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Wexford Bridge

By Hilmar
Image taken at twilight. Any critique would be welcome regarding exposure etc. The original was a bit dark and I brightened this version to bring out more detail in the bridge. I used an aperture of f16, as I feel that at wider apertures of f8 the depth of field for the lens is not very sharp.

Tags: Architecture Landscape and travel

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LynneJoyce Plus
13 22 101 United Kingdom
15 Dec 2013 10:56AM
No doubt there are many other ways to process this but I rather like it as it is. The star bursts are lovely and the reflections very engaging.
iancrowson Plus
11 215 168 United Kingdom
15 Dec 2013 12:05PM
An attractive image. Good colours.
Perhaps more of the water, which is the best part, and less sky would have been better. Maybe the near bank was in the way.

dudler Plus
18 1.7k 1879 England
15 Dec 2013 1:28PM
The exposure looks pretty OK to me. A whole range of things can be "right" - depending on what you intend.

My comments are on composition (I'll upload a cropped mod) and sharpness.

I reckon this will look better as a panoramic shot, with some of the sky and a little of the water cropped out. It focusses attention on the bridge and skyline.

As for sharpness, you don't need much depth of field here - everything is pretty distant. In terms of absolute sharpness, almost certainly f/16 is less good than f/8 or f/11, with diffraction effects appearing. Canon lenses are no more resistant to this than any others! (Though my own experience of them is very limited.)

I think you have also sharpened the shot in processing, and on my screen, this gives a light outline to the skyline and lamp posts. Now, I'm not a digital expert (I still prefer FP4 to a jpg file), but I believe that this happens when one applies too much sharpening to a shot. At the size of files here, if you are using high quality gear (as you are) little of no sharpening wil lbe necessary for most shots. (Others will disagree. However, I find that I rarely get comments that my pictures are not sharp, using Minolta lenses on an Alpha 900, and not usually shaprpening at all...)
Hilmar 9 Ireland
15 Dec 2013 2:29PM
Thanks to everyone for their comments and advice, I appreciate you taking the time to reply. I really like the pano crop Dudler, thanks for that. The image may be over sharpened alright. I usually get comments that my images are soft which is why after resizing I sharpened it some more.
banehawi Plus
17 2.5k 4270 Canada
15 Dec 2013 4:19PM
This is where my grandfathers ancestors are from. on my fathers side. Lots of old gravestones with the family name on them in Wexford.

A couple of comments, and some tips.

The image is very much over-sharpened. So, the question is, how to tell that it is, and how to avoid it. To help here, I will need you to tell me what software, and methoud you use, and what settings are if you know. Then I will respond with assistance for this.

Next is exposure. I really cant remember how light or dark it is in Ireland at 6:10 PM, - its inky black here; so as it was still twilight, its fine. I have a preference for less exposure with this.

Then, setting the shot up. You need to disable IS on the lens, - did you do that?

Use a very solid tripod, and either a remote release cable, or, use the self timer, so you are not touching the camera when the shutter opens. It causes tiny vibrations that can affect the image.

Using f/8 would have cau8sed an exposure twice as long, and longer risks vibration. You can still use f/8 and then ISO 200 to get the same exposure time, or ISO400 to halve it, - reducing the risk of vibration while retaing the same exposure value. ISO 400 is very clean on the 7D usually.

So why the suggestion to use f/8? Thats because f/8 provides a sharpener image edge to edge than f/16; quite a bit sharper; f/5.6 is even sharper, then f/4 is less sharp, So the "sweet spot" for the lens sharpness if f/5.6 - f/8. You were thinking about depth of field. Do you know, or can you figure out the difference between f/8 and f/16? Heres a link so you can figure it out:
So, assuming you focused approx 100 feet away from the front of the lens, f/8 is sharp from 25 feet from the lens to infinity; and f/16 is sharp from 14 feet to infinity. I dont think you were closer than 25 feet from the closest point of the bridge? And your result would be sharper from the lens, which is a worthwhile difference.

Heres a link to a lens test showing this lens from f/4 to f/11. You can see it starts to fall off after f/8, and you can assume at least an exponential drop off to f/16 bot I would suspect its a little steeper:

I did upload a mod, - less sharpm and a simialr wide crop to John.

I will check back and see if you have responded to my comments.

If, by any chance you have a non sharpened version, re-sized, you could try to upload it as a modification here.


Hilmar 9 Ireland
15 Dec 2013 6:28PM
Hi Willie,

Thanks for all the above advice. Regarding sharpening I use Elements 10 and I shoot in Raw but sharpen using the Unsharp Mask. With the particular images I took that evening in Wexford I thought they looked very soft and I think I used a sharpening amount of 107 and a radius of 3. This seemed to add definition to the buildings. I have uploaded a version without any adjustments done in Elements.

There was still a fair amount of brightness in the sky at the time. The reason I doubted my exposure was I was comparing it to a recent upload of Big Ben by another member.

I did disable IS. I used a remote release and I think I used mirror lockup. I have a sturdy tripod and it was a calm evening.

Thanks also for the very helpful advice regarding apertures. I will have a look at the links you provided.


dudler Plus
18 1.7k 1879 England
15 Dec 2013 8:10PM
I've looked at the unsharpened version, and - as you say - it doesn't look utterly sharp.

However, it's also fair to say that I find the slight unsharpness less disturbing than the oversharpening of the original upload - and for many subjects it woudln't be an issue at all. Architecture certainly tends to bring out imperfections in lenses - not only sharpness, but also geometry!

Maybe it comes back to Willie's advice on the optimum aperture, if the tripod is a good solid one?
banehawi Plus
17 2.5k 4270 Canada
15 Dec 2013 8:30PM
Thanks Hilda for getting back, providing the information, and uploading the original shot. The original does look soft. Its supposed to be soft if you shot in RAW, and didnt apply any sharpening during the RAW conversion process, this is perfectly normal. I do think however that the exposre time was too longs, as mentioned, risking minute vibrations from the traffic on the bridge. Shorten the time as I have suggested.

So for USM, there are THREE settings, Amount, Radius and Threshold.

You provided 2 of the three, - likely just forgot the other. but I have enough to go on.

The critical settings are Radius and Threshold. Amount comes last.

Radius should NEVER exceed 1.0, and I find 0.8 the best overall setting.

Threshold should be set to 3.

Then you can slide the Amount adjustment, all the way right, look at what over-sharpening looks like; then all the way left to see it soft, and then slowly to the right to see where its just right. If its too sharp, you will see halos around fine edges, - and int his shot, they are very visible on the strings of lights across the bridge.

I did upload a mod with the settings as described, and the amount that works best is 60%. Try it yourself. And for evermore, set the Radius and Threshold values to the ones I recommended.

View the mods large or you will not see the changes made as they are intended to be seen.


Hilmar 9 Ireland
15 Dec 2013 8:50PM
Thanks again Willie and Dudler for all your valuable advice, much appreciated.

paulbroad 14 131 1293 United Kingdom
16 Dec 2013 4:09PM
Quite a nice shot. It is overcsharpened quite a bit and I, like Willie, suspect the radius setting. The problem with sharpening is the final use and size of the image. You need to sharpen more for an image to be printed than for screen viewing, for example. The original size of the image also controls the degree of sharpening needed.


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