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dark_lord's Gallery Comments

dark_lord > dark_lord Recent Activity > dark_lord's Gallery Comments
Lest We Forget by TXS

Lest We Forget

You've given some very useful information about the taking of the image which helps us when providing feedback. If all posters to the Critique Gallery did so!

At the time you took this, and to include the cenotaph in its entirety you will get a lot of black. And a sodium light is not the easiest or nicest of light sources to have in this situation - though mono is always an option if you can't get a colour you like.
A fractionally lower viewpoint would get more of those foreground crosses in would for me enhance their prominence, though i know you were short of space, just half a metre back would be enough with such a wide angle. Then there's portrait format.
Doing either of those things would give more space at the top of the image but allow you to correct the converging vertical and ensure the cenotaph doesn't look as though it's falling over. But with that deep black background, extending the canvas to allow the correction would be easier.
I'll try a mod.


Tobacco workers. by WimpyIskandar

Tobacco workers.

Nothing to add to what's been said.
i notice in willie's mod hes cropped out that white area at the edge of the frame, that improves the shot. But yes, good timing and a clear view of the activity.

By: WimpyIskandar

brough castleolive ash fruit bowl. by wider

brough castleolive ash fruit bowl.

Much better.
Perhaps Willie's mod is more true to life colour.

I too noticed the top left corner. Easy enough to crop or clone out and if that's the only 'negative' to say then you've done very well.

Looking forward to your next upload.

By: wider

Amongst the Lichens by Terry L

Amongst the Lichens

Not another one Wink

My comment is due to frustration at not finding any in my usual locations Sad
At one time I didn't have to even try and look for them.

Beautifully shot.

By: Terry L

Penny Bun... by Greyheron

Penny Bun...

Ceps, yes, very nice Smile
And a nice shot too!

By: Greyheron

"Strawberries" by Willmer


There's some ripples visible on the background bottom right which you could easily clone out.
I'd have gone for fewer strawberries for simplicity, as this is a bold image and benefits from fewer elements.

Having said that, I do like this and I'm impressed by your timing as I guess you triggered the shutter manually and not using a trigger device?
And I'm sure you had plenty of fun taking this Smile

By: Willmer

Tufted Titmouse by taggart

Tufted Titmouse

Beautifully captured.

By: taggart

Soft Pinks by NDODS

Soft Pinks

Yes, beautifully done.


Clumber Bridge Reflections by Sylviwhalley

Clumber Bridge Reflections

Very nice, and V3 is my favourite.

By: Sylviwhalley

# by AlexandraSD


Can't add to what's been said already.

By: AlexandraSD

"It's a wonderful world" by kuipje

"It's a wonderful world"

Very nice.
I've not seen any near me for a few years now (well apart from the odd grotty specimen).

By: kuipje

Fly Agaric by Philh04

Fly Agaric

Nice one. I haven't seen any of these for a while now and one location that used to be plentiful isn't any more.

By: Philh04

Lights on North Circular by Metchick10

Lights on North Circular

Moira and John have beaten me to it regarding the technical details and crop.
you've found a good location so it is worth going back, and trying to get a deep blue sky rather than black. As the darker nights are approaching...

There is one interesting aspect and that is that the cars are moving on the North Circular!

Shooting with some tone in the sky won't help with a long shutter speed that you ideally need.
Apart from an ND filter (seems odd to suggest it for a night shot but if you need to get a 30 second exposure) you could stack several shorter exposures and blend them in post processing to give the appearance of many and longer trails.

By: Metchick10

Sparks of light by TULIX

Sparks of light

Welcome from me too.

The first thing my eye went to was your logo in that burnt out area of sky. That's not what you want for people to apprecaite the image. It's a strong distraction, not necessary for the Critique galelry and is no deterrent to image theft.

The lack of detail there due to burnout is an issue as bright areas do draw the eye away from the rest of the image, It's hard to avoid when including such a bright light source in the image. if it were more obscured by cloud there'd be less of a problem as it wouldn't be so bright. Use of a graduated filter woud hold back exposure too. Or you could shoot two exposures, one for the sky and one for the water.

Your processing has caused a lot of image break-up especially in the water. this type of image with a lot of fine detail benefits from a smoother look. It would help us if you could tell us what you did when you processed this image. then we can offer appropriate advice.

However, I do like the fact you've used a low angle to make the most of the jets of water against the sky.



Don't Tell the Wife !! by pentaxpete

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.

By: pentaxpete

the art of wood turning by wider

the art of wood turning

Good advice above.

Two things struck me on first viewing: the bad lighting and scruffy background. If that's what most people see they won't be looking at your product no matter haow good it is.

The backgrounds need to be plain as has been said but also free of creases. I have a piece of white velvet - though black looks very good with wood though it's nice to have options. Whetehr youuse black or white, you need to be careful with exposure if you have too much of the background in frame.

Direct on-camera flash is no good for this type of shot. Willie's suggestion of window light is good. Outside on an overcast day is another option.
Of course, indoors you don't need to use flash. You can use desk lamps for example but you'll need to watch colour balance for accurate colour of the wood.

Off camera flash is another option but may involve some cost (cables or triggers and a flashgun if you haven't got one already). That comes with a proviso that you can diffuse that flash light. You can get light tents that will diffuse the light making it soft and even, great for showing up detail. I have on just under a metre cube. That sort of size would be the ideal size for your bowls.

By: wider

What causes this sun spot by Hardin

What causes this sun spot

This 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.

