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22/11/2015 - 8:47 PM

Castlerigg Sunrise

Castlerigg SunriseI've just done a mod from your colour original to keep some detail in the shadows as John suggests.
I didn't reduce the blues and cyans too aggressively, then selectively darkened the sky area.

I'd normally go for mono in a situation like this, but I do like the subtelty of the colour here.
19/11/2015 - 9:34 AM

surfs up

surfs upI looked at this last night but it was too late for me to comment fully.
All the above is good advice.
However, well done for having a go, that's how to learn and improve. Timing and reaction is very good, which is the most important aspect of action photography. Even the best equipment won't be much use if you can't press the shutter at the right moment.

I agree with Moira that it's much better to see the competitors face (or at least the front of the competitor, for example in those sports where crash helmets are worn). It's more difficult in some sports than others regarding where you can position yourself but that's just another skill that has to be learned.
16/11/2015 - 6:51 PM

Drying in the autumn wind

Drying in the autumn windI understand what you mean about the colour. A cold day with blue-grey skies and everything takes on that colour. That's how we feel on days like that too, so that's reflected in the images we take.

The sensor only sees the colour of the light as it is, not as we 'think' it should be which is why some colour adjustment is often needed. However, if you don't want to do that, at least think about adjusting the contrast to provide some punch, as Moira has shown. A flat picture taken in warm lighting will still look flat and less appealing than one with some good contrast.

You can alter the colour balance in software, but why not take a couple of shots whey you're out in the field, one set to Daylight and the other to Cloudy white balance and see which you prefer. Using Auto may give an 'acceptable' result but also a very averaged result. Taking control and making the decisions yourself is part and parcel of photography.

On a larger scale, I may well leave a cold colour balance on an autumn landscape for the mood.
11/11/2015 - 8:08 PM


ON THE FIDDLEI shall restrict my comments to V1 and V2 as they are very similar.

V1 you've timed very well s all the musicians bar one are in mid air, and even the guy that isn't is almost there.
In V2 all their faces are obscured by their bows - neat timing as the bows are across an eye, and as such (apart from a humerous element) it isn't successful because it's not as clean a shot as V1. If it were me I'd have deleted it as a 'not quite' image but you may have different priorities!

All the performers appear sharp (at this size anyway). I'm not so concerned about the shutter speed but with such a wide aperture you risk some of them falling outside the depth of field, especially when shooting at an angle.
Given there are some areas with lack of detail (notably the hair and shirt sleeve) you could have shot at f/5.6 which would result in retention of highlight detail and ensured reasonable depth of field to cover the performers. Not that dof appears an issue here, but useful for future reference.

I like the two people looking in from the left, but it would be worth reducing the prominence of that small piece of red intruding into the frame, or carefully clone it out. Cropping would place the woman right on the edge which would spoil her the look. Alternatively you could have gone for a cleaner shot of the performers if you could have moved around to your left a touch but that would have been a different take on this.

That may all sound negative, it's not meant to, V1 has captured the moment well and I like it.

09/11/2015 - 8:36 PM


SHE'S NO STRANGER TO THE RAINThe original is flat and lacking contrast. Even though there is a full range of tones according to the histogram, the bulk of the tones are in the middle of the graph. I used Curves to add some punch. Looking at it now I should have tweaked the colour balance too as the colours look a bit muddy. Pit reminds me a bit of colour prints 1980s style.

I adjusted the verticals - being slightly out looks like a mistake. At least they looked out when I downloaded the image to my computer. As a result there is a slight crop which has also removed that piece of stonework on the right hand edge which is a nuisance but would have easily cloned out.

I've made a mono conversion from that colour again with some contrast for punch. Mono provides the stronger image but it needs that contrast, not a sea of mid grey.

My second mod adds some grain, for effect and to mask the softness of this image. You have camera shake here. You should have used ISO 1600 here for a shutter speed of 1/160. VR can only cope with so much. In fact, if the light were that low I'd even use ISO 3200 - a little bit of noise in a sharp image is preferable to a soft image.

However, you have captured the moment and interaction well, I'd say even down to the position of the hand and fingers of the woman on the right. Which for me makes the shot.
08/11/2015 - 8:11 PM

Lake Louise on June

Lake Louise on JuneHi Thomas, welcome to the Critique Gallery.
I see you've been a member for a couple of months but this looks like your first upload. I hope you've had a look around the site and know what it's about. In the CG you forego the option to have people vote on your image in return for constructive critique.

Thank you for including the exif data and something in your description that'll help us provide feedback.

It's a shame you missed the aurora but natural phenomena don't always play ball.

