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Blowtorch 1

By BiffoClick
Image created in a local Garden Centre - a back room full of old tools and scrap items. The ceiling was white plastic which - together with an overcast day - created a beautifully soft light. Converted to B&W in Lightroom and Silver Efex.

Tags: Black and white blowtorch old tool

Christmas Prize Draw 2017
This photo is here for critique. Please only comment constructively and with suggestions on how to improve it.


paulbroad 11 123 1261 United Kingdom
6 Dec 2018 7:16PM
It lacks strength. the top of the pressure vessel is the same tone a the background and thus the juncture merges into it. I don't think your soft diffused lighting actually did you any favours. This is a relatively gritty piece of gear - I own several inherited from father and father in law and this would look much better with strong directional lighting and a full range of tones.


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dudler Plus
15 739 1418 England
6 Dec 2018 8:53PM
I'd like the full EXIF data - did you 'save for web' instead of 'save as'?

A couple of problems, though I can see that hte light was wonderful.

First, the composition is very central, with a good deal of dead space below the blowtorch.

Second, as Paul says, the torch doesn't show up well against the background: a plainer background would have helped, or using a really wide aperture and long zoom setting, which might just have been enough to get differentiation.

It would be really useful if you could upload the original, unprocessed file - someoen may have processing suggestions.

And - possibly as a result of one or more of hte above - there's a disconcerting impression that the blowtorch is floating above the bench, or has been photoshopped in. There are tiny shadows on the bench in a couple of places on the left of the frame, but the shadowless lighting has not been your friend in some ways. Once you spot the apparent suspension in midair, you keep thinking about it. Don't you?
dark_lord Plus
14 2.2k 554 England
6 Dec 2018 10:21PM
It's a good subject for a mono conversion.

Having said that I agree wih Paul and John about the subject merging in, tonally, with part of the background.

Sometimes mono works better than colour because of the shapes and tones and sometimes colour works better because the colours help give separation. This can be offset when you do a monop conversion by adjusting the level of the different colour channels as this gives great control over the result. It would be interesting to know which conversion method you used.
The problem of merging into the backgropund can also be alleviated by careful positioning of the objects, your viewpoint and as john mentions focal length and aperture.

Paul's suggestion of contrasty light is a different approach, and perhaps with added grain, but your soft light approach is no less valid. It gives a different look, amd mood.
banehawi Plus
14 1.9k 3949 Canada
7 Dec 2018 1:24AM
All of the above. Shot settings will help us help you.

IF you still have the colour version, upload it here on this page by selecting modifications, then upload.


mrswoolybill Plus
12 1.3k 1979 United Kingdom
7 Dec 2018 8:38AM
This definitely needs the crop. The focus on the subject is fine but a large aperture was clearly used - remember that you get just half of the depth of field (distance that's in acceptable focus) in front of where you focus, compared with what you get behind. That soft blurry strip at the bottom is a real distraction in front of the viewer's eye, and it also acts as a barrier.

I'll just add to the advice given in comments above that this is a straight, factual presentation, it shows the nuts and bolts so to speak, it shows all the parts, how the device works. Fine for a catalogue, not very exciting...

An angled composition, looking directly at the nozzle, with careful focusing on the detail nearest to the camera and maximum aperture, now that could be interesting...
dudler Plus
15 739 1418 England
9 Dec 2018 8:24AM
The new edition of Amateur Photographer (15 December 2018) contains a fine article on still life and portraits that you may find interesting - buy a copy if you can, or track it down at the local library...

Tim's top ten tips are gold dust.
10 Dec 2018 6:48AM
Thank you all for your help - back to the drawing board Grin

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