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The oldest of things

By AM74
I have just renewed my plus membership, in the hope of finding motivation again. So, just going to post some photos on Critique gallery that I took over this past year.
Mainly holiday snaps. No tripod and a guided tour didn't allow for proper thought through photographs. There is also nothing original about this shot I suppose.
ISO of 320 was a mistake obviously( left from before). It was a hazy day and sadly no clouds in the sky.
The mod is F8.
How would you guys have shot this and what would your preferred settings be? At famous monuments and well photographed places, how do you all approach it to shoot something a bit different ?

Tags: Architecture Pyramids Sphinx



banehawi Plus
18 2.9k 4354 Canada
18 Jun 2020 5:51AM
Its a pity you were rushed!

I can only suggest improving contrast by lowering the point where black starts in levels or curves, - bring left slider in to about 10; then some sharpening to improve detail. The very bright sun and the co;lour are difficult to work with at that time of day.


mrswoolybill Plus
16 4.1k 2606 United Kingdom
18 Jun 2020 8:25AM
It's the sort of situation where you accept that you are not going to get a glossy magazine standard of image, you aim for a good souvenir. For your own happy memories. I reckon that you did pretty well, the ISO error is not catastrophic. (I've seen far worse, from people who ought to care but don't... )

Quick modification uploaded. I used the quick selection tool to separate sky and sphinx. Then I lightened and brightened the sky a bit, then working on the sphinx I darkened highlights a bit, made a Levels adjustment much as described by Willie, and reduced saturation slightly.

Just suggestions.
chase Plus
17 2.5k 676 England
18 Jun 2020 10:12AM
To shoot something a bit different you have to see it in a different way, a different angle. With such a huge iconic structure as this that could be very difficult as most others viewpoints would not show this in all its glory.
Maybe from the front, just to be different.
The ISO, whilst a slight mistake, is not drastic and tbh it has helped you with the shutter speed as you were handholding.
Images like this are always going to be classed as ' holiday snaps'...'.I was there' kind of feeling.
The mods posted have helped this image generally, I don't think I could improve on those.
pamelajean Plus
17 1.8k 2288 United Kingdom
18 Jun 2020 12:24PM
I hope you re-discover your motivation, Annie.

Been there, done it. I was unable to choose the time of day, but at least I was given plenty of time to explore good angles and also enjoy the atmosphere. There are times when spending time to "take it all in" is more important than taking photos, but if you can do both, you can be very satisfied.

The sphinx doesn't move, so such a fast shutter speed wasn't really necessary. Finding an interesting background would be my priority. With a cloudless sky, that's even more important, although you could always import another sky for added interest.

Showing the pyramids behind the sphinx is an obvious choice. Here you do show a little part, but it's quite insignificant, just a shape.

I like your idea of going in close on the head and you have very good detail there. But I feel sure you took a "full body" shot or two, which is a good one to bring home.

Including some tourists in your image isn't always a bad idea. This gives an idea of scale to your subject, and a bit of human interest in such a bland landscape can be a nice bit of relief.

Because it has been photographed millions of times, it's understandable that you would like a unique image, but with time constraints and harsh sunlight the odds are not in your favour. But you did very well.
HERE is a Google Images page that shows SO many variations, and I do like the people pretending to kiss the figureSmile.


PS: I have done a modification with an imported sky.
dudler Plus
19 2.0k 2018 England
18 Jun 2020 1:40PM
I don't have any great ideas for tour photography, other than to travel relatively light, and not have high expectations.

The only way to subvert things is to include tourists in the shot, or possibly guides. I am sure that time is on my side: I was fortunate enough to visit in 1969, when everything was much less developed and slick - and a schools tour allowed very little time indeed. But I made the shot about the other schoolchildren milling around...

Similarly, when I was young, you could walk inside the Stonehenge circle. Grab what you can as you pass through, because a further generation on there may be even less to see.

One possible approach on future holidays is to take several days a bit off the beaten track, and shoot stuff that isn't necessarily as over-photographed as the Sphinx... And, of course, I realise that you may be travelling with a family who want to see the sights. That does suggest a different approach, which is to concentrate on them: as I've grown older, I've realised that the pictures I treasure most are the ones of my family, as I posted a couple of days ago. In the absence of a real chance of shooting a wonderful image of the Sphinx, a shot that freezes family history (in THIS CASE before any onset of receding hair or work stresses) would be an enormous plus, even if you don't want to post in publicly.

A possible project: photograph those who you know best, complete with lockdown hair...
dark_lord Plus
19 3.0k 836 England
18 Jun 2020 2:39PM
The ISO isn't really a concern and while the light is so strong a lower setting would give 'better' quality Iyou wouldn't notice it with your camera. The only issue you'd expect is to run out of apertures.
Talking of which that is a mistake but see you've corrected that with a second shot. Given you don't need extensive depth of field in thi instance I'd be happy using f/8.

There's not much that can be done on an organised tour when you're not given much time to peruse the scene and explore viewpoints. Have some ideas before you go by doing some research so you can be confident of getting something in the bag (tours often make sure you get the usual tourist image) and when you get there if there's time and opportunity look for variations.

Nothing originl as you say, but I'd never advise someone not to take such an image as it'd be personal and a memory for them. Then follow it up with more personal view if possible.
If you don't eake the inage you'll look back and curse. It also acts as a scene setter in a serie of images if you create a slide show, photobook or video prentation of your trip.

Looking at the mods it's important to process well when you get back o the image is as good as you can get. So shoot RAW so you can gett the mot out of your capture. If that doesn't appeal, at least consider RAW+jpg for your more important images.
AM74 5
20 Jun 2020 9:09AM
Thanks very much to each and everyone of you for your detailed input. It really helps to reflect on mistakes (but only if one keeps shooting!)
Thanks to Moira and Willie for explaining exactly what you did in post processing, I will try the exact same steps and let you know whether I manage the same results. ( Unlikely!)
The imported sky did change things a lot Pamela-incredible what you can do afterwards in software. I am not sure why but it feels slightly wrong to do that kind of 'cheating' for my holiday photos as it would not be a true reflection of my memories. Commercially or for prints etc, it probably makes more sense and thank you for reminding me that it was an option. Maybe you all feel differently as pros and see that as just tricks of the trade.
It was really nice to see your 1969 Sphinx image John Smile

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