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Activity : Photo Comments



Hope you like the variety I have tried to bring in my portfolio. Most of the images have been put here for comment and that is always appreciated. I spend quite a bit of time in the Critique section and I know many visit my portfolio because I have passed comment on their work. Hope you think my work is of a reasonable standard.

I know that, even with 50 years experience there are still things to learn and that technology changes quickly.
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  • Captivity of life

    Lots of good stuff. For me, there is room to play with the lighting, which is a bit mundane here. For set piece close up of inanimate objects I often use an LED torch to add light. You can move it about and try lots of exposures with the light coming from different directs.


    • 23 Apr 2017 8:26AM
  • Standing in my Shadow

    As John says, the basics are good, although for bright sunlight I would try and use , at the most, ISO400 for the sake of quality.

    The bird needs to be much bigger in frame and much sharper. More bird, less ironwork. Robins are good birds to practice on, they can be quite tame.

    You needed to be at 300mm and the system has focused in the centre, which was not on the bird, which is offset. You need to lock focus on the subject. Aim at the bird dead centre, half press the shutter button to lock focus, keep it half pressed, recompose and shoot.

    Subjects need to be the sharpest point, almost always.

    • 23 Apr 2017 8:19AM
  • tommy

    No, I think the floating effect makes it. The whole think is obviously not natural and created for effect, so it doesn't need to conform to the norm. It should look like a fantasy image and give room for thought and conjecture. I just wonder if a bit more contrast might improve things even further?

    • 23 Apr 2017 8:08AM
  • Flamborough Head Lighthouse

    The idea is good and I know the spot well. For me, the sky is, almost always, a background and needs a subject regardless of how strong it looks. You have a subject here, but I would have got a bit closer with the lighthouse then a bit bigger in frame.

    The sky is under exposed a bit giving it that flat effect, so it looses contrast and vibrancy. I would crop the top third where the clouds are sparse giving a much wider frame.

    • 23 Apr 2017 8:05AM
  • Been in the water

    This is not bad at all and you can be pleased with it. However, I am with Willie 100%. I would never carry a modern camera set to manual all the time. I actually use either aperture priority or even the P mode when out for a walk and not sure what might happen.

    I use manual quite a bit, but for set piece shots, and I use a hand light meter set for incident readings. Useful where auto systems will fail - birds flying at Bempton for example.

    Use what the camera gives you. Servo autofocus - or whatever Nikon call it and high speed drive. Modern gear is very good at tracking. Fire in bursts.

    • 23 Apr 2017 8:00AM
  • Actor

    This is very good. There are slight faults as mentioned above, but none of them are glaring at you and not immediately obvious until you look for them. I might just run the dodge tool across his eyes to brighten them - just a touch. The logo is a bit insistent.

    • 23 Apr 2017 7:53AM
  • A TEA CUP .....

    Interesting and a perfectly good record. All that needs dealing with are the feet in frame. They distract. Watch in the viewfinder when you shoot and try and avoid distractions. These will easily clone out if you have the software.

    • 22 Apr 2017 9:04AM
  • Layla

    This is so much better. You are listening and learning! Now, using auto will give a better chance of correct exposure, but make sure you understand what shutter speed does - freeze or blur movement, and what aperture does, effects what is sharp, and what is not.

    They work together to get the correct amount of light to the sensor. Now you need to decide what aperture and shutter speed you need to get the best image. That is often a compromise, but these basic controls are what photography is all about.

    Exposure and what is sharp.

    • 22 Apr 2017 9:01AM
  • Show Car

    This is a perfectly good record, but does, as you know, suffer from the excellent finish and the background. Good car shots need the vehicle suitably placed, so finding the environment is important.

    I have watched motoring magazine pro photographers work at my sons garage. They ALL use flash or extra lighting. The big time boys use the aircraft hangers, as you mention, but with VERY carefully managed artificial light.

    I have attached two images as mods. I shoot quite a few pictures for my son and tend to use a wide angle lens, although 28mm is quite enough. I have a Sigma 10/20 for the dramatic stuff. I shoot on manual and from a tripod. I under expose by one to two stops and choose cloudy or cloudy bright days if outdoors. Never sunny unless I have to.

