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  • Fallen tree

    I feel this falls between several stools.
    The subject has many planes and projections, so from this range, very little will be in focus. If you increase the depth of field, the background will also be sharper and distract from the subject. Whilst narrow fields can emphasise the subject, here the out of focus parts detract, and the muted colour palette means your eye wanders around aimlessly looking for something to fix on.
    The textures on the log bear a closer examination, but aren't well enough defined to hold my attention, and the bright background dominates the foreground.

    On the positive side, it's a hard subject to do justice to, and the exposure isn't far out for the log, but overexposed for the background. Maybe a better angle to crop out the background and emphasise the textures more would have made a more successful image. Maybe moving back and showing the log more in context might also have worked.

    • 24 Apr 2017 9:50PM
  • tommy

    This is a much nicer image. The mud and grass is more natural as a base, and the background is more subtle. More ethereal. The sepia suits the subject too.

    A lot of images are converted to mono on the pretext that it is more artistic or more worthy. Or that a rubbishy image can be rescued by it. The truth is, some images lend themselves to mono, some to colour, and very few, to both. To me, this is a mono image.

    • 24 Apr 2017 9:35PM
  • Portland Bill Lighthouse

    Two issues spring to mind from your comments. Firstly, the moon is very bright compared to the low lit scene. It is after all a bright sunlit subject (like a midday shot), and would likely have an exposure somewhere around 1/500 @ f/5.6-8, ISO 100. Here, you are using an ISO of 6400 (6 stops more) and a shutter speed of 1/6 sec (over 6 stops more), so for the same aperture, you are overexposing by 12+ stops.
    Add to that, the moon is veiled by hazy clouds, and you have no chance whatsoever of exposing both moon and scene properly in one image.

    You can take two images at different exposures and combine them later (with the camera on a tripod so it doesn't move between shots), but tbh the effect is hard to make realistic as we know the moon is comparatively bright.

    A tripod would be a good idea anyway, as you can see using such a high ISO has flattened the contrast and generated a lot of noise (the speckle effect in areas of smooth tone). If you could immobilise your camera, you could use a much lower ISO for better quality, and a long shutter speed would not matter.

    The image could do with a small anti-clockwise rotation too, as the lighthouse is leaning a little.

    Not an easy subject to tackle without the right gear, and a bit ambitious, but you will only improve these shots by doing them and tweaking the settings. Shooting raw will help pull as much detail from the scene as is possible, but you can experiment at the time to see what is the right exposure for various parts of the image.

    • 24 Apr 2017 9:20PM
  • Flamborough Head Lighthouse

    I also think I see what you were after. For me, the extra buildings are a bit of clutter, and if possible I would have got closer and wider, and concentrated on the lighthouse only. Not sure of the timing or wind direction, but I feel a shot with the clouds more over the lighthouse would have had more drama. Either that, or use a slightly longer focal length from where you were and exclude the sun altogether. It's caused some ugly flare and further flattened the contrast.
    You have got a decent silhouette, and I guess you wanted that, rather than light and detail in the buildings, but the sky could do with a little more exposure to lose the slightly muddy tones.

    There is a picture in there somewhere, and I guess timing and the changing conditions dictated your actions, but I wonder what the sky looked like 5 mins, 10 mins, 30 mins later? Even after the sun set?

    • 24 Apr 2017 7:47PM
  • Daffodil White Daffodil Yellow

    As above for the points about texture and dark centre, but I'd suggest using a (large) white reflector to bounce light back into areas that require it at the taking stage. The danger is that too much manipulation can destroy the delicacy of the petals, whereas a better overall exposure will reduce the amount of processing required. For small localised dark areas, a compact mirror can serve as as well.

    • 18 Apr 2017 11:14PM
  • Glamour Studio Shot

    There appears to be light on her back as well, which can't come from the snoot, so perhaps a reflector was used or she was close to a white wall?

    The snoot has also caused a high contrast look on her face, which is not at all flattering and acts like a rim light, accentuating any flaw in the skin.

