Back Modifications (4)
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The Beach Boys

By ZenTony
Went onto the beach at Folkestone early one morning around 6 am and these guys were just larking about, so I took a few photos. The sun was very strong causing massive contrast so although I took this in colour I think it works better in mono. I did consider cropping out the shirt in the foreground but my doing that I would have lost some of the reflection on the guy on the right.

Tags: Mono Black and white Beach scene People watching

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Comments


mrswoolybill Plus
13 2.2k 2247 United Kingdom
24 Jul 2020 8:06AM
Hello again, it's nice to see you back in the Critique Gallery.

I love this scene. You have a nice eye for the telling informal moment. Here the straightforward, quite formal composition is perfect, no fancy angles. As is the timing, for foot and ball - forever frozen in mid-action. And while it would be interesting, for strictly critique purposes, to see the colour file, I have no emotional or aesthetic need for it. B&W is a reality in its own right here.

Aperture and shutter speed - very sensible. And you sensibly upped the ISO to cope.

Now a few suggestions. The light, as I'm sure you realised, was tricky, because you were shooting into bright sky, with light bouncing off sea and wet sand... The options here are either to aim for total or near total silhouettes against the sky, or to adjust exposure. I think there may have been scope for the former but it would have needed getting down a lot lower.

Here, although you are shooting into the light the figures are actually seen against a background of sea and sand. So you need to differentiate between them and background. You used spot metering and a +1/3 stop compensation, but the result still seems underexposed, flat to me. B&W needs true whites, as well as blacks, and that is what is lacking for me here.

I've uploaded a modification. I added 2/3 stop exposure, pushed the Whites slider up quite a bit, and also added 8% on Clarity. It works better for me, see what you think. What you have is partial silhouettes, with enough detail to convey substance.

I also tweaked the horizon up a tiny bit on the left, using Skew.

Incidentally I experimented with cropping off the sky, for a more private, contained feel. But I think this needs the sense of space and distance that the horizon gives.
Moira

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24 Jul 2020 8:09AM
A good action shot and the modification has brought out much more texture and detail in the wet sand in the foreground. The result is to lift the “flat” feel to an otherwise well seen and captured image, adding more “life” and vibrancy to it.


chase Plus
14 1.7k 411 England
24 Jul 2020 10:24AM
Moira has offered some very good critique here and I do like her modifications, maintaining the silhouettes.

The original looks a touch dark but I do like the way you have captured the light on the guys.
Just a few simple tweaks to an image during post processing can make such a big difference as has been well demonstrated.
dudler Plus
16 1.2k 1679 England
24 Jul 2020 10:27AM
A little bit to add on exposure: you were using spot metering, and despite the +1/3 compensation, this has led to underexposure. A silhouette is fine, but only if it was intended! You can always take the tones down from a normally-exposed shot, but once the shadows are gone, they're gone.

And looking at the mods, there's a slight halo round the figures, which suggests a touch of excessive sharpening. If you have a RAW file, I'd suggest going back and reprocessing with the sharpening turned down.

Notwithstanding all of that, it's a happy, relaxed image of friends relaxing, nicely composed and with delightful variety of pose and look between the three friends.
dark_lord Plus
16 2.6k 683 England
24 Jul 2020 12:49PM
Two initial thoughts on seeing this.

First, a nie group of three, nicely positioned and well timed with the ball in that position, The semi-silhoettes work well, seeing fine detail isn't important fro enjoyment of the shot.

Second, too dark. There is a preponderance of dark greys with no bright tones to give it a kick. That's been countered in the mods so isn't a problem per se but worth remembering in future similar scenarios.

Spot metering looks to be the cause. Do you remember what you ook your spot reading from? If it was a straight readng the centre of the image where the spot reading is taken from lies on the bright water. The camera would then render that as a mid tone of 18% grey.
Looking at this image that area looks like a good approximation to, well, 18% grey. But in reality, bright sea isn't. So avoid spot metering until you can assess the midtones in a scene and stick to multisegment metering which will produce a better result or at least one where less software correction is neded.

Mono does suit this though, and is an example of mono being stronger than the colour aleit I'm guessing the colour was not inspiring from reading your description.
That said, an underexposed colour image may well have been less than inspiring, so it would be worth going back to that original and trying the adjustments Moira used for her mod. You may well still prefer the mono, and I guess I would too,. The point is that to get a good mono, get as good a colour image as you can before you do your conversion.

Alk that said, there's a good image there waiting to get out, as the mods show and I'd likely have given that a vote in the main Gallery.
pablophotographer 9 1.6k 380
24 Jul 2020 1:39PM
Hi.

A socially distancing summer picture. Very apt.

I wonder was that sky clear and blue or grey and full of grey unrecognisable clouds? I guess it is the latter.
With that in mind one could therefore ask:
f/9? what for? What's the interesting object in the far far distance beyond the boys? Why not f/4 or f/5.6? Wider aperture brings more light in, gets the capture faster.
Spot metering? Where from? The sitted viewer? I don't know what metering options your camera offers but I don't think spot is the best in this case.
ISO 250? For action needing to capture a ball looking as a ball rather than a smudge or a trajectory? I would up it to ISO400 if not ISO800.
Take a look on the point of view. Where's the ball? On the air. Where does it look like being? In the water. Did you consider to sit any lower in any of those 6 frames you shot so that the ball is caught and seen being mid-air?

