Getting The Bird: How To Photograph Birds With Long Telephoto Lenses
Back Modifications (3)
Views 89 Unique 43 Award Shortlist   

Bluebells at Happy Valley

By H_Ork
Compulsory Spring shot - Bluebells!
Basically, I have completely lost my way with the photos I take and editing them. I lost all confidence and considered giving up. If you can give me any advice, it'd be thoroughly appreciated. I just want to take some good photos!

Tags: Spring Trees Garden Flowers and plants Flowers and plants Wild flowers Bluebell Springtime Spring flowers Orkney



pamelajean Plus
17 1.8k 2285 United Kingdom
12 May 2019 9:00PM
Hello, Hazel, and welcome to EPZ and its Critique Gallery.
I see that you joined a few years ago but that this is your first upload.

You have uploaded to this gallery because you clicked on the "Critique Wanted" option. I hope that was your intention. You say that you welcome advice, so I assume it was.

This is the part of the site where you can't get votes or awards (as in the main gallery), but you can be pretty sure of focused and constructive comments on your pictures.

I'm sorry to hear that you lost your way, but am glad you didn't actually give up. I think you have come to the right place, and hope you enjoy the experience.

The image you present here isn't the kind that I would expect from someone who has lost confidence in their photography abilities. However, your Exif Data isn't complete, and so I don't know when the picture was taken, and it could be some time ago. Since it's bluebell time right now, I suspect that it's recent.

This is a considered composition, unlike some bluebell wood images that we see. You have used two strong trees to "frame" the scene and contain the flowers. I think there is a pathway behind the right-hand tree, and it would have provided extra interest if you could have included more of it. Also, pathways lead the viewer's eye through the image. Just nudging yourself further to the left could have done the job.

Having said that, the left-hand tree would then have obscured that construction in the background, possibly some sort of hide or "tent" built buy children. I'd love for that to have been closer and more visible because it then provides a focal point, something for the eye to settle upon. This is where your compositional skills come into play, and where important decisions have to be made, sometimes as compromises, sometimes as necessities. Take lots of pictures from different angles and, if you don't visit the same place often, you won't be forever wishing you had done something differently.

I see three different bluebell colours here, and that's an interesting thing to capture. Your colours are nice and the light was good. There is also some good sky colour showing through the background trees.

It's a good idea to include your Exif Data (camera settings), which the site usually picks up. It aids critique and helps other readers to understand how you took the shot.
You can easily add them manually. You can do this by clicking on the Options button below your picture, then on Edit Photo, then at Edit Photo Information click on the Exif tab.
Complete the boxes, then click on Save.
Im sure you know where to find that information but for reference, open the picture on your hard drive, right click on it, click on Properties, and then Details.

You say that you want to take some good photos. I think you have. I look forward to seeing more.

mrswoolybill Plus
16 3.8k 2596 United Kingdom
12 May 2019 9:34PM
A warm welcome from me too. I'll comment on two separate aspects.

We all go through patches when we lose the inspiration. Don't despair, my advice would be to look around for a theme, a project. Go out and look for pictures, on a set theme, and try to take at least one picture a day. It gives a discipline, a structure.

Secondly, this photo is very nicely composed around those strong tree trunks, they hold the composition together. I think you have done quite a bit of processing on light (lightening shadows, darkening highlights, reducing contrast?). It has given a nice effect on the foreground flowers, and good detail in the tree bark. But it has left a patch of sky on the left of the frame that doesn't match up with the rest, as well as some general blotchiness in the sky plus purple fringing. It would be useful for us to see the original, you can upload it here as a modification. Click on the blue modifications button below your upload and then follow the instructions for Upload a modification.
H_Ork 6
12 May 2019 9:37PM
Hi Pamela,

Thanks for your comments, much appreciated.

I have updated some of the Exif details, and will keep an eye for that next time! The photo was only taken this morning, so I'm pretty chuffed with your comments. I will take on board your recommendations for next time.

