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19/02/2013 - 9:28 PM


this one is nice and well handled as are your other uploads. as you seem to favour low light seascapes i d suggest that you check out a couple of members on epz who are favourites of mine and both specialise in seascape.
dmhuynh72 and pmorgan.

its all about dynamic range and your sensors ability or rather inability to capture the full range of the exposure between the highlights and darker areas. subject to the level of contrast and whether the sun is included or not, the difference between the sea and sky will often be between 2 and 5 f stops.

you can help to reduce the contrast by keeping the sunball just outside the edge of frame.

the first thing you need to do is shoot in raw because this enables a variety of adjustments and allows you to make several exposures from one raw to enable a degree of exposure blending in raw. i often adjust the raw to give a best sky and a best sea and copy one layer over the other and erase the layer to reveal the best compromise.

but you must have in your kit at least 2 graduated neutral density filters. if you choose Lee or hitech they come in hard or soft edge and 0.3 / 0.6 / 0.9 0.3= 1 stop 0.6=2 stop 0.9= 3stop
they are not cheap and Lee are my personal favourites. i have too many and if i had to choose just 2 it would be 0.9 hard and 0.9 soft the soft enables a little lattitude as you can slide it up or down to increase the effect a little and i often use them together. a 0.9 soft would have covered most even toned images like yours but with a brighter sun you may well need them both together. if you must include the sunball then you can get some with the grad reversed and they are dark on the horizon line fading upwards and they are good with unobstructed horizons such as seascapes without rocks breaking the lines.

if you check out pmorgan, on epz contact him and i believe he sells a CD with comprehensive details on his processing methods and im sure that seldom do his images come direct from the back of the camera so to get the very best effects, photoshop skill may well be required.

Willie has suggested a colour balance adjustment and although thats a right and fair comment, my own experiences tells me that sunrises and sunsets take a huge range of hues and this can change from country to country too so adjust to how you see it or remember it but here it could be a little cool in the sky but it suits the water well.

Hope this helps
16/02/2013 - 6:59 PM


i like composite images and i really liked the scorched earth foreground, the clouds are strong, and the figure is well placed with the shadow directions looking realistic and in the same direction of the actual light source.

then after that (its all been looking good up to now) i lose the thread a bit, we have a floating cafe driven by a crow with illumination from a totally and opposing light source. i could live with it as surrealism if the lighting was from the same direction, but then we have a third light source casting a huge shadow on the ground.

i may be over playing it, in the name of surrealism we can let it go, -- but you get my drift. the shots of this nature that do well and gain awards in salons are the ones where the light source and direction has been well thought through.

good start, but did it need the cafe hovering ?
14/02/2013 - 10:05 PM

Leafy lane

Leafy lanehello,
there are a lot of nice things about this image and it has quality and good light.

it really looks as if you were undecided as to whether the top half or the bottom half should be the image and you couldnt decide so you tried to include everything.
ill do two mods to show what i mean. there are two super compositiopns in there waiting to come out but as it stands its too split on the centre. other wise cant fault it
13/02/2013 - 9:13 PM

Jade critique upload

Jade critique uploadhi,
im a bit split on this (no pun intended ), the dark side is dead black and as such creates an unbalance due to the negative space. now i dont mind / even like negative space but here i just feel that id crop off the right side to half the distance beween the centre of the nose and side of frame, and extend the canvas on the left side by the same amount.

then the tough bit, the quality of light on the face is a bit brutal and a long way from being dutch masterful. the harsh light is overexposing the nose and parts of the forehead and at the same time not really illiminating the lower part of the hair, its also showing all the minor blemishes on the poor ladies skin. i also think the skin tones are a little oversaturated.

12/02/2013 - 10:26 PM

a change of pace

a change of pacei like this and the concept of creating a contrast between the movement in the background and the static figures on the columns works well.
im unsure about the blodge of white bottom right and the whole thing seems to be tightened up if you crop from the bottom up to the top of the white oof area because this just competes too much for attention being down there near the bottom corner of frame.
03/02/2013 - 7:55 PM

Two moods

Two moodsnice image of the mother and child, but it is very tightly cropped, maybe the surroundings were distracting but id have liked to see more of the background or a suitable one included to place them in the context of their surroundings so that the picture tells more of a story. id have liked to see the colour version too, even as a version.

the expressions are interesting enough but i can see that the lighting was difficult to handle with the childs face in a shaft of light which is also falling onto the mothers shoulders. harsh contrasty light is the enemy of the portrait photographer but usually its possible to move the subjects into shade or work with the elements and bounce light back in with reflectors or use a small blip of fill flash.

