzzy edges, try a less aggressive blur, and zoom in as I suggested previously. A compromise with a slight blur and clean edges might be a good idea.


17 Oct 2017 4:31PM
thank you willie
mrswoolybill Plus
14 2.5k 2345 United Kingdom
17 Oct 2017 5:20PM
Thanks for your feedback.

Quote: i suppose i could have left the slightly blurred back ground alone...

Knowing when to stop, when to leave an image alone, becomes harder and harder as new technical possibilities present themselves. But this is about someone in their 'natural environment', to apply a wildlife concept to our own species. So long as there is differential focus giving emphasis on the subject, softening the background, I would leave well alone. Look to reduce the impact of any individual distractions intruding into the background, rather than creating an unnatural-looking effect for the whole.

I'd still love to see the original!
dark_lord Plus
16 2.7k 736 England
17 Oct 2017 8:00PM
A very good capture of this character, well timed and good focus.

Soft backgrounds do help the subject stand outbut there's also the use of information in the background to give details of the location or environment. Choosing one over the other or somewhere in betweeen is the creative choice.
Overprocessing though can have a negative effect and can detract from the appreciation of the subject even to the point of being a distraction which is the opposite effect you'd want. That's not saying 'don't do what you have here' of course, just don't go as far.

Considering backgrounds though, you could have shot this at full aperture. It's harder to get that lovely soft background on M43 asopposed to full frame cameras, so go as wide as you can. As far as I gather, that's a fine lens so you should still get a sharp subject and f/4 will provide sufficient depth of field to cover the subject.
dudler Plus
17 1.4k 1777 England
18 Oct 2017 1:30PM
So many club members seem to follow fashion: everything must be processed a lot, or else you haven't tried...

For street pictures, another line of thought is that you should shoot as you want it, and not alter things - you can still adjust levels, crop, dodge and burn in, but not adjust in the way this has been processed.

Mastering techniques is one thing - but there are some techniques that aren't that necessary...
Robert51 12 7 110 United Kingdom
19 Oct 2017 8:12AM
This is excellent Donald, it captures everything you want in an image. Great subject, wonderfully colours and most important the joy...

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