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01/08/2015 - 6:58 PM


RachelRule One is get the eyes sharp...

Skin is often overworked. I'd suggest making sure that the exposure is spot on, so the skin is lighter and shows less unflattering detail. Just let the background burn out, and Rachel may like this even more.
01/08/2015 - 8:17 AM


CloudsThis really works rather well!The clouds are lovely, and you're caught-the grey, stormy look well. What could be bitter?

Framing is always a problem with clouds: where do you out off? Could you include a little more on the night, a function less on the left?

The thing that draws my eye is that rest building. Somehow, I want to make it the hinge of the composition, the cornerstone. I'll see what I can do - it will, probably involve removingthe light buildings on the bottom right.
30/07/2015 - 7:26 PM

Best time of the day

Best time of the dayAs Moira says, nearly, but not quite square, and it upsets the calm mood... To my eye, even the central position of the people is fine: part of the almost-solemn, placid look.

And the other thing is tripod or not, it's not terribly sharp. I can think of a couple of possible causes - the tripod was not on solid ground, or is a bit flimsy (the best tripods are, almost without exception, big and heavy...)

The other thing that catches my eye is the shutter speed. A really long exposure (10 seconds plus) gives the camera time to stabilise after the mirror bangs up - and using mirror lock or delayed action will help. Even, at the most basic level, using a cable release, if you want precise control of the moment of exposure, so that you are not pushing the front right of the camera down by pressing the release.

All merely suggestions, because I don't know what sort of tripod you use - you may have done everything perfectly, and suffered from malfunctioning IS (which should have been switched off, I think the experts say...)
29/07/2015 - 1:00 PM




28/07/2015 - 4:14 PM

Blue Bay Walk (part 2)

Blue Bay Walk (part 2)Welcome to the Critique Gallery. You've brought a very specific question, and it's one that i'd want answered if I'd got a result like this.

Without seeing and handling your individual camera, I can't say for sure, but certainly your camera and lens should handle things a lot better than this. So it's a case of which of several possibly things has gone wrong?

A dirty or greasy lens is one possibility. The solution is clean it carefully with a clean, soft cloth (preferably a micropore one).

Water is another option: if it's been raining and some drops have got onto the lens, you'll have problems, but I'd expect a slightly different look to the result.

A third possibility is that you have moved from somewhere cold and dry to somewhere hotter and humid - in England, this happens going inside in winter - in the Philippines, it might perhaps occur when you go from an air-conditioned room out into a warm damp evening...

A lens hood will help, in general - but what you have here is flare round light sources in the frame, and it wouldn't affect that much.

You have also shot at a very low shutter speed and maximum aperture, which may have given some general softness on top of the flare.
25/07/2015 - 6:01 PM


GuldowdiWelcome from me, too.

I would recommend using a longer lens for macro, rather than a 35mm or 40mm: simply because it allows you to have the camera further from the subject, and it reduces the risk of the camera blocking the light!

Extension tubes are a possible solution - but they are VERY hard work unless they have the couplings for AF and stopping the lens down, which makes them expensive: around half the price of a good secondhand macro lens.

A screw-in supplementary lens is a good and cheap measure for now: but get something that is a simple lens, and not a costly zoom. Something like a Hoya close-up lens wil lcost around 20 in the UK - I'm not sure how that translates to your local currency, but it's decent, and a lot cheaper than other options.

The millimetres? See this Wikipedia link - don't be frightened of the formulae, but look at the differing effects of the lenses.
20/07/2015 - 11:01 PM

Little Devotee

Little DevoteeThis works.

The crop and exposure merit attention, though: this looks very muddy as posted.

I've gone for an even tighter square crop...
18/07/2015 - 8:07 PM

Harbour Bridge

Harbour BridgeI use Adobe Elements 12. The adjustment is Image/Transform/Skew - you can drag and drop corners to alter the way things look. The rotation is Image/Rotate/Custom and you then select direction and degrees.

There are various things that contribute to what needs correcting - a slight tilt of the camera often requires rotation. Also, many lenses (and especially extreme wideangles and zooms) distort parts of the frame. Finally, tilting the camera upwards or downwards (rather than shooting absolutely level) makes verticals converge or diverge towards the top of the frame, respectively. If you then correct or align the frame edge at one side, the other goes twice as far out...

