Back Modifications (4)
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Pipe Player from South America

By charisma515    
Pipe Player from South America.

Busking in Corby Corporation Square.

theme is People at work lot smore on my portfolio

Tags: Music Pipe Player Busking Haunting Portraits and people

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mrswoolybill Plus
14 2.9k 2457 United Kingdom
2 Aug 2015 9:18AM
Hi Fred, welcome back to the Critique Gallery, it's good to see you here again.

Musicians are one of my favourite subjects. You've got a good angle on him here - microphones are a real pain because they can block off part of the face and really mess up the sense of communication, rapport. You've got the face unhindered, and you've caught a look of real concentration.

Plus you used a fast enough shutter speed to freeze the action. I'm not sure that the plus exposure compensation was necessary though...

But - a lot of work has been done on this, and it's not entirely successful. You have sought to isolate the pipe player and blur the background but the isolation was somewhat haphazard. Look in particular at the hard lines to the right of his hat, behind his shoulder, between the microphone and its cable, and in the bottom left corner of the frame.

I suspect that you have also lightened the face quite considerably, and the result is a bit flat and grainy.

When an image has been heavily modified we ask for the original to be uploaded for comparison / modifications. Could you do that please, either as a version or a modification?

There are other things that I would like to do, depending on the original composition. This needs a slight clockwise rotation I think, and it would benefit from a different crop if possible, more space on the left for him to face into, less on the right. Space behind the subject's back is usually wasted space, it draws the viewer's eye away from the face...

So let's see the original - I reckon there's the basis for a much better final image there. We can talk you through some suggested improvements.
mrswoolybill Plus
14 2.9k 2457 United Kingdom
2 Aug 2015 9:25AM
PS I like your theme!
pamelajean Plus
15 1.6k 2238 United Kingdom
2 Aug 2015 3:06PM
Not too long ago, I was taking pictures of a pipe player in Southampton, Fred. Avoiding passing pedestrians was the most difficult part. I kept moving in until I got some good close shots.
What you get in your background is so random and uncontrollable because of where your artist is standing. Moving around him a bit can help you find something a bit cleaner, but that can compromise the amount of his face that you manage to get.

So, you got a good shot of your musician but weren't happy with the background, so you sought to blur it. But, as Moira says, it's somewhat haphazard. I'm really confused because you have left some things unblurred that should definitely BE blurred. This won't be easy because you are trying to leave the microphone in focus, so you need to go around it carefully.
I, too, would like to see the original.

It would have been good if you could have managed to get the pipe in his left hand fully inside your frame, as it adds to what he is doing.
He has a white hat, which can easily become over-exposed, so positive exposure compensation won't help in that respect.

2 Aug 2015 4:23PM
Firstly I must thank you both for taking the time and trouble to help with this image. From what you have told me it is clear that I am far too careless and impatient. Correct these failings and I feel that a number of the faults mentioned will be fixed!

Typically the +0.7 exposure compensation is because I did't see it on the screen. On the Sony NEX 7 it is very easy to rotate one of two wheels one of which is allocated to exposure change. The shutter button lies behind (at the front of the camera body and I think I caught it before shooting the image and I think this is what happened. Its a mistake anyway but it illustrates very well my inattention to detail.

When Your see the original you will see I had yo crop a good deal of the image away.So much clutter in both the foreground and background.

Perhaps most importantly I was using the magnetic lasso toll incorrectly. I have read up on it's correct use and hope to do better next time!
Thanks for your helpful critique.

Regards Fred aka Charisma 515
mrswoolybill Plus
14 2.9k 2457 United Kingdom
2 Aug 2015 5:28PM
Thanks for uploading the original. I've uploaded a couple of mods, really looking at basic processing. I added a bit of canvas space at the bottom and then rotated to get the image looking a bit straighter. Then I cropped tighter, and filled in the extra triangle bottom left with a mix of cloning, spot healing brush and paint brush. It's just sketched in, I wonder how many people would spot it?

Then I lightened shadows and darkened highlights, reduced brightness, and did a bit of dodging and burning on the player's face. Finally I reduced saturation by 10%.

The second mod is a tighter crop to give something nearer to your intended composition.

Working on a small file, it's difficult to isolate the subject satisfactorily in order to blur the background. I may go back and try later when I have some time. The important thing is to watch all your edges very carefully! I tend to use the quick selection tool, varying brush size as required.

What would have done the job for you would have been a larger aperture. At that length I think your lens would have given you maybe F4 or thereabouts. Larger aperture, focus carefully; soft background.

One other point, when taking a picture and when processing it, always look at everything in the frame, not just your subject!
pamelajean Plus
15 1.6k 2238 United Kingdom
2 Aug 2015 5:45PM
Thankyou for uploading the original, Fred.
I can see that you cropped quite a lot. The quality deteriorates when you do this. Far better to get the frame you want, or thereabouts, at the time of shooting.

I have done a modification, but the quality isn't great on such a small sized image.
I obviously cropped to the musician you have chosen to feature. I then cleaned up the background, just eliminating bits and pieces that are distracting. It wasn't too difficult with the clone tool.
I selectively blurred the two young boys directly below the musician's elbow. Removing them altogether is another option.
This cloning and selective blurring is an alternative to your completely blurring the background.

I did a Levels adjustment which nicely darkened the background, then sharpened. The large border was necessary in order to comply with the upload size for a modification.

You have quite a bit of noise/grain on your upload above, and I don't think it's necessarily caused by your high ISO setting, because I don't have it in my modification. Maybe it came about in your processing.

Something else I forgot to say in my previous comment. You will notice that there is a blurring or halo around the man's hat. This is because of the high contrast between the white of the hat and the dark grey of the background, when you add the blur. To avoid this, I usually take the intensity of the blurring down a bit, until the halo isn't so obvious. Otherwise, a bit of cloning of the edge may be necessary.

paulbroad 14 131 1293 United Kingdom
2 Aug 2015 6:07PM
All been said. he main problemis the basic composition. He needs to be much nearer the right with the space in front of him. We canonly comment on what we can see and you wold have been very much better at a much longer focallength to fill thhe frame more with his head and also render thebackground much softer.

try and analyse the situation i the viewfinder when shooting.

2 Aug 2015 6:32PM
Paul thanks so much. The lens I am using would have given me what I wanted sooner than cropping so much of the original image away.

B***** obvious but clearly not to me at the time!

thanks again Fred
dudler Plus
18 1.7k 1877 England
3 Aug 2015 7:07PM
Hi, Fred -

Coming along last has benefits - especially as a Sony user myself!

Move around, as has already been said. Exploit your lens: zoom, and also (Moira hinted) control the aperture. To do this best, use aperture priority, so that you set the aperture. I find it's the best general-purpose mode, though you have to watch the shutter speed, and adjust the ISO if necessary to avoid low speeds and camera shake.

Go in close, too. While you can stand back with a 300mm lens and be distant, it is best to be 'amongst them' if you can! That way, you can interact: you're not hiding, and often musicians (and anyone else performing on the street) will play up to the camera. It may cost you a quid in the hat, but I always feel compelled to contribute - if it's worth shooting a frame or two, it's worth digging in my pocket!

With a wider aperture, the lens does the blurring: and I love letting all the hard work happen because I've set things up right before starting to shoot. With a little practice, it doesn't take long, and I really hate doing a lot of remedial processing later, if I've got it wrong...
5 Aug 2015 8:43PM
Dudler and All

thanks so much for all the useful advice now I have to wait for the same guys to arrive again in Corby so far they haven't shown up! Nevertheless I have bee putting all the advice to good use and the results are much better.

Thanks for everything

Fred aka Charisma515

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