Back Modifications (1)
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Garden Lights

By Sone  
This was taken with a Canon 600D

Aperture: f/8
Shutter: 30 sec
ISO: 200
Lens: 18-55mm
Focal length: 33mm
Tripod was used

Tags: Flowers and plants

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This photo is here for critique. Please only comment constructively and with suggestions on how to improve it.


alistairfarrugia 4 164 88 Malta
30 Mar 2013 12:19PM
Hi there. I'll try be the first to offer some critique here. First off, may I congratulate you on the original subject. It's not often we see pictures of garden lights here. This, however, is the first element I'll tackle - what was it that made you take the picture? What effect or theme were you after? Did you want to send across a particular message with this photo?

One suggestion I can put forward is to maybe use a different angle on the light, maybe go for a much lower angle to show the lights as a taller object, sort of imposing on the surrounding flowers and leaves. You would get very low and aim high, position the bulb on a third intersection, and ensuring that the glow from the lighting would brighten up the nearby leaves, as was done with the above picture. The edges of the image would then be darker where the glow fades out, and it would form a natural vignette, once again, as is already the case with your original upload. I like that element.

One further element that you could try show more of is the pebbles on the floor. This would give you three different elements - the flowers/plants, the lighting, and the pebbles. At present, the pebbles barely show and it's an otherwise nice element that maybe should have featured more in the image.

I'll try my hand at a mod soon and upload.


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alistairfarrugia 4 164 88 Malta
30 Mar 2013 12:39PM
Straightened a bit (1.6 degrees counter-clockwise), adjusted colours through simple brightness/contrast correction, added some sharpness after resizing, re-composed by placing the bulb on the top-left third intersection and added frame to close off the darker parts with a contrasting white line running throughout (frame). This helps "close" the image in my mind, whereas in your original upload the lack of frame made the image sort of "spill" across the page, enhancing the fact that the bulb was too centrally positioned in the original upload. With a frame, you strengthen the composition using the rule of thirds as guideline.

Hope this helps!
Sone 3 2 South Africa
30 Mar 2013 12:46PM
Thank you!

Thia was taken as homework for a course i was attending. The excercise was how to work with you're lightmeter and certain exposures. We had to take pictures of amusement parks, casinos, staircases, tunnels, city streets, highways, and so on. It began at an aperture of 1 sec, and went on as follows: 2sec, 4sec, 8sec, 15sec, and 30 sec. As the aperture changes, the picture goes from dark with little detail to more detail. That picture was the last one (30sec). I have PLENTY more of my homework I want to share, and some of my own experements as well.

Thanks fot your comment&
mrswoolybill Plus
9 986 1500 United Kingdom
30 Mar 2013 3:47PM
Welcome to the site, I hope that you enjoy it - it's a good place to learn.
I like the challenges that you are being set, they give a lot of scope for creative interpretation.
Alistair has covered the main points and his Mod is an improvement. I would just add that a 30 second exposure is risky when taking a close-up of an outdoor subject like this, I suspect that there was a hint of breeze and you have some subject movement, that's why some leaves look soft.
You're shooting jpegs - has anything been said on your course about using RAW? You're obviously being asked to tackle some very tricky light conditions, and RAW would allow you a lot more scope to adjust the light in your images.
Just as a point of terminology, aperture refers to the size of the hole that allows light through the lens (the lower the f number the larger the aperture), the figures that you quote are shutter speed - the length of time for the exposure.
Looking forward to seeing more coursework.
Sone 3 2 South Africa
30 Mar 2013 4:22PM
Thank you Moira, i will upload more course homework. And yes, I know about RAW, but the reason I am not using it yet is because I dont have the proper program to do my editing on RAW, but I will soon have it. I would certainly play with the RAW files and see how it goes. Which program do you guys prefer to download for an Intermediate photographer like me?

I have to lear how to use these programs used for editing, because I am not used to change my images, haha I am just having fun. I have had a few photos that were nice but not good enough and there editing would have helped.

Thank you for your comment*
Sone 3 2 South Africa
30 Mar 2013 5:09PM
Please do go to my photos under the COURSE HOMEWORK album for more examples of my work
mrswoolybill Plus
9 986 1500 United Kingdom
30 Mar 2013 7:53PM
I haven't used free downloads for years, I'm hoping someone with recent experience will come in here, but perhaps look at GIMP? I've heard very divided opinions on it, some people love it, some hate it.
If you were able to look at purchased software, Adobe Elements would give you everything you need and I assume that you would qualify for a student discount.
Sone 3 2 South Africa
30 Mar 2013 8:33PM
I have seen elements and it looks easy to use and fun. Perhaps I would get the student discount. hehe Smile Thank you for all your help! Means a LOT *
paulbroad 9 116 1064 United Kingdom
1 Apr 2013 5:00PM
Make sure that you fully understand what a good image looks like before you venture into RAW. RAW gives the best results but only if you understand the conversion process. You are calling shutter speed aperture, so I suspect you need to step back and think a bit.

You have used a shutter speed of 30 sec at f8 here and I find that difficult to believe. This close to a light source, 1/30sec at f8 would be more likely. I trust you used a tripod because things are not terribly sharp. If the execercise was on metering, what meter mode did you use and what did you meter from? The light? The shadow?

With a digital camera and subject like this use manual and check exposure on the LCD which will help with exposure assessment. If you really want to know the in and out of metering, beg or borrow a hand light meter.


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