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Gt Houghton Parish Church Spire

By strokebloke  
Another of my favourite images, taken during last week. This is a small parish church, set on the edge of a small Northamptonshire village. For churches of this size, spires are not common and this one, I think, is quite unusual and well designed, transforming the traditional square base, through the pillars to the radial crown, thence to the spire.
I took the shot to concentrate on the tower/spire, rather than the church as a whole, hence the inclusion of the roadside wall and pathway.
All I have done in PS is generally saturated (20) then the reds (30), overlayed (10%) in levels, & only very slightly picked up the light in curves.

Critique and constructive comment, as always, very welcome

Tags: Photo journalism Architecture Landscape and travel

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


Jestertheclown Plus
9 7.6k 252 England
5 Jun 2011 10:12PM
I like this Jack.

The trees make a good job of framing the steeple. The colours are excellent and it's well exposed.
I''m going to say that it could be a little sharper but that may be to do with the uploading process.
I've uploaded a mod. in which I've applied a little judicious cropping to get rid of the gap at the end of the wall and the low wall beneath the railings.
And I've sharpened it!
Hope it's OK.



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strokebloke Plus
9 493 17 England
5 Jun 2011 10:48PM
Ha. I didn't even notice the gap in the walls (RH side). Much better !! Thank you

I've found that I now tend to be circumspect with regard to sharpening - I often used to seem to overdo it, without being able to see that I've overdone it, until someone else pointed it out. Grrrr Smile
I guess I'm still not entirely sure what constitutes sharp in images I'm working on. (I seem to be able to spot lack of sharpness in others photos, in that I'll think 'that's not sharp' & then someone else will confirm that thought)
Practice & experience, I guess.

Thank you Bren

PS: re. Sharpening
One thing I find difficult to understand is :- (further to the statement, by a number of experienced people)
"Saving an image will possibly reduce the sharpness. Do remember to sharpen following a save."
Does that mean that you process [say in PS], then save; then before closing, resharpen without a further 'save'?
Or is it preferable to 'save' prior to any sharpening & make that the final function?

Jestertheclown Plus
9 7.6k 252 England
5 Jun 2011 11:14PM
Constantly editing and saving a Jpeg. will cause it to degrade whether you sharpen it or not, as I'm sure you know. Although I can't say I've ever noticed a difference myself.

Personally, I usually leave the sharpening to the end.
It's the very last thing I do before I save the image and I only save it the once. I'm talking here about overall sharpening of course. The selective bits I do as and when.
There have been several threads and tutorials on here re. how best to sharpen an image and I think everyone has their favourite and will tell you that theirs is the best one.

Here's one that I've started using with some really impressive results. I use it on images that I want to keep and particularly if I intend to print them. I find it's more subtle than the USM which is what I use for uploads to here. As I've said before, I tend to sharpen images for Epz. to the point of oversharpening as they always lose some in the transition.
And therein lies your/our problem. How much is too much? I don't think there's an answer. When I upload an image though, I always have another copy lurking in the background which has been sharpened even further and if I'm not happy with the first upload, I'll delete and replace it.

I find the best images to use if you're trying out a new sharpening tchnique or software are photos of brickwork. It's almost impossible to sharpen them correctly so I start with CS5's USM, which I know then try the new thing and compare results.

Hope this helps,

See Ya!

banehawi Plus
13 1.7k 3806 Canada
6 Jun 2011 12:10AM
Jack, - if you shoot in JPEG, the camera settings will be applied to the image, and one of those is a degree of sharpening. If you shoot in RAW, - no settings are applied to the image, and it requires sharpening in post processing.

Digital images are a little soft in RAW form, this is due to the fact that there is an anti-alias filter in front of the sensor (to reduce Moire effect).

The only time you would need to apply sharpening, - ASSUMING you have set the sharpening amount in camera as you like it, is if your lens didnt resolve the image as sharp as you wanted it, - due to either a mis-focus, a shallow aperture, etc. or if you make a significant change to the shot, such as re sizing, or cropping.

When a JPEG image is opened, and saved, - whether you made ANY change or not, - the resulting image will be subject to JPEG compression during the save process. of course, if you re size etc. then the new image will also be compressed, and if you also reduce the file size for the WEB or EPZ, there will be further compression. The concept of compression is that the process will make some sacrifices in the image quality to achieve a smaller file size. This can, - and usually does, result in a loss of sharpness. Sharpness is defined by the contrast at the edges of transitions in the image.
Therefore, - always check, and sharpen as needed when you have finished the process to re size; the steps are Resize; Save as new file name; Apply sharpening; Save.
One important thing to know is that TIFF, PSD image formats do not use compression, and are consequently very large files.

Sharpness is best judged by opening the image at 50%.

Hope this helps with the general topic and level of understanding,


strokebloke Plus
9 493 17 England
6 Jun 2011 12:57AM

Quote:One important thing to know is that TIFF, PSD image formats do not use compression, and are consequently very large files.

Sharpness is best judged by opening the image at 50%

This (Quoted) I was not aware of; so thanks for the advice.

I am, at the moment, shooting RAW. To enable me to learn the editing processes available to that format.

