Back Modifications (6)
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In the woods

By AM74
Uploading a second photo.
Slightly modified in lightroom.
Will upload original as mod too. To me, it lacks something-not sure what. Composition? Focus? Wrong exposure?
Any feedback welcome

Tags: Woods Flowers and plants

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dudler Plus
17 1.3k 1698 England
4 Dec 2017 1:07PM
A couple of thoughts, Annie.

First, I think you may have 'saved for web', or possibly uploaded from a device rather than a computer, because there's no EXIF data, either displayed here, or embedded i nthe file. That makes it harder to analyse things technically.

Exposure is slightly wrong - this is a case where there's a lot of darkness (unlike the previous upload) and so minus exposure compensation was needed. The result is wishy-washy shadows, and 'blown' highlights in the river.

The focus is pretty reasonably on the leaves, and that's fine. Did you want the background as blurred as this, though? Your camera will have a button on it that allows you to preview what's called the 'depth of field' - though I'm guessing that you used the maximum aperture here, as you did for the last upload. Alternatively, look at the image on the back of the camera after taking it.

There's a couple of degrees tilt to this, I think - my mods rotated clockwise, and darkened a bit. I can't bring back detail in the white water, though.

Composition - you've got the leaves more or less in the centre: that can work, but usually it's better to put the main subject off-centre - a more active look. A central subject cna be stately, but it often looks a bit boring.

My first mod crops a little, but the second mod goes for a square frame, and I think that suits the subject...

Does any of that help? Please ask if you want any more info on anything I've written.

While I was typing, you uploaded the original, and that convinces me that you needed exposure compensation.
mrswoolybill Plus
13 2.3k 2266 United Kingdom
4 Dec 2017 1:42PM
Hello again!

There's a nice strong subject here, with that diagonal twig. Again you have focused well.

John has given good advice. It would help if we could see the settings - do you know how to access them? Either call up the image on the camera's viewing screen and jiggle the up /down arrows on the big multi-selector, you should find them. (Difficult to predict how exactly, I have two supposedly identical camera bodies and the sequence is different on each of them...) Or find the thumbnail on your computer, right click on it, select Properties, then Details.

I'd particularly like to know the time of day this was taken, I suspect somewhere around midday? The sun is bouncing off those leaves, and the water. As a result there are over-exposed areas, and where there's total white-out you won't retrieve any detail because there is none. Leaves and water are both very reflective! Strong reflected light is something to watch out for.

I've uploaded a very similar modification to John's second one, I cropped to square (don't feel that you have to stick to 3 x 2, square can be very satisfying and gives a more contained feel.) He and I have both used the diagonal stem to lead in from nearer to the edge of the frame. And I darkened considerably, and cheated a bit by painting in some colour to mask the overexposed water.

As John says this needs rotating a bit, the one thing that never slopes is water.

banehawi Plus
16 2.3k 4163 Canada
4 Dec 2017 2:33PM
Similar mod as before. Your own modification improves the original. I would like to see the shot details also.

I think if you wanted to isolate the leaves against the background, you needed to do a few things. One is rotate the camera to a portrait mode to frame the twig, and allow it to occupy most of the frame; a good rule of thimb is to fill your frame with the subject, - not always, but often; get close using the smallest aperture, f/4 for that lens; the closer you get, the better the out of focus blur, but the shutter needs to be faster to compensate for any possible movement of the subject. The IS will look after camera shake to some extent, but never subject movement.

Make sure you are using a single focus point. Im sure this has been mentioned before. The metering mode is important for us to know also, - as this will have a big effect on exposure, and if you need to modify it. As a long time Canon user, I have never ever used anything other than Evaluative, as I want the exposure to be biased according to the subject I focus on, not matter where it is in the frame.



4 Dec 2017 11:15PM
Hi all, thanks again for such prompt responses and modifications. I love them all! So much better than mine.
All of you have modified it slightly differently which is fascinating!

Sorry about not uploading correctly. I find the whole camera to computer thing quite tedious and overwhelming. I took that pic at around 2 pm-slightly overcast. The settings were F5.6, 1/40 of a sec and ISO 1000. I cannot figure what the lens was set at. This pic was taken a couple of days ago, before my introduction to ephotozine! I am now making sure when I take photos that I check the exposure meter before pressing the shoot button fully. Today I took with one over and one under for the same shot too-just to see what difference it can make. WIll upload the best ones as I go along.

I have always been a fan of shallow depth of field photos with blurry backgrounds, but maybe getting carried away with that! Today when I took photos, I used more variation.

I have also set the metering as evaluative Willie.

I see what you mean John about photo being boring when subject is in the middle! But for novices like me, it feels safe I guess, although I should remember the rule of thirds too. I want the shots to be interesting but working on inspiration and all your comments have been so useful.

One tip that I need help with; how do you guys sort your photos, esp when you take many and come home to transfer to a device/computer? Do you delete them from computer or on the camera before transferring? I am taking many shots sometimes and don't want them to clog up my computer( I have used card reader and EOS utility on my phone and on my mac-can't decide yet which is better) but selecting them individually is very time consuming. Or perhaps I should have an external hard drive?

