Back Modifications (5)
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January morning in the High Kirk

By Rose73
Hi all,
Iíve just joined your site today. I joined many years ago for a very brief spell but am looking forward to getting involved again and receiving your comments and help so I can improve my photography and renew my enthusiasm.
I havenít been out with my camera for a few years now due to circumstances and a lack of transport but hope to get out and about again soon.
In the meantime I want to upload some old images for you to look at and comment on if thatís ok? I feel I would like some feedback on what Iíve been trying to achieve in the past in order to build on that and progress, and also to give me some motivation and ideas to get started again.
This image was taken with my 10-22mm lens and I was trying to include some foreground i.e. the entrance railing to create a sense of Ďbeing thereí and actually walking through and along the path. I couldnít include the top of the tree unfortunately, and would like your opinions on the overall composition of elements etc? I did very little modification of the original, just a tiny bit of cropping top and right side. I shot this photo in RAW and see under your upload specifications jpeg only. Should I change my camera settings to shoot in RAW + high quality jpeg from now on?
It might take me a little while to become familiar with the site and different instructions, so apologies in advance!

Tags: General High kirk

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dark_lord Plus
17 2.8k 769 England
7 Feb 2021 4:39PM
Welcome to epz and to the Critique Gallery Julie.
Thank you for supplying plenty of good information, it helps us understand what you were attempting so we can be as much help as possible.

Jpgs are the standard format for websites, and with the sRGB profile (good to see you've used that).
It's up to you what format you shoot, but if you've been comfortable shooting RAW and confident in converting your images I see no reason to change.

I do like your inclusion of the railing as foreground interest. I often consider trying lower viewpoints but that ould give a different feel as the railing would become dominant and you'd lose the clear view of the distant landscape. But the railing has some character so getting lower and using a wide aperture to emphasise the railing is an option to consider - sometimes there are numerous diffent images to be found in one location so it's being aware of and looking for them that's important and will advance your photography.

If shootimng this without the railings, given that focal length I think f/8 would be fine. Because the railings are quite close to the camera I think f/16 was a fair choice (I wouldn't go wider than f/11).

You weren't at the shortest focal length so I wonder if you would have got all the tree in at 10 mm. One approach would be to take two images, a top and bottom of the scene and stitch them together, or try two or three vertical frme stitched together. Stitching isn't just for panoramics.

The path is right through the centre of the image and while it does lead the eye through very nicely, there is interest in the cemetry and the eye is drawn to the bright landscape on the left. I think I'd try and make one or other of those the main subject.
But talking of panoramics, which can tell a story aross the frame, stitching frames taken further from the left and going further right would perhaps look good.

All of which means I can't do a mod to illustrate that. What I will do is darken the top left quarter as it's quiote bright in relation to the rest of the imae, and warm it a bit.
mrswoolybill Plus
14 2.8k 2408 United Kingdom
7 Feb 2021 5:28PM
Welcome from me too, I hope you'll enjoy it here! It's a very friendly site, and a great place to learn. Spend a while exploring, there are reviews, tips, competitions...

Thanks for telling us so much! Oh how I wish more Critique Gallery uploaders would do that... This really is about something that I care about passionately - there are pictures everywhere if we stop and use our eyes, and look through the lens.

This is careful, thoughtful photography. Keith has given a lot of feedback above. I'll just add - you wanted foreground, and you have it left and right, but although you wanted to show the path I don't think it's the most involving area and it has an awful lot of essentially empty space right in the middle of the composition. I would like to move round to the left and bring the curve and the straight fence closer together. Not touching or overlapping, but make more of an abstract contrast between the two. Don't worry about cutting off the top of the tree, this is about the lines! And also the light, which is rather lovely.

Remember that by using wide angle you push the middle ground and distant view further away, make it emptier. As well as moving to the left I'd like to step back and use a longer focal length, to bring elements together.

You did a good job of keeping the verticals, not easy with wide angle. Moving the camera down just a cm or two would maybe get the verticals on the far right a bit nearer to true. But that can be tweaked... Wink

Shooting Raw plus high quality jpeg would be a good idea if you are not confident about Raw processing and want a fall-back option. To be honest, in relatively flat light like this, Raw will not give the significant advantage that it has in more difficult light conditions.

So this is just a start. I hope we'll see more from you - and do get out and take some new stuff!
banehawi Plus
16 2.4k 4237 Canada
7 Feb 2021 5:30PM
Hi Julie, welcome back.

Youve provided a lot of useful information, thanks!