Try standing in front of a building and just altering the direction and angle that you're viewing at, and zoom in and out.
18/07/2015 - 11:20 AM

Harbour Bridge

Harbour BridgeTwo thoughts on this (again) lovely shot.

First, the geometry isn't quite right: I am pretty sure the verticals in the steelwork should be truly vertical, and that the piers at the end may be a little tapered. I've therefore rotated a degree anticlockwise, then skewed the top right corner out to make it look the way I feel it should - but you may know better!

The second point is related to the crop MunroWlaker suggests: you were seduced by interesting light variations in the sky, and the camera's natural format, so you left the bridge going straight through the middle.

A letterbox crop works - and i've tried an alternative, cropping sky so that the bridge is nearer the top than the bottom of the frame. Does it work?

You shouldn't worry too much about the lens (especially as you've changed systems since then) - my suspicion is that you didn't need f/16 for a distant subject, and the lens might have been better at f/8. However, tripod problems may be more to the point: the best ones are too big and heavy to carry far: lightweight ones introduce an element of chance. So... Use a cable release or delayed action, mirror lock-up if you have it (not a worry on your new Sony, as it's mirrorless: hooray!), and add ballast to your tripod, by hanging a bag or even rocks from it. However, also make sure that the ballast just touches the ground, or it can turn into a pendulum, and rock the tripod rather than stabilising it!
17/07/2015 - 8:58 AM

Hump Back

Hump BackWelcome to Ephotozine, Paul, and also to the Critique Gallery. You clearly intended posting here, given what you've written - though this would play well in the main gallery, and gain a good few votes, I expect!

As Willie says, you've nailed it, technically. I hope that you find your Alpha 6000 suits you: as a long-time Sony user, I'm currently wondering if they have sussed the future of photography better than other manufacturers with the current Alpha range.

I love the view of an iconic building, as it's one I've never seen before. It makes it more real for me: thank you!

The only issue is the geometry: you were possibly as far back as you could get, and necessarily looking upwards. An even wider lens, so that you could have the camera back vertical, and crop the excess foreground would have been nice, but clearly wasn't an option for you.

I've done a mod using the Skew tool in Elements to straighten the verticals in my mod (click the tab on the left below your picture marked 'Modifications', then click the thumbnail) - this isn't better, necessarily, but it is more conventional. If you live in Sydney, you may be able to return and do more and different things - in what will, I feel be one of you niches...
16/07/2015 - 7:39 PM


IngwardiaOn the perspective: to keep it as natural as possible with a wide lens, shoot from the subject's waist height. I find a set of workman's kneepads are really useful for this, given the hard surfaces you often need to shoot on.

As well as adding texture, Moira has closed the frame by darkening the top slightly. You used a quite heavy vignette on this shot, and I feel that it needs the top to be less bright. I'll do my own mod shortly to do this, without the clever texture stuff!
13/07/2015 - 4:13 PM

3 ducks

3 ducksI'm not sure any of the Critique Team are familiar with Photoscape: I have some understanding of the other freebie, Gimp2, which is potentially very powerful.

You used 'auto enhance' - that could be another potential source of issues, as software auto settings are notoriously capable of overdoing things.

Auto is both a blessing and a curse, in all things: there's always a need, sooner or later, to understand what is being done on one's behalf!

And a note: although I don't use Lightroom, I understand that it's not actually a one-stop shop for editing. It's a powerful indexing tool, but there's some editing stuff, I believe, that it simply won't do. Check with those who use varied software: you might find that Elements (which is even cheaper) meets all your needs - or, indeed, that one of the competitors with Adobe offers more.

I invite my fellow Critique Team members to weigh in with comments and options...
Lets run..Moment of joy...ChildhoodAs Willie says, on exposure. I'd be very likely to use aperture priority for a shot like this: or take an incident light reading with a separate meter, and stick with that. Manual mode on a DSLR can be a tricky beastie...

As well as the exposure change, I'd be tempted to crop a little.
09/07/2015 - 9:22 PM


THE CATHEDRALFor modern, see either the Catholic Cathedral in Liverpool, or Coventry. Both are wonderful expressions of faith in modern architecture.

Can I also suggest a guerilla (as opposed to gorilla) approach? Wind up the ISO, and hand-hold a few shots. This almost always fits in with the needs of other visitors (and don't forget, there are a few who go there to pray and worship: other activities should fit round these. No prayers, no need for cathedrals...)

