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Sooty_1's Activity

Sooty_1 > Sooty_1's Activity

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Forum Topics:2
Forum Comments:1397
Photo Comments:1326
Competition Entries: 0
Modification Uploaded: 146
A Sly Fag!

A Sly Fag! by paulbroad

I find a similar thing with many of these kind of shots....the depth of field. Separating your subject from the background is the difficult thing, whilst it gives context, it also adds clutter to what is effectively a candid portrait.

Whilst I know you're using f/8 to allow for small errors, a wider aperture will really help throw your subject into relief at these kind of ranges. Yes, you will have a lot of misses using your method, but the ones you nail will be more 3-dimensional. You can also use Fuji's face recognition feature to help pick the face out of the crowd, as long as it isn't moving too quickly. It isn't infallible, but it can help.



Fences by Relic01

One thing I think needs to be emphasised, is that there is not necessarily a "correct" exposure, only an exposure you want, that contains enough information for you to do what you want with the image.

Already this image has drawn a couple of different opinions of what the correct exposure is. As it stands, it's light, airy and conveys a bright summer afternoon. Willie says it is correctly exposed, because the histogram is well positioned and you haven't lost information off the edges. Tweaking it slightly will improve the blacks, but does every scene have to contain a full range of tones? No.

Ian considers it a little overexposed, and Robert has added contrast and "punch", effectively darkening some areas. I think the mono conversion has darkened the mood considerably, and is perhaps too heavy for the image, unless you want it changing to something brooding.

The question you need to ask yourself, is, "how do I want it to look?" Does it convey the scene you saw? There are a lot of very good images that are spoiled by overprocessing, and the diktat that "the histogram shall at all times remain between the lines, and the white and black points shall touch the bottom corners" does not have to be followed slavishly. As Willie says, it depends entirely on what you are shooting.

The whole point of taking control of the camera is to shoot what you want, how you want, and not have to accept the camera's opinion. By all means use the histogram as a guide (the in camera one should guide you as to the amount of exposure compensation you need, and screens aren't always accurate as a visual reference), but a bright sunny day doesn't have to look like a stormy one just because the histogram is a little out.

As far as this image is concerned, your first post looks fine on my screen. You aren't really close enough to make the most of the texture in the wood, and the composition tries to draw your eye off the right hand side, but as an exercise in learning manual exposure, it's pretty good. I didn't need the exif data to know it was a bright, sunny mid afternoon, but I might have struggled if I had seen the mods first.


Hay Making 2015

Hay Making 2015 by KymeWeb

It is indeed clean, sharp, well exposed....and static.

Shooting anything from side on results in a record shot and little else. You only need to look at car/train/aircraft/farming etc magazines to see that every photo is taken from a more dynamic angle, usually with whatever it is coming towards you.

This may have been improved by having the machinery much smaller in the frame and including more field, giving an environmental context. This should have separated it from the background more too. But as it is, probably only of real interest to a tractor/baler spotter.


At trails end

At trails end by Relic01

If you wish to learn how the various settings interact with each other, you need to get off any kind of preset mode, such as "Landscape", "Portrait", "Night" or any of the others. They all bias the jpg processing in camera and often mask what's happening.
Others to try not to use are things like "Intelligent Auto", "Auto ISO", or in camera settings like "Monochrome", "Vivid Colour" etc. these are fine for casual snappers, but if you aren't in control of the camera, then it is making decisions for you that you will struggle to correct later.

Of course, the best thing to do is shoot in RAW, so what you shoot is what you get and it's up to you to process it. If you must shoot jpg, I'd also suggest turning the saturation, sharpening and any dynamic range adjustments as low as they will go.

Then when you're more familiar with how it all fits together, you can experiment with other settings.

This image contains most of the things that make a decent photo: a good subject, a line to lead your eye around the frame and a pleasant setting. It naturally lends itself to colour, IMHO, with a touch of lightening to bring the colours up a little. I don't think the mono treatment really works in this instance, but I do like Dudler's square crop, and that in colour would be my preferred option.


Ps, converting to mono opens up a whole world of adjustments that someone struggling to get to grips with the basics doesn't really need to get into straight away. As you can see, it isn't just a case of desaturation, or a single click....tonal relationship adjustments are way more complex than that.

The Shed

The Shed by malcatch

I think this arrangement would work much better if we could see the shed better. As it is, from here, it's mostly on the reverse slope and half hidden. There isn't the feel of mystery, so I'm left wondering exactly what the picture is saying.

