Back Modifications (4)
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Your move

By Keith1010
First attempt at a close up of chess board trying to attain DOF in fore ground and the back .

Tags: Chess Games Specialist and abstract Dof depth of field play with light


mrswoolybill Plus
13 2.3k 2266 United Kingdom
17 Jun 2020 11:53AM
Note to commenters:

Quote:This image has been uploaded for critique, the poster is looking for constructive comments and advice only.

Please don't post comments such as 'Great picture!' or row of Emojis, these comments will be removed.

Hello Keith, welcome to the Critique Gallery, you've been on the site a few months but I think this is the first time you have ticked the critique button. I hope you are enjoying the site. Also that you know what we are about in this little corner, you waive the chance of votes and awards but can expect more in-depth comment.

Random thoughts...

Full marks for getting down to table level first of all, that gives an intimacy. An awful lot of people don't think to do that...

Thanks for showing your Exif, and explaining what you were aiming for - that helps a lot. 'trying to attain DOF in fore ground and the back '. Depth of field refers to the depth from nearest to furthest area in reasonable focus, it can be extensive or shallow depending on the aperture and other factors. With F3.5 used, I assume that what you are aiming at is shallow DOF, which is an effective way of isolating a particular area.

That requires very careful focus. It looks to me as though you focused on the pawn towards the right, and I would be interested to know what your thinking was. It has the effect of softening the king, which is the central and dominant piece - certainly the base of the king is soft. It's important to remember that the depth of field that you get in front of the spot where you focus is half of what you get behind... Because that king is in front of my nose, it's the item that I want to feel that I could reach out and move, so I would prefer it to be sharper.

The other thing that struck me on opening this was that it has a pronounced blue cast. I wonder if the cold look was intentional? I have uploaded a modification where I simply removed blues and cyans. It's a suggestion, it may not be what you want. (By ticking for critique you allow members to download the image to work on, you can find modifications under the blue Modifications button, below the uploaded image.)

I wonder what processing you have done? The halo round the background white piece (knight I think) on the left suggests some processing, and it's a bit distracting. Could you let us know what you have done, and if you have processed this upload the original as a modification? (Go back to that blue button and follow the instructions).

Black & white could be interesting, if this has been processed I would prefer to work on the original...

Generally, I would say that you are working on the right lines. Keep practising, with attention to detail - that white blob background right should be avoided for example. I would suggest trying F5.6, for a gentler recession into blur.

That's just random thoughts. Janet (chase) is the Team's Still Life specialist, I hope she will be along soon.
mrswoolybill Plus
13 2.3k 2266 United Kingdom
17 Jun 2020 12:37PM
PS I've added a further modification with the white blob cloned out.

Looking more closely at the white knight and its halo, I'm pretty sure this has been exacerbated by pushing contrast. A similar effect is visible within the highlight on the pawn foreground left. With out of focus areas, using the dodge and burn tools if you have them (dodge set to highlights, burn to shadows, large brush and very low exposure, no more 4%) is often a less intrusive way of adjusting light.

Please let us know how you feel about the image, if you are satisfied, if there are areas or aspects that you are not happy with, if you have any questions. The more you tell us the more we can do.
17 Jun 2020 1:23PM
mrswoolybill , Thank you for your comments i have seen your mods and produce a greater shot, you are correct i might have over processed with the blue , but i was trying to get the green base .... i don't think it worked .. Thank you , with the pawn on the right I placed that forward with the hope of having that also out of focus , maybe i should not have done that .
I will try and dodge and burn at 4% and see how that works .... thank you for your time much appreciated .. Smile
chase Plus
15 1.8k 442 England
17 Jun 2020 3:24PM
My first reaction to this's very blue, Moiras' mod has corrected that and removed the light blotch to the right. That is the image I used for my modification.
The other distracting thing for me is the half pawn to the right which makes this image very unbalanced, in my mod, I cropped it away to give a little more symmetry to the frame.

Everything is a wee bit tight in the frame, so I added some extra canvas to the top just to let the King ' breathe'.
The greens in the image don't work for me so I converted to B&W, very simply in Photoshop using a B&W layer.

I think you could have given the chess pieces a lot more room generally and perhaps arranged the pieces symmetrically in the frame, for instance the Knight at the back looks quite odd sticking out from behind the rest so he perhaps would benefit from moving slightly towards the centre so all his shape is seen and perhaps put his counterpart on the other side of the King to even out the composition.

Reckon you could have damped down the strong highlights a tad by using a diffuser between the strong light and your subjects.

I like your idea to use a shallow dof but the focus really needs to be on that King, right in the middle, then the 2 pawns either side of him would be equally OOF.

I do like your thinking but in general, the pieces do need much more individual room for me or, just use less pieces.
This is a subject that is not easy and really takes some setting up......been there, done that Wink
Stay with it, you will get something you are 100% happy with, the result will look fabulous, a great subject to play with !
pamelajean Plus
14 1.4k 2157 United Kingdom
17 Jun 2020 5:07PM
Janet's modification is interesting, black and white works well with this image, probably because black and white is an integral part of the pieces and of the board too.

You have received some excellent comments and critique. The first thing I noticed was the part pawn on the right, which should not be intruding into your frame. With a still life subject, you have plenty of time to make your frame perfect, those chess pieces aren't going anywhere.

Playing with depth of field can be fascinating, and it's a wonderfully creative area of photography. It can be a little confusing at first, but the way to remember it is that small f-numbers mean small DOF and large f-numbers mean large DOF. You chose a good subject to practice with.

HERE is an EPZ article that explains depth-of-field and the factors that relate to it, which you might find informative.


Jestertheclown 11 8.3k 253 England
17 Jun 2020 7:53PM
The chequers on the board at the front tell me that it needs to be rotated, just a tiny amount, anti-clockwise but looking again, I reckon that that chess piece, the main one (I've no idea what you call it!) is actually very slightly bent!
dudler Plus
17 1.3k 1698 England
17 Jun 2020 9:04PM
And welcome from me, too.

Loads of good stuff above, and not a lot more to say... Your settings all look very sensible: for the absolute minimum depth of field, you'd have used f/2.8, of course.

I rather like the lighting: it's maybe a bit strong on the white pieces, so processing from RAW I'd be pulling back the highlights a bit. But the light from both sides really shows up the contours of the classic chessmen. A Staunton set, I think (not that I'm a chess expert, but there's a set in the family, slightly chipped in places).
banehawi Plus
16 2.3k 4163 Canada
18 Jun 2020 5:35AM
I like it.

It does look very blue though.

Ive uploaded a duo-toned mod thats cropped, sharpened, more contrast, and lens correction applied.


18 Jun 2020 10:22AM
Thank you all for your constructive comments , it is welcomed , I have learned so much here on listening what you have to say , it has pointed out the minor or not so minor details can have such a great impact on a shot , I have loads to work with and yes losing the right pawn is a must ... and your mods look more like what I tried to achieve ..... won't be scared to upload next time ....
chase Plus
15 1.8k 442 England
18 Jun 2020 10:39AM
Keith, never, ever be afraid to ask for help or advice. That's what our small Team is here for, we all learn something and generally the members of the Team see things others may not have spotted.
Thank you for your feedback, always good to get a conversation going.

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