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Side Street, Liverpool

By Glyno    
I'm really unsure of this photo of a Liverpool side street on a wet, miserable day. Apart from the B&W conversion in Lightroom, I added some noise and a vignette in Photoshop in an attempt to accentuate the overall gloomy, austere mood.
Advise, criticism and any relevant comments would be most welcome, thanks for looking.


Tags: General Architecture Black and white


banehawi Plus
16 2.3k 4177 Canada
24 Dec 2015 3:21PM
I think youve achieved the gloom objective! Perhaps overachieved.

Its a good image, nice idea, and overall it well done.

A few area I think could be looked at.

With an image like this, with lots of lines, vertical, horizontal, geometry is critical to success, particularly as you are relying on the mid line with the bollard and drains as a lead-in.

The geometry is not quite there; there are some leaning verticals, - not too bad, but the issue for me is that the mid line of the drain is running at an angle to the right.

The precise middle of the subject area is not in line with the middle of the frame, its to the left, so it may be that your horizontal alignment when you shot this was a little bit off; a little in a shot like this, dues to its nature will be very apparent.

I would add some brightness to the skiny, rain covered street, it will look more realistic.

Ive loaded 2 mods; one is as suggested, geometry tweaked as fare as was possible, and brightness, contrast adjusted in some areas; cloned out a couple of bits, cropped space from bottom; and then mod2 is the same image with a very strong noise reduction filter applied; I had no intention of leaving it like this, I intended to reduce noise in the sky, but it looked good, - sot of an art appearance, so I left it. The noise filter in CS was used.

Regards, and Happy Christmas

Glyno 15 88 England
24 Dec 2015 3:36PM
Willie, thank you very much. I know what you're saying about the geometry, but no matter how much I tried I couldn't seem to get the angle correct and began questioning my eyesight!
You seem to have practically 'nailed it' - I also like your modifications to the exposure.

Thanks again, Glyn.
pablophotographer 9 1.7k 389
24 Dec 2015 7:33PM

I like the mood you have tried to create with the use of black and white.
If you want more gloom, I would suggest a square crop from the bottom, exclude the sky completely, have the man boxed within the buildings running or walking (hopelessly) like a guinea pig in the cage. No escape for him (in the form of sky), just a maze of buildings and rain. Sounds a bit Orwelian NineteenEightyFour, how more gloomy do you want?
pablophotographer 9 1.7k 389
24 Dec 2015 7:37PM
minor correction on the comment above, you can start the square crop not from the most bottom part of the picture, but from a bit higher so that on the white building straight opposite from you, you can see the door and two floors above. Seems a bit more neat.
sebartley 5 141
24 Dec 2015 7:37PM
I like them all and the feedback, thanks for putting this up for critique it helps us all to improve Wink
paulbroad 13 131 1290 United Kingdom
25 Dec 2015 6:17PM
I rather like this and the geometry doesn't bother me. Everything does not always have to conform.

I'm not so sure about the added noise, most apparent in the sky. You wanted a gloomy effect but noise can be muddy rather than add effect. I would like that figure in the foreground area too, placed on the bottom left third but you can hardly move people.

Good shot.

dudler Plus
17 1.4k 1740 England
25 Dec 2015 7:00PM
I like this, and the gritty, dirty treatment you've used to convey the downbeat mood of a quite upmarket area...

In this context, I'm OK with the lack of perfect geometry - this is about a mood, and an uneasy one, at that, so the lack of meeting expectations that buildings are foursquare is fine.

I don't think you need technical perfection in the tones, either. Dark vignetting at the top is fine, and I'd just brighten something, anything, a little for a fuller range of tones. In my mod, I've brightened the building at the end of the street, and the reflections in the pavement.

But it's your choice - brightening only one of these areas would change the mood again, I think, and give a different interpretation of the scene.

Nice work.

For the sake of others, fuller EXIF data would be really good. I'm thinking moderate wideangle, highish ISO, moderate aperture. Shutter speed doesn't matter, especially if the camera was on a tripod.
Glyno 15 88 England
25 Dec 2015 8:00PM
I'm extremely grateful for such excellent advise and constructive criticism. Dudley, you've hit the nail on the head with your use of the word 'gritty' - that was exactly what I should have said. I'm also happier maintaining the noise and vignetting in the sky.

EXIF: 1600, 23mm, f8, 1/75 (handheld)

Thanks again,
Glyno 15 88 England
25 Dec 2015 8:31PM
I've just uploaded a modification. This time I've retained much of the exposure, tweaked the geometry a little, and added less noise. Still a bit undecided though.
dudler Plus
17 1.4k 1740 England
26 Dec 2015 9:57AM
Me too - your own mod makes it look a brighter and better day, which I think is not in line with your original thoughts... Less noise is also not necessarily better.

Thanks for the technical details. That's roughly how I think I'd have done it (I have tripods, but don't love them much!)

The thing I'd be most likely to do is wind the ISO really high, and let the noise come as it will, especially with either an older camera body, or on film) I use Delta 3200 now that Ilford are the last mainstream firm standing with a real commitment to black-and-white: I used to prefer the Kodak equivalent, as it was faster, but rougher!

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