By: Hardin

Knapps Loch Daybreak by AndyHoarePhotography

Knapps Loch Daybreak

A fabulous shot though I'm glad you said what you'd done to the sky. It was one of the first things I looked at but couldn't quite put my finger on why it looked 'different' to reality. Perhaps a simpler Movement Blur would work well, worth a try.
Not that I don't like this, the sky has a surreal nature, something you might get in a fantasy movie.
Moody, yes, it has that too and it's appealing though I think Willie has it right when he mentions 'vibrance'. I tried lightening it but in the end it was a very slight Curves adjustment that resulted in a little brightening and contrast increase gave it that bit of a kick. It may be too subtle to see properly on here, that's how slight it was!


By: AndyHoarePhotography

Batman Takes The Plunge by TXS

Batman Takes The Plunge

I like Robert Cappa's philosphy, though in practical terms it means filling the frame with the action, so I'm happy to use a longer focal length if nrecessary.

Using an Action mode will go some way to helping get a shot here, but it's only using settings designed by a software engineer. Think of it as the difference between buying a ready made cake mix compared to one where you select the ingredients. (By the way for UK readers I don't actually watch the Great British Bake Off butthought the analogy an apt one!).
That technical side has been covered above.

Timing is fine.
Difficult to get a lower angle in this instance I guess but where you're able to try it as it'll give you more drama being on the same level as the participant.

As you mention it John, has your son ever done the Tough Guy challenge that takes place near Perton in Staffordshire every February? It's only 3 or 4 miles from me but I've never gone to watch it.


Male portrait. by wentnorth

Male portrait.

The light is harsh but if that's all you have...
You've retained detail and there are no glaringly burnt out areas which you can easily get with direct flash so that's positive. Such harshness always looks harsher in colour than mono so Tanya's mod is a good way to go.

Some good suggestions for improvement above, but more on improving how to go about it next time.

A bold crop with no distractions in the background which again is a positive.

By: wentnorth

leaves and bamboo by unk001

leaves and bamboo

You have an odd profile embedded in this image - Dot Gain 20%. You should use sRGB for the web.
It most likely won't affect how it looks as it's almost pure black and white but will affect any manipulation and modifications - I had to assign sRGG as a profile to do my mods.

I agree with Paul in that a strong element is needed as a focal point, be that an identifiable silhouette or a pattern, or even just a few simple shapes. Trying to get too much in can work against you, so Moira's square crops do attempt to simplify the image.

For my mods I've just added a colour layer with Multiply blending mode, just for a different take. Normal toning wouldn't work on the pure white, it stays white. While pure mono can create a mood, colour can influence that mood.
Sunset and night.

By: unk001

I m sitting by Nino812

I m sitting

Very nicely captured.

By: Nino812

Waterfall Lumsdale Derbyshire by Legend147

Waterfall Lumsdale Derbyshire

Very nice. Hope you get chance t get one or two shots over the next couple of weeks for the autumn colour.

By: Legend147

Seaside impression-Filey (2) by xwang

Seaside impression-Filey (2)

I'd crop for a bolder and simpler image.
However, part of me likes the context of having the people and dogs in the top left, a mirror of the main activity.
So for documentary (where I guess cropping is still allowed as it's something you could do at the time of shooting) it needs that context but for travel I'd crop.

You do pose some questions Jasmine Smile

By: xwang

Outnumbered by francisg


The 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.

By: francisg

Old Time Country by TXS

Old Time Country

It's been a while since I shot anything like this, but the same principle apply now as then.

The main issue with this is the focus is on the hand rather than the performer's face. A close in shot of his hand on the strings and the face much more out of focus but still recognisable would be a creative approach, but not something you could do at a live event. As it stands, just being off-sharp it doesn't work.

You will be restricted by viewpoint as you've discovered and I'm afraid there's no way round that but to work with it and use those few good viepoints you can. Yes that'll mean less variety of shots so you need to capture the essences of the performance. Fewer shots but stronger ones?
Even at top gigs photographers are very restricted and often shooting upwards. Be welcome of the freedom you have.

Whatever, careful focusing is a key skill. Get used to using manual focus as you can set it without worrying that the AF will suddenly whizz in and out as you have the focus point placed on a dark area.
If you shoot a lot of these events it'd be worth looking at a wider aperture lens. This will be easier for the camera's AF, you in manual focus, and allow shallower depth of field for more creative shots. But focussing is even more critical.
If you can't afford such a lens, or want to see how you get on with one there may be the opportunity to borrow or hire one.

Pablo mentions the high ISO. Don't be afraid to push it high. I wish I'd had the quality of ISO 6400 that you can get now in a film with much lower speed when I started photography. Don't worry about the noise, you can even enhance it. Thinkl of some of the great rock images from the last few decades.
The same is true of the lighting - you will get some burned out areas and very bright highlights. Again, nothing to overly worry about.
It's all about capturing the performance and the emotion, it's not a technical exercise (though you can be really pleased when it all comes together!).


light, bonsai, and buddha (take 2) by unk001

light, bonsai, and buddha (take 2)

I too like to see a decent bit of contrast in an image. I like moody images too. But that's not to say I don't appreciate for example high key work.

This is altogether better. The subject is clearer, grtabbing the attention.
V2 is also beter than the last upload too and I'd say closer to what you intended with yesterday's image.

The lower viewpoint in V3 makes the buddha more important as you're more or less on the same level.
However, the contrasty light has resulted in an image that's more confusing, in mono at least.
Softer lighting would be more sympathetic here so shooting when the sun moves off or diffusing it throug soft material is something else to try.

By: unk001

Walks of life by Sandipan

Walks of life

It'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.

By: Sandipan