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Hanging by a ...lace?

By alistairfarrugia    
This was a shoe hanging on a wire that spread out between two buildings - it must have been thrown up to get stuck like that, as it was practically in mid-air, hanging by the laces.

Tags: Sky Shoes Humour and fun

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


paskinmj 9 11 1 United Kingdom
27 Sep 2012 10:17PM
Good spot. Could you with a little more contrast, and the foreground to be dodged too. Hope you find this helpful and constructive?

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alistairfarrugia 5 164 88 Malta
27 Sep 2012 11:20PM
Will try modifying it and uploading a Mod here. By "dodged" you mean dodging (darkening) as in Photoshop right? I don't have photoshop so I'm not familiar yet with dodge/burn much.
paskinmj 9 11 1 United Kingdom
27 Sep 2012 11:26PM
Dodged as in lighting. Burning is darkening. Hope this helps?
27 Sep 2012 11:45PM
A great idea and I like all the foreground against the main object.

alistairfarrugia 5 164 88 Malta
28 Sep 2012 6:37AM
Thanks Matt I got them confused. Smile Now I understand. Later will modify accordingly.
Focus_Man 8 481 631 United Kingdom
28 Sep 2012 9:55AM
It is called 'dodging' from the D&P days when we photographers used to have different cardboard shapes cut out and a long thin wire handle attached.

So when we wanted to 'dodge' an area because it was too dark, we would wave the cardboard shape which suited best between the light source and the photographic paper to prevent too much light landing upon the area we wanted to 'dodge'. Naturally we always kept the shape moving to avoid sharp edges and the wire was thin enough to avoid lightening underneath it.

'Burning' was similar except the cardboard had holes in it so that we could direct more light to the aread which required 'burning'.

The PS tools do the same thing in effect so the names remain.

Nothing to do with your uplaod but I just thought you might find it of interest.

alistairfarrugia 5 164 88 Malta
28 Sep 2012 10:03AM
Thanks Frank, that was indeed very informative. Smile
banehawi Plus
14 1.8k 3893 Canada
28 Sep 2012 3:54PM
You ned to have a lot of practice with spot metering Alistair before you can trust it. It often will lead you astray, so always check the resulting image, and then shoot again with the appropriate adjustments. The Boots have been underexposed, and I assume this is where you used the spot. Shooting into the sky in general means that if the subject has a lot of sky behind it, either use + exposure compensation, or fill flash. In this image you have a beautifully exposed sky, which wasnt the plan!

F/16 is an area you dont need to use, - f/11 is a small as you need to you. Lower than f/11 will tend to start softening the subject, rather than the other way around.

The format is a little long also, so crop a little. Ive uploaded a mod, and used the shadow tool in Photoshop to bring out the bootsn which are also very soft, so I dont know where the point of focus was, - certailnly not on the boouts. Use only one of the nine(?) focus points, and place that on the subject to focus.

The shutter speed in marginal, though the IS should make up for it. I do believe though that the camera focused on infinity, not the boots.

What software are you sing?

heres a useful link:


alistairfarrugia 5 164 88 Malta
28 Sep 2012 4:06PM
Thanks Willie for all the interesting feedback - now to answer your questions.

As regards spot-metering though, was I right in choosing that method of metering for such a composition? Practice will help but if I'm choosing to go spot when I don't have to, I'd appreciate feedback to open my eyes on the subject! Thanks. Will keep in mind the exposure compensation tip too - I only thought I should use it with high/low key images, though I guess this could qualify as slightly high-key given the bright sky and the lightly-colour shoes. Hindsight, of course, is a good teacher...

Aperture f/16 comment - agreed - I think I lost a lot of detail as a result of that, diffraction right? I was using Tv-mode so I didn't choose the aperture myself, guess that means I need to start using Full-Manual mode to get the best out of certain situations.

As regards focusing, you're certainly right - checked the RAW and noticed that the focus was on the centre, that's the only cross-type focus point I have and in difficult shots I think the camera tends to pick focus from the middle more easily then. Will need to keep that in mind too.

Finally, I adjust shutter speed on the 1/focal length guideline most of the time, and rarely go lower. I have to trust IS a bit more I guess. I should gain a couple f-stops of stabilisation with the lens I had, but I admit I don't trust it. Will try to adjust my approach in that department too...

As regards editing, I carry 90% of all editing in Canon's Digital Photo Professional that came with the camera and an old version of Paint Shop Pro. Mulling getting the latest one now as Photoshop is way too pricey.
alistairfarrugia 5 164 88 Malta
28 Sep 2012 4:28PM
*Another version uploaded*
paulbroad 10 123 1250 United Kingdom
28 Sep 2012 8:21PM
Almost all processing software has dodging and burning tools. Most images just need density and contrast correction. Dodge and burn, then sharppen as required.

V1 is very soft ant thats not aperture, it looks like movement. V2 is sharp but too bright. The idea and composition is OK, but you need to look at technique. Spot metering should rarely, if ever, be used on auto. You place the spot on the area you want to meter from, preferably a colour or r tone which equates to a density of 18% grey. Half press the shutter release and note the exposure reading.

Dial those readings into the camera on manual for desired exposure.

alistairfarrugia 5 164 88 Malta
29 Sep 2012 12:24AM
Paul - as regards spot-metering, I work in another way using Canon's AE lock (that * button). I position the center spot on the area where I want to ensure good exposure, half-press, press the * button, and the exposure is locked. With the shutter still halfway pressed, I re-compose and shoot, and the exposure is based on the initial reading not recalculated at shooting time.

As regards your comment "should rarely, if ever, be used on auto", excuse my ignorance but I didn't get that. I'm still very new to all this and some terms don't come to me easily. Could you kindly explain a bit more? Thanks.

Finally, as regards v1 and your blur comment, the AF point was on infinity not on the subject, and the camera's diffraction limit is around f/11, after which diffraction sets in. I think that's two factors to take into consideration. Plus, I wouldn't be surprised that indeed SOME blurring occurred, as I was squatting while taking that to get the sky as background. So it's likely a combination of aperture, diffraction and shake from my end! A good cocktail of bad technique in other words.

Need. More. Practice... Smile
paulbroad 10 123 1250 United Kingdom
29 Sep 2012 5:40PM
Your spot metering technique is OK as you know providing you pick the correct tone. You are locking your spot reading. Many photographers assume spot is the most accurate method, as it is if correctly used. They set spot metering and an automatic exposure mode without realising that the camera will set auto exposure readings for wherever the spot happens to be. Thus very inaccurate, usually.

Aperture related diffraction blurring depends on lens quality, design and other effects as I'm sure you know.

alistairfarrugia 5 164 88 Malta
29 Sep 2012 7:12PM
In my case, I'm sure I hit the diffraction limit of the lens with an f/16. It starts around f/11 on my's an entry level zoom lens that I got to open some options for me, I don't see me using it beyond my early learning stages (which is now). At a later stage, I'll definitely save up for a better, preferably L-Series zoom (or prime?) lens.

As regards the comment you made about auto-exposure readings - I still didn't understand you - are you referring to exposure in terms of the +/- button? That is, with spot-metering, I should dial in a +/- in exposure compensation mode as well?
alistairfarrugia 5 164 88 Malta
30 Sep 2012 9:16PM
PS: Paul, I never shoot in Automatic mode, if that's what you were referring to - handheld, I use Shutter Priority most of the time and use the 1/focal length guide, and when on a stable surface, I tend to go for aperture priority. I doubt I ever used Auto when outdoors actually.

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