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Activity : Photo Comments


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  • Yellow-line Quaker (Agrochola macilenta)

    My thanks both!
    Willie I like your edit. I think I've more recently been concious about underexposing/dark photos which makes me lean more toward brighter results in editing. This tends to show up as a bit of an issue when editing something like this where I can end up washing the shot out rather than letting the contrast rise and keep its punch and not wash out.

    Dudler - your right I didn't specify an area to improve, I guess partly because I didn't really have an area of focus so wanted to see what people thought as a gut feeling upon seeing the photo.
    I do agree that a darker/clearer single background instead of one split between white and dark would be best. I think in this the stage I was using was working both fore and against me. It's a dinnerplate sized ring (the top of the moth trap) so I've got a fair bit of room to work with; but it can mean that I can't lower the camera fully down if the subject isn't right at the edge - which would also mean that there's even more white body behind the subject. A thinner strip might be something to consider just to give me more background control.
    You're right that I do like to focus on the technical side and then let that strength give me artistic freedom (well potential for it at least). In this I was very much just focusing on a nice solid side-on shot more as a record than being arty. Though I don't see any reason that, with the right approach, the two can't be combined. I'll be interested to hear your thoughts on the artistic editing side and setup.
    • 1 Sep 2017 11:43PM
  • Ring tailed Lemur

    My thanks Jerrin
    • 28 Mar 2017 10:25PM
  • Onward to the Finish!

    My thanks Spkr!

    And many thanks for the votes all!
    • 23 Mar 2017 6:05PM
  • Relaxing Cheetah

    My thanks both - I was composing a little wide on this shot partly because I normally end up the other way and I find that unless it a tight head-shot or a full body; the inbetween can very easily appear messy unless you get it right. Otherwise its stuck between "not close enough" and " not backed off enough".

    So I wanted to frame the cat a little in its surroundings.

    Your crop is interesting, though I feel by moving in closer and cropping that way the round end of the beam becomes too dominant and distracting; I'd crop it further to shave 3/4 of that post away to just have slither underneath the wood the cat is directly laying upon
    • 13 Mar 2017 12:06AM
  • Norfolk Show Jumping

    My thanks all Smile

    Pablo I didn't even notice the yellow pole and its position in the frame; well spotted and yeah its not the end of the world but I can see what you mean about timing on that.
    The light and colour aspects you raise are indeed ones that mirror my own thoughts and learning as well. The flipside is that sometimes (esp when there's a lot of white I can't avoid) I can end up turning it grey in editing as I try to tone it back and go too far. It's a tricky balance to get white looking nice without it dominating such a shot.

    Paul - aye given freedom to move I would have gone closer; sadly I didn't have any choice to get closer (I kind of wish I'd taken my 120-300mm but that's a bigger heavier lens and not something I tend to take out for a casual day).

    The shutter speed aspect you mention is sound; and I know from past experience I can go down to 1/640sec and get as sharp jump (1/500sec and hooves/mane/tail start to blur). I think it would have benefited me here more so because, as Bane notes, there are white specks in the shot which is rain. I've not done much in rain to know when a drop starts to get a little blur; but in my view a little blur on the drops would have helped (I was in two minds about applying some strong "spot/scratch" removal to get rid of the rain spots).

    Bane I agree with you regards to the person; I think that for me I see him as a plus and more of a plus that the slightly wider depth of field caught him in a decent level of clarity. I agree that the element is that he's paying attention to the horse; I think if he'd not been doing so it might well have made for a detracting element, in my view; though I can certainly see how some see him as a distraction/detracting element.

    Sharpening I think I've fallen into a bit of a trap recently because I tend to sharpen in a few stages as I resize down to a websize and I think the process leaves me a little "blind" to oversharpening. I know I've done it a few times now where I've gone back and paused and really noticed it myself.

    I like both mods uploaded and they certainly show that the upper area isn't needed. Bane with yours did you also adjust the white balance a little? The shot seems a little warmer in your version?
    • 30 Jun 2016 8:59PM
  • Natural Lawn Mower

    A great many thanks for your time and feedback all!

    Tony - aye a little more context might have been nice, and as another modification shows a little more room in front of the horses head does help somewhat.