We've all seen days like this. I like the natural sunlit vibrancy of the grass, countered by the brooding monochrome of the sky, but I'm not really sure about the shed. Better if it was right on top of a hill and we could see the base, perhaps also better if it was smaller (less than half the size).

I also can't see it as minimalist, as there is too much detail all over the frame. If this was covered in snow, it would be minimalist.


Howth Harbour Lighthouse

Howth Harbour Lighthouse by ade123

I agree about the poor HDR treatment. It lowers the natural contrast and seems to add texture where there is none.
Nobody has mentioned the fact that it looks slightly off-vertical. The horizon appears to slope slightly (I know there is land there to affect the visual impression) and whilst nothing appears properly true due to the angles of all the surfaces, I appreciate the door and window frames are fine. I think it's due to looking slightly upwards with such a wide lens, but a tiny rotation makes it looks better.

I also think it better if the lighthouse leans slightly towards the sea rather than away from it, without exaggerating the tilt too much.
One other thing that would have improved this massively, would be to shoot it later in the day. The shadows and exif show it was not long after midday. By waiting till after 4-5 pm, the sun will move round and be much lower, which would then show much more modelling on the round tower, and bring out the brickwork detail much more. You would not need any artificial texture adding, and it would all look much more 3-dimensional.



Cheers by markst33

As with your previous efforts, a tricky set up, pretty well executed. Just small detail tweaks for me, for it to work fully.

The background shows traces of colour, like a cloud effect where it isn't quite blown to pure white. Selective brightening will help, but really it's attention to tiny details. All the edges are sharp and defined, so it shouldn't be hard to select the background alone to brighten it without affecting the drops and glasses.
Likewise, there are drops cut by the edge of the frame, and the effect is to draw your eye off the right side. Maybe a slightly looser crop, and/or clone out the drops disappearing out of frame, to give a more contained effect. It would be worse without the keyline, but as you have defined an edge, it's better to stay within it.
I would also think about rotating the image slightly anticlockwise, making the darker glass perfectly upright and maybe moving the glasses slightly to the left. This would eliminate the dead space on the left, where you're obviously thinking of using the thirds, and also make the droplets spray more into the corner, giving you more room for them.

One last thing, the keyline appears to be different thicknesses on different sides, but that may just be my screen.

As you can see, something so defined and clinical as this needs to be absolutely perfect for it to work properly, and there are only tiny faults that can be addressed fairly easily. Other than that, pretty good.


Push Bike.

Push Bike. by paulbroad

Sharpening is usually best at the end of the process.

I'm disquieted by the colour change across the frame too, it just looks odd, as if some processing has caused it, and yes, the haloes look like he's been cut out of another shot. Mono would be a better choice, I think, as it's quite a graphic image that doesn't need colour for any part of the story.

Whilst the Fujis are great cameras, they don't resolve distant fine detail very well unless everything is spot on, making them less than ideal for landscapers. There is no texture on the sand, and the details look like they've been added with a soft pencil.

Probably one of those shots that really should have something good in it, yet no matter what you do you can't bring it out. I have many.



Yellow by Relic01

You can see by the excessive edge definition that it's been heavily sharpened. The "noise" is, I believe, a crude attempt at high levels of luminance noise reduction followed by over sharpening, which is why it appears smeary, almost like it's been printed on a hairy fabric. This is classic where the individual pixels stop looking like points and start looking more like woven fibres, such as early versions of Lightroom, or freeware noise reduction.

In cases like these, it's often better to accept some noise rather than attempt to eradicate it, and don't sharpen so much everything has a halo.

IMHO, it's better to set in camera jpg processing (sharpening, saturation, noise reduction etc) off, or as low as it will go, then you will have more control when it comes to process on the computer. Bayou don't want to have to counter-correct what the camera has done, as all it will do is reduce quality.

The under exposure won't have helped, but there should be enough there to salvage a half decent image.


future skies

future skies by KatieMariePhotos

It's very rare that a sky or sunset can hold attention by itself. It usually needs something definable in the frame as a subject, and unfortunately here, there is little to stop your eyes darting around the clouds looking for something to fix on.

The formations themselves are quite attractive, and I'm sure you were struck by the grandeur at the time, but to convey the enormous sky in a small image is much harder than it appears. There are one or two quality issues too.

Firstly, it all looks a stop or two underexposed, which has the double effect of darkening the sky so it looks heavy, and darkening the foreground so much it's largely featureless, yet not enough to make it a true silhouette. I'm guessing there's a road or pathway there...?