03/02/2013 - 7:39 PM

At the end of the day

At the end of the dayhi,
i like the image, and love the light on the boats decking, overall it almost has a surreal feel , possibly its been cross processed because the colours look wrong but somehow they also right and possibly more creative. i like the way the light and haze in from the background has made the sky blend into the sea. overall there is a strange finish almost like surface blur over the image which would have been better being described in the text box because its hard to critique if we are unaware of the processes involved. the cloning has been hurried i feel and looks greener than the surrounding area and the missing rope gives the game away.

looking at the direction of the lighting its not too surprising that you have blocked up shadows on the front side of the boat, its pretty contrasty anyway. possibly some minor fill in flash or a reflector may have helped push some light back in there or even blending a couple of different bracketed exposures but even on raw, if there isnt anything there, its impossible to recover detail because there is very little information recorded on the black side of the histogram, most of the digital information recording detail is to the right side of the histogram.

22/01/2013 - 8:44 PM

Portrait PP practice

Portrait PP practicewell the processing is one thing but the taking and making is another.

must have been pretty dull at 800 iso to be using 1/10 sec. this is too slow for hand holding or for portraiture to be truthful. then with the slow shutter speed you selected f5.6 instead of a faster speed and wider aperature combination.

with the lens you had i think that f2 may have been better with the shutter speed slightly faster to give you a fair chance of avoiding camera shake and acheiving some sharpness in the right places around the eyes. and to be fair you cropped in very very tight at the taking stage probably on the edge of the minimum focusing distance that your lens was cabable of. better to leave a bit of space and crop later

the final crop is really quite uncomfortable and post process smoothing skin at that close range is going to be difficult to blend in without looking as if its just out of focus or locally smeared / blurred. also the eyes just dont look sharp enough. ( although noticably sharper in the original version)

on the processing, the selection and darkening is fine to get rid of the background but needs much more care to get a finer selection, the mono conversion looks fine but for the skin smoothing try using a seperate layer with gaussian blur blended back with the opacity slider through the original to get a nice subtle diffusion of the skin texture and then click on the layer mask in the layers menu and with a black brush paint over the lips and eyes to bring back the detail of the original layer.

15/11/2012 - 7:22 PM

Golden water

Golden waterhi, the colours are quite nice and i like the division into an apparant 3 sections at the bottom but despite that i think the bottom, moving though it is, should have been the principally sharp area and not the background.
you may not have been able to trick the camera into focusing in a specific area and maybe the focus hunted because of the movement i dont know.
sort of like things but sharper and floating leaf would have made a nice shot even better
18/10/2012 - 3:01 PM


Twangironically the highlights are not blown, getting detail there and on the face was a near miracle. the high iso and the crop are almost certainly responsible for the grain and you could have helped a little by using a reflector to bounce some light back up the the face and reduce the contrast a little. the grain shows most in the dark areas where there is little detail. about 80 % of the information on a digital file is at the bright end of the scale and vertually non at the black end.

image wise i like the idea, just would have loved to see the guitar neck included and some light bounced back into the face / front.

16/10/2012 - 10:03 PM

Bumble Bee

Bumble Beeabove says it all, basically a nice image, good plain backdrop in a complementary tone but the sharpness just isnt there on the bee which is the main subject and as such demands to be crisp and in focus.

f5.6 isnt even up to the sweet spot of your lens and you need as said above to use around f11 to get the depth. to do this and maintain a reasonable speed you would need a higher iso setting than 200. im not sure with your camera where digital noise starts to be a problem but im sure you would be ok to at least 500 iso and using a tri / mono pod would help too as keeping a small subject in focus as you unavoidably sway slightly back and forwards can be quite tricky too.

06/10/2012 - 10:51 PM

Beauty is only skin deep

Beauty is only skin deepthink id have erased the overlay on the eye so that was pretty much untouched by the texture, possibly left some in there with the opacity slider.

i also i think the eye is a bit central and perhaps overlarge in frame and may have looked better tucked up nearer the top right.

also think you could have tried to fade the opacity on the texture layer so the blend was a bit more subtle and showing a little more of the facial features and hair. as is the eye brows have denegrated to a black blob and the hair barely detectable. the blue blob bottom left is alo a bit distracting but overall i like the idea and think it would work up into a good image.
04/10/2012 - 9:56 PM

The Millennium Bridge.2.

The Millennium Bridge.2.hi
i think we have to forget the bridge and the fact it is a bridge since it has lost its context and see if it works as an abstract reliant only upon the shapes and colours remaining.

the colours are nice and saturated without being overdone. its sharp all over and there isnt any clutter to distract and the shapes are harmonious and follow the rules of thirds and curves which often helps the strength of an image.

what is particularly nice is the way that things spring to corners like the top right and top left and the way the perspective has the suspension wires decreasing in centres as they recess.

on the down side id have preffered to see both walls of the tube as it completes its arc at the top of frame but othere than that i really like the graphic qualities of the image.

