Back Modifications (4)
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Buoys on the Pier

By Rose73
Hello again,

Hope its not too soon to post another image for critique?

I chose the wide angle lens again for this picture because I wanted to really bring the buoys close up and shot from a low viewpoint to help with this. I had to do a bit of cropping of the original to get the effect I wanted Ė they werenít large enough in the picture at first.
What I noticed is that the hills are quite soft, as is the wall at the far right of the picture and also at the extreme left. I chose f/8 and wanted to ask if I should have used a smaller aperture to get the hills in sharper focus or whether a wider one would have had a better effect Ė just focusing more on the buoys and chains and blurring the background a bit more? I feel its not one or the other.

I donít know exactly where I focused, as I used manual focusing and canít remember! I suppose it would have been on one of the buoys. Could focusing too close have caused the softness in the landscape? I still havenít got my head around where to focus to achieve the depth of field I want with particular apertures and lenses etc.

I look forward to your suggestions about my settings and viewpoint etc. Smile

Tags: Close-up and macro Buoys

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banehawi Plus
16 2.4k 4236 Canada
10 Feb 2021 2:32PM
With a wide angle lens, - any lens really, the depth of field, - the area, front to back of apparent sharpness depends on the aperture chosen, AND very importantly, the point where you focus.

So here, using f/8, and an effective focal length of 16mm (canons 1.6 multiplier to convert to full frame), you should be able to focus very close, e.g 10 feet, and get a range of sharpness from about 8 feet in from of the camera all the way to infinity.

What you are likely seeing here, at least on the wall to the right, is edge distortion, meaning the lens sharpness falls off the closer to the edge the subject is. It can be quite dramatic, and is an optical issue rather than photographic technique.The only way I can suggest that caused the hills to be soft is that you focused at a point 3 feet or less from the camera? that would prevent the far limit reaching infinity, probably closer to 25 feet. Is that possible?

Ill download it an look closer. Did you shoot in RAW of JPEG, and were any lens corrections applied by the camera?

Ill be back


banehawi Plus
16 2.4k 4236 Canada
10 Feb 2021 2:43PM
The mod has lens correction applied by photoshop for that camera and lens combination. Its a very slight change.

The wall can be sharpened manually, - suggesting it is the lens edge being a bit soft, - and Im sure the distant area is possibly dus to focusing close to the camera, less than 3 feet.

I will attach a handy link to a depth of field tool; it available as a free smartphone app too.



Robert51 12 7 121 United Kingdom
10 Feb 2021 3:02PM
I like the shot with it's bold and powerful colours.

The sharpness in the wall and hills can be fixed but I like what you have. The softer background helps to draw the eye to the subject.
Hi Willie,
Thanks for your reply. Yes, I shot in RAW. Iím not sure about the camera applying lens corrections Ė Iím afraid I donít know what this means Ė sorry.

Iím pretty sure I would have been 3ft or maybe closer to the nearest buoy which is probably what I focused on. I can remember being right down on my knees pretty close to it.

Is this edge distortion common when shooting with a wide angle lens? I used a focal length of 10mm. Moira mentioned something about the railings on the right side needing adjusting in the last image to straighten them - which was shot at 12mm.

What you said about using f/8 and an effective focal length of 16mm (canons 1.6 multiplier to convert to full frame). Again Iím not sure about the terminology but does this mean with me using 10mm on my camera? This should be ok for back to front sharpness if I focused about 10 feet in front of the camera? I know I was much, much closer than that.

To get the buoys large in the frame with the wide angle lens, and be close to it when taking the shot, should I have chosen a wider aperture and blurred the background more?

P.S. Just gone back on line Ė thanks for the DOF tool Willie and thanks Robert for your comments. Could the background do with being even a bit softer? I feel its neither one thing or the other.
dudler Plus
17 1.6k 1845 England
10 Feb 2021 5:42PM
I like this!

Definitely not too soon - if your membership allows daily posting and you have the images to post, do it!

Yes - a close subject and focus on the main subject will lead to some softness in the distance, and I'd be happy with that in my own shots, generally. From your last comment, yes - maybe it is in between sharp and soft - go closer in, focus on the nearer buoy, and maybe open the aperture up a little to f/5.6. It's worth going out and experimenting with this sort of thing, even if you only photograph the pavement outside your house.

You had to crop because you didn't go quite close enough, which is an easy mistake to make with an extreme wideangle lens. Next time, try even closer. It's not a question of aperture - just where you put the camera when you take the picture.

Lens correction - many lenses, especially zooms, distort the image a bit - barrel or pincushion distortion will turn straight lines near the edges of the picture into curves. Sometimes, the camera and lens will sort this out automatically, and you can always deal with it in processing. Different lenses distort to differing degrees - a Zeiss fixed focal length lens will probably distort far less than a cheap superzoom.

Effective focal length - historically, photographers think in terms of lenses on full frame cameras, and your camera has a smaller sensor than that. So a 10mm lens on your Canon gives the same coverage, the same angle of view of the subject, as a 16mm lens on a Canon with a bigger sensor. Does that help?
mrswoolybill Plus
14 2.8k 2408 United Kingdom
10 Feb 2021 6:26PM
Hello again! This is another thoughtful, intelligent image, you have a good eye and a good awareness of the technical issues without letting that get in the way of personal vision. Pretty well the perfect combination.