1/60 @ f/4 and 1600 will deal with an awful lot of buildings.

Others have said a lot about processing, and I think you're right about the composition being sub-optimal. Cathedrals are one place where central composition can look really good and appropriate, conveying stillness and calm. Even if finding a central point in older ones can be a touch tricky!

So shooting straight at the altar, with the stained glass perfectly aligned with the cross could be a good way to try. It's possibly a shot to try out every time you can.

But the big problems here are the inscribed slab in the floor, partly visible; the dedication on the pew (partly visible - and there's a school of thought that individual names on such things aren't a great idea: how would you feel about your great-uncle or your grandad's name being on a website or in a magazine? I'd be OK, myself, but not everyone shares the view); and the big blank expanse of floor.

So, making the most of what's in the frame, and with crude colour and Levels adjustments, I offer a square crop. What do you reckon?
09/07/2015 - 7:06 PM

The moment of joy

The moment of joyAs Willie says, the sky doesn't matter: framing to exclude it would have given fuller exposure and less of an issue with shadows. The light building would still have merited plus half a stop, I reckon.

I offer a mod: again, the tones in the boy's face are not good: the 'taking stage solution' is to expose to give good skin tones, and let the background go.
08/07/2015 - 9:01 AM

Two generations

Two generationsThis conveys the sheer exhaustion of a demanding physical job.

I disagree with what I think Tony is saying - my mod burns in the road to make it darker, and dodges the rickshaw man so he is a little more visible. I entirely agree, though, that this is a shot that needs to keep a natural look - any sort of special effects processing would ruin it.
Background Annoying or Creative?Willie's hit the spot, for me.

The idea of having a second boat in the background as a counterpoint: fine. Excellent.

But it needs to be separated from the sharp foreground boat, or to have a really perfect 'kissing' contact. And it needs the sea to be perfectly level.

One of those things where you could have done it in a second whiel shooting, but takes ages in software: and that's a really good reason for always shooting variations: 'work the scene' as Gil Grissom always said in CSI...

I like meaty midtones, but (again as Willie says) this is heading towards underexposure. I'll try a mod, though my Elements work is generally pretty basic...
06/07/2015 - 11:06 AM

The City Below

The City BelowAnthony, this is rather appealing: it suggests a hot, muggy day, perhaps with a storm to come...

I think that you've overdone the burning-in round the clouds: if you use the burn tool set to shadows, it won't affect the clouds much - and, indeed, you can brighten them by using the dodge tool set to highlights. I'll do this in my mod...

For my taste, the horizon is a bit too central: I've cropped at the top, losing that lovely cloud, top left, but tightening the composition. I don't think the trees are excessive, as they add to the feeling of a city surrounded by lush growth.
06/07/2015 - 10:59 AM

Books Knowledge world

Books Knowledge worldBooks are a very honourable trade: in many ways, I feel that having, reading and respecting them is a mark of civilisation. A wise man said if people burn books, they will soon be burning other people, and I think that's true. So I like this man already!

If you could have stepped back a couple of feet, you could have framed the whole shot with the arch over the door, I think - I'd certainly have tried to do that. Also, you could lose a foot or so at the bottom of the shot (I've cropped in my mod, though this loses the shadow framing the shot, and I had to burn in the pavement a lot).

The bright triangle on the right is a problem, as it's distracting. I've done a long (but crude) job of cloning it out, but a better solution would have been to take the picture 20 minutes later, when the sun had moved round!

You could correct the verticals in software, but that's beyond me. I don't particularly object to the curves, anyway.

For me, the very best things about this shot are the respect the man has for learning and books, and the respect you have shown to him in the way you've shot and described this picture. Thank you for sharing them.
04/07/2015 - 5:43 PM

Seeing through my eyes

Seeing through my eyesWelcome to the Critique Gallery, Sandipan - you've been a site member a while, so I assume you have posted here to seek specific comments.

The gritty, high contrast look is fine, and it gives me an insight into your world - I'm not sure if I see it through your eyes particularly...

I'd have preferred the shot to include a little bit of window frame on the left, as well as on the right: I've done a modification cropping down to the next window along to show the sort of thing I mean, though this really changes the result a lot. I know you may have been right at the end of the tram or bus - but even leaning back an inch or two would have brought it into frame.

Please let us all know if this is helpful...