    I then put the light back where I want it using up to 4 external flash units, often with diffusers and on radio triggers. This gives ME control. A polariser can help with certain types of reflection, but the light reflecting must be polarised.

    A lot of gear, I know, but that is the only way to do it properly, and my efforts don't come close to the big boys.

    Car photography, as with things like silver objects is a real skill. Ideally you need a huge light tent, as for silver, but that's hardly practical, hence the hangers. You obviously like to shot your car - possibly a bit more planning?

    • 22 Apr 2017 8:46AM
  • Bluebell portrait

    For me, there is just not enough sharp. In fact, very little sharp. It is OK to try and get the background very soft, but with a lot of flowers like this, close and in different planes, far too many are out of focus. You needed a much smaller aperture, or a tighter group of blooms, but still with a smaller aperture. I would have been on a tripod with f11 or 16 and a tighter crop.

    • 22 Apr 2017 8:26AM
  • Hell sky

    It does look very milky and weak. Rather over exposed I think which is strange, even with your compensation. As with so many sunsets, they look a lot better to the eye than to the camera. This lacks a focal point and interesting shapes. For me, a subject is necessary, with the sky, about one stop less exposed, the background.

    • 22 Apr 2017 8:20AM
  • Benijo Beach

    I'm not usually a fan of the milky water stuff, but this is quite nice. I have no problem with the colour - looks OK to me, but I would crop a lot of that sky off. A bit bland up there.

    • 22 Apr 2017 8:17AM
  • Who me !!

    An excellent idea, let down by technique. It is very under exposed due to the upward angle and the failure to compensate. It needs extra exposure and/or some careful dodging. Clone out the chap and other object at the bottom. They are not needed.

    • 22 Apr 2017 8:15AM
  • sunset bloody foreland.

    I normally get fed up with these because I see so many, but not this one. It is very good indeed because the quality is so impressive.

    A fine piece of pictorial landscape/seascape photography.

    • 16 Apr 2017 3:30PM
  • dove

    It's not actually bad at all and better than many similar. The bird needs to be tighter in the frame and a little more exposure as above. I tend to use 400 as a minimum ISO for natural history of this type and you did not need such a high shutter speed. 1/1000 is quite enough. Thus you could use f8 or 11, giving greater depth of field and using the best apertures in terms of lens quality.

    A bit of dodging in the darker areas to increase feather detail, but a very good try.

    • 16 Apr 2017 9:38AM
  • Greyhound B&W

    Plenty of advice above, but I'm going to be slightly brutal. Unless the dog is yours, or important to you, it is just too far gone to keep. The tones are all wrong, the brighter areas flat and gray and you have lost part of his legs. It's also not terribly sharp.

    If you use manual, you must understand exposure and you must check the LCD after shooting, adjust if necessary and shot again. Actually, you must master exposure whatever mode you use.

    You must master exposure and getting the main subject sharp. They are both absolutely fundamental to any decent image. I may be being harsh ,and the advice above will help but anyone wishing to shot more than just family record must master the basics before they can move on.

    • 15 Apr 2017 10:33PM
  • Happy, or Not?

    Pleased he didn't spot me! Cameras stick in the throat!

    • 14 Apr 2017 7:49AM
  • Cherry Blossom

    It needs more depth of field in my opinion. For a large group of blooms like this the very shallow depth just causes confusion. I would have reduced exposure and used flash fill with f11 or 16. That would give depth, bright blooms and a darker background due to flash fall off - thus increasing impact.

    Failing flash with manual exposure, set to under expose ambient slightly, thus using flash to illuminate the flowers, come down to 1/200 @f5.6.

    • 13 Apr 2017 2:03PM
  • Little Egret

    Difficult lighting and it shows. The only mod that comes close is the first by John with some decent tone in the water, but that is the problem, the very bright water. You should have tried less exposure, then brighten the bird with the dodge tool.