Secondly, and allied to the above, the under exposure has caused an increase in noise(the pronounced graininess) and it's caused the image to appear blocky and ill-defined. The opposite of what you really wanted with those delicate clouds.

Thirdly, it has a real colour cast. If you really like blue sky, you need to adjust the colour balance and remove the greenness, then lighten it all to bring out the colour better. It may have been auto white balance that got it wrong. A top tip to remove colour casts is to whack the saturation all the way up, then try to get whites white, blacks black, and looking as neutral as possible, before lowering the saturation again. Then look at it and take the saturation further down, because it isn't just that that controls how good the colours look.

So, for this image, it needed to be exposed a little more, the colour corrected and something of interest to counterpoint the enormous sky included to hold the attention.
If this was taken on a basic camera, you will not have much control over some things, but most have adjustments for exposure and white balance, often for ISO as well. It might be interesting to see the original shot uploaded as a mod.


Starry night

Starry night by CalebAndrews

Welcome also.

As you can see from the mod, the aerial is quite a good subject to "anchor" the sky, and give it some visual terrestrial interest. The rest is just clutter, distracting from the wonderful sky, and is better left out.

The problem you may have is that an unlit subject against a dark sky may well be hard to distinguish. Here it's good (the black silhouette against the deep blue), but any darker sky and it may start getting lost. One idea is to "paint" light onto it during your long exposure, with a flash or a torch. This will have the effect of making it stand out against the dark. With a little playing, you can get the balance right so it doesn't dominate the sky, but adds a focal point of interest. The graphic shape and construction is great to use, as it can suggest communication, discovery, reaching out into space etc.

You have got the sky exposure spot on (or close enough for good processing) which is the key to this shot.


Pond in the park

Pond in the park by Porgee


As Willie says, it depends on the competition, but it's really nowhere near good enough quality for competition. Phone cameras are usually optimised for fairly close people shots and selfies (as that's what the manufacturers assume they will mostly be used for) so the distance resolution is usually poor....as you have found here.

From your description, I can see what your intention was, but there are a few details that occur to me.

The composition is a series of horizontal features that act as barriers, rather than guiding your eyes around the frame. It appears to slope slightly too, which could easily be corrected, but niggles nonetheless.
Far from distracting, the figures seem to be the main subject. When there are figures in the shot, they tend to draw the eye anyway, plus here there isn't much else in the frame to hold any attention.
The top corners of the frame are untidy as they contain distracting detail, and preferably could be cropped, cloned or minimised by blurring.

I assume it's a grab shot, but you really need a better recording method if you have any ideas of entering competitions, mainly for the extra control it gives you and the better quality of image. Even a reasonable point and shoot will be a step up from a phone.


Amelia - Shallow DoF

Amelia - Shallow DoF by Matt_UK

The guys above have covered some important points about focus techniques, and a (hopefully) willing subject should allow plenty of practice! The mods show a lighter feel makes a more delicate image, more suited to the subject, and black and white eliminates all the distractions away from her face.

The one important thing touched on above, is that the focus is out slightly on this one. Looking at the few hairs in front of her eye, that's where the plane of focus is, ie about a cm too close. With that in mind, enlarging will only magnify that, and the more you see it, the more it will niggle you and make you more determined to nail it next time.


Sitting fairy

Sitting fairy by marosmitro

The problem here is one of balance.
All the 'weight' of the image is on the right side, and the large lantern draws my attention away from the girl. There are four prominent lanterns on the right, against two less so on the left side.
A pleasant image though slightly surreal, and the pastel feel makes it dream-like. I think redistributing the lanterns more evenly (maybe losing the closest one altogether) would improve it tremendously.


What happened to the view?

What happened to the view? by Canonshots

Unfortunately, all you have is a picture of some tufts of grass. I'm sure you will agree, not the most captivating of subjects unless you are an agrostologist.
It probably means more to you as a memory of the place, than as a standalone image.

With weather like this, it lends itself to other forms of photography than landscapes. The soft even light is great for still life (plants, people, small details), or as Willie says, the others in your group. There is no subject here, and the lack of drama robs the image of anything you want to fix your attention on. Even close ups of the grass or flora would have more interesting details to see.

I can see what the pro meant, but there isn't much in the weather to work with, here.



Hope! by paulbroad

Quite nice, I find my eye drawn to the red and white stones on the left.
I can't process at the moment, but maybe a slight crop from the left, and clone those two rocks out, might be something I'd try. That and reversing the image horizontally.


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