Back Modifications (11)
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Moody Clouds

By Chowny77
I took this in Aberdeen just up from the harbor towards the end of the day and loved the relative calm of the water but the gloom of the clouds added so much atmosphere. I also liked that one of the boats is coming in and the other seeming to head out and then the Lighthouse standing strong. I feel like the picture has come out a little grainy and this was one of the first I took in this light so very green. All advice and comments welcome, particularly around positioning of the photo and objects within and whether I should "tinker" with the photo a little more. I love the general look ad feel like it's the sort of shot I'd love to print and frame as it was taken on vacation/minimoon and has a sentimental attachment too.

Tags: Scotland Lighthouse Boats Clouds Sea Moody North sea Aberdeen Landscape and travel

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Comments


pablophotographer 9 1.9k 406
16 Jan 2018 6:48AM
Hi.
I've heard this recently, two people were referring to a car:
-''This car is so big, it does not need number plates, it needs an address!''
-''It needs that and it's own zip (post) code!''
If I understand your camera shoots only 3:2 frames so this is a crop, I guess.
Well.... I shrunk it a bit and the reason I did so was down to the colours. The red boat I have omitted was quite an easy one to pick, I think there would be space for it there, if the lighthouse had some red colour on it, now it has some rust near the top only. So I kept the blue boat which somehow matches the blue/green tint of the sky and the sea.
The top part of the sky is rather calm, I would say, so I had no hesitation to crop from top either and leave you with a frame which has similar shape with yours, albeit it is rather small.
You can also present all of your frame in black and white so the issue I had with the colour gets eliminated.
Kindly, pablophotographer
Robert51 12 7 122 United Kingdom
16 Jan 2018 8:03AM
I can why you were drawn to this shot.

The mod is a simply levels and S curve adjustment. Then a little cloud sharpening.
mrswoolybill Plus
14 2.8k 2408 United Kingdom
16 Jan 2018 8:27AM
Hi Andrew, welcome to the Critique Gallery - I see that you joined the site last month but I think this is the first time you have ticked the critique box. I hope you'll find it useful!

By ticking that box you disable votes and awards but invite more in-depth comment, I hope that was your intention.

I do like this, it 'takes me there', it has a very peaceful emptiness. Conveying atmosphere, experience is difficult, because your viewer sees the scene as a small flat rectangle. So forget about trying to get everything into the frame, concentrate on arranging a select representation within that rectangle.

Emptiness in a frame is difficult to manage, minimalism depends on composition, placement. When you have very few components to a picture they assume much greater individual significance, and it's about creating a spatial relationship between them.

Three components is good because in almost any configuration it will give a triangle for the eye to move round. Here as you say the interest is the two ships moving away from each other, but the lighthouse gives them a stable anchor.

My own feeling is that when subjects are moving away from each other, that sense of separation is actually stronger if they are closer together but still back to back. Does that make sense? So I wondered how this would have looked taken a few minutes earlier.

I've also lightened highlights a bit (Levels adjustment, moving right hand slider inward). I wanted to keep the subdued feel but add a bit of light in the sky. And I cropped lighted using your aspect ratio.

After uploading my modification I noticed that the horizon has a very slight slope. It's worth always checking a shot like this against the grid, water is the one thing that never tilts!

To view modifications, click on the blue button below your upload, then on the numbers.
Moira
paulbroad 13 131 1293 United Kingdom
16 Jan 2018 9:05AM
The basis of a good shot but I suspect huge under exposure which the histogram confirms. I fear it just looks very heavy to me subjectively. Three objects are good for composition, but not when in a straight line from extreme left to extreme right. I would clone the red boat out. Two looks better in this case.

Paul
mrswoolybill Plus
14 2.8k 2408 United Kingdom
16 Jan 2018 10:07AM
As a postscript, the tilt that I noticed in my cropped modification is actually a dip in the centre of the horizon in the original, slight lens distortion at work. Depending on your software you may well be able to correct that.
dudler Plus
17 1.6k 1849 England
16 Jan 2018 10:50AM
And a warm welcome from me, too.

