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Heads Knysna

By DPhillips

Tags: Landscape and travel

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This photo is here for critique. Please only comment constructively and with suggestions on how to improve it.

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DPhillips 6 20 South Africa
22 Jan 2011 5:10PM
Thank you friend. The dust was on the camera right in the beginning and no longer is there. I think I shall have to edit the whole bunch of shots I took on that trip. Your advice is appreciated.
NEWMANP Plus
8 1.6k 574 United Kingdom
22 Jan 2011 10:05PM
hi, sensor dust is a nightmare isnt it, dust bunnies as they are affectionately known. i find sensor cleaning such a bind and spotting images even worse but its a must in terms of image presentation and simply has to be done. worst thing that you can to get dust on the sensor is change lens with the camera switched on.

otherwise a lovely scene with the horizon well placed on the top third and nice and level. the boat adds interest and could not be in a better position. a bit of nice cloud would have lifted the whole image but nothing you could do about that. a little extra sharpening may bring out the texture of the rocks a little but otherwise rather nice.

best regards
Phil
DRicherby 8 269 725 United Kingdom
23 Jan 2011 12:08AM
This is well composed but there's maybe a bit too much of the green land -- I think I prefer Frank's crop to the original. Overall, though, I think you have the makings of a good shot, here. The boat is well positioned and the horizon is level, which is crucial for a seascape.

The main thing that strikes me about the photo is that the tones are rather dull. I've posted the histogram as a mod and it shows exactly why this is. If you've not looked at histograms before, the horizontal axis is the intensity (brightness) measured from 0 (pure black) on the left to 255 (pure white) on the right; each large graduation represents ten units; the small ones are five. The height of the line tells you how many pixels in the image are that bright. There's no 'ideal shape' for a histogram because the distribution of intensities in the photograph is obviously dependent on the distribution of intensities in the subject.

But you can tell a lot from the histogram. If it's 'piled up' at the right, the image is over-exposed and a lot of pixels have burnt out to pure white. If the histogram stops well short of the right-hand end, the image is under-exposed, and has no bright pixels in it -- in this case, the shot's under-exposed by about two-thirds of a stop, which is part of the problem. However, more significant is the region between the two red lines I've added. That area corresponds to 97.5% of the pixels in the image and they're all in only half the possible tonal range (from 20 to 147, though the numbers aren't important). There's almost nothing darker than that range and there's very little brighter than it. The histogram confirms what we see in the tonality of the image: it's dark (almost entirely below 60% brightness) and it lacks contrast because everything's jammed into a limited tonal range.

How to fix that? The under-exposure is best fixed in camera by looking at the histogram while you shoot. Positive exposure compensation moves it to the right and negative to the left. Given the image as it is, I'd make a levels adjustment with the black point set at about 20 and the white point set at 215. I'd then make a curves adjustment to generally brighten the image. I've posted the result as a mod and, for comparison, posted its histogram, too. Again, I've marked red lines around 97.5% of the pixels, which you can see now make a much bigger spread of the brightness range (about 75%).
DPhillips 6 20 South Africa
23 Jan 2011 9:17AM
Thank you very much. I have been seeking advice of this caliber for a long time, hence my previous frustration.
paulbroad 9 117 1075 United Kingdom
23 Jan 2011 10:44AM
A decent seascape. You could do with a slightly brighter more contrasty image as above but the effect is good and well composed.

You are aware of the dust issue. Need to check and shift before showing - we had the same issue, in a sense, with colour slides for projection - very difficult to clean.

I watch people changing lenses and otherwise removing the lens from DSLR's and cringe. I try and not change often outdoor if possible. I never change lenses when shooting on plant at the steelworks. (I carry two bodies, each with a different lens.) When changing lenses, I have the new lens in one hand, camera round neck, as I remove the lens in situ the other goes straight on.

I have rarely needed to clean sensors. Twice in 6 years on my 20D, never on the 40D or 7D. I use an Artic Butterfly.

Just noticed ISO800. Not sure why you needed that for such an image - 200 would be enough and that might have lifted contrast.

Paul
DPhillips 6 20 South Africa
23 Jan 2011 3:08PM
Hi Paul

Thanks to being told of the dust.... I cleaned my kit some time ago. I am now going through the shots I took just after taking delivery of the camera. It appears as if the dust was there when I received it.

LOL the 800 was an oversight on my part. I promise not to do so again.Tongue

Dorian

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