Lastly, I wonder if you get paid for any of this work. How can I help you back? If I signed up for membership for a year (which is quite cheap at present), will you benefit from that directly?
mrswoolybill Plus
13 2.3k 2266 United Kingdom
5 Dec 2017 7:50AM
I'm so glad that you are trying out ideas and suggestions, and checking the results - that's the important thing. So long as you don't use Save for web, we should be able to see the settings. So we'll take the individual images as they appear.

To pick up on your question:

Quote:how do you guys sort your photos, esp when you take many and come home to transfer to a device/computer?

Everyone I have ever discussed this with has a different system. The really important thing I think is to have a system, and stick to it consistently.

I am not a mac user, so I cannot cover all areas for you. But for myself, I have my own system of folders - a large folder for each calendar year, then sub-folders for different categories (eg Community activities, which I photograph a lot) , sub-sub-folders where appropriate (individual community groups...) . And within each of those I have another sub-folder to split off jpegs from Raw files, for convenience. (Raw is something you may work round to in time.)

I don't always download all my pictures onto the computer. I review them very carefully using the card-reader and decide the files that show promise. Then I download those and work on them. I have become more selective with advancing years.

I back up onto at least one external hard drive. That's important, we have all had disasters! I know one very distinguished member here who lost several years work when his hard drive died.

Lastly, I don't reformat my memory cards for some time. I like to go back after a little while, when the excitement of the moment is over, and just check whether I want to keep anything more. If in doubt I will download everything onto the external hard drive so that I can go back later.

That's how I do it. My Other Half uses a totally different system based on subjects, with sub-folders for dates. He doesn't like my system, I can't find my way round his. The important thing I think is to devise a system that you understand, and stick to it!

Something else very important - always hang on to original files, use Save as, don't save a worked file over the original. As your processing skills improve, you may well find that you can go back and achieve a better result!

The Critique Team are all volunteers (well, we had our arms twisted...), and there are other site members who give a lot of time and good advice here. Quite simply we love photography! Some people devote their free time to golf or gardening, we opted for this particular obsession...

We do get free site membership, I don't think that's classified information, otherwise no perks. The real reward is when we see people progress! Paid membership doesn't cost that much, and it does support the site as well as giving a number of advantages (such as being able to upload for critique every day).

Hope that helps!
dudler Plus
17 1.3k 1698 England
5 Dec 2017 11:00AM
And my system...

I still take pictures on film as well, and my filing of digital files is based on that.

I never delete anything.

I save files by date, and refine the folder names that Lightroom assigns by adding a note of the subject. So "2017-11-27" becomes "2017-11-27 Paige Antonia".

And then I back everything up on an external hard drive (something I can't do with my negatives and slides...)

When the hard drive in the computer is getting full, I create a second external backup, and store those at my sister's house.

Different members of the Critique Team have differing other interests: Moira does a great deal of community photogrpahy, other members have proper jobs as well. I'm making the transition from a part-time dayjob to retirement plus photographic activity which I'm hoping wil lgenerate some income.

However, the best reward for all of us is the sort of feedback you've given us - engaging in a conversation, checking and occasionally challenging, and showing how you apply what you've got from our comments. THAT is an enormously valuable gift that you have already given all of us.

And depth of field... I am a shallow depth of field junkie, and my favourite lenses are 85mm f/1.4 Zeiss Planars (one form 1976, on a Contax film camera, and one from 2014, on Sony digital bodies). The downside - as I think you've found - is that the shallower the depth of field, the more accurate focussing has to be. At minimum focus and maximum aperture, my Planars give a millimetre or two of sharpness.

And when it works... It is like flying!
paulbroad 13 131 1289 United Kingdom
6 Dec 2017 10:05AM
This is quite a decent image. Ideally I would have the leaves twice as big and offset to the left third. Rules are made to be modified, but if one rule has huge relevance in all visual art, it is the rule of thirds.

Many old master paintings use it. Divide the frame into three equal parts horizontally and vertically which results in 4 intersections. Place the main image on one of these intersections.

Filing - I have a number of folders on the desktop hard drive titled for my main interest, NH, people, places and so on. I download every shot as you can really only analyse them on a big screen. I then check through, dumping the obvious junk.

I then process the remainder saving the result in the appropriate folder. When a folder gets to near 700MB I copy the contents to my 2TB external drive AND to a second large external drive kept in our safe. Each image is saved to appropriate sub folders appropriately titled.

I then copy the folder to two CD or DVD's and store in two different places.

If your shots ar worth keeping, they are worth protecting. DO NOT let work build up on your machine drive. Dangerous!!!!

6 Dec 2017 11:41AM
Thank you all for such helpful tips and comments- really grateful.
Whilst it is reassuring that you all have different filing systems and one does not have to follow a certain pathway, it still feels overwhelming and a minefield for a newcomer! Agree with Moira's tip that best to just stick to one system. I will now consider based on your comments which might be the one for me.

I am in awe of you John with all your amazing lenses, negatives and films! In fact I feel honoured that all of you serious photographers have got time to critique lowly photos by me.

Many thanks all of you!
dudler Plus
17 1.3k 1698 England
6 Dec 2017 10:40PM
My name is John, and I am addicted to photography...

I can't bear to part with stuff. And most of it comes in handy occasionally!

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