Back Modifications (8)
Views 141 Unique 64 Award Shortlist   


By tommypics
Nikon D7100
Originally a NEF file, mainly processed for tonal adjustment and cropping in LR
ISO 200
Nikon 35mm f1.8 at f6.7
Remote flash bounced off white ceiling

Tags: Dog Collie dog Pets and captive animals

Affinity 2 Launch Deal - Save 40% Today


26 Aug 2022 5:23PM
Hope you approve a little, I have put forward a mod with my interpretation.

You have perfect sharpness on his nose, but lose a little on his eyes, a slightly smaller DoF f8 or f11 would
help, but this , of course, lowers shutter speed, corrected by upping the Iso to maybe 400 ?.
Another way to look at it is the angle of his nose , which directly affects the distance between his nose and his eyes.
I know I am slightly biased, but our girl Trim, a Tri collie, has a blue eye on the left exactly as Fynn has and
I think that is the stand out feature, so sharpness is a major factor.
Hope this is of some help,

pamelajean Plus
16 1.8k 2275 United Kingdom
26 Aug 2022 6:14PM
Hello, Tom, and welcome back to the Critique Gallery. You have been here before, so you know what we are all about. It does help us tremendously if you give us a bit of an idea why you chose to put Skye into the CG, are you wanting critique on anything in particular, are you happy with this picture?

I have done a modification and will explain what I have done and why. Firstly, I brightened the image because the black was a bit undefined. Having a black and white dog makes photographing him difficult, as you have no doubt found out. Getting good detail on both the black and white of the coat needs some effort. So I lifted the shadows and reduced the highlights.

There is a patch of blue in the top right corner, which I covered with some more fur. Down the bottom left side there seem to be some pinkish areas. This may just be a reflection of something red within the room. I used the desaturation tool to remove that. I then cropped away a bit from the left, to neaten things up.

I wish there were a bit more of your dog at the top of the frame, enabling me to put the eyes on a top "thirds" line.

The eyes are different colours and I'm not sure why. Someone else might be able to suggest a reason. Lighting, perhaps? One with red-eye and the other without it. I know Skye's eyes are not naturally like this because I can see how lovely they are in your previous image of him with his ball.

I finished with a slight sharpen.

I then did a second modification because those coloured bits can be removed by changing this to black and white, which I have done. This also solved the red eye problem. I selected the red eye, brightened the white and darkened the pupil. See what you think.


PS: Is this Sky or Fynn?
Am I right about the eyes, or is the previous image of a different dog?
mrswoolybill Plus
16 3.5k 2563 United Kingdom
26 Aug 2022 6:20PM
Hello again Tom, it's a long time since you last ticked the critique box! Thanks for telling us how you took this, it helps a lot. Can you also let us know how you feel about it? Are you satisfied, are there aspects that you would like to change?

It's a wonderfully engaged, animate portrait, of an intelligent, alert face. Well done for keeping Skye's attention. Detail in the white fur is good. There are things that I would want to do differently if this was my opportunity though, so here goes. In fairly random order...

It's good to go in close on a subject, and that's a lovely lens. (I regret selling mine years ago...) But I would like to see the eyes a bit lower in the frame. Place them around 1/3 down from the top and they are on the viewer's eye-level, which is more natural.

F/6.7 is good. But you did well to get such a good result at 1/60 second, that's perilously slow for a living, breathing, twitching, blinking creature of any species. I would err on the side of caution here and increase ISO to allow 1/125 or faster.

The focus is a bit forward of the eyes, but a good compromise. But for various reasons I would like to move back a wee bit, not go in so close.

The hints of background blue on the right are distraction, and the image as a whole looks a bit cold.

And finally - I wondered at first if Skye did have odd eyes, but your previous upload shows otherwise! This is an effect of the flash, I suspect.

The crop is a bit unsatisfactory, 'not-quite-square'.

I'd like to see the original, converted to jpeg, as a modification here. When I tried to lift detail from the darker fur, the image quality deteriorated very rapidly. I have added a modification. I cropped to true square, lightened very slightly and used the burn tool gently on midtones to boost detail in the white fur. I warmed colour slightly and got rid of the hints of bright blue on the right. And I corrected the eye colour - that was a lazy job, I simply cloned from the left (to us) eye.

