Back Modifications (3)
Views: 89 (29 Unique)  Award Shortlist   


By Lastboyscout
One of my better Holiday snaps from last year. It took a lot of pictures to get this one. Maybe I should straighten the horizon?

Tags: Landscape and travel Wildlife and nature

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


2 Aug 2012 10:49AM
Nice photo with the dolphin in the air. I know its a tricky photo to take, having to anticipate movement & you have done well, but the wonky horizon spoils it. It an easy fix to inprove the photo

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Focus_Man 6 481 631 United Kingdom
2 Aug 2012 11:15AM
Welcome to EPZ, I hope you will learn a great deal here, The Critique Gallery is the place to learn, however a lot of self- help is also necessary.
Before uploading here, why not go through a lot of the previous uploads to this gallery, look for pictures similar to your own and read the comments applied there. That will give you an initial learning and tuition ie self-help.

Take good note of the comments which appear to present themselves the most and ignore the comments ,like “Good shot” or “Love the colours” that is not the help you are after, you want to look at critique, which is what this galley is all about.

You have commenced by asking “Maybe I should straighten the horizon?” so you have already started to question things, so why not do it before uploading?
Looking back at comments and learning from them will give you a very good start without the need for members to keep adding the same advice time after time to picture after picture.

So to this one here, the picture has a lot of potential, you have caught the dolphin well and in the air. So we could start by making the horizon level.
Secondly your horizon sort of splits your picture into two halves. Better viewability is created when the “Rule of Thirds” is adopted so why not Google “Rule of Thirds” this will explain all about composition. Obviously rules can from time to time be broken, but it is important to learn how to apply the rule before attempting to find the right time to break it.

You have placed the boat well allowing space for it to sail into so to speak, so here you are off centre and have done well.
Regarding your EXIF. You need to load this otherwise all camera settings are excluded from the help available to you.

I will upload a mod, where I will straighten the horizon and quickly attempt to get it on or around a line of thirds. This is difficult given what you have in your frame with the dolphin (which you have caught very well indeed), which could also do with being placed on a third, lower right. All to make the composition better from a viewer’s point of view. Sometimes it is better to allow space for cropping the final selection later, especially under difficult circumstances when you are unsure at the time of making the exposure.

To view the mod click on the "tab" marked Modification and then on the thumbnail.

6 5.1k 125 United Kingdom
2 Aug 2012 1:42PM
A fine set of points Frank, and something to work on Robin, and a very big welcome from me too.

Regards Nathan
banehawi Plus
12 1.5k 3533 Canada
2 Aug 2012 5:09PM
Welcome to EPZ Robin. With a name like Marlin, you have to be able to get a good Dolphin shot!

Franks covered a lot of ground above which will help. The shot is quite a good one, I assume you were on a boat also, so when youre concentrating on the Dolphin, you lose track of the horizon. Once theres a horizon in your shot, it has to be level.

Apart from the third, the shot can be improved in post processing by working on the sea area, and the boat/sky areas separately, and adjusting exposure and contrast. I dont know your level of comfort with editing, or which programme you use, - my mod was done using Photoshop. Lets know next time what you use etc and we may be able to help more.

Ive done basically the same as Frank but from a different perspective. The sea tended to be a little underexposed , the image a little flat overall (contrast). For example, the Dolphin splash water should be closer to white than grey.

Hope this helps also

Enjoy the site,


Paintman Plus
10 1.2k 177 United Kingdom
2 Aug 2012 7:51PM
Well, I cheatedSmile I used photoshop to scale the dolphin to a size where I thought it had a believable impact on the composition and rotated it slightly to add some dynamism to the animal. The splash was dodged to lighten it and other parts were darkened using the burn tool.

I added some contrast as I thought your shot looked a little flat. I sharpened the photo too and this helps to make the image clearer, cutting through the 'murk'.

Unfortunately straightening the horizon has resulted in losing the top shape of the billowing white cloud, which is a shame as it makes the composition stronger with it. You could use the transform tool to get this feature in, but I have limited time for the mod so I didn't try it.

Good advice and crit by Frank.

2 Aug 2012 10:07PM
Thanks for all the comments they are very helpful.

The picture was taken as a holiday pic Nov 2011 before I sort the knoledge of the lens. I use Photoshop elements but thats new to me as well.

I guessing you guys have done the adjustments to my picture on your own editing software, is there somew where I can view these to compare.

Thanks again

Paintman Plus
10 1.2k 177 United Kingdom
2 Aug 2012 10:20PM
I used Photoshop CS5 but everything I did can be done with Elements as long as it has the ability to use layers and layer masks. If you need tutorials then this site has some and Epz TV is excellent as well as You Tube. Just Google what you need to learn and you'll get loads of tutorials.

White Balance
Colour Correction
Layer Masks
Blend Modes
Straightening horizontals and verticals

These are some of the basic things you'll need to learn.

paulbroad 9 116 1064 United Kingdom
3 Aug 2012 7:09AM
The basis of a fine image. You must straighten horizons though - they look wrong tilted and you will also get negative comment on tilts. You just need to boost contrast a bit - the image is slightly flat with a compressed tonal range. That is easy in Elements.

Focus_Man 6 481 631 United Kingdom
3 Aug 2012 8:57AM

Quote:I guessing you guys have done the adjustments to my picture on your own editing software, is there somew where I can view these to compare.

I too use Elements 9.
banehawi Plus
12 1.5k 3533 Canada
3 Aug 2012 11:38PM
Scroll up the page, see the modifications tab, click, then click the mods.



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