    For 'glamour' shots, more light from a larger source like a softbox (close to the model) gives a much better effect. Unless you are going for an artistic effect or low-key image, of course.

    I too keep thinking her behind looks massive, and the crop suggested in Dudler's mod is much better, as is the softening and colour adjustment.

    If you're going to use a snoot as a main light, it has to be aimed carefully for a particular reason, but it must be on the model's face if that's what you want to draw attention to. Here, it needed to be a little higher too, as the overall effect is a little like 'horror movie' lighting....often lit from a low angle.

    Most studio flashes have a good modelling light, so before shooting use it to see the effect the flash will have....the main light will do the same, only usually more! Keep trying, but beware that people setting up the lighting may possible not know any more than you!!

    • 6 Apr 2017 5:16PM
  • Der auto

    You don't appear to have changed the colour as much as desaturated it. It might be better to try changing the colour altogether and maintain the vibrancy. Perhaps a nice bright blue or green..

    You can do this by adjusting the hue and saturation, or the channel mixer if your software has either of those, to give just a couple of ways.
    It would then be a better way to tell if it's effective or not.

    And, it's "es tut mir leid", or just "tut mir leid".

    • 21 Mar 2017 7:39PM
  • Gilberts Mount

    It would be interesting to see a context shot, ie one without stitching or over processing. One reason is that I'd prefer a little separation between the bench and the base of the monument, and it would be interesting to see what was actually in the scene without cloning anything out.

    I think this might be better shot with a single image, in better light. Shooting numerous times in poor light will still yield a poorly lit image, so maybe it would be better to wait for the light. Shooting early or late in the day (depending on the orientation of the obelisk) with good sidelight would work better and bring out the textures of the stone and bench, without having to resort to aggressive sharpening.

    This place has potential for a great shot, but over complicating things reduces your chances. A simple wide angle shot, with better light might well be a surer bet.

    • 7 Jan 2016 7:32PM
  • Old playground

    Caffenol is capable of great results, as with any other developer, it's best with experimentation to standardise your film/exposure/development. Adding scanning into the mix just complicates matters, and I suspect that is the culprit for the muddiness.
    Willie has demonstrated how easy it is to correct, and at least a low contrast scan contains detail to bring out, though it looks like the original may be slightly underexposed too.

    I like the abandoned feel of the empty fairground, but I think there are better angles here, and my eyes are drawn to the figure on the left. The tree has a bit too much prominence, and it's darkness makes it competitive with the rest. Without seeing around the scene, it's hard to know what else you could have shot, but I can't help feel there was more to explore.

    • 26 Dec 2015 11:45PM

    I'm sure this has significance in Ontario, but as presented, it's just a record shot of a house, and a pretty dull photograph in dull light.

    I'm afraid it needs more dramatic lighting to make it a better picture, and more info to make it more interesting. Maybe a more dynamic angle, include more of the garden, get closer with a wide angle. And make it 1000 pixels wide!!

    • 25 Dec 2015 2:47AM
  • tumble for ya

    As above, re the flat processing. The real problem with these images, for me anyway, is that they just don't "pop".
    The tumblers don't stand out from the muddy muted colours of the crowd, and the best way to do that here is to use as wide an aperture as you can to try to separate the two parts of the image, ie, blur the crowd a little so the sharp performers stand out. A wider aperture would have allowed a faster shutter to freeze all the motion, and here it is the position of the acrobats rather than movement that is incongruous.
    It probably isn't the best view either, perhaps it would have been better to have the acrobats tumbling towards you for more impact, so moving to your left a bit and maybe get closer with a wider angle setting would help. Try different angles to see which works better.
    Perhaps set your cameras jpeg processing to higher contrast and vibrant colour to get rid of the dullness of the output.

