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Linacre Reservoir

By ChrisB73  
A photo of the middle reservoir at Linacre near Chesterfield - taken on 4th June 2019.
This is an original photo with no filters or modifications - just as is

Tags: Landscape Water Lake Derbyshire Reservoir Landscape and travel Linacre Reservoir

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7 Jun 2019 8:52PM
The original photo was a bit "flat" and the horizon was not horizontal. I have made some adjustments above.

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dudler Plus
16 954 1521 England
7 Jun 2019 10:28PM
Welcome to Ephotozine, and to the Critique Gallery, Chris.

Here, you get honest feedback, but no votes or awards - and hte more you can say about what you were aiming for, what's worked and what hasn't, the better.

Umberto's quite right - this isn't quite straight, and hte reflections always look subtly wrong if they're not straight below their sources.

As to the flatness, light is what makes a picture, with composition and location coming after for impact. Low, raking morning or evening light would make this shot...

And composition - you need, for a really good shot, to have a main subject. This is what I call an 'empty stage' picture - like a theatre when the curtain goes up. Everything is there, except the actors, the subjects of the piece. A boat, some sort of main subject in the foreground, or an arrangement of smaller subjects across the frame further back would do it.

Please let me know what you make of this - a conversation is always good, even if it involves some diaagreement.
8 Jun 2019 12:09AM
Hi Chris, welcome from me too. You have an image here that is well exposed, and the camera settings look sensible. The exposure mode is given as "not defined," and I suppose that means a 'program' mode of some kind. As already mentioned, it isn't straight, and needs a slight clockwise rotation, but a low contrast situation like this, with flat even light, isn't likely to present any challenges, so otherwise I'd say it's technically OK.

But I agree with John ( dudler )... the main problem here is that there isn't really anything to look at, nothing to engage the viewer's attention. As he says, it's like an empty stage and we're waiting for something to happen.
There could be some visual interest in the trees and their reflections, but a good two thirds of the available space is taken by a featureless sky and its equally featureless reflection, neither of which contribute anything to the image.

What's your own feeling about this? You've explained that this is an in-camera jpeg that has been given no additional processing... does that mean you're happy with the result, or does it mean that you would like some suggestions as to how it could be improved in some way by post-processing? What kind of critique are you actually looking for?

It would also be helpful if you could give us some idea of your attitude towards processing, how you rate your abilities in that area, and what processing software you use, if any. It's difficult to offer much in the way of suggestions otherwise.
I'll offer something as a starting point, and upload a modification giving an idea of what I might do with this image if it were my own.

mrswoolybill Plus
12 1.6k 2081 United Kingdom
8 Jun 2019 8:06AM
A warm welcome from me too. I hope you'll enjoy it here, it's a good site.

You've received excellent feedback, I'll just add my initial thoughts on opening this (apart from the tilt, which does jump out at the viewer... )

This is a symmetrical composition and symmetry, while being satisfying to the OCD element that lurks in all our brains, can easily look cold and sterile. Dead. It needs something to break the formality.

The 'empty stage' problem... The centre of the frame is empty, but that is the area immediately in front of our eyes, the area that we need to feel we could move into and explore.

You can't just lay on foreground interest - a log in the water would be nice - but you can move round, try different angles and heights, look for it. Alternatively there's a bird flying just above the water and reflected, but it's tiny. That gives me the idea of waiting for a bird to fly above the water nearer to the camera...

It's sensibly taken but it doesn't invite me in. That's what composition is for, so my advice would be to look further, explore more adventurous possibilities.
mrswoolybill Plus
12 1.6k 2081 United Kingdom
8 Jun 2019 2:12PM
OK, I've had a play with this... I hope you know how to get to the modifications, by the way - click on the blue Modifications button below your upload, then on the different numbers.

It would be helpful if you reply to Alan's questions above about processing. I would add that a jpeg file is in fact a heavily processed image, but it's the camera's 'brain' that does the work. It selects and processes around 30% of the available data and records the result. And this is the sort of situation, with a lot of contrast between bright light and deep shadows, where the camera may struggle... It's definitely worthwhile checking if the human brain can do a bit better!

I did some very basic work on light, which is where I would advise you to start looking, whatever your software. After straightening I lightened shadows and darkened highlights by just 3% each, and used the burn tool set to midtones, huge brush, 3% exposure, over the sky and water. That reveals and protects detail. Then I made a Levels adjustment moving the outer sliders in a wee bit to give better tonal range.

Have you encountered the histogram graph? You can call it up on your camera for an image, along with a lot of other information, using the up /down arrows on the big multi-selector. If you don't know about it, let us know. It's the first essential in approaching image enhancement.

Having adjusted light I tried three different crop. The first retains symmetry but places the focal point on the lower third, this reduces the expanse of emptiness in front of us. The second is a pano crop. The third breaks with symmetry and goes vertical. It's my preferred choice.

All three give much greater importance to the bird.
paulbroad Plus
12 131 1285 United Kingdom
8 Jun 2019 7:11PM
Basically as John says early on - you lack a composition point and he result is water, sky and trees - none of which has any strong points. You need a subject to act as focal point.

One great problem wit many landsape type images is hat the actual scene looks so much better to he eye than does the recorded image.

pamelajean Plus
13 1.2k 2094 United Kingdom
8 Jun 2019 7:16PM
Good Evening, Chris, and welcome to EPZ and its Critique Gallery. I see that this is your first upload here.
You arrived here because you checked the "Critique Wanted" option. I assume that was your intention.
In the main gallery, reached by NOT checking that option, you can receive votes and even awards, but not necessarily constructive critique.
It 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.

You have already received some excellent critique.
I just wanted to return to the idea of getting a straight image.
Firstly, you may be able to find a thirds grid in your camera, one that you can leave on the screen to help you not only with composition, but also with getting lines straight, both vertical and horizontal.

If you haven't got one of them, or if you forgot to use it, your editing software might have a thirds grid, as I am showing you in my first modification, which is simply a screenshot with the grid in use, found under the Crop Tool in PaintshopPro. This enables you to immediately see if your lines are straight or not.

I've also put another screenshot under the modifications, this one showing the use of the Straighten Tool. I used the extremes of the water's edges to place the straightening line on. This just now needs to be applied.

Hope that's of some help.


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