Back Modifications (8)
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Fisherman's Hut

By Debsi
Very new to this, all the gear and really no idea. Loved the chaos of this working fisherman's hut on Holy Island off the coast of Northumberland. Any comments for improvements appreciated

Tags: Landscape Holy island Landscape and travel

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DaveRyder Plus
6 4.4k 7 United Kingdom
31 Jul 2020 7:37AM
Hello and welcome to ePz. Some nice images in your portfolio from around Holy Island.
I'm going to like this one, likely because I've sttod around the same place at some point.
At f20 a little dark and at the upper end of the lens, lower would still have afforded good DoF and brightened the final result, which is essentially what I've done in my mod(s).

I've done to as some like a moody darker sky.

Removed a few intrusive bits and bobs.
Decreased gamma
Lowered White level
Shifted white balance to warm image a little
Slight increase to Brightness and Contrast
Shadows down 10% Highlights up 10%
A little sharpening
In second version I’ve used dodge brush to lighted the sky.
All in Affinity except boarder in FastStone

Hope you like the resuls.

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capto Plus
8 6.3k 20 United Kingdom
31 Jul 2020 8:20AM
That lens will have a better result at around f8-f11, that would have allowed a lower iso.
I have done a mod with the exposure increased and sharpened the hut a little.
Enjoy the learning curve, it's the best part of the hobby.

Debsi New Member
31 Jul 2020 8:24AM
Thank you all for your feedback and modifications. Will certainly take them on board. As I said I am a complete beginner so this is very helpful.
chase Plus
14 1.7k 411 England
31 Jul 2020 8:39AM
Hi and welcome to ePz and the Critique gallery. here you will get good, honest critique on your images but no votes as you would in the main gallery.
You have some really nice stuff in your pf already from this location.
I hope you enjoy your time here, we are here to help as much as we can, the more information we have to go on or specific questions from you will help us to help you.
For a beginner, this is a really good image, those upturned fishing bats are iconic from this location, many photographers venture her, including me.
At F11 I reckon this would have been ok as far as detail etc go, then you could have lowered your ISO and still maintained a good shutter speed. I trust you used a good, firm tripod here.

I wish you had taken a few steps to your right just to separate the hut from the jetty on the RHS and to include all of the bits and bobs scattered around the hut.

I did do a quick mod, I don't think this needs much, just a tweak here and there.
I cropped from the top to remove the darker sky, it also puts your horizon on the upper third of the frame.
Lightened very slightly.
Cloned away the half boat on the left of the frame, bits of things, especially on the edges of the frame detract from the main subject.Also removed the bit of the boat sticking out from the hut.
Also cloned off the piece of stray wood bottom right.
Sharpened a touch, especially on the door of the hut, to bring out some more of that yummy texture.
I darkened the very bright strip to the right of the hut using the clone tool set to darken at 65%

A really good start here, very well done !

mrswoolybill Plus
13 2.2k 2247 United Kingdom
31 Jul 2020 8:44AM
Welcome from me too, I hope you will enjoy the site. It's a great place to learn and share, and very friendly, as you see from the above!

You ticked for critique when you uploaded, I hope that was intentional. It has the effect of disabling votes and awards, but inviting more in-depth comment. Thanks for displaying the Exif, and for telling us a little about yourself. We love to try to help beginners to learn.

This is a scene that I know well, I live in Northumberland. We are looking towards the west here, so you have the evening light behind you, which is good. There are aspects here that are so familiar, and true to the location - the steely grey clouds, the acid yellow of the reeds and grass. And yes, the chaos. That's Holy Island! The composition is good, with an inviting off-centre foreground, leaving room to advance and explore further.

Can I risk offending you and suggest that if you are new to this, Manual is not the best way to start. The camera has a good calculating brain, use that, you have paid for it. It has no intuition or imagination, it doesn't not know what you are photographing, so that's where your brain comes in. Aperture priority would be most people's starting point here - and then see what you can do from there.

You have two factors here that reduce image quality - very small aperture and increased ISO. As above - you did not need F/20! I'm guessing that you have heard that the smaller the aperture the greater the depth of field, and you wanted depth for the background scene. But image quality starts to tail off as you head into the very small apertures. Best to stick to the middle area, F/11 would be fine here, F/16 at the smallest. Plus the foreground hut is the subject, the human eye does not see background in sharp focus when it is looking at the foreground.

I assume hand-holding, from the Exif. You needed to increase ISO to support that small aperture, but F11 and 1/100 second would require a lower ISO and so improved image quality.

The image is slightly underexposed. Big question - are you aware of the histogram? A quick reference on your viewing screen after you took the shot would tell you that you were underexposing.

One other point - watch what is creeping into your background, particularly at the edges of the frame. There are cut-off bits, that distract the eye. The chaos is in the foreground, we need a simple background because a background needs to do just that - to sit back. It is often possible to avoid intrusions, just by moving round a couple of steps, always looking through the camera.

I have added a modification - I kept light adjustments simple because I do not know what software you have. I lifted shadows and brightened a bit. I also made a Levels adjustments, moving the right hand slider in to boost lighter tones. Levels allows you to adjust the histogram. You are shooting Raw files, so your software will allow such modifications.

Then a bit more complicated, I tidied up a bit of background, including removing a dark blob from the sky. It will be a bird, but we cannot see that it's a bird...