I think that I would avoid going in so close. And if you can find better light, avoid using flash in view of the effect that it has had - one thing I have learned over the decades is that different eyes react differently!

I hope you will join in the conversation,

EDIT - Pamela and I have been engaged in synchronised critiquing, and geat minds think alike! Wink
dudler Plus
19 2.0k 1966 England
26 Aug 2022 11:05PM
As Moira says, engaging.

The general rule for portraits is to focus on the nearer eye: make sure that you are using a single AF point if you aren't blessed with a really modern camera that recognises eyes and locks onto them.

Are the eyes different colours, or is it a lighting effect - or even 'colour popping' with a partly monochrome image? It's disconcerting once you see it. If Skye genuinely has eyes of different colours, you need either to have only one in shot, or use monochrome - or be really upfront about it, and make a point of the differing colours in the title, maybe.

This is tricky to think about, but in some images it's important to forestall visual queries that make the viewer look at something that isn't the real point of an image...
tommypics 11 3 United Kingdom
26 Aug 2022 11:40PM
Thanks for all the replies.
1. I'm happier with this than the original
2. Skye does have different coloured eyes, my dog in a previous pic is my other dog.
3. I wish I'd known that Skye was going to be so relaxed on the sofa, I'd have put a better background than the towel that is there protecting the sofa from wet dogs! The reason for the close crop is to hide this.

I didn't set out with anything particular in mind when I took this pic, Skye is often tucked away in a corner when in our house but on this occasion was on a sofa in our kitchen. I have been experimenting with off-camera flash with up to 3 Nikon SB600s and a wireless flash controller, for this pic, I just bounced off the ceiling, but I think it has also reflected off the beige walls.
I wish the background was less fussy between her ears but if I'd tried moving things she'd have jumped off the sofa and the moment would have been lost.
I'm having lots of focus problems with the dogs' eyes and noses ie, getting both in focus at the same time, I'm using different focus modes, locking focus on the snout, and stopping down. I will persist!
26 Aug 2022 11:54PM
thanks for adding V5, she is a beautiful girl indeed, sorry, I took it she was male from her name Smile
The original is one of those rare Collie moments when you catch them off guard and your familiar
companion appears in the image.
I would love to edit from the original, but cannot download the version, sorry,
mrswoolybill Plus
16 3.5k 2563 United Kingdom
27 Aug 2022 8:06AM
Thanks so much for coming back to us - and I'm sorry that I doubted Skye's eyes!

Thanks for adding the original, I've based my mods 6 and 7 on it. I cropped tighter to concentrate on the face, but not as tightly as your worked version - NB I placed the eyes 1/3 down in the frame. Adjustments made in Camera Raw - I cooled colour a bit, added 1/3 stop exposure, lifted shadows, darkened on highlights and darkened and partially desaturated the blue curtain. As soon as I lightened, a strange blotchy effect appeared in the fur to the left of the leading eye - I don't know what causes it, but I used a dark vignette to camouflage it.

Then a contrasty b&w conversion worked in Nik Silver Efex.

Quote:I'm having lots of focus problems with the dogs' eyes and noses ie, getting both in focus at the same time

The problem is that she's looking towards us and has a long face, so the nose is much closer to the camera than happens with a human face. Rather than go for smaller aperture / higher ISO, you could try looking at her face in profile or near profile, where eyes and nose are in the same plane?
dudler Plus
19 2.0k 1966 England
27 Aug 2022 8:18AM
Thanks for the second image, it gives us context. Also very many thanks for such a detailed response. Conversations make this Gallery fun!

Iíd suggest that you donít worry too much about the nose. Nail focus on the eye. Or, if you prefer, focus between the two areas of interest and stop down.

I know itís more costly, but studio flash units with modelling lamps will give more power and a real idea of how the shadows will look. Speedlights require an act of imagination that I find hard.
pamelajean Plus
16 1.8k 2275 United Kingdom
27 Aug 2022 6:41PM
Hello again, Tom.

So sorry about my assumption that the red eye was not natural.
Also, sorry to call Skye a male.
Thank you for communicating with us. It makes all the difference to a critiquer.


Sign In

You must be a member to leave a comment.

ePHOTOzine, the web's friendliest photography community.

Join For Free

Upload photos, chat with photographers, win prizes and much more.