Back Versions (1)
Modifications (5)
Views 151 Unique 58 Award Shortlist   

Tool shed

By BiffoClick
An old image, given new life in 2021 software. Sharpened, contrast added in ON1. Thanks for looking. Enjoy your day - and make someone smile, perhaps ? Grin Regards, Ian

Tags: Still life Tools Shed

Claim 3 FREE professional prints with Fujifilm


mrswoolybill Plus
15 3.2k 2523 United Kingdom
3 Nov 2021 11:06AM
It's a nice arrangement, and it illustrates something that I find fascinating - the way that different materials, wood, metal etc, when left together for a long time will weather to similar colours.

Thanks for adding the original. A few things jump out - first of all it's very soft, I cannot see anything sharply in focus. Can you remember how you focused? F/8 should be fine if you focused carefully on the foreground items, but it hasn't worked out like that. Assuming hand-held, the shutter speed looks sensible, but I do suspect camera-shake here.

Secondly the original conveys the wood tones much better! The processed version is too aggressively red for my taste. I'll repeat something that I have said before, special effect filters are not a cure-all panacea for imperfect pictures, they need to be used discreetly as a final touch. First principles: get the light right! The word photography means 'drawing with light'...

My eye also wanted to rotate a bit, I'm not saying that the original is tilted but the main items balance better for my eye if rotated slightly clockwise.

I've added a modification. Rotated, and cropped a bit more tightly to get rid of the blue triangle top left without clipping the fork handle. I actually cooled colour slightly and shifted tint away from magenta towards green. Then a bit of brightness, a Levels adjustment and some very gentle use of the burn tool. I tried a bit of local sharpening on those foreground items, but not successfully - they simply needed to be sharper in camera.

For me this conveys wood tones better - adjustments to light will often improve colour. But the real message is - get the focus right first.
dudler Plus
18 1.9k 1933 England
3 Nov 2021 11:26AM
Moira has said it all on processing - and that prompts me to suggest that tastes differ, and that many people tend towards more aggressive processing and saturation as their eyes age. The vitreous humour in the eyeball gets slightly discoloured and so we want to see brighter and more contrasty images. As I'm starting to suffer from cataracts myself, it'll be interesting to see if I start to process more, before I reach the stage where an operation changes things suddenly.

The sharpening is the thing for me - I tend towards minimal sharpening, believing that a good lens and sound technique do the heavy lifting. I think I see slight unsharpness here, and I reckon that means that you suffered from camera shake.

A solid tripod is necessary, plus some precautions to avoid shaking the camera when taking the picture - notably, using delayed action or a remote release. Once the camera is on a tripod, a longer shutter speed is no problem, so you can stop down a fraction more for better front-to-back sharpness, if you want it. Alternatively, focus on the hammer heads, slightly forward of the mid-point of the subject - that seems to me the biggest interest in the frame. Controlling focus is as important as controlling exposure.

Metering - you chose spot metering, and I would be interested to know why. It's the photographic equivalent of a chainsaw - really useful if you know exactly how to use it, dangerous in inexperienced and untrained hands...

Recognising that this is an older shot, can I suggest retaking the image, if it was your shed, bearing in mind what you've learned here?
mrswoolybill Plus
15 3.2k 2523 United Kingdom
3 Nov 2021 11:31AM
I'll just add that this looks a natural choice for b&w conversion, but for some reason my mono software doesn't like the file and keeps crashing. Never had that happen before...
dark_lord Plus
18 2.9k 813 England
3 Nov 2021 12:11PM
The original is tonally quite flat so I understand the need to boost contrast.
While I'd be happy with what you've done I do agree with Moira that it's heavy on the red.