    Not bad, though, considering.

    • 13 Apr 2017 1:59PM
  • fire power

    The idea is superb, the technique not so good. I realise the exposure is long to get the circular effect and sparks but you needed a tripod and a firm base to give a sharp part to the image. Nothing is close to sharp and the figure in the background could have been?

    A lack of single sharp point spoils it for me. Did you shoot some with faster shutter speeds? Something nearer correct could be quite impressive.

    • 12 Apr 2017 9:07AM
  • Shadow lines

    Crop the top third off. It is heavily over exposed and pulls the eye. The concept change would then be one of improvement. Flare is also an issue on such images, and there is some present. Could try reducing density but reducing exposure initially was the correct step.

    • 12 Apr 2017 9:04AM
  • Little buddies

    A first rate family shot. I would have stayed with colour for such an image. There are some significant quality issues which may be from the original or may be partly a less than good conversion. The image is washy and flat. It needs both more density and contrast to give a full range of tones. You have some burn out in areas where tones have gone completely and a little burning in would help.

    Moira's mod deals with it. That is what your effort should have looked like.

    • 12 Apr 2017 9:01AM
  • It's Not A Rottweiler

    I like this one. Works well and has a smile value. The only time in my life that I have been bitten by a dog was one of these little sods - grabbed my ankle at a neighbour's house and meant it - fetched blood and unprovoked. Got a flying lesson on my boot toe so I was a bit unpopular for a while!

    However, I do like dogs - well behaved ones. Eldest son has two, a Griffon and a Shih Tsu.

    I tend to leave the third party conversion software alone. Providing the original has a good range of colour tone you should be able to do all you need with the channel mixer. I assume you are submitting prints? Remember to sharpen a bit more than for screen use and make sure the print tones are truly neutral, or the tone you require. I would go for good solid tones with a full scale of grays and not try and emulate film.

    • 11 Apr 2017 3:20PM
  • Magic Circle

    Effective. Changing this type of image results cin a different image, so leave it alone. A good idea and well executed so why change anything.

    • 11 Apr 2017 3:08PM
  • Messengers of eternity

    Yes, what have you done? The content and composition are both good - very good in fact. The tonal range looks wrong. Compressed and almost HDR? Looking at the shadow detail I actually suspect HDR has been used - possibly in pseudo form?

    • 11 Apr 2017 7:06AM
  • Chesterton Windmill - repost

    Yes, a good composition. The foreground is very heavy and grainy though. Far more than I would expect from ISO200 and a bit strong on the eye. The 'S' leads to the mill well, but would look at a contrast reduction in the foreground.

    • 11 Apr 2017 7:02AM
  • Mother and son bonding at Dudley Zoo

    good content, but half a stop over exposed. (How are you metering prior to your manual setting?) Better reduce exposure to deal with the highlights, then lift the darker tones with the dodge tool in processing. A much tighter crop would improve impact considerably as there is a lot of wasted space and this is a classic 'fill the frame' subject.

    Possibly a need for a smart sharpen but that might not do it as there is a touch of shake.

    • 10 Apr 2017 3:14PM
  • St.Peter

    I'm a bit different I fear. Not sharp enough for this kind of subject due to you 1/10 sec. There is shake and such shots demand biting sharpness. The face is all in the right half of the frame. A rather tighter crop to the back of the head and more room in front on the right, then a touch more light in his eyes.

    The idea and content is good, but technically not as good as your similar stuff this time.

    • 10 Apr 2017 3:11PM
  • The Moon

    The full moon is actually very bright and you should be able to get away with rather slower shutter speeds. I doesn't move far in 1/125 sec! A good solid tripod, timer or remote release to fire the shutter to prevent movement and f8 or 11. Stopping down a bit is important. Hardly a depth of field issue, but lens quality is an issue at maximum magnification with all the very long zooms - all of them.

    • 10 Apr 2017 7:22AM
  • Edinburgh 2 x C's (Castle & Cars)

    It is a perfectly good shot of a car park.

    • 9 Apr 2017 8:20PM