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Burmese fisherman

By jbsaladino
I uploaded this image yesterday after I digitally adjusted it with Photoshop. This is the original image before I made my adjustments. It comes from the scan of a 35mm color positive slide taken in 1990. There is no EXIF data since it came from a film camera. It was suggested that I submit the photo to be critiqued. Comments on the adjusted image mentioned that had been over processed. I welcome any advice you might be willing to give that might improve the final edit.

Tags: Water Boat Lake Net Fisherman Reflection in water Landscape and travel

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Comments


mrswoolybill Plus
14 2.8k 2403 United Kingdom
27 Feb 2021 8:17AM
Hi Joe, welcome to the Critique Gallery, I was the one who suggested that you upload this here, so I hope you'll find it useful. You'll get the attention of the Critique Team so it will be interesting to see what people make of this. (By ticking for critique you authorise members to download the image and then upload modifications - they will appear under the blue Modifications button below your upload.)

Taken thirty years ago - this is an image that is important to you personally, I guess. It captures a very calm, beautiful moment in time. If we could go back in time, I'd like more space for the reflection, less for the sky, but that is literally water under the bridge now...

I have to say that I prefer the original to your processed version. Light was obviously difficult, having got an overexposed background my inclination would be not to fiddle with that too much but to concentrate on the foreground.

The main thing that jumped out from the previous upload was that the water appears to tilt whereas the reflection looks much straighter... That's odd.

I shall have a close look at this later today!
Moira
mrswoolybill Plus
14 2.8k 2403 United Kingdom
27 Feb 2021 9:12AM
OK, I'm back again, I have added a quick modification, others will follow I'm sure. I tried a completely different approach to your main gallery upload, there's not much significant detail to be extracted from the background and I rather like the haziness. It does what a background should do, it sits back, it doesn't compete with the fisherman. It allows him masses of private airy space.

Here's what I did - I concentrated on the cosmetic touches. First I rotated anti-clockwise using the grid for reference and looking to get the reflections and water correct. Water never slopes, reflections always drop down vertically... Straightening required a small crop, I filled in the bottom left corner to avoid losing too much depth.

Then I isolated the figure and lightened shadows by 10%. I cut out magentas overall - there's a pronounced magenta cast in the lower part of the frame, which could be original, it could come from deterioration of the slide.

Then I worked on despotting - particularly on the darker areas - skin, shorts, boat. There are a lot of dust spots and fine scratches, it's worth spending some time on them.

I didn't touch colour (apart from magenta), I rather like the slightly desaturated look. But I shall be interested to see what others do. Equally I didn't crop, I left your broad view.

It's a really lovely image, I can see why you have gone back to it.
dudler Plus
17 1.6k 1841 England
27 Feb 2021 9:51AM
Hi, Joe, and I'm delighted that you've put this in the Critique Gallery. It's a very beautiful image.

There's a tilt of around four degrees, and that really needs sorting. And then there's the fact that you exposed to get detail in the fisherman, and so almost lost the background to overexposure. That's actually very atmospheric, and I don't want to bring in too much tone. I used Nik Efex detail extractor at moderate strength, and I feel that gives a good result. I haven't tried to alter the colour, but that's certainly an option. Having scanned some slides that are twice the age of this shot yesterday, I am very much aware that colours change, sometimes unpredictably. Your own memory of the view is the best guide for choosing the colours you have...

Thank you for letting us play with this (and also for posting another series of barrel racer pictures the last week or so. I find them fascinating, and they represent something in American culture that is so different from anything here in the UK, and thoroughly admirable!
dudler Plus
17 1.6k 1841 England
27 Feb 2021 9:53AM
Afterthought: in this version, the strange effects on the pot are clearly because of the net around it reflecting and refracting light. Not digital artefacts at all, but reality!
27 Feb 2021 10:51AM
Hi Joe. I like this, and definitely prefer your original. I'm not crazy about the composition though, with the man placed centrally. That can work for some images, but I don't personally feel that it does here, so I'll upload a mod to illustrate the point.

I used Photoshop Elements for my mod.
First I straightened the image and reduced exposure just a little.
Then I used the Spot Healing Brush to remove the worst of the blemishes.
I then created a blank file the same height as your image but wider. I layered the image on top of the blank file, positioned against the left hand edge, and using the Recompose Tool, stretched the right hand portion of the image ( everything to the right of the point where the oar enters the water ) to fill the empty space.
I hope you like the result.

Alan
chase Plus
15 2.1k 562 England
27 Feb 2021 11:13AM
Hi Joe and welcome.
This is a lovely image from many years ago and I do prefer this to your post in the Main Gallery.

I did try a couple of modifications.
1. Straightened and cropped from the right to pt the fisherman on the RHS third.
I did try to remove some of the obvious artefacts/blemishes but as the slide is so old maybe the quality has reduced somewhat.
Removed the magenta cast in the water.
I used Define within Nik to try and reduce some of the noise in the sky.

2. Converted to a fairly high key mono using Nik Silver.
I just thought that the figure would be emphasised a little more.

I also converted the colour profile to sRGB which is the one recommended for display on the web.

I do like this, the diffused bg looks like a huge mountain.
This must have been a stunning sight all those years ago.
mrswoolybill Plus
14 2.8k 2403 United Kingdom
27 Feb 2021 12:21PM
I had to go out shopping, while out I was formulating ideas for b&w conversion, which I think is another possible way to go with this. I have gone for a square crop, with the man's leg on the left third, space on the right for him to move into. I've uploaded two separate conversions, worked in Nik Silver Efex, playing with brightness, contrast, the colour channels and also adding a hint of burn edges and a frame, which works with a fairly minimalist composition.

We shall be interested to hear your thoughts, I hope this has given you ideas!
jbsaladino 11 15 United States
27 Feb 2021 1:03PM
Thank you all for your critiques. They are all very informative with advice that I can use to improve my photography efforts in the future.
jbsaladino 11 15 United States
27 Feb 2021 1:05PM
Thank you all for your critiques. I've learned a lot from them.
dark_lord Plus
17 2.8k 768 England
28 Feb 2021 10:06PM
This is a well timed and atmospheric image Joe.
Sloping water and central subject but I guess for many of us 30 years is a long time ago and our photography has moved on - certaily be looking at your recent images it has.
Fortunately a few clicks, for want of an an expression, in Photoshop and all is fine.

The figure is the point of interest and he's a good density. The background is nice and diffuse and just as you'd expect - it's how film is and tody because we can recover detail much more easily there's this tendency to think images like this are too light. That said, many may process a digital image to ge this precise effect. Though it is, as one mod shows, possible to retrieve information from the slide if you want.

Your other upload suffered from aggresive processing, I don't know if there was too much Contrast adjutment, Clarity or over Sharpening or some combimation of those. The key is not to overdo it.

Like a painter, step back and consider if what you've applied has enhanced or overcooked it. If you work with Adjustment Layers it's easier to go back and reverse changes.

Is the image here a good representation of the slide? That's a question I always ask when scanning. A good well preserved slide (I'm not saying this isn't) shoul d be able to produce a good san, or at least you should be able to process it as such. Then make any changes you fell improve it, such as tweaking colour balance (not a suggestion here).

As for dust spots, it's worth using dust removal settings if your scanner has them though Kodachrome slides can be problematic.
jbsaladino 11 15 United States
1 Mar 2021 1:00AM
Thank you for your very helpful critique dark_lord. Your advice has been very enlightening.

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