As such, we're left with what is essentially a twilight scene, with an attractive sky. In this case i'd have tried to include a little more of those attractive foreground stones. They help as a bottom frame to anchor the image and help with the feeling of depth (in the image, not the water!).

The image has a cool look, which it is very likely to have as it's effectively lit by blue sky.
Auto White Balance tends to be biased towards blue so I would warm this image up. the red boat really stands out and draws the eye, whereas all the lines in the image want to pull the viewer into the centre and along the skyline. I'll do a mod where I'll reduce the saturation of the red, so it's more subdued in line with the rest of the tones in the image.

26/10/2015 - 8:49 PM

The womb of Vernazza. Liguria

The womb of Vernazza. LiguriaI like rich colours (I used to use Fuji Velvia in the 1990s) and this has that sort of look.
However, I've removed some of the blue cast and reduced saturation a touch which has helped with the detail in the very brightly lit areas.
While the use of foreground to give depth is often good, i find it a little distracting here, I think because the green is bright and fights with the blues and red/orange tones which are sufficient colour contrast in themselves. But that aside, I see more of a narrower crop which I did in my mod.
25/10/2015 - 1:31 PM

Lantern Light

Lantern LightThese make good subjects as they have strong patterns and lines.
This makes it ideal for mono, though I would like to see the colour version just for comparison in the Critique Gallery.

You've used the torch light well.

All I'd change here is adding a bit more space above the subject to avoid the cramped feeling.
19/10/2015 - 8:24 PM


BUCOLICOMy first thought was what a beatifully taken image. If this had been in the main gallery I'd have voted for it.

I'd go for a small crop to avoid that fork in the tree top right, too.

Such a lovely subject I hope you took different versions, for example a shot just of the church and reflection, with no branches.
Maybe not 'better' but different and it's always worth trying to make the most of such a great location and light.
A TRACTOR AT BRONTE CREEK -- A PROVINCAL PARKIt looks as though it's been sitting there some time giventhe grass growing around the wheels but those front tyres look almost pristine!
I agree woth Moira in that there's lots of possibilities here.

This should be crisper, and given the file size I wouldn't consider it due to compression (as happens with some uploads) so i can only suggest you look at how you reduced it in size (and take note of Willie's suggestion) though at a speed of 1/50 there is the risk of some camera movement (though that can be ruled out if your original full size image is sharp).
07/10/2015 - 7:20 PM

Don't Tell the Wife !!

Don't Tell the Wife !!A nicely caught moment.

Willie's mod to the colour and contrast is what I was thinking of as the whites are white and the blacks are black, not yellow and brown.
Mind you, that warmth reminds me of old Fuji film and it does have a timeless but aged look. I mean, there's nothing here that enables you to pin a particular date on it other than sometime over the last five decades! Not that you need to.
06/10/2015 - 10:36 PM

What causes this sun spot

What causes this sun spotThis is due to flare.
You'r pointing the lens at an extremely bright point of light. Look carefully and you'll see it's an invertedimage of the sun peeping out behind the clouds.

The exact position depends on the angle of the sune and the camer in relation to each other, that's why its position varies.
The reflection is due to the light bouncing around inside the lens. If you have a filter on the lens that may well be the cause of it.

Use of a lens hood won't help as the light is streaming straight into the lens.

Careful positioning and angling of the lens will help .

Here it's an easy job to clone the spot out but you may not always be so fortunate.

I'm afraid the contrast range is far too high for the sensor to handle and the brightly lit clouds and sun have just burnt out. A graduated neutral density filter will help with exposure, but again as it's an extra piece of glass in front of the lens it risks adding to the flare.

If you have a Depth of Field Preview button, use it to see where and how the flare appears at different apertures, before you shoot. It's quicker than shooting and reviewing the screen, though there's no reason why you can't do that.
05/10/2015 - 8:16 PM


OutnumberedThe softness looks due to camera shake as nothing is sharp anywhere in the image. Having the one player sharp and the others out of focus to varying degress would work better.
I appreciate the title, but there's nothing in the image to grab or keep the attention. Yes the ball would help but the players aren't animated, there's no action.
such a concept can work with non-sport subjects but when it is a sport the viewer expects more. Even their expressions are non-expectant. I know I'm suggesting something that may be a fleeting moment but that's what's needed.
At leas you can see their faces, I've shot motorsport and you don't get to see their faces there!

Don't be afraid to push the ISO - some noise in a sharp picture is betterthan a noise-free soft image.
04/10/2015 - 8:44 PM

Walks of life

Walks of lifeIt's very noticeable that there should be more spoace at the bottom (sorry to mention it again) and that's not helped by the large dark area with little detail in above the man.