    Willie, you're right I was trying to counter the green and that did introduce too much magenta, something that when I compare my original to your edit really stands out strong (someone else on another site commented on it as well and even desaturated a lot of the horses head barring the magenta channel and that really showed up how purple it was). I think also I tend, when I have grass, try and work to the grass as a base-line; however in this case its backfired as getting the grass green affected the horse more so (likely due to the shadowing). Warming the photo up really improved it and, honestly, considering the sunny day it was taken on it is likely a touch more faithful to the scene.

    Moria, I like what you've done with pulling a bit of the intensity back from the grass, which otherwise does dominate due to how it was lit. I totally forgot about pulling back saturation there and really should have just gone in and done some selective/channel reductions to try and balance the shot a little more in favour of the horse. Your smaller adjustments to the eye area are good too - and well worth the time (dodge/burn is really something I should make much more use of than I do currently).
    It is certainly being aware of the choices and making them when editing; each person will see a shot differently, though I think some points like the very strong magenta tone are generally detracting in most cases like this unless one wants to really take things to fantasy.

    Dudler - I think that the over-sharpening that you see is likely caused because I tend to resize in stages and sharpen at each stage (normally two or three sages on a the 7D photos I get so long as I get the whole frame). It can be easy to just jump through the sharpening steps there and get a little too much (the last sharpen is normally very minor if anything).

    Paul - aye you're right, strictly speaking what I could do (esp as the horse is quite well isolated and well defined) is that I could duel process the RAW and really pull back the exposure and highlights on the grass and then a second time through and boost exposure for the horse. It's tricky though as its very easy to end up getting to that "cartoony" look where all element of shadowing is lost. I didn't do this in this shot as I felt that I could bring the greens back a touch (and the statuation reminder above should help a lot with that) and also the white haze halo of the hairs on the horses head I felt highlighted around the key subject nicely - it shows that its a nice back-lit shot rather than the horse in full light. Ideally yes being the other side would have worked best exposure wise.
    • 17 Jun 2015 12:48PM
  • A Green Hairstreak (Callophrys rubi)

    My thanks Peekyay and Mudge Smile
    • 6 Jun 2015 11:34PM
  • Make an entrance - make a splash!

    Many thanks for the compliments all!

    And yes outside at last!

    Banehawi - yes I could have exposed a little more, as it is the shot already has some brightening of the shadows applied already. At the time I felt that it would be best to have some limit on the amount of over-exposure on the tree since it is still pretty large in the scene and thus take a hit on exposure over the primary part of the image. Just no way around that barring a higher dynamnic range on the camera for such a shot.

    The idea about adjusting the white balance is a nice one; something I didn't think of for this; a little tweak could indeed lift the mood some.

    Keith interesting point on the background and now you mention it it does indeed seem rather lacking in contrast; giving it a rather flat appearance. I might go back and fiddle with it to get a bit more contrast from that area; add some gravity to it and a little more depth to the whole scene not just over the rider and horse.
    • 18 Mar 2015 2:23PM
  • Charge!

    Aye very true Paul; but I'll work at maximising what I can Smile Anything I learn indoors in a poor environment should set me in good standing for outside (though I suspect I'd have to review my whole approach to exposure in more variable outside light)

    Kinda wants to make me get a 7DMII with the shutter speed limiter in aperture priority mode. Setting 1/640 or 1/500 as the lowest limit would be fantastic - I can't understand why Canon can't give it to us in a firmwire update
    • 3 Mar 2015 9:31AM
  • Over we Go!

    My thanks all Smile

    Phil - I certainly see where you're going with the vignetting, indeed lens corrections tends to remove a very tiny amount (its the kind you can't see till you see it vanish and compare before and after). That said I think that a heavy vignette is a style I'm not really going for; however if I combined a light vignette with the contrast boost suggested by Bane that might well work to focus on the rider in a more subtle way.

    Bane - my thanks, contrast wise I think I've gotten hooked on watching the whites a lot in my shots. I find that they blow out so easily on digital that I'm always cautious these days with both exposure, but also with the contrast boosting. I prefer to see detail and not have whites that look blown which tends to mean I shy away from heavier boosts to contrast (even though I do like a contrasty shot). I can layermask of course and localise the contrast boost to select areas if I'm not feeling lazy and want to spend time on a shot.
    • 24 Feb 2015 1:34PM
  • Roe-deers in the dark

    And another welcome to the site from me!