Please tell us what processing - if any - you did on this picture, and also whether it is cropped down significantly from the full frame horizontally - either of these could be related to the digital noise that's there, which does seem excessive for a 2013 18mp camera at 100 ISO.

The other possible candidate for noise creation is underexposure. I wouldn't expect this to be severe with a modern camera and evaluative metering, but there are few other likely causes. My mod increases exposure by two whole stops, and it surprises me that you'd get this much error, even with a predominantly bright subject. Does my mod look truer to the scene before you on the day?

Cameras these days are clever, but far from infallible: part of the hobby is taking charge and working out where they may fall down, and compensating for their weaknesses.

I look forward to seeing your next post here.
banehawi Plus
16 2.5k 4240 Canada
16 Jan 2018 12:46PM
Welcome Andrew.

Yes, its very underexposed, though even more than we would expect.

I uploaded two mods, one of the shot, and another of the images histogram that shows how much underexposed it is.

So, since this is the main issue, - I have to ask if you applied any post processing changes to this before you uploaded it? IF you did, we would like to see an unprocessed version; juts click the modification button, then select upload, then select your untouched version.

In general, when shooting a scene like this composed largely of sky and sea, you need to add a +1 exposure compensation. So for next time, keep this in mind.

Underexposure will also allow any noise in the shot to be visible.


Regards


Willie
banehawi Plus
16 2.5k 4240 Canada
16 Jan 2018 1:12PM
Thanks for the original Andrew. It looks like the only significant change is a crop?

If thats it, then all of the above feedback applies as it is. What the "big picture" does show us though is that theres a significantly higher amount og light that the camera was dealing with at the top of the frame, close to Noon, so that may well explain the amount of underexposure.

Thanks


Willie
banehawi Plus
16 2.5k 4240 Canada
16 Jan 2018 1:18PM
Ive uploaded a mod using the unprocessed file as a start. You can see the result is considerably brighter. So dudler was on the trail with a 2 stop underexposure I think.
16 Jan 2018 1:26PM
Thanks for all the comments and critique, a lot of this is hugely useful.

I forgot to add that i had indeed adjusted certain elements of the photo (cropped, added a little more light) and have uploaded the original photo under the Modification section.

Very new to this site so getting used to the elements but keen to learn more daily so I genuinely appreciate all the comments.

@Pablophotographer thanks! I did wonder about turning this into black and white as you suggest and will wait to see what people think of the original before touching more
@Moira, thank you for the welcome! Indeed I am new to the site, my Step Mother (Ann Chown) encouraged me to join and I'm very glad that I did. I'm excited to both aim for Votes and Awards but also love constructive feedback so all in all a win I think! I love your mod of putting the 2 boats back to back and agree, it would have been great if I'd taken the shot a little sooner. I also realise that I don't have the necessary hardware on my computer to adjust as much as I would like (it's something that I know I need to invest in) and what it has is very basic. It certainly doesn't allow for me to crop and move parts of the photo - would you have any recommendations at all? Also I hope you don't mind my asking but what is lens distortion?
@Paul thanks for the comments and will need to look into how to crop part of the photo out (or perhaps just crop the boat out as it's close enough to the side?)
@Dudler thanks for the arm welcome Smile. Indeed I did, I cropped the top as there seemed to be too much sky (to me at least) and then added a little more light, a touch darker in colour and tried to make the photo a little more crisp. I have a HP laptop and it only has a very basic program so will be investing in a better one to adjust. Not sure if this helps at all? I also have a course that I'll be taking in a few weekends time about ISO, flash and lighting so hopefully, in addition to all the comments, we'll see a good improvement!
@Willie thanks for the comments, per my response to @Dudler I've uploaded the original so feel free to advise from there. I'll also keep the +1 in mind!

Thanks all very much!

16 Jan 2018 1:38PM

Quote:Thanks for the original Andrew. It looks like the only significant change is a crop?

If thats it, then all of the above feedback applies as it is. What the "big picture" does show us though is that theres a significantly higher amount og light that the camera was dealing with at the top of the frame, close to Noon, so that may well explain the amount of underexposure.