Composing the shot as described works well, - especially having the right wall comin out from the corner of the frame.
You can crop space from the left to have the entrance gate coming out of the bottom left, might be interesting, - Ive done it in one mod.

The camera was dealing with a scene where theres a very bright area, and a darker area, so it produces an average of the light, making the darker area a bit underexposed, and the bright area a bit over exposed. In these cases, if you need to include that bright area, you can (using a tripod) make two exposures, one to correctly capture each area, and combine in post processing. Or you could exclude the brightest area by re framing.
I see youve used DPP to process the shot; do you have any other post processing software, - you would if you were to combine two exposures for example.
Youve manually selected a white balance, usually a good idea, - I assume you selected daylight, though I cant really tell.

The left area as it is need to be less bright as it draws the eye left; it can be darkened, or you can crop this to a squarish format and exclude it which focuses on the pathway leading along the side of the cemetery.

I have uploaded two mods, one has that crop from the left, and the second the severe crop.

Im glad youre renewing your interest in photography, and I hope this feedback id helpful.


mrswoolybill Plus
14 2.8k 2408 United Kingdom
7 Feb 2021 5:57PM
I've now uploaded two modifications. The first was largely worked in the Camera Raw filter in Photoshop - I reduced exposure by 1/2 stop, lifted shadows, darkened highlights a bit. I also added small plus settings on the Clarity and Dehaze sliders - Dehaze works quite well on the slightly overexposed sky. I also used Skew to adjust the verticals by drawing out the bottom corners a bit. I'm not sure how much of this you can do with your software, but light adjustment is the really crucial area of any processing software!

Then the second modification - I tried to replicate the effect of moving to the left. It's crude, because I couldn't change the angle on the scene, only the foreground. But I think it creates a more taut, linear composition while still including the path. A square crop works well with the tauter effect.

I hope you know where to find modifications - click on the blue Modifications button below your upload, then on the numbers. And let us know if this helps, if it's the sort of feedback that you are looking for!
chase Plus
15 2.1k 562 England
7 Feb 2021 6:50PM
Hello Julie and welcome back to ePz.
Really great to have plenty of information from you it does make such a difference to us and there is no reason to apologise either Smile

Cutting off the top of the tree is no big deal, my interest is in those lovely old railings and the man-made pathway.

As far as shooting Raw+jpeg, if you are not critically confident post processing a Raw file and saving as a copy in jpeg format then there is nothing wrong with that but, using both does take more room up on your memory card.
Your settings seem sensible here and, as Keith has suggested, you may be able to even get down to F8 or F11 to give you a faster shutter speed, especially if you are handholding.
You already have some nice mods here and mod5 would probably be where I would like to take this simply because it removes most of the very bright landscape on the left of the frame. Don't think I could improve on things there you have some goodies for your consideration.

The thing to perhaps try is a few different approaches to a subject whilst you are there, a few steps either side of this composition would give you very different look and impressions of the same pace, leaving yourself room to decide which is your fave when viewing at your leisure back home.

Good to hear you are returning to photography with fresh enthusiasm and it would be great to hear from you again here with your thoughts.
A big thank you to everyone for your comments and suggestions. Brilliant!
First of all, Moira, can I ask you about shooting RAW again. What I’ve always done is shoot RAW then make any adjustments to the file and save it as a jpeg. I keep a folder with all the RAW originals in it. If I can only upload jpegs to your site, then will I first make a jpeg copy of the original as it was shot when I get home, and then make further jpeg copies for adjustments etc. so I’ve got an original to send you?
I will go back one day and try different viewpoints as you suggested Keith.
I like the idea of moving to the left and bringing the curve of the gate and the straight fence closer together using a longer focal length this time and maybe also getting lower. You’re right Moira about the empty space in the middle of the photo – the curve of the gate close up with the padlock and rust was what really appeals rather than the view itself. So thanks for that suggestion – looking forward to trying it out.
As far as stitching images together – never tried that. Willie, you asked me what other post processing software I have apart from DPP. I have Adobe Photoshop Elements 11 but haven’t done a lot with it apart from lightening, darkening etc. And yes, I used ‘daylight’ on the White Balance setting. I preferred your first modification that kept the curved railing on the left in the picture as it’s my main interesting element of the photo I suppose.
Wow! I see the improvement in the lighting in your first modification Moira – what a difference bringing the trees to life in the cemetery and darkening the sky a little.
And Chase, thanks for your lovely comments. Yes, will go back and try lots of different viewpoints. I so much appreciate everyone’s input. Smile
pamelajean Plus
15 1.5k 2216 United Kingdom
7 Feb 2021 7:23PM
I was about to ask if the critique had been helpful, Julie, when I see that you were responding at the same time as I was commenting. So I deleted that.
Thanks for your feedback.

mrswoolybill Plus
14 2.8k 2408 United Kingdom
7 Feb 2021 10:08PM
Thanks for great feedback, the Critique Gallery is so much more productive when we get a conversation going!