To me the image is as fun as this summer. It feels too formal and static. Probably an ISO100 setting and one second exposure time would have caught the leg movement and the ball trajectory to create an illustrative image of boy's magazines from the era we were boys ourselves playing with a ball rather than an expensive camera.

I would urge you to take another look to the settings. Have a Covid-free, happy summer.
pablophotographer

24 Jul 2020 2:33PM

Quote:Hi.

A socially distancing summer picture. Very apt.

I wonder was that sky clear and blue or grey and full of grey unrecognisable clouds? I guess it is the latter.
With that in mind one could therefore ask:
f/9? what for? What's the interesting object in the far far distance beyond the boys? Why not f/4 or f/5.6? Wider aperture brings more light in, gets the capture faster.
Spot metering? Where from? The sitted viewer? I don't know what metering options your camera offers but I don't think spot is the best in this case.
ISO 250? For action needing to capture a ball looking as a ball rather than a smudge or a trajectory? I would up it to ISO400 if not ISO800.
Take a look on the point of view. Where's the ball? On the air. Where does it look like being? In the water. Did you consider to sit any lower in any of those 6 frames you shot so that the ball is caught and seen being mid-air?

To me the image is as fun as this summer. It feels too formal and static. Probably an ISO100 setting and one second exposure time would have caught the leg movement and the ball trajectory to create an illustrative image of boy's magazines from the era we were boys ourselves playing with a ball rather than an expensive camera.

I would urge you to take another look to the settings. Have a Covid-free, happy summer.
pablophotographer


24 Jul 2020 2:40PM
Hi
Firstly the sky was light blue with very little clouds.....a wisp !
I will certainly review my metering mode, BUT........................the shot was exactly as I wanted it. I did not want any movement at all hence the shutter speed. The movement is clear; the guy had just kicked the ball. Personally I feel that movement is now so cliched. Appropriate sometimes but not default. Sure I could have played with ISO and aperture. I was on full manual when I took the shot and frankly did not have the time to adjust much as the guys were moving around so much. There are relevant criticisms here of course and it is always a learning experience to understand others perception. I think Moira's modification was superb.
DaveRyder Plus
6 4.4k 7 United Kingdom
24 Jul 2020 5:34PM
Firstly, yes what they said above... I can't really add many words to those above so I'll stick with actions.

I've removed a few bits (birds, buoy and something at the bottom), cropped slightly and throw a whole load of Matt filter at the image.

I thought the blacks dominated bottom a little too much and there seems a large empty space in the upper half.
In my mods/crop I've tried to address this, I hope you like to results, and perhaps agree.




banehawi Plus
16 2.2k 4149 Canada
24 Jul 2020 6:13PM
Mod lifts highlights while keeping blacks black.
dudler Plus
16 1.2k 1679 England
24 Jul 2020 6:52PM
It's fine if that's the result you wanted: we didn't know that.

By the way, the EXIF says you were on Shutter priority, not Manual, so the various comments on metering may well stand: if you know how to use spot metering, Manual is probably the right mode for it, along with careful selection of the spot(s) that you take readings...
pamelajean Plus
14 1.4k 2149 United Kingdom
24 Jul 2020 8:03PM

Quote:I did consider cropping out the shirt in the foreground but my doing that I would have lost some of the reflection on the guy on the right.


You have had some interesting critique here, Tony, and also some nice modifications.

My first thought was that the shirt in the foreground looks more like a large bit of rubbish, perhaps a plastic bag. Even so, I would clone it out and then you don't lose any of the guy's reflection. I see that has been done in one of the modifications.

Pamela.
24 Jul 2020 9:42PM
You say you were shooting on "full manual," in which case adding +0.33 has no effect, but the exif says you were using shutter priority. Whichever was the actual case It seems to me that the choice of metering mode is irrelevant... with the X-T3, as with any 'mirrorless' camera, you can see the result of your exposure settings in real time in the electronic viewfinder.

Having said that, this does look a bit flat and underexposed. Did it look correctly exposed in the viewfinder? If so then perhaps you need to adjust the finder brightness. Did the exposure look right to you on your computer? ...Could be your screen brightness is set a bit too high.

Alan
24 Jul 2020 10:37PM

Quote:Firstly, yes what they said above... I can't really add many words to those above so I'll stick with actions.

I've removed a few bits (birds, buoy and something at the bottom), cropped slightly and throw a whole load of Matt filter at the image.

I thought the blacks dominated bottom a little too much and there seems a large empty space in the upper half.
In my mods/crop I've tried to address this, I hope you like to results, and perhaps agree.





24 Jul 2020 10:38PM
Hi Dave, Thanks for the comments but I really do not like the matt filter...............at all. For me I much prefer the contrast.

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