As Willie says, at wide angle and at F/8 you have massive depth of field. The softness at the edges often happens with wide angle lenses - as I understand it, it's simply that lenses, and particularly zooms, do not perform totally evenly across the frame and through the zoom range. They all have their weaker areas, generally nearer to the edges.

Now, more importantly for my mind - are you really looking for edge to edge, front to back sharpness? Do you really want the distant view sharp? It's not how the human eye sees, so it's not really natural-looking.

OK This may sound odd information for a photography site... The human eye is basically a lens with an automatically adjusted aperture, and a sensor behind it (ie the brain). We see at around 43mm 35mm equivalent, with aperture range around F/2.2 to F/8, according to the light level. So even in bright light, we are used to focusing on what interests us, and everything else will recede into softness. It's how we concentrate on what matters.

This is why photographers will often use larger aperture, for a variety of subjects, in order to deliberately soften the background. It distinguishes the subject, brings it forward, avoids distraction.

Changing the subject, I like the way that you went in quite close and claimed ownership of the foreground, that's the way to use wide angle. I have uploaded a modification which is simply a crop. Fill the foreground, but you don't necessarily need complete objects. An accidental clip at the edge looks careless, but a bold crop can look strong. I reckon that by cutting off the left side of the red buoy the mod not only gets rid of the highlight on the left, but also gives greater value to that lovely paving stone and the rusty chain.

So it's just a suggestion...
Thank you for the compliment Dudler! Smile

Yes, what youíve said is very helpful and youíve made it easy to understand. Iím taking notes of what you all say and attach them to the photos for reference. The DOF tool Willie gave a link to looks good. Even after that first posting I found all your comments incredibly helpful and encouraging.

I like the wide angle Ďbeing thereí effect. As you say, I didnít go close enough to the buoy at first Ė although I thought I did at the time. I was looking at the minimum focusing distance of the 10-22mm this afternoon and see its 0.8ft Ė now thatís close!

I intend to get out soon and start taking some shots again. At the moment its extremely windy and baltic! Nearly blew me off my feet this morning. I need a tripod for my lenses apart from the very small or light ones. I got a new 17-55mm which is actually quite heavy to keep still. Maybe bumping up the ISO for now is the answer and concentrate on composition.

I wasnít sure about frequency of posting so thought I should ask. Thanks for that. I want to keep posting old ones as well for your feedback, as I feel its important to learn from them so I can maybe revisit some sites and make improvements. Thanks again.Smile
Thank you Moira for your lovely comments Ė shucks! My head is getting bigger by the minute Ė all these compliments! Blush

Iíve downloaded the DOF tool to study. It all seems a bit like a maths equation to me Ė Iíll get my head around it eventually. Not sure I have a sensor behind my aperture!!

Youíre right, I wasnít happy with the background hills. They looked soft, but not soft enough for what I wanted. I like your modification cropping the red buoy and getting rid of that highlighted area. It also helps focus now just on the foreground subject, and you hardly see any hills behind it. Great stuff! Iím learning so much just in two postings! Smile
mrswoolybill Plus
14 2.8k 2408 United Kingdom
10 Feb 2021 7:07PM
I'm glad this is helping, giving you ideas, that's how the CG works best.

I should have added two further points: well done for putting the water edge on the upper third - the rule of thirds a bit of a clichť but it does give a satisfying balance. And backgrounds... remember what a background is for, it's in the word - it's to sit back and not compete with the subject. That's what softness there gives.
chase Plus
15 2.1k 562 England
10 Feb 2021 7:10PM
Good to see you back here with a plethora of info, it does help and gives us something to work with so, thanks for that.

I do like this, and the question to you would you want everything in the frame in focus or do you want the focus to fall away bringing the buoys right up front as the main interest in the frame. Me....I would have gone for a softer approach to the bg as appears here ( not that I do many land or sea scapes Blush ).
You would need to get down to about F5.6 to blur the bg more, perhaps even lower, depending on how close you were to your subject. Willies' DOF tool would give you a much better answer there.
Your general exposure looks sensible in the bright sunshine, ok, the very front white buoy may be a tad over but it's going to be considering the lovely sunshine.
You could have gone for a couple of exposures to combat the brightness on the buoy and then combined them during editing but saying that it's not horrendous.
I would have tried lots of frames here and perhaps dropped even lower, without a tripod you could use a small bean bag or cushion to rest your camera on, especially if you have a release cable attached.

Using a wide angle lens can be quite challenging but can produce some great stuff with a little practise.
I must add, there are some really nice textures here, lovely rusty chain !
chase Plus
15 2.1k 562 England
10 Feb 2021 7:35PM
I did a mod.....
Cropped much tighter top and bottom just about to a letter box format to really put the emphasis on the buoys.
Used the Camera Raw filter in Photoshop to warm the frame up and slightly reduce the highlights.
Desaturated the blues on the white buoy, I used a mask on the hue/saturation layer.
Applied a little sharpening to the wall on the right.
Added some blur simply with the blur tool in Photoshop on a separate layer, just to see what it would look like with a shallower DOF. Not necessarily where you were going with this but just gives you an idea what it may look like.
dark_lord Plus
17 2.8k 769 England
10 Feb 2021 9:43PM
First thought, I like this and would have voted for it in the main Gallery.