However, the first things that struck me were the softness and the arrangement.
It's camera shake here as it's movement blur we can see. You were pushing it at that shutter speed. You did have room to up the ISO, and even if there were a little noise if you go high it wouldn't detract from the subject. But with still life there's no reason not to make sure the camera is irm, so use a tripod if you have one.
The arrangement doesn't gel for me.. It's all a bit confusing and incoherent. I'd want to play around with the positioning of all the items to lead the eye around the scene. Maybe rempve an item. As it is my eye is jumping around he scene without a clear path or somewhere to rest.
So the potential is there with all those shape and textures.
ZenTony Plus
6 12 2 United Kingdom
3 Nov 2021 4:54PM
In response to Moira's difficulty I have uploaded a mono conversion.
I have also sharpened it a touch.
In addition I have also added another cropped version. Personally I like it as it provides more subject focus BUT I am finding that there is an overall lack of focus although a 1/120th there should not be.
mrswoolybill Plus
15 3.2k 2523 United Kingdom
3 Nov 2021 5:40PM
Tony's crop Mod 4 illustrates the virtues of simplicity - it creates a sort of reverse L-shape composition, with a nice diagonal filling the gap. Composition is about lines as much as - or more than - content.
banehawi Plus
18 2.7k 4308 Canada
3 Nov 2021 5:46PM
Im also surprised at the softness and camera shake in the original. Though the shutter speed looks ok, it simply wont be ok if the camera is close to the subject, and thats whats happened here, since the original is a full size image with the right aspect ratio, and the lens will focus close being a macro.

So sharpening, and in this case if available to you, a mode that detects and compensates for camera shake rather than lens blur will work best; later iterations of Photoshop can do this.

Then contrast, but with a light landed approach.

Ive uploaded a mod using PS, and its cropped a little; there are as seen here lots of variation and modes you can use, but first, get the image looking clean and focused.


banehawi Plus
18 2.7k 4308 Canada
3 Nov 2021 6:04PM
BTW, I uploaded a mod uisng your version on the eagle headshot. Thanks for the original.

pamelajean Plus
16 1.7k 2253 United Kingdom
3 Nov 2021 8:15PM
I like your subject, Ian, lots of different shapes and sizes, and some nice rust as well.

The last time I took a picture like this, it was in the gardener's shed at a stately home, and everything was displayed, although someone obviously tried to make it look a bit like a working museum. So the idea of moving things about and composing a better still life was not on the cards. Perhaps this was the case for you, or maybe it's your own shed? So you just need to find your picture and angle out of what is in front of you.

I can imagine that your intention was to include the complete crate "stand" and the bits on it, but I think the left side is a bit fussy. However, going tighter might make the crate appear cramped in the frame. There might be a good argument for using selective focus here, throwing some of the side areas out of focus. John mentions this idea, too.

The first thing that struck me as annoying was the coloured paper on the right side of the crate. If there wasn't any of this paper on the left side, then I would have taken my shot from the other side.

As ever, I'm stunned by both the depth and detail of your collective critique - and immensely grateful for your time and effort. The help that you are all providing is - without doubt - improving my work, for which my grateful thanks. I'm particularly intrigued by Dudler's comment regarding the changes within the eye caused by age. It's not something I had previously considered - but at 76, perhaps I should ! Much of the feedback I've received from ePhotozine and judges in competitions has revolved around over-sharpening - definitely food for thought. Once again my sincere thanks for your help. Kindest regards, Ian
pablophotographer 10 2.0k 425
3 Nov 2021 9:34PM

This collection of earth tools looks particularly clinical to my eyes; where was this shot?

My objection is not about the wood colour or the sharpness. The scene looks out of place as it is presented in front of a light blue background. Which in my mind turns it to a museum exhibit. Ouch! (Yet, it may actually be a museum exhibit).

If this is to become a frame with coherent narrative I would suggest to replace the blue background surface with something that reminds an old edifice, stone wall, brick wall, wood panels, hay stack, those sort of things.

I like the redness of the wood actually. Thanks for sharing with us.

chase Plus
16 2.4k 620 England
5 Nov 2021 2:55PM
I'm late here but....
There are some wonderful nice old tools here, plenty of rust to see...lovely !
As has been mentioned, the composition is just not gelling for me, too many things, some chopped in half but there isn't any cohesion between them even though the subjects are from the same genre, gardening/tools.
The wooden box is fab, love that, a much simpler arrangement on the top of that would be so much easier on the eye.
Camera shake has ruined this, Mod 5 from Willie has really helped it along but a tripod is a must.

if these things belonged to you and were in your own shed I would have to re-shoot with a much better arrangement.
With still life stuff, light and composition are the major considerations, it takes some getting right but is an enjoyable learning curve.

I think you have been a little heavy-handed with the processing, gently, gently does the trick.

Sign In

You must be a member to leave a comment.

ePHOTOzine, the web's friendliest photography community.

Join For Free

Upload photos, chat with photographers, win prizes and much more.