Back Modifications (4)
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Portchester Castle

By marktc  
Good morning all... I've put this one up for critique as it really didn't turn out the way I had expected it to. The actual place formed a really nice avenue but I seem to have lost the depth in the image, and it looks a little flat. I was wondering if someone can give me some idea what I did wrong???

Thanks for your help.


Tags: Architecture 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.


annettep38 Plus
7 218 40 Costa Rica
10 Jun 2012 9:37AM
In principle, it is very nice.
Two ideas from someone who is not an expert at architecture.
... The branch touching the high tree in the background doesn't help.. It pulls the together instead of spacing them apart.
... The trunk is a bit too close , so there is no space on the left. One step further back might have been better but maybe you were hiding a yellow bin or a lady in a red coat.

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marktc Plus
7 101 15 United Kingdom
10 Jun 2012 9:41AM
Thanks Annette, sadly there was no lady or bin, I was trying to use the tree in the foreground as a frame, maybe less tree would work.
10 Jun 2012 10:00AM
maybe pulling back a tad and only using part of the main tree would have helped i can see why you wanted this shot the scene has all the makings of a winner but i'm no expert Mark by a long way maybe a much higher F stop and a steady mitt ...have a good weekend

Focus_Man 8 481 631 United Kingdom
10 Jun 2012 10:02AM
Just a couple of comments Mark.
Firstly, without looking at your uploaded mod, I made my own and arrived at the same crop, so yes, that is an improvement. However I did the crop to sort out both composition and also my next comment.
Secondly, your chosen aperture of f4.6 does not give sufficient depth of field to cover the whole of the scene. So the walls, as they drift back, have lost their sharpness which brings the viewer back to your tree thus reducing the viewable depth of your picture. For that reson I reduced the amount of tree within the frame to take the eye elsewhere. You needed to be at an aperture of f11 or f16 as the tree is very close and the end of the walls a long way away. Focus 1/3 of the way into the scene and that will leave 2/3 behind, that is the best chance of getting everything in focus.
Thirdly, a figure as a centre of interest around the lower left junction of thirds would help the eye along the avenue, taking you into the picture.
Finally, some punch is needed so a touch of Topaz adjust plug in filter was used to a dd some.
I have uploaded a mod for you to see my idea.

Lynamick 16 2 31 United Kingdom
10 Jun 2012 12:01PM
I mostly agree with Frank except I would have used an F22 with a tripod. I have put up a mod but really the work that I have done on it should have been done in the camera. By selecting each group separately I have used the sharpened tool in Photoshop filters. I like the tree on the left but I have thinned that top branch down a little. I then darkened the sky at the top left a fraction, and slightly darkened the whole image.
I hope this helps,
marktc Plus
7 101 15 United Kingdom
10 Jun 2012 12:09PM
Michael, thanks for your comments and all the effort put in to the MOD. I have learned a lot from all the help given this morning.
taggart Plus
13 47 13 United States
10 Jun 2012 1:03PM
For me, the best part here is the almost pastel colors working well together!
puertouk 6 1.1k 17 United Kingdom
10 Jun 2012 1:10PM
Hi, yes the tree on the left is taking too much of your image up and the over-hanging branches. I put it into Photoshop CS6, copied the background layer, then used the content-aware move tool, to move the tree to the left. I then used the patch tool to remove the over-hanging branches. I feel now this has opened up your image more that leads the viewer into the image. Hope you like it.
banehawi Plus
14 1.8k 3893 Canada
10 Jun 2012 3:50PM
Hi Mark, you have good advice already. I want to add a little to this by explaining aperture, depth of field, and I will provide a link for you that is very useful.

Aperture is the size of the hole that light has to enter to get to the sensor. Its value is expressed as a fraction, hence the F. Since its a fraction, i.e in math, under the line, as in 1/aperture number, the larger the number, the smaller the hole, and vice versa. The divisions between aperture values are called "stops".

f/4.6 is a much larger hole than f/16; f/16 is a much larger hole than f/22, and so on. Each stop smaller halves the amount of light coming in to the sensor.

So why small apertures? if you ever squinted your eye tightly, you would notice that what you see changes, - far away objects seem sharper. The smaller apertures increase the "depth of field", which is the distance the scene looks sharp, from in front of the camera, to the distance determined by the aperture.

Using your settings, and the link below, if I estimate that the tree was 12 feet from the camera, the the depth of field is only 26 feet, starting 7 feet in front of the camera. Anything further away than 26 feet starts to become progressively blurred, as in this shot.

So lets take the f/16 example, with the same distance to the tree. This would give a depth of field of infinity, staring about 4 feet in front of the camera; for f/22 its infinity from 3 feet in front of the camera, so you can see theres little difference between the two, both giving you a shot that would look sharp all the way to the horizon.
Two things though that need to happen to use either smaller aperture: your speed will be very slow, unless you have loads of bright light, requiring either high ISO and/or a tripod; and you have to learn to focus 1/3 the distance into the scene, and not at the tree, or the horizon.

Note that the depth of field, with a given aperture value, changes with the focal length used, AND the distance to the subject.

Heres the link, - you can enter your own camera and lens details, and play around with the aperture values, focal lengths, and distance to subject. Take note of the Hyperfocal distace in the charts.

Have fun with the link, and I hope this helps along with the tips above.


Jasper87 Plus
8 2.0k 150 England
10 Jun 2012 4:00PM
Hi Mark, a very instructional upload that many could learn from. I can't add anything to the above, keep up the good work.

gajewski Plus
13 10 9 United States
10 Jun 2012 10:15PM
I agree with Dave. You got some good advice here. You've got a good start with this shot at a very nice location. I'd be interested to see additional shots you take here.
vickyf 12 8 8 United Kingdom
11 Jun 2012 12:45PM
Hi Mark - you've had a lot of sound advice on this. The only point I'd disagree with is the hanging branches. I feel the only reason they don't quite work is because, as mentioned by Annette, they touch the top of the tree in the background but I'd certainly include them in the frame. If you can find it on the internet, check out 'Monticello, Charlottesville, Virginia' by National Geographic photographer, Sam Abell which shows how intruding branches which most photographers would be tempted to clone out can make the image. Smile Vicky
arhab 6 43 2 Indonesia
11 Jun 2012 5:42PM
the composition is good. the only problem is the branch on the top is too dominate, and preventing the view. the content and the idea to make the tree as a frame are good.

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