04/10/2012 - 9:35 PM

Dia - glamour

Dia - glamourhello and welcome to epz.

despite how long ive been taking pictures i still find high key a difficult pill to swallow, i am aware how popular it has become but to me it just means overexposed. this is just my opinion and i wouldnt try to enforce my opinions upon you except that i find the back of the chair blindingly white and competing with the face.

so disregarding that and concentrating on the image, i like the over the back of the chair Christine Keeler type pose maintaining modesty whilst exuding sensuality. the eyes are lovely and the eyes are riveting. having the dark hair against the high key areas id good.

the position of the arms are generally quite tidy however the lower of the two arms may have been more visually confortable running along the back of the chair to avoid the stumpy steep vertical of the forearm.

its a nice job overall but id have been happier if the chair back hadnt blown quite so much

29/09/2012 - 11:08 PM


ROBINits a nice capture of the bird its self and its beautifully coloured and sharp as a pin however the problem is that the humble little robin is the most accomodating and most straightforward of the garden birds to photograph and you need to work hard to get him on a nice simple perch that you have strategically placed so that you can control the background and depth of field to provide a nice backdrop .

the problem here is that the stray branch obscures part of his body and the background is too close and too cluttered.

the light on it is lovely and the catchlights in the eyes and the overall sharpness is great too. but the lovely examples that crop up regularly in the gallery are usually planned to look that simple and uncluttered, its rare that it just falls right.

some one once told me, you cant go to nature, you have to make it come to you to get good shots Smile not sure if its true or not but it sure helps me do better

regards Phil

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29/09/2012 - 12:23 AM


this a real wacker of a first class shot but it has been processed in a way that isnt bringing out its full potential.

i cant fault the composition, couldnt be better but it has the appearance of a shot that has been attacked with the unforgiving highlights and shadows slider in photoshop or some other dreadful fate has befallen it in the making.

from this point as presented, its probably impossible to rescue this upload and show a fabulous modification and from that point of view i would suggest uploading the jpeg direct from the raw file so we can see where you started from.

firstly as pointed out there is an unsusal appearance to the sky and where it sits on the horizon and the halation as if it has been added as a composite image. and there is no problem there in doing this type of reconstruction to improve an otherwise unusable image but it has not been done particularly well because its too obvious that its unnatural

if the sky could be put right and the contrast boosed to give whiter whites you could have a stunning image here

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28/09/2012 - 11:38 PM


HIPPO HAVING A SWIMhello and welcome to epz.

good shot taken with a super compact. just gos to show that for straightforward subjects you dont need a dslr to get a result. the sharpness and exposure is just fine.

compositionally its a bit static with the mouth low in the water, a nice snapping of the jaws would be good and splashy, but i like the bit of a diagonal agle on the head.

i think it could maybe do with a little cropping from the top but otherwise its a good effort.

look forward to seeing more of your work on epz

13/09/2012 - 12:48 PM

Girls & Guitars

Girls & Guitarsi like this a lot but id be tempted to crop just a bit of the base (a full decking strip to just under the feet) and a little off the top. i think that would concentrate attention onto the main A shape of the image . Id also be tempted to crop a strip onto the fence post to balance the left side better.

its a great and pretty brave crop to start with, dosnt need a nead at all. nice skin tones too on the legs.

well seen

01/08/2012 - 4:26 PM

A face in the dark...

A face in the dark...well i will keep it short because a lots been said.

if it were me, id have lit the face from the front so as the facial area had detail and sharpness and the back of the head had light fall off and less sharpness.

what you have done is the reverse so that the shadows on the wall merge with the face instead of falling to the rear of he head.

then the colour is a bit excessive for me and id have given a little more space at the top, a bit less on the base and a little more to the left side.

but then id have arranged the heads looking the opposite direction because i dont know why it just reads better, flip it and see for your self.

as it is you could do the crop and extend the canvas to do the bulk odf what i said but you obviously cant rearrange the lighting now.

01/08/2012 - 4:19 PM

Harewood House

Harewood Houseits a nice record of the house and garden and its all well polished and exposed as it should be. nice and sharp and good colour.

its not a large house, ive been, but i think the 11mm focal length is acting against you despite the obvious requirement to pull in the foreground. its making the perspective a bit too exagerated. i do like the viewpoint though, so much more dynamic than head on to a structure.

i think the lens distortion correction was worth doing but it looks a bit large at the front for such a short length of building. i think a 24 mm focal length or something but a bit further back may have been easier on the eye.

otherwise cant fault it, just find the perspective a bit exsessive for the size of the building. that effect looks much better on modern structures.