    My views on this in addition to those raised already;

    1) The fog - what you've added is going too far, its too strong an effect, though I'd honestly say that you're getting closer to adding snow with the level you've gone for. I've seen some very impressive shots where photographer/artists have added a whole snowblizzard to a shot so if you're into that kind of thing you might give it a try. Otherwise I'd look at the method suggested earlier and the uploaded mod that person gave. Two layers, one like that and one slightly stronger to give you a "fog" layer and then a drifting layer above it of more wisps of the fog would work well.

    2) The artificial light isn't a problem to me in this shot because by its nature the dark aspects of it make it look more like a night-shot so you'd expect to see either black and white (infra red shot) or a flash-light. So in this cases the harsh directional light works.

    3) On the fake side of things what stood out to me as odd with this shot first and foremost when I looked at it was the faces on the deer. Something about them seemed very off; rather plastically. Almost like when you look at highly airbrushed models. It's "real" but yet not real at the same time. It's not a fault of your shooting though its something that would hold back from the overall aimed effect if you wanted a "wild" appearing shot (and I've no personal problem with people doing that - so long as one never miss-represents how one got a shot).
    • 19 Feb 2015 6:16PM
  • Mane in the Air

    A great many thanks for the input all! I'm rather pleased that this style of shot (that whilst its harder, I do prefer to shoot) is doing well and is viewed as better than the other I posted.

    Brightening is something I find myself doing quite a bit with these shots in general. At least half a stop (according to the exposure slider in Lightroom). It's a pain, but I find that if i try and expose more to the right I end up too far into over-exposure zones; and pulling a shot back from overexposure (esp with all the white areas on many horses, tack and jumps) is more of a pain than the extra bit of noise that slight under-exposure gives.

    Portrait crop I can see where people are going; it focuses right into the action of the moment and the horse; I think I've just got trouble "seeing" that as a "good" shot because I'm very used to leaving a goodly amount of room for action and subjects moving into it.

    And yep I'm getting more used to the busy backgrounds aspect of this style of shooting. I still dislike it and I think I will constantly; but I don't see that dislike as a downside - hopefully it will encourage me to keep hunting for better angles (maybe even risk asking and getting out into another part of the ring for a chance at a different angle).
    • 19 Feb 2015 6:10PM
  • Showjumping

    A gret many thanks for the compliments and comments all!

    I agree with many of the points raised by several of you, I also much prefer a lower vantage point myself, I went up there for a little difference and because it does at least let me get one or two jumps like that one where there is a lot less in the background. Low down indoors is great on the horse and rider, but nearly impossible to get a clean background (might be able to get one if I'm out in the ring, but I've not advanced to shooting from there).

    Bane, you raise an interesting point on letting the horse have more room to move into, I guess I kind of get more hooked into the horse and rider when I view the image and I'm reluctant (even in other shots) to crop so that they end up smaller in the frame whilst leaving more "room to move into". Though this is at least and easier shot as rider and horse are both looking the same way.

    The removal of distracting elements is interesting to read of, even more so in your edits Pamelajean where you've even gone to making the background board a different colour to mute it out and focus even more on horse and rider; although I feel that the shot is then losing its "documentary" credibility as such. Or at least is then, to my eye, possibly becoming too empty and highlights the lack of dynamic action that others have raised in regard to how the angle of the shot displays the moment in a more bland style.

    In highlighting the horse and rider I've wondered if a more subtle approach might not be more suitable, whilst retaining the "documentary" style of the shot rather than taking it closer to a full composite. I wonder if a slight de-saturation of the background (esp the blue) coupled with a more significant local boost to contrast over the horse and rider might not make them stand out more so without altering the photo too much.
    • 12 Feb 2015 11:40PM
  • Horse and Rider

    My thanks Dudler!

    I do share your view that a second subject to provide focus for the horse and rider would really balance the shot out. The larger canvas that you've uploaded I think sort of moves toward that idea - the "desert" of sand itself becoming the subject - although personally I think with the angle the land would want to dip downward with viewing angle of the watcher (over the shoulder style) rather than be moving upward into the scene (as it sort of is because of the angle). A physical subject would have been ideal - even if blurred it would have been a focal point.