See what you think - it helps if you join in the conversation.
mrswoolybill Plus
13 2.2k 2247 United Kingdom
31 Jul 2020 8:51AM
PS I'm a slow typist, quite a bit happened here while I was typing!
Debsi New Member
31 Jul 2020 9:41AM
Again thank you for the above comments, lots to go on there. Will certainly pay more attention to the histogram.
mrswoolybill Plus
13 2.2k 2247 United Kingdom
31 Jul 2020 11:40AM
I'm glad you know about the histogram! (My niece went through A Level Photography without ever being shown it...)

I'm back with a few more thoughts. First, good Critique Gallery uploads often receive the most modifications, case in point here - it's a good image.

If you read through comments, you will see that there is unanimity over aperture. For modifications, people have sometimes used different procedures, some more suitable for a beginner, some more advanced, to arrive at very similar results. We all have our go-to methods... The message is - check out the various processing options for light - exposure, shadows/highlights, brightness/contrast, Levels, also the dodge and burn tools (NB select a very low exposure level). See what they do, see what suits your personal vision. Experiment.

So everyone has addressed the same two issues - underexposure, and intrusions that could possibly have been avoided by a slightly different camera position and/or focal length.

I've added a further modification to illustrate two more points:

A much tighter crop can work to concentrate the viewer's attention.

Plus b&w really works for textures and moody skies. (Mine is worked in Nik Silver Efex Pro, part of the Nik collection of plug-ins that can still be downloaded I think for a trial period if you are interested.)
Debsi New Member
31 Jul 2020 12:26PM
Thank you so much, I love the black and white crop, plenty of food for thought there
mrswoolybill Plus
13 2.2k 2247 United Kingdom
31 Jul 2020 12:57PM
Sorry, I've spotted a typo in my first comment, We are looking towards the west here should read ...looking towards the east...
banehawi Plus
16 2.2k 4149 Canada
31 Jul 2020 3:11PM
Added a mod thats brighter, has some sharpening, and is less yellow. Then a mono version of the mod. Cant add to what been said already.

dudler Plus
16 1.2k 1679 England
31 Jul 2020 5:23PM
And welcome from me, too.

Loads of good advice above, and it's almost all concentrating on the processing: as someone who was taking images on film on Holy Island when I was a student at Durham (1972-75), I have a great belief in the camerawork mattering a lot more than most people think it does. Get that right, and all you have to do in editing is polish the product a bit.

Alongside this, I don't believe in altering reality - Dave's removal of a boat in front of the castle is at the limit of what I'm happy with, and in some competitions, it wouldn't be allowed. For other purposes, there's no problem, but if you enter any competition, it's worth checking the rules.

What I really want to see is a fraction more on each side: the slope down from the castle on the left, all of the boat on the right. Charlie Waite, possibly the best English landscape photographer working (that is controversial - it should bring out a crop of other names for you to go and look for!), has written specifically about the undesirability of halving a tree or a sheep at the edge of the frame. So, unless there's a reason, aim to put the boundaries a little wide of such things.

With a zoom lens, it can be worth going backwards and forwards and getting the same objects at the edge of the frame at different focal lengths, to get an idea of how this changes the perspective. A shot at 18mm and one at 55mm will be utterly different, and it's important to understand how this works, so that you can adjust your images to suit your intentions.

With exposure, you're using Manual - I wonder if someone told you that's what the experts use? It's not true, on the whole. Most good photographers use Aperture or Shutter priority most of the time, switching to Manual for specific reasons in tricky situations. A far better reason for using Manual is so that you see, think about and understand how shutter speed, aperture and ISO interact, and what is right for given conditions. When I was young and EXIF didn't exist, you could buy sheets to record the exposure for each individual frame, which was a great idea, providing you developed your film soon, and then sat down to consider what had worked, and what hadn't. I'll be interested in your answer.

Another Charlie Waite idea is to carry a step ladder, so you can raise or lower your viewpoint. Here, I wonder how this would look from three feet higher, with the horizon clear above the hut, and the jetty separated from the side of the hut?

I love the way that you've got an echo of the shape of the hut in the castle on its mound. They're sort-of on opposing thirds of the frame, which is why the composition works so well. And it gives you a clear view of the way that 'rules' are only approximate. They can be broken to good effect, too!

I'm looking forward to the next image. And I endorse the comment about enjoying the learning curve: you may, later, enjoy things as much, but there is a sense of immediacy and urgency about the early stages that doesn't revisit often!

Above all, shoot lots, have fun.
Debsi New Member
31 Jul 2020 5:54PM
Dudler, thank you very much for your indepth critique. I've certainly got lots to learn. I wish I had more time do this more often, a common complaint I imagine.
dudler Plus
16 1.2k 1679 England
31 Jul 2020 8:36PM
'Always carry a camera' - and use it in your lunch break, while shopping, while commuting...

You don't have to get the hard yards in with important subjects: you can use a brick wall or a pavement to practice... I may have talked myself into a blog for tomorrow...
dark_lord Plus
16 2.6k 683 England
31 Jul 2020 10:24PM
A welcome from me too, a bit late but I've been busy today.

There's good advice and suggestions above, and it' good to hear from you too, andwhen we get a conversation going as understanding what you were trying to do and asking questions helps us to help you.

I like Moira's mod as it removes that little distracton at the frame edge. It's worth looking around the frame edges for intrusions likr theat and moving a step or tw to avoid them.
Yes, it's something else to consider as well as what's in the foreground and background as well as your subject, but it'll soon become second nature. You will find yourself considering all of those while approaching the subject and before you raise the camera.

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