Back Modifications (3)
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By Dessy
This shot was taken at Medstead Station on the Watercress Line Hampshire. I took about 19 shots all together in the hope I could demonstrate the power of these wheels. A pretty gloomy day so I used a tripod.
It was busy as it was a Thomas the tank engine day so I tried to avoid the many photographers there
The shot was taken from the platform and slightly cropped. Some unavoidable obstacles which I could not get around I erased.

Tags: Transport Wheels railway

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banehawi Plus
16 2.4k 4217 Canada
12 Jan 2021 4:08AM
Hi Desmond. Youve got some nice detail in this locomotive.

Its good you used a tripod, - I see this is shot at 1/9th second, indicating the light was poor.

It seems a bit washed out on my screen, - that is theres no real solid blacks in it, which is a surprise. Almost like its misty!

My eye is drawn to that bright green post, I would be inclined to crop that out. Any work you did removing obstacles is well done.

I would think that using a levels or curves adjustment, the left slider need to be moved inwards towards the centre quite a bit to bring back some weight to the dark areas.

Ive tried it in the mod, - see what you think. A nice detailed shot overall.


dudler Plus
17 1.5k 1805 England
12 Jan 2021 7:06AM
Welcome to the Critique Gallery, Desmond. You've been a member for a while, but it doesn't look as if you've posted images here before - but I imagine that you know what we do here.

My first thought was the same as Willy's: and I think the explanation is that the subject is mostly dark, and that's fooled the camera's exposure meter. Willie's mod sorts that nicely, giving the contrast and shine that the locomotive deserves, bringing out the excellent detail you've recorded. He's also cropped out the green object on the right, which was a big distraction.

Looking at the rest of your portfolio, you seem to use some sort of tonal processing quite a lot - did you do that here at all? It would be really interesting to see an unedited original of this image, by the way. It would show just what you've had to do to remove distractions, and give an insight into your camerawork.

The more you can tell us, the more we can help you.
mrswoolybill Plus
14 2.6k 2371 United Kingdom
12 Jan 2021 9:28AM
Welcome from me too, I hope you will find the Critique Gallery useful.

It's a difficult subject, being dark but also quite shiny, reflective. It would be difficult to avoid at least some blown highlights, particularly the area top left. But the whole image looks overexposed to me, and a glance at the histogram confirms the absence of blacks - when black is rather important to the subject! Do you refer to the histogram? I would be fairly sure that you can call it up on your viewing screen after taking a picture, it's worth getting into the habit of checking it.

(The histogram is a graph that shows the relative distribution of tones in the image, from black on the left to white on the right. It looks a bit like a cross-section through a mountain range. If the curve does not cover the full width of the baseline it means that the image lacks true black and / or true white. This can be adjusted in Levels by drawing the appropriate sliders in to meet the ends of the curve.)

You did well to use a tripod, also to get down relatively low and concentrate on 'the works', this makes sense of a complex structure.

If you have done any cloning to get rid of unwanted intrusions you did a good job. But that green post on the right needs to go. I also reduced exposure by 1/2 stop and boosted blacks in Photoshop's Camera Raw filter.

Then, although the reflections are attractive, this is primarily about metal structure. So I worked a hard, stark b&w conversion in Nik Silver Efex. I added a hint of burn edges to enclose the structure.

Please let us have your thoughts, it really helps if you join in the conversation. I guess you know where to find modification (under the blue Modifications button, below your upload). If you have done any significant processing, eg on light or colour, it would help if you upload the original as a modification - go to that same blue button.
chase Plus
15 2.1k 540 England
12 Jan 2021 12:22PM
Hi and welcome Desmond.
I like this, right up my street.

Lots of lovely shiny stuff which makes taking images challenging to say the least.
This initially does seem slightly over exposed, a little on the wishy side of washy sadly and I think your camera settings are are responsible. I see you engaged Aperture priority which has fooled your camera settings consequently over exposing.
Still, an image worth a bit of work I reckon to bring out the textures and oiliness of your subject.

I did do a mod,
Cropped out the green post.
Reduced blue saturation and warmed the whole frame up which really brings out the tones in some of the structure.
Attempted to tone down the major highlights, I used the clone too set to darken on a separate layer at around 19% opacity.
Added a touch of sharpening.
Increased the blacks, so very much needed here to bring out the darker bits, just with a levels layer.
Enhanced that wee bit of steam coming from the piped bottom left.
Tripod an essential bit of kit, well done there.

Love the subject and I do like your POV, concentrating on the wheels and metal work.

Please let us know of we are going in the right direction for you, it really does help us to help you.
pamelajean Plus
15 1.5k 2201 United Kingdom
12 Jan 2021 12:41PM
I've been on the Watercress Line, Desmond, pure nostalgia, the sound of the clickety-clack as you travel, the smell of the smoke, and the whole character of the carriage interiors - sheer joy.

The first things that I noticed in your image were the lack of contrast, the large area of burn-out top left, and the green post that is intruding into your frame and pulling the eye. You say that you removed some other intrusions, so I wondered why you had left the green bit in.

I like the way you have isolated a part of the engine, and this is the sort of shot that I take. It was a good idea because you wanted to show the power of the working parts. Another interesting aspect is the reflections in the carriage panels, which can make great abstracts.

On my last visit to Alton, I wanted to get some steam rising in my frame, and had to wait a while before that happened just as I wanted it to. Sometimes it was too much, other times too little, but patience pays off. I know it's difficult when there are crowds about, and the Thomas days will be busy, so well done for getting this image the way you did, especially on a dull day.

dark_lord Plus
16 2.7k 749 England
12 Jan 2021 10:00PM
Welcome from me too.

It's all been covered above.
The only thing I'd mention is that as you were using a tripod I'd be inclined to use f/11 as the subjct recedes diagonally and you'll make the most of depth of field to cover that and the resulting slower shutter speed won't cause any issues.
chase Plus
15 2.1k 540 England
15 Jan 2021 2:35PM
Have any of the above comments helped you? Have we given you ideas to think about, processing suggestions to try? The Critique gallery works best when we get a conversation going, that needs your input too. It really would help us if you come back and let us know if any comments have been useful. Otherwise we are really operating in the dark.

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