Thanks again Grin
H_Ork 6
12 May 2019 10:08PM
Thanks Moira, original one uploaded. Smile
Saastad 3 16 17 Norway
12 May 2019 11:33PM
Hello Hazel.
I think this picture had done pretty good in the gallery the way it is. And i agree in the things that have been said over here. But i wonder one thing. Do you use a tripond? My advise is to use a tripond. And in landskape like this it could have been nice with some more depth. A Aperture f10 or f11 will give fine depth in a landskape like this. I also advise you to focus manual, then you can choose the focuspoint your self. If you have a mobile phone, there is some helpful apps that show the depth of field on the object you use. It has been very helpful for me in the beginning. Good luck to you, and welcome with more photos. You are doing pretty good

mrswoolybill Plus
16 3.8k 2596 United Kingdom
13 May 2019 7:50AM
Thanks for adding the original, that patch of dark blue sky on the left is there so a quirk of the light. Your processing has really enhanced the foreground textures and light, but if you look at the sky and fine twigs top right it has produced a less satisfactory result. I shall have a look at processing ideas later today but others may get here first.
mrswoolybill Plus
16 3.8k 2596 United Kingdom
13 May 2019 8:22AM
I've uploaded a very quick modification - I warmed colour, added brightness and did some very gentle dodging and burning (huge brush, exposure just 3%, dodge tool set to highlights, burn tool set to shadows) to give a more 3-D feel. It has lost some of the hint of blue in the sky but has avoided the purple fringing. I also toned down the dark blue patch on the left.
iancrowson 13 215 169 United Kingdom
13 May 2019 11:19AM
I think this is a nice photo. Just like hundreds of shots of bluebells I've taken it's not really that exciting, just a record of a lovely place.
To achieve a remarkable bluebell wood image you really need special light. Say early morning with a mist, or evening light dappled through the trees. The bluebells need to be dense too.
Light is everything with most photography, seek it out and you will have images you love.
banehawi Plus
18 2.9k 4348 Canada
13 May 2019 12:46PM
I would crop down about 1/3 to remove some of the bright sky personally.

Its quite nice, - and your processing to me look like its on the right track, a little brighter, warmer and more colour than as shot.

We do all go through those "dry" periods where nothing seems to work and it does eventually pass. Have you ever, as Im sure most of us have done, gone back to old shots you didnt work on because you thought they were bad, only to find they were a lot better than you thought at the time? Thats part of it, the personal "lens" you use to asses the shot also changes.

H_Ork 6
13 May 2019 6:34PM
Hi everyone,

Thank you for taking the time to comment. I will try some of the suggested ideas / methods and see how I get on.
I'm glad to hear that others experience the "dry" spell as it has knocked my confidence right down. Now to get practicing! Smile

Appreciate the advice.


paulbroad 15 131 1294 United Kingdom
14 May 2019 9:07PM
It is a perfectly good pictorial record and as such, well executed. Far better than many scenes we see, but as Ian mentions, lacking that impact that makes it truly stand out from the bunch. I would have the camera very low,making just a few plants very prominent in the foreground and thus increasing the instant impact factor.

Not always easy to get unusual viewpoints, but tilting screens on many modern cameras do facilitate such shots.

dark_lord Plus
19 3.0k 836 England
14 May 2019 9:33PM
Hi Hazel, a late welcome from me.

It's a nicely composed shot and there's excellent feedback above.
There's a good clump of bluebells - not every bluebell location turns out to be so good once you get up close, so you did well to pick these out.

Looking at the main image and your 'as shot' image I can see you warmed this image which does help (though Moira's warmer still mod is also appeling). That has affected the blues a bit so what I would do there is to very slightly change the hue of just the blues. I see you shot this in RAW, so adjusting colour can be easily done in RAW conversion software.
What i also found was that you'd applied lens distortion correction, which is very good.

We all go through creative lean times and blank spots. We don't all upload a picture a day either.
Numerous members allow modifications of their images so you could use those as inspiration For example, they give me a chance to try mono conversions and other effects that i wouldn't, or haven't got around to, trying on my own images.


Sign In

You must be a member to leave a comment.

ePHOTOzine, the web's friendliest photography community.

Join For Free

Upload photos, chat with photographers, win prizes and much more.