    All these street performers you shoot are excellent subjects, happy to be photographed, yet you seem to shoot without really thinking things like which angle would give me most impact? How can I isolate the subject, or make it prominent in its surroundings? How can I bring out the humour or emotion in my subject?
    You keep posting image set after image set, yet still ask basic questions about how to improve. By now, with the amount of help you have had, you should know what you are looking for and how to achieve it. Great street pictures don't come by accident and careful processing, but by planning, reactions and knowledge, you consistently demonstrate none of these. You have to be able to visualise how the image will look and adapt position/composition/exposure to get the best, not just snap away and hope.

    This is another great opportunity that just got away, sorry.

    • 25 Dec 2015 2:36AM
  • Vacant Beach

    Whilst I can see where you're going with this, there are a few things that spring to my mind:

    Without the title, I wouldn't know that it wasn't a record shot of the tree, as it's sharp and central in the frame. Perhaps to convey what you're suggesting, using the tree fork to frame more of the beach would help.

    It looks a horrible dull day or it's seriously underexposed. Using a mono preset is one way to try to hide it, but the flatness and lack of shadows belie the poor conditions.

    It isn't really a vacant beach, as I can clearly see a daysack and gear on the table and lounger.

    The horizon has already been mentioned, but there seems to be an out of focus blur, bottom right. Maybe a bit of heavy handed vignetting, but it adds to the dark feel of the image and should be less obvious.

    If you could have isolated the parasols and loungers in the vee of the tree, and included more of the beach, I think it might have been more successful, along with a lighter exposure.

    It's good to try things out, but sometimes when the light conditions are against you, you need to think more about composition, lines, angles and graphic qualities to make the image more successful. Basic things like level horizons and getting the best possible exposure should be a given, and what you want in the image to have predominance. Should the tree be so dominant here?

    • 19 Dec 2015 1:29PM
  • White, light blue, grey and orange in a frame

    I'm afraid I'm with Dudler on this one.

    There is virtually no content, the colours aren't enough to hold attention, nor are they abstract to make a pattern. It also looks like you've made a poor selection around the hill to enhance the sky, and left little pale blue lines outlining the rock.

    A person in a red coat, standing on the central hump might elevate this, but otherwise, I'm sorry, it's a bit of a nothing photo, like the half frames you get when winding on a film to frame one.

    • 1 Dec 2015 10:56PM
  • Mt. Ruapehu (Exploding hole)

    Shooting in the mountains is much harder than you would think. All that grandeur, yet how to convey that in an image?

    The only way is to include something to give it scale, unless it has an iconic shape, otherwise you lose a little impact.

    The blue is normal for mountainous areas, and the best way is to add a little correction, either a 81 series filter on the camera, dial in a little correction on your camera's white balance, use "cloudy" or "shade" settings, or add a filtration in processing.

    That said, a perfectly acceptable record of a great location.

    • 1 Dec 2015 10:49PM

    Neither, though I prefer the colour version solely for the pink guitar.

    The scene is too busy, full of equally sharp (unsharp!) detail and figures, plus all the distractions of the street and shop. This isn't a study of the central character, but about the business of the street, which obviously wasn't your intent.

    The conversion is, frankly, awful - no full range of tones, in fact it looks very flat in a tone mapping kind of way, like you're trying to elicit every detail and make it all mid-grey. I also don't think the frame adds anything, and the text looks off-centre.

    In order to improve your street shots, you need to think about what the image is about, at the time of shooting. Your shots usually lack real impact because you shoot wider than you need. You aren't helped by a modest maximum aperture and often very poor light. That said, many great street shooters used wider lenses and wider apertures to isolate subjects, or made them bigger in the frame for impact. Using longer lenses and cropping can be useful, but as a standard modus operandi, it will not often engage the viewer in the scene. It would be more voyeuristic, if the scenes were more interesting.

    "If your shots aren't good enough, you're not close enough".
    Use your feet, get into the scene and look for impact. Isolate subjects like this with differential focus (easier if you're closer) or show them interacting with the surroundings, not like this, a disparate set of individuals with no connections.
    Personally, I think you'd be better off with a wide aperture, fixed length lens, like a 50 mm..you would have to move yourself to compose and the wider max aperture would allow you the option to use differential focus for more impact.