Seond thought, I'd go for a touch warmer. I see you used the Shade white balance so I would have expected it to be warmer. Nevertheless, I think that's helped, so some 'mistakes' can be serendipious.

As you shoot RAW it matters not as you can change it as part of the conversion process.

Lens corrections adjust for distortion and vignetting. Many cameras (I guess yours does but I can't be sure) apply this to jpgs. For RAW files there is a checkbox though in Canon's DPP it may be checked by default.

I don't think it mattrs too much if th distant hills aren't pin sharp as tey're incidental to the main subject. f/4 should give you sufficient depth of field for the buoys and leave the hills to themselves. Trying diffeent apertures is worth trying. With such a wide angle though even when 'soft' they'll still be recognisable.

As an aside, some old EOS film cameras had a Depth-of-Field Mode where you could specify the near and far limits you wantd in focus and the camera sorted out the most suitale focus point and aperture. I thought that was quite neat but it appears not to have made it through to current models.

You say you weren't close enough, and that is an issue with wide angles, and more so the wider the angle. Move literally a few centimetres and you can have very different results so it pays to try numerous compositions. You can analyse them later at leisure.

Another plus for DPP is that you can overlay the focus point on the image to see where the camera focused (I don't think that works with manual focus).

If you have new work, preferably that builds on recent critique, then keep posting and keep up the dialogue with us. There's nothing worse than posting and not communicating.
Sorry to all for not getting back again last night, and thanks Chase for your comments.

Iíve never tried combining exposures Ė Iíll need to read up on this. Your tip about using a small beanbag to rest my camera on when shooting low is helpful Ė thanks for that. Instead of just taking one shot and moving on - I see now that taking several and also varying the apertures regarding background softness etc is the way to go.

I see both you and Keith would have gone with the Shade white balance. I can see the stones look quite blue when comparing the two images now, but Iím still not sure what I prefer personally.

Thanks Keith for your compliment. Yes, I did use the Shade white balance when shooting but not intentionally! I hadnít changed it since the last time I was using the camera. When I was processing the RAW image at first I wasnít keen on the colour tone of the paving stones and changed it to Daylight.

Yes, I will need to practice and experiment a lot more with the wide angle regarding camera to subject distance because I do like the really Ďclose upí effect. Being able to see the point of focus on DPP is great Ė as you say manual focusing doesnít allow this which is a pain.

As always, I appreciate everyoneís comments Ė thanks. Smile
dudler Plus
17 1.6k 1845 England
12 Feb 2021 12:48PM
You've spotted a really important side of white balance there, Julie - it's not necessarily a matter of what is technically correct, but what is aesthetically right, whether that's as you remember it, or as you want it to be in your picture.

Taking variations is important. I like to quote Gil Grissom of CSI - it's important to 'work the scene' as a photographer, in just the same was as a SOCO does (to use the old British term for a Scene of Crime Officer).

You're very much on the right track!
pablophotographer 9 1.9k 405
13 Feb 2021 5:09AM
Hello amigo.

I see that you've reached near the end of the platform.

You looked at the scene from a good viewpoint, low as the seadog, who knows how wide they can see the world? And I can sniff the sea breeze that hit your nostrils, so I don't envy you or the seadog anymore.

I grew up taking pictures with a 35mm fixed lens. It made composition an austere exercise. It taught me that in order to take pictures I have to read poems. You see, novels, and books, are turned into motion pictures, there is a big story to be told there. "War and Peace" must have been 3 hours long, multiply the single frames projected at every second and compare the number of thousands of frames that pass in front of your eyes to the mere number of 24 or 36 exposures you have loaded in your camera.

Poems are small pieces of literature. They have a start and an end and they contain some meaning. So does a frame. It is finite, it has edges, it has limits and it must show something that can make sense.

You see the metal bolt at the bottom of the balloon. It is there for a reason that makes sense to the manufacturer of the balloon. One must respect that. One must respect the clouds too. A poem told me so. It was called reality.

So within the borders of this reality I have found you a picture that derives from your picture. It is smaller because it is small as a poem. I have no tools at this moment to manipulate your picture so please follow my description and you will arrive again to your newly framed picture. Cut off vertically (most of) the sun reflection on the red ballon. But keep a small sun reflection and the mtal bolt there. Everything on the left can go. Then, crop horizontally from the top most of the sky but keep the two white clouds just below the (new) top right corner. You have roughly now one third sky and two thirds platform. The pallet remains in full in the frame. Cutting from the bottom is optional, "cook to the desired taste". I think you have a new 3:2 aspect ratio frame noe. Light, objects and shadows play from left to right till the distant end far away in the sea.

The boat which left these ashore isn't visible anymore. I am on it. Adios.

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