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Old times

By mikewatson
This was taken at a Victorian Market in Gloucester and the sepia toned in Photoshop.
I took the photo in Raw and then used Camera raw and CS3 to edit.
I was trying to capture the atmosphere and feeling of what life must have been like in those days.

Tags: General Black and white Portraits and people

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banehawi Plus
15 2.2k 4049 Canada
27 Mar 2014 8:12PM
Its a good shot Mike, does what you want.

Theres movement blur from the very slow shutter speed, and I think it works in its favour rather than against it. You would need closer to 1/80 normally.

I like the toning. I am attracted to the garlic, - its bright, so would suggest you tone it down. Toning can reduce contrast, so a little increase will help.

Personal preference is for a tighter crop, and I would consider, apart from toning down the garlic, slightly blurring the very sharp sack/jugs, etc.

I have uploaded a mod to show what I mean. Ive used a strong vignette also to exclude more of that top right area.

If doing this again, get down lower to close to the eye level of the sitting people, - it will be a more intimate shot.



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dark_lord Plus
15 2.4k 599 England
27 Mar 2014 8:36PM
The background shows no blur so you kept the camera steady. In the old days, shutter speeds would be slow so there would be a greater risk of camera shake (except in the studios where they used supports to keep people still for formal portraits) so the subject movement actually gives it quite an authentic look.

You've done a good mono conversion, and the amount of sepia is just enough, some people overdo it.

You don't need eye contact here. This gives the impression of a hard life, which I'm sure it was. If you did have eye contact, expressionless faces would be a good idea for a period look - many Victorian images we see do appear this way.

I can't say how authentic a string of garlic bulbs is in a Victorian setting. Probably ok in London but not the provinces!

NEWMANP 11 1.6k 574 United Kingdom
27 Mar 2014 9:23PM
i like the content and the choice to go sepia works quite well.

as suggested above, id suggest tightening up composition on the right and id have given more space on the top left. in fact its better to shoot with space around and crop in computer, its safer in the end.

as Willie rightly points out your settings are a little on the edge of making life difficult for you.

if you are hand holding and i suspect that is the case you will have great difficulty avoiding camera shake at less 1/60sec and you may just get away with 1/30 but slower is just asking for trouble.

on the other hand you could afford to balance that out with a stop or two and set f5.6 on aperture priority, even go wide open if you have to but do not go the way of too slow a speed to hold still. its not for me but a very well known photographer i know advocates setting auto iso and prog mode for safety when doing this type of work and override to a choice aperture if you wish to,

you have another problem here, focus is suggesting the central focus screen but you have a subject each side so the sharpest area is not either face but the garlic. the movement in the rear figure adds to this issue.

i enjoy reenactment events, they are a great source of images.

NEWMANP 11 1.6k 574 United Kingdom
27 Mar 2014 9:35PM
did you a couple of mods cropped to avoid clutter and to focus attention,
one is softer and more sepia, the other less sepia and has a greater tonal contrast and sharpness.
you will have to let me know if you like either. Wink

best regards
paulbroad Plus
12 131 1286 United Kingdom
28 Mar 2014 8:18AM
This is quite well done and what problems there are are due to the obviously very poor lighting. The quality drop from high ISO can actually help images intending to show an old image effect. Grain, sepia and so on.

You have a reasonably sharp result but a little softness due to subject movement. Acceptable at this size, possibly less so with a large image? Difficult. I might have come down to f4 to get a faster shutter speed. That would test the lens quality and you would need to place the plane of focus carefully due to depth of field.

However, I would prefer slight depth of field softness to movement blur. They are different.

In general, very well done.


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