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St Paul's Cathedral

By gjfereday
It's been a while since I uploaded any photos but I was getting my camera ready for a weekend at Aintree and found a few shots form last years trip to London.

I was obviously trying out a few techniques and wanted a blurred effect with the flowers in the foreground. Not sure if it's a little disturbing to the eye.

Tags: Landscape and travel

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Coast 11 1.6k 292 United Kingdom
2 Apr 2014 8:49PM
Hi Graham

Been a while since you uploaded to the Critique Gallery so welcome back. I'm off to Aintree myself on Friday for Ladies Day so lets hope for some good weather. Its a great day out.

You have an interesting shot here and a different perspective on a famous landmark.

It looks a little flat, particularly the foreground foliage, with the out of focus St Paul's a little overexposed as the highlights from the sunlight hitting it have lost detail and burned out. A tough one to rescue in processing due to the fineness of the foreground. It needs a lift in levels but getting the foreground right results in the background bleaching out. This needs to be dealt with on a separate layer to pull back and then the two layers combined.

Ideally the balance of exposure at the taking stage would be the answer. Either using a reflector to push light onto the foreground or a touch of fill in flash with the exposure balanced to capture the background accurately.

Overall its a smashing idea but I don't think it's quite worked. I guess you worked with what was there and its a shame there wasn't a nice line of flowers to give a more interesting and colourful subject to your out of focus Cathedral.

I hope that helps and enjoy Aintree.


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pamelajean Plus
13 1.2k 2084 United Kingdom
3 Apr 2014 7:47PM
Yes, Graham, it has been a while (2012), but it's good to see you back in the Critique Gallery again.

It's always a good idea to try out techniques that are new to you.
But I'm not quite sure what you were trying to achieve.
You say that you "wanted a blurred effect with the flowers in the foreground", and your chosen aperture has achieved that effect, but for it to be the kind of image that I would expect from that effect, the flowers would need to be sharply in focus, the background blurred.

I feel that you have partially achieved this because a few of the flowers ARE in focus, but not enough.
The biggest difficulty is that you have a shallow depth of field and these flowers are on different focal planes, so they will be hard to get sharp. Paul mentions "a line of flowers", and that's what you really needed.
The other problem is that the flowers are spread right across the frame, and I feel it would have been better to choose one or two that were close together, and carefully focus upon them for a better result.
Also, try not to go TOO close to the flowers.

The cathedral is a fair distance from the flowers, and is likely to stay out of focus, so you could have gone for a smaller aperture/a higher f-number, to give you a greater depth of field, and a better chance of getting all of the flowers in focus.
A smaller aperture would also have helped with reducing the light on the cathedral.
Don't go too small because you don't want the cathedral in focus, and you won't get the effect you were after.
The best way to get your head around aperture is to get your camera out and do some experimenting.
And have fun.


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