Quote:The only time you would need to apply sharpening............if you make a significant change to the shot, such as re sizing, or cropping

This is what I've always assumed and aimed for. (to get as much of the target in [sharp] focus as is possible/DoF will allow)

Quote:Hope this helps with the general topic and level of understanding

Indeed. Thank you very much Willie Smile
Grampy Plus
8 507 71 England
6 Jun 2011 6:54AM
Nice one Jack, Keep uploading I've learnt about sharpening with this shot , thanks. Now I've done a mod just dropping the red trees behind the spire a fraction , as I don't like the way the top of the trees coincide with the bottom of the spire part.
How to solve this next time, take the shot the year before, a lower camera angle (that would cause other problems) get a ladder out of your camera bag, or use something I often need on the golf course , a chain sawSmile Smile
Nice shot and keep them coming.
paulbroad Plus
10 123 1215 United Kingdom
6 Jun 2011 8:09AM
This is a nice shot and composition works as is. Tiny things like the wall and posts are part of the image. Lots of advice on sharpening above - mostly good. ALL digital images require a touch of sharpening - the inherent effects of the digital process means images are a touch soft.

Saving does not effect sharpness, but JPG degradation can. You should try and save as a JPG only once or twice, then only at the best qualitys. I always save at 11 or 12 from CS3, only using lower figures for the internet. You must get the focusing correct at the time of taking, and how good is your lens or lenses.

Lenses have sharpest apertures, usually f8 - f11, and imaging software cannot sharpen an out of focus image properly. Camera movement causes blur, which is almost impossible to sharpen properly - but most of these factors applied to film too.

Images for printing need more sharpening than those for use on the screen. Size increase or decrease will effect sharpness. It is a minefield.

But, just look at a full size image on your monitor - is it sharp? Always a good guide I would think.

strokebloke Plus
9 493 17 England
6 Jun 2011 8:12AM
Good morning Phill.

I've got so much forestry gear (ladders, chain-say, bow-saw,[for the delicate bits]) in my camera bag that I have to sling my camera and spare lenses round my neck now GrinGrinGrinGrinGrin

Trees and I seem not to agree !!! Do you agree ??

Presumably, you've cloned the top of the copper beech away using the sky, then over-cloned it with other parts of the tree ??
Whilst I can see what you've done &, I suppose, how you've done it, I must confess that one of the things I liked about the shot was that the periphery of the copper beech coincided with the junction of the spire.
Having said that, I can see that what you've done with your ladder and chainsaw, does break up the line in a way that creates definition, that my shot didn't.
Clicking between the two emphasizes it.
The jury is out on that one at the moment - but your mod is [as ever] growing on me GrinWink

strokebloke Plus
9 493 17 England
6 Jun 2011 8:21AM
Good morning Paul.
Thanks for you input.

Please can you explain what you mean by
Quote:I always save at 11 or 12 from CS3

I assume that CS3 refers to the version of PS

It is the '11 or 12' that I don't understand
Jestertheclown Plus
9 7.6k 252 England
6 Jun 2011 12:21PM
Lots of interesting stuff here, all of which I shall take notice of.

I think that the "11 or 12" that Paul's referring to is the image quality option you get when you go to save an image in Photoshop. ie; finish your editing, then click on "file," "save as" and "save". You're then offered the option to save it in various ways and at a quality described as a number, 12 being the highest, before you click on "OK."
If you've got access to Photoshop, you''ll know what I mean. It's actually easier to do than it is to explain!

And yes, CS3 refers to the version of Photoshop.

Jestertheclown Plus
9 7.6k 252 England
6 Jun 2011 1:01PM
Sorry, I should have said that the above refers to saving as a Jpeg.
strokebloke Plus
9 493 17 England
6 Jun 2011 7:14PM
Bren, the reason I asked the question about "11 or 12", is that I don't have that option.
I checked before I asked the question.
I've just re-checked and I'm certain that, in the format that I have in CS4 Extended PS, there is no quality scale.

The only options I have are:-
1. to save as a copy
2. to change from Adobe RGB to sRGB, and
3. to select upper or lower case lettering in the 'save' box.

I'm stumped SadSadSad
strokebloke Plus
9 493 17 England
6 Jun 2011 8:09PM
Bren, I'm no longer stumped !!!! Merely registered as 'at the bottom of the class' !!

I've found it Smile

Following 'Save'; - in the 'OK' box.

"Who's a silly boy then????????????????"
I didn't get my PGCE for being slow on the uptake. Wink I can't, however, remember what I did get it for Tongue

It was [& presumably always has been] on 8.
I've now adjusted it to 11 Grin
Jestertheclown Plus
9 7.6k 252 England
6 Jun 2011 9:15PM
Mine's set to 12 and the middle button, "baseline optimised" is checked.

I can't remember where I was told to set it up that way, on here I guess but I believe that that's as good as it gets. (?)

I'm also under the impression that the figure relates in some way to the amount of compression used in saving a Jpeg.

I'm not really sure about any of the above though. Perhaps someone could help me/us out?
strokebloke Plus
9 493 17 England
6 Jun 2011 9:22PM
I'll change to 12 & from 'progressive' to 'baseline optimised'.

Thank you. Once more, I'm in your debt. Smile

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