    Lens wise yes a wider angle prime would have worked, however then one hits two barriers. As you rightly said there is the aspect of variation in shots - at an event like this I feel that the zoom really shines at letting you move the focal length with the horse and rider - of course more experience at the same site and a couple of camera bodies with lenses fitted and I'm sure one could cut down to two or three primes (or two primes and a zoom) and get all the shots they'd want.
    The other is depth of field - I suspect I'd not really be able to go below f2 since by that point I'd be risking too much potential horse/rider content moving out-of-focus. Indeed having some depth helps a lot since one has two focal points (mount head and rider head). So a faster lens would be better light gathering wise, but there'd be a question mark over practicalities of the extra stop of light and actually using it.
    • 16 Dec 2014 9:31PM
  • Horse and Rider

    My thanks mrswoolybill!

    The "lost" look the man is showing and his angle of view I think are focusing on the rider or where she was supposed to be - he'd been left holding the horse in the practice arena - and yes the quiet control/trust he has in the horse is shown very nice here I agree.

    The texture on the horses body isn't something I'd really spotted in this shot, but yes dealing with high ISO noise and its removal is something I'm really having to learn for the first time as I'm just not used to working at ISO 3200 and 6400. I have noticed that its very easy to get these odd lines through noise reduction, esp in textured areas. It's something I've been slowly trying to work on getting rid of - though I think the only full way is layermasks and selective noise reduction
    • 16 Nov 2014 8:32PM
  • Horse Trials

    My thanks all! Some very good points shared - the backgrounds were nearly all busy sadly, though I could have shot from the other side and at least cut some of the balcony elements out of the shots.

    Regarding the flat/brightness issues I did find that I was shooting a touch dark (I think about half a stop under-exposed or so - mostly because whites would blow fairly easily - at least going by the LCD on the back of the camera - an area where a handheld light meter might have given a more faithful/accurate result on the metering).

    In the mod, to my eyes, whilst the rider is indeed brighter and stands out more, the horse looks like the whites of the body are going a bit too white and losing detail for my tastes - although this could be a simple difference in monitor calibrations and eye level viewing them.
    • 14 Oct 2014 9:42PM
  • Check out my new feather-do!

    My thanks both! Smile
    • 7 Sep 2014 9:59PM
  • This World is Mine

    Many thanks John and Ali!
    • 11 Mar 2014 6:23PM
  • What's the Buzz

    Many thanks Carol and Carol! Grin
    • 11 Mar 2014 8:26AM
  • Snowy Egret in Mallorca

    Technically speaking I can't see anything wrong with this photo at all, at this scale on the web. You've even used the -2/3rds exposure compensation to help counter the brighter parts of the white bird from overexposing (the whites along the back look strong white, but I don't think they've overexposed - histogram on your computer should be able to give you a more definitive answer, but they don't stand out to me at all).
    ISO is where I'd start for wildlife - 200 is a good base to work from; though on dimmer days 400 is normally very usable on pretty much all cameras without worries. Shutter speed is certainly fast enough to freeze the motion (and has done wonderfully) and is also more than fast enough that any handshake should be of no concern (at 1/1600 at 300mm VR, strictly speaking, won't be having any effect on the hand motion blur in the shot).
    Aperture - well you've been reading and chatting in the forums about the aperture and sharpness, esp with regard to the 28-300mm so I'll take it as given that you already know to try shifting to a slightly smaller aperture to get a little more sharpness out of the setup.

    Having done no editing work at all its a good result - myself I'd say sharpening (esp after resizing) would be needed on the photo, but other than that no areas appear in need of work. Some burning around the whites might be in order if they are just blown - though if you shoot RAW I'd be tempted to process the RAW twice - once normally and once for the highlights (same settings as for normal, but then slide the exposure slider until the whites are more controlled; but not too far that they look "dark") and then blend the two images into one with layermasks in editing.

    However I get the feeling that the result you've gotten has left you feeling like something might be wrong, that something is lacking that you'd prefer different. If you have some examples taken by others that you'd like to emulate if you could link to them it might help to understand where you want to head - what you'd like to be able to create with the camera.
    • 18 Jun 2011 12:04PM
  • Vixen

    Really great shot here - love the way the grass his almost giving you a sweeping frame around her
    • 14 May 2011 9:00PM
  • Passing the Road

    Many thanks for the compliments and crits both!

    Sherlob I do agree that the light wasn't perfect, I knew at the time that it wasn't the best of light with it mostly dull grey - but I am glad to read that the composition is working decently well. I've had some recommend that a few steps forward might have helped to bring more of the roads curve into view as well.

