Back Modifications (2)
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By Jonesey
I pass this field everyday for years and finally stopped to take a photo. This is my first picture for review. This was taken on the inworth road towards tiptree, Essex. This was actually taken one lunch time. Please be kind!

Tags: 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.


tsmith 8 England
21 Jul 2009 4:30PM
Lovely shot - great colours. Tracy

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21 Jul 2009 4:39PM
it is a really good landscape shot nothing to critique except two points which are as under:-

1. level the horizon, i think, it is slightly missed the target.

2. here you have tried to maintain a balance between the sky and the land. but it looks flat because for landscape photography it often works well to give more emphasis on any of the two. i mean to say you could have used either 1/3 of the frame for the land if you wanted to give more emphasis on the sky or 2/3 of the frame for the land if you wanted to give more emphasis on the land.

except as said above the contrast, the color balance etc. everything is good enough.

although it is only my view it may differ.
dennypoos 7 6 1 United Kingdom
21 Jul 2009 4:44PM
The horizon is a little too close to the centre of the frame for me. If you wanted to show the acres of wheat, a portrait format would have done better. If you wanted to emphasise the clouds, with the wheat field anchoring the view, then the horizon would be better placed in the lower third of the frame.
That old chestnut, 'Rule of thirds' is sometimes the way to go.
Rachel99 7 1 2 United Kingdom
21 Jul 2009 5:09PM
Lovely image. Welcome to EPZ. I am sure you will soon become as addicted as the rest of us.
21 Jul 2009 9:47PM
Hi and thank you for all your comments which was not as bad as i was expecting. I have been thinking about sending a couple of photos for a while now and finally made it. Next time i pass the same spot and have my camera to hand i will try to take the picture using the 'Rule of thirds' as suggested and hopefully produce a much stonger image. Thanks once again
8 1.6k 574 United Kingdom
21 Jul 2009 10:16PM
hello and welcome to epz,
you dont want gentle do you, go on let us loose Wink

well its a nice bright cheerful summer landscape, worth getting out of the car for, the sky is interesting and the colours are nice.

i concur with the above though, to achieve a balance its usually better to avoid splitting a scene in the centre of frame, im not slavish about that but it does usually work better with landscape. it would allow the lovely sky to dominate over the field.

the only other thing id say is that it looks slightly oversharpened which is quite unusual as they often lose sharpness when uploading, i find it best to do a partial sharpening at full resolution and a little more at 72 dpi before saving to web.

all the best and i look forward to your future uploads,
22 Jul 2009 10:14AM
Hi Newmanp and thank you for your comments.

As far as i can remember I have not sharpened it i will check that one out but I did play with the highlights and shadows plus a little gamma so not sure if the combination was perhaps a little much. Thanks for the sharpening information as its something i have not really played with and will try on another photo. Next time we have a next nice day I will re-take the photo with a nice blue sky dominating the photo as suggested and see the difference.

Many thanks Chris
malc_c 10 2 167 England
22 Jul 2009 11:46AM
Hi Chris,

I agree with Phil that your image looks over-sharpened, but I wonder if it's just because of the dark tone and maybe a boosted contrast. I'm also a not a slave to the 'rule' of thirds- after all, who's 'rule' is it, but here the image would benefit from a less even split- it's kind of just too boring straight down the middle. So to illustrate these I'm posting two mods-

Mod#1 is as follows-
a) cropped off the top and less interesting part of the sky
b) levels adjusted for everything below the horizon, mainly to brighten the Barley (or whatever it is) to something that I think is a more realistic 'field of gold', and this does help with the over-sharpened look.
c) desaturates the blue in the sky, again because I think it looks a little too blue, even if is was like that.
d) applies a slight vignette to hold the image in a little more, and also darkened the top of the sky.
e) dodges up the highlights in the clouds so that they are white where they need to be, and the same on the field at the central horizon, to just draw the eye there a little more

I think the result of these changes is an improvement and make the image quite nice, but not really anything to grab me by the eyeballs.

Mod#2 pics up on the offset horizon idea and pushes it near to the limit, leaving just a sliver of sky. Although this is just an illustration, I think you will see that you are immediately intrigued by this version and look at it closer for an explanation of the cropping. Of course I haven't added one, but I hope you get the idea.

22 Jul 2009 3:40PM
Hi Malcolm

I appreciate the photos thank you very much and the time taken to produce them. They do look allot stronger than my version. I do always seem to over do the sky's when I'm playing with the colors which i need to learn not to do. I like the first one as it really does improve the composition and colors are much improved. You say you applied slight vignetting to hold the image a little, If you do not mind me asking how was that done?

Thanks once again

malc_c 10 2 167 England
22 Jul 2009 4:54PM

Assuming you are using photoshop (I use elements 7), a basic vignette can be applied through the filter > correct camera distortion dialog. Here you can set the amount of darkening/lightening and also change the extent of the effect.

In this image I went on to darken the sky portion of the top of the image by sweeping across using the burn tool: Select the burn tool (o on the keyboard), and use a very large brush (100pix on the 600 pix image) with very soft edges and set the range to 'midtones' and the exposure to '5%'

I also lightened the clouds using the dodge tool, which is the complement of the burn tool and also selected with o on the keyboard: I used the same brush as above, same 5% exposure, but with the range set to highlights.

I always try to bear in mind what a viewer expects to see in a picture and use that as a baseline, EVEN if the scene was far from normal on the day I like to know where my baseline is. My thinking is that a photograph is basically an illusion, a bunch of dots that we are fooling the brain to think is a clone of reality. If you threaten or break that illusion then the image falls apart, suddenly and usually horribly. So you can stretch the illusion, but don't break it, and that's why I like to know where I'm stretching from.

23 Jul 2009 11:13AM
Hi Malcolm,

I am using photoshop and thank you for the information very helpful indeed. I will definitely give it a try on my landscape photos to see the effect, It definitely has improved my original image. Thanks for your time and effort.


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