However, I'd like to have seen this taken lower down, on a level with the man so he's more prominent. You'd still get all the figures in so you'd still tell the story but the image would be more engaging. And by getting lower it's be easier and more likely that you'd get that much needed space.
04/10/2015 - 8:18 PM

Light, bonsai, and a Buddha

Light, bonsai, and a BuddhaThe buddha is lost in the image.
The light has created dappled shade, and all the patches of light and dark have created a very confusing image. Add to that the very bright highlight on the branch which catches the eye.
Because mono is all about tones and shapes you need to nake sure the subject stands out because of those qualities, which it struggles to here, so colour would be preferable. Is the buddha a gold colour? If so that would look good. But you need light on the buddha, it's too much in the shade here.

Nonetheless, if you want to go with mono, if that light that's hitting the branch was higlighting the buddha and the rest of the image was in shadow (but with details still visible) it would stand out very well. As this is a bonsai I take it that the pot is moveable so you could position it so the ligh tcatches it just right. You could consider a reflector to help light the buddha too.

A nice idea for an image that needs some more experimentation.
02/10/2015 - 8:47 PM


LaneThe person is integral to the image. She may be walking away, but that's part of the story, going out, heading back home, travelling through? The viewer can make that choice.

The different colours of lamp lighting is always attractive and something that I've always found interesting.

When I first looked at this I considered square or portrait formats, concentrating on the central figure.
That's becaus in your version the sides are very dark so I'd want to crop out that littl bit of light brickwork, to make it look like you're lurking in the shadows.
However, The mods make more of this area by lightening the shadows and showing that turqoise light - arguably coming much closer to your original intention of showing the various colours.
Bren mentions different white balances though this is fine a it is. With different light sources there's not going to be a 'correct' setting, much more down to personal preference. Having said that I'd use a Daylight setting as I then have a baseline for all my images rather than letting the camera decide as sometimes it may neutralise some of the atractive colours you get.
29/09/2015 - 8:53 PM

Butterfly 01

Butterfly 01Well it's certainly sharp and detailed across the wings and head so that's a great start.
Your relatively wide aperture (for close-ups) has created a nice diffuse background that'salso free of distractions, so again that's good.

I know this is a crop as the aspect ratio is not the same as straight out f the camera, so my question is, how much of a crop is it, seeing as you were using the 18-55 lens rather than a dedicated macro lens which would allow you to get closer. Having said that you don't want to get too close or the butterfly would soon fly off!
You can upload an uncropped version under the Modifications tab, assuming you still have the original file. the other thing that would be helpful for is to see what you cropped from, as it's often better to have space for the subject to 'look into', more space in front of the subject than behind.

One out of ten is not a bad hit rate!

Night, street, lamp. Portovene. LiguriaI can just about accept the strong colour from the artificial lights although I'd prefer it toned down a touch. It reminds me of night shots on Fuji Velvia film which was renowned for it's super saturated colours.

My main issue is that as well as being tilted down there is a slight clockwise rotation needed.
14 mm is so wide it's frought with problems concerning getting the camera level. My widest lens is 16 mm and it's so easy to get composition slightly off that I see 14 mm as even trickier.

The burnt out highlights on the right of the image draw the eye. Even shooting RAW you won't get the detail so it's worth shooting a much shorter exposure and blending later using layer masks. Alternatively there is the HDR route.
I'll crop them out in my mod with the result the path leads the eye around the image. I see that removes part of the image you probably wanted to include but sometimes it's easy to get too much in, especially with a wide angle.
Alternatively at the time of shooting you could have moved the camera around a little (as a little is all it would need) to include more of the bay.

As such there is a separate image off to the right with the trees framing the bars and restaurants.
Liguria. Portovenere. Church of St. Peter. Night. SingleA nice colour contrast.
You seem to have some dirt or moisture on your filter and that's spoilt the top left part of the image.
The split of path and raised ground is roughly 50/50 and this occupies the majority of the image. This would be more engaging if the steps occupied a higher proportion of the foreground to lead the viewer into the image. As it stands the eye stops halfway across the image.
I like the way you've used that filter to get a long shutter speed to remove the people.
10/09/2015 - 8:12 PM


BiffA very strong portrait and ideal for mono.

However, while there is a full range of tones most of these are lower to medium tones and the image looks a little muddy - this can sometimes happen when you apply toning as you have here. I've done a mod that just brightens those tones and I've removed that light bit in the top right corner which is a distraction. That's not to take anything away from your original image.
I do like Alda's mod though Smile