    Niknut - ahh someone knows where things are in Cumbria! And yes I processed this shot with the thought in mind that I didn't want to go overboard with the contrast, however that was done with the screen uncalibrated and after recalibrating the screen tonight I do find that I prefer your more contrast version over the original. Though I think you've also given the levels/curve a little tweak as well; its brought out the colours better in some areas I think (sky and the right side) but its also sapped a bit of the warmth that the light had that I tried to preserve - an interesting challenge to mix/match the two I think might be in order.
    • 13 Oct 2010 12:57AM
  • Look into my eye

    Many thanks for the compliments all Smile
    Iceland - yes I have indeed come across his work, I have his flickr in my contacts list and he does do some outstanding macro work - certainly very inspiring stuff!
    • 7 Oct 2010 5:50PM
  • Hornet

    A great many thanks to all - I certainly did not expect this shot to get such applause! Also not sure who gave it, but a great many thanks again for the person who awarded it a "Guest Editors Award"

    Smile Smile
    • 16 Sep 2010 6:01PM
  • A sight of the Hills

    Gah Sorry for not noticing this sooner Scutter/Ben
    Actually whilst I edited this shot I held myself back (deliberately) from oversaturating the results and I've had a few suggest that I boost the contrast a little. I do have to say I like the edit you did in the sky areas for pulling out the stronger blues.
    With regard to the background mountain areas I might or might not burn them in a little more, but I think it adds a little depth to have a contrast change between the fore and backgrounds (as I recall the lighting was like that at the time with a subtle difference between the two).
    • 1 Jul 2010 5:11PM
  • Creepy Crawly

    Thanks Banehawi - I think this is around 4-5 times (sadly EXIF does not record magnification unless its hidden in there somewhere). Probably 5 times as I had the aperture quite wide
    • 10 Feb 2010 11:06PM
  • The Holy Trinity

    Thanks for the comments Stuart!

    And yes the 70mm macro will work with both of the sigma teleconverters, myself I tend to use the 1.4 more than the 2* simply because it gives a bit of a magnifiation boost, but its overall image quality still remains very high. The 2* I tend to use less often since as you say if I just want the longer working distance for 1:1 stuff I can use the 150mm - and I tended to use the Raynox DCR 250 + the 1.4TC if I wanted to get to 2:1 macro instead of using the 2*TC. Not on an image quality basis but on a speed (slipping the Raynox on takes a matter of moments) and also ease factor - since with a really short working distance you can often end up resting on the ground or leaning on a surface whilst focusing, whilst a longer working distance tends to work better with a tripod (since the further away one is the more handshake affects the shot).

    As for when I use the 70mm over the 150mm in butterfly farms/enclosures I tend to prefer it since the long working distance of the 150mm tends to get in the way (large bugs and one can only back so far before running out of path to stand on). Indoors is also another time I tend to reach for a shorter working distance over a longer one.

    Even with the 65mm now the 70mm will still keep its place since it can still do 1:2 and all the way to infinity whilst the 65mm starts at 1:1.

    You might find these two test results that I did of interest as well:
    Sharpness test for the MPE
    Comparison 70mm, 150mm and 65mm
    though I do think there might be some focusing errors on my part in the last test and I will repeat it at some point with angled shots like in the first - where any focus error on my part won't affect the test results.
    • 6 Feb 2010 1:58PM
  • Little House Spider

    thanks all - and I am starting to rediscover my love of the heal tool - in a whole new way (gah this lens shows up every speck of dust and then some!)
    • 29 Jan 2010 11:55AM
  • Who?

    Many thanks all Smile
    Paul - yes both the sigma 1.4 and 2* teleconverters will fit to the 70mm macro - the join is even very smooth with no forcing needed.
    • 18 Jan 2010 2:47PM

    Lovely series of shots and a great chance to capture shots of both subjects - one could not ask for more. The 3rd appears the sharpest kinfisher shot though I prefer the looks of the first shot overall.

    Out of interest have you considered (or were able) to use a beanbag when you don't have space/time for the tripod? Even with the OS of the 150-500mm 1/160sec is probably really pushing your handholding at the long end (and whilst ISO 400 would have been usable I well understand the reluctance to rise ISO and lose finer details and have noise in a shot)
    • 21 Dec 2009 2:19PM