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Khmer traditional lanterns firing

By pitoukhmer
The activities of dark place of people are firing Khmer traditional lanterns at Prek Tameak village along the bridge at the riverside.

Tags: Flying General Traditional Lanterns Firing Khmer

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pamelajean Plus
15 1.6k 2237 United Kingdom
8 Nov 2016 3:57PM
Welcome to both Ephotozine and to the Critique Gallery. I see that this is your first upload here.
This is the part of the site where you can't get votes or awards (as in the main gallery), but you can be pretty sure of focused and constructive comments on your pictures. If that's not what you're after, make sure that you don't have a tick in the 'Critique' box next time you upload a picture.

Remember that the more information you give us regarding your photographic aims and intentions, the better.
It also helps us if you respond to critique and indicate which ideas you found helpful. That means we can tailor advice according to your needs and abilities.

This is an atmospheric event that you have captured, Pitou.

It's such a pity that there were so many people in front of the ones carrying the lanterns. When I brightened the image, I could see the crowds who were obscuring the lantern-carriers. And I think you needed the carriers to be visible, instead of just having bright lanterns against a black sky.

You were dependent upon the light emanating from the bottom of the lanterns to light up the people beneath, and also of course on there being a gap in the crowd.
The middle girl is slightly visible, but there are only disembodied hands on the lanterns either side of her.

I have done a simple modification where I cropped away the dead space and cloned out a few distracting lights.

paulbroad 14 131 1293 United Kingdom
8 Nov 2016 5:11PM
Pamela says all. You needed to see some people and a balanced flash fill would have helped a lot.

dudler Plus
18 1.7k 1877 England
8 Nov 2016 7:03PM
And welcome from me, too!

I don't agree with paul about usign a flash - it would have solved the technical problems, but ruined the atmosphere completely. I think there are other ways to get more of an image.

You have a good lens for this - a 50mm f/1.8 is great on an Alpha 77: and the wide aperture is a great help in dealing with low light. The recent Alpha models are also wonderful at high ISO settings - 1000 used to be high, but I suspect that your camera will do the job really well at 6400 or even 12800 ISO. And you really need a bit more exposure, so that people are visible, and not just the lanterns.

Also, with image stabilisation built in, you could use a lower shutter speed than 1/400 - 1/60 isn't at all out of the way for the lens/body combination you are using.

My modification isn't as subtle as Pamela's, and I haven't tried to clone out any of the people or their movbile 'phones. I think I even see a selfie stick in there...
dark_lord Plus
17 2.8k 784 England
8 Nov 2016 8:23PM
Welcome from me too.

This looks like it was a wonderful photo opportunity, but it's a pity the end result hasn't brought out the best of the situation and, I guess, how you remember seeing it.

I too would go the route of higher ISO. You may lose some detail in the lanterns though that would be acceptable given the result seeing some of the crowd. You wouldn't see (or need/want) to see all the detail of the crowd, just enough to see that they are there.

As Paul mentions flash I'd like to expand on that. rather than full flash, setting flash to reduced power (perhaps -2 EV) would give just sufficient light to show the fact people are there. I'd like to go further, too. Flash off camera so you don't have flat frontal light. Hold the flash at arm's length and trigger remotely. You may not have that gear, it's just a thought. If you had a friend/assistant with you, they could hold the flash slightly further away for lighting at an angle.

Some people won't agree, but fill flash does not have to be direct from the camera position. This event is a case in point, if there was a floodlight at 45 degrees to you here, showing up the people, that would have the same effect.
Not out of place at all, it'd keep, or indeed enhance, the atmosphere.
mrswoolybill Plus
14 2.9k 2455 United Kingdom
9 Nov 2016 11:01AM
And a warm welcome from me too!

You haven't stated your photographic level of expertise in your About section, but I'm sure you realise that this was a very difficult subject, for photographer and camera.

How could it have been better? As John says, you didn't need such a fast shutter speed. I think the people are walking quite slowly and carefully, or possibly standing still; you need fast enough to freeze their movement, but 1/125 second would easily suffice, even 1/80 if they are stationary. That would allow much more light into the camera - and that's what you need to think about first of all!

Flash, even at reduced level, would give a different picture. You would have more detail in the figures, without losing the background darkness, but you would risk losing detail and texture in the lanterns.

If you want to work in really difficult light, you could consider shooting Raw files. (You have left the Exif as showing jpeg, and I assume that this is accurate). Raw files record all available data, rather than selecting a relatively small amount and discarding the rest as jpegs do, and that means that you can retrieve more detail from both over-exposed and under-exposed areas. But Raw does need appropriate software, and time and effort...
paulbroad 14 131 1293 United Kingdom
9 Nov 2016 2:24PM
I did say 'balanced' flash fill. Flash should not be discounted and should here, as I meant to say, but not very well, should be used at a reduced balanced output. the simple answer is to try both and unless you do you will not know which is best. I would have kept the indicated exposure to record the lanterns correctly adding just a little flash. several versions at several powers.

High ISO might be Ok if you can live with the quality. Modern gear is good in that respect
but only trying tells you if good is good enough.


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