Thanks


Willie



Indeed so and thanks for this! Lots to think about and take into consideration and definitely recall it being close to 12, great detective work Smile
mrswoolybill Plus
14 2.8k 2408 United Kingdom
16 Jan 2018 3:29PM
Thanks for your feedback, it's always good when we get a conversation going here. And yes, I heard subsequently from Ann...

You have a good eye, that's the main thing. I was away from my decent computer earlier, working on an ancient laptop, and now I'm back I can examine this clearly and yes, it's more underexposed than I thought earlier. As Willie says, pointing the camera into the light (sky, but also sky reflected off water) is likely to trick the camera's 'brain' into underexposing. Check out your exposure compensation control and try a plus 0.7 or plus 1 stop. Just remember to zero it afterwards:


Quote:Also I hope you don't mind my asking but what is lens distortion?


It's what happens when a lens is significantly longer or shorter than around 55mm. At the longer extremes it is likely to produce 'pincushion' distortion, where the sides curve inwards. At short focal length - wide angle - it produces 'barrel' distortion where the sides bow out. At its most extreme think fish-eye!

Either way, distortion is often noticeable when there is a horizontal line that doesn't split the frame 50/50.

I found an explanatory article here with some good illustrations.

A lot of software will give the means of correcting this. For straight forward, user-friendly software I would always recommend Adobe Elements, it has to be purchased but it covers what I want to do. Other people will have other recommendations.
Moira
dudler Plus
17 1.6k 1849 England
16 Jan 2018 6:53PM
I'll second general thanks for the original version, and for yoru response. We are a chatty community, and it gets frustrating talking into a void!

I will also say that Elements does so much and does it so well that it has to be a favourite, like a Ford Mondeo. But there are other eellent programs around, and some are cheaper. If you don't mind clunkiness and a rather slow speed, there's the shareware Gimp2: very able, a bit like a 1960 Land Rover.

More pictures, please!
16 Jan 2018 7:10PM

Quote: As Willie says, pointing the camera into the light (sky, but also sky reflected off water) is likely to trick the camera's 'brain' into underexposing. Check out your exposure compensation control and try a plus 0.7 or plus 1 stop. Just remember to zero it afterwards


Noted and thanks Moira! I'll be sure to have a play around the next time I head out in similar lighting conditions - the course I went on suggested that I should try different settings and see the difference in finished article then compare so that you start to build your own idea of what happens each time. That and working out whether you want more or less light in the photo once you take the initial one... And the final piece was to always return to zero! Have forgotten that a couple of times!

Also thanks very much for the info on lens distortion, it's not something I'd come across but definitely useful to know. I will also look into Adobe Elements and know that Ann uses something different (the name escapes me of course!).

Very much appreciate all your advice and expertise Smile
16 Jan 2018 7:19PM

Quote:I'll second general thanks for the original version, and for yoru response. We are a chatty community, and it gets frustrating talking into a void!

I will also say that Elements does so much and does it so well that it has to be a favourite, like a Ford Mondeo. But there are other eellent programs around, and some are cheaper. If you don't mind clunkiness and a rather slow speed, there's the shareware Gimp2: very able, a bit like a 1960 Land Rover.

More pictures, please!



Thanks for the encouragement and advice on the programs - I'll definitely have a little look into all as no doubt they all have their merits. I also really appreciate the imagery of how a program performs with various models and year of car manufacture! Smile
dark_lord Plus
17 2.8k 769 England
16 Jan 2018 10:51PM
And a rather late welcome from me too.

I can't add to the great advice already given (that's what happens when getting on to the site late on in the day Smile).

I'll do a mod just for an alternative look.
paulbroad 13 131 1293 United Kingdom
17 Jan 2018 2:48PM
You don't need to crop the red boat, you would clone it out. One of the great advantages of digital processing is the clone tool and it's variations. You simply select an area of image that mimics the sea here and stamp it over the boat.

Great to remove rubbish in street scenes, unwanted birds in skies and so on.

paul
17 Jan 2018 8:00PM
@dark_lord and @Paul, many thanks for your comments. I have a lot to be getting on with and that's just from one photo! Smile

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