I reckon you are doing the right thing, you are keeping your originals which is important. 'Save as' is the key, process your Raw file, save as a lossless file, a Tiff for example, and convert to jpeg for uploading here. The only downside is that it does take up a lot more memory...

If you modify an image significantly, in the Critique Gallery it often helps if we can see the original - for that purpose save the Raw file as a jpeg and add that as a modification.

I use Elements 11 a lot for straightening, skewing, dodge and burn etc, I never found any need to move on... But as I said before, in any software, adjusting light is the key and it's what you need to practise.

Let's see some more!
dark_lord Plus
17 2.8k 769 England
7 Feb 2021 10:34PM
Thank you for your prompt reply, it's good to hear back from a poster.

DPP is a very capable RAW converter for Canon users, and Elements 11 is capable too, it certainly has all the essentials.
By shooting RAW you alwys have that 'original' to go back to and reprocess if required as all changes are non destructive. Your processing skills will improve and you may have different ideas to try in the future. Revisiting older images is interesting in that respect.

Your workflow is personal to you and your needs. I always create tiff images as high quality conversiomns, using them to create jpgs as required. I always create a separate jpg for upload here and for my website. For example, for upload here I add 'epz' to the file name to distinguish it from other versions (I add a thin white keyline for epz images) and so then I have a record of all images I've uploaded here.
dudler Plus
17 1.6k 1847 England
8 Feb 2021 5:46AM
I feel terribly late at the party, Julie!

Anyway, a belated welcome from me, as well, and I share the general delight at how much you've told us, how carefully you've read the blurb about the Critique Gallery, and your prompt response to the earlier comments. We all love you already!

There's plenty of good advice above, so I'll content myself with three comments - first, I'll reiterate what others have said - shooting RAW is good, as it allows more flexibility in processing. All you need to do is convert the fully-processed image to a JPG at the final stage before uploading.

Second, it's fine to post older images if you have absolutely no new ones. You're clearly aiming to suck every drop of learning from every single frame, which is great - and I hope that you will be able to get out and start taking new images to put fresh ideas into action soon.

Finally, one bit of camerawork that I don't think anyone else has picked up on, and which isn't included in your otherwise complete description. You shot at 1/6 second, which either requires an exceptionally steady hand or a tripod. A tripod is a pain to carry around if it's solid enough to do the job well, but can make adjusting verticals easier as well as providing stability, if you have a multiway head on it, rather than a ball and socket type. My own choice is usually to raise the ISO to allow me to use a shutter speed that's well into the risk-free zone - but I know I'm not that good at holding a camera steady!

I'm looking forward to seeing your next post!
I found the Ďskewí tool in Elements 11 Ė thanks for that Moira and thanks Keith for your advice regarding the different file conversions to save.

Hi Dudler and thank you for your comments. Its true I have absolutely no new images yet! I havenít been out for a number of years with the camera. I went out in the car with a friend taking photographs which was great because I could take a lot of equipment and not have to lug it around. Iím afraid Iím not Ďpansy potterí anymore! Iíll need to wait a while before I can car share again safely but meanwhile Iíll do what I can within walking distance Ė hence wanting to get feedback from some of my old images to learn from in the meantime.
You asked about whether I used a tripod for the picture Iíve posted. Yes, I probably did. Iím not great at handholding either. I know I was out with my friend that day so Iím sure I had the tripod with me. Iíve got a Manfrotto 190XPROB Ė not very heavy but about the weight I can manage. The ball head is an Acratech GV2 Gimbal Ballhead. Cost a small fortune but well worth it. The tripod I had before was given to me with the ballhead attached Ė donít know what it was called. Drove me round the bend trying to adjust it! I used to follow Mike Browneís videos and saw him using this type of ballhead and it looked so easy.

Thanks again to everyone Smile
dudler Plus
17 1.6k 1847 England
8 Feb 2021 9:25PM
One camera and one lens can be all you need...

Thanks (again) for the full and thoughtful response.

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