    Good street shooting isn't just taking pictures in the street. It's about showing interactions, contexts, characters, oddities. Titling your images shouldn't be necessary.

    • 1 Dec 2015 10:38PM
  • Nava_S_7-16-15--04AB

    I suspect the distortion is due to the curved film plane, as it is not really distorted in the vertical plane.
    A flat film might exhibit slight pin cushioning if very close to the subject (think about a Mercators projection of the world!) but it would be practically rectilinear.

    I like it, it's different - not a standard nude shot, and not using standard equipment. Nava must be good at holding the pose, because it wasn't a short exposure! The pinhole must be pretty close to optimum size, as it's still fairly sharp. A little more exposure (maybe reciprocity calculations a little out?) would be good, and maybe a little more contrast, but there is a mystery to it as it is.

    Other than that, almost impossible to critique, as there are no settings you could change, no zoom etc, so full credit for trying a different approach (I have a Harman Titan I haven't had a chance to try yet).
    There is still a large movement in pinhole photography.

    • 29 Nov 2015 8:54PM
  • Down stair

    I like the angles and shapes accentuating the modernity of the escalator, but I can't help being jarred by the fact that it isn't square on, nor is it angled enough to make that a statement in itself.

    I also think it bears a crop, both width and height, and a rotation to straighten the escalator. The colour here is largely superfluous (and it would make a good graphic black and white), but you could enhance it a little by lightening the picture, if you wanted to.

    I might also have waited to see if the figure, or anyone else, walked in line with the escalator, perhaps for slightly more symmetry. You could also have tried a more drastic angle to make the escalator a strong diagonal, if there was room, by moving to the right. Then the figure would have been perfectly placed!

    For me, this is close to being a very good image, with one or two tweaks.

    • 29 Nov 2015 8:28PM
  • Fisherwoman.

    To me, this is summed up by the word "bleak".

    I find it a decent record shot, but unless I had seen the title, I'd never have known she was anything to do with fish, and that's really the problem. There is little recognisable of context in the shot, though the mist does give it atmosphere. I also wish you'd included the top of the head!

    The X-Trans sensors are good at recording detail in wide tonal ranges, and a little lift in the detail of the figure wouldn't hurt. I wonder if you tried a version with a blip of fill flash?

    • 18 Nov 2015 9:34PM
  • Hollie

    Whilst I'm not averse to the shadow, I find the background unevenly lit around the periphery. There doesn't look like there is any deliberate vignetting, or any "spotlight" effect, so I'd expect it to be more even. With that in mind, I think it's a tiny bit underexposed, and a reflector to the left would add a little more light onto the nearer cheek (that is the shadow that stops this being a great shot, IMHO).
    It would be easy to address this in PP.
    The other stuff is mostly covered above, except that Hollie has a few skin blemishes which would benefit from a little cloning. Minor stuff, but unless blemishes/skin marks are a part of the model's look, they are better removed if possible.

    Very nearly a great shot.

    • 18 Nov 2015 9:16PM
  • Fences

    Can't really add too much to what's been said, except that at the time of shooting, if you aren't sure what the exposure should be (or if it's a once only occasion) you can always take several exposures around the metered value: this is called "bracketing". If you take a shot at the metered value, then one a couple of stops under exposed and one a couple over exposed, you should have enough latitude to work with if your actual metered exposure isn't quite right for what you want.

    Most cameras have an automatic bracketing function you can set, so with one press of the shutter it will take 3 or 5 shots at different exposure values over and under the camera's reading.

    It's a good learning tool as well, as you get to see the effects of different exposures on a subject, and you can learn when and where particular adjustments are necessary, and it allows you to learn to control the exposure for what you want, rather than letting the camera make all the decisions.

    • 25 Oct 2015 1:02AM
  • Low Key Portrait

    Leading on from John's comments, a small beauty dish is, I'm afraid, an oxymoron. All it does is give your speed light a different shape. Using them for portraits is going to give you small, harsh lighting effects. Better to get a reasonable sized softbox (say at least 2' square) for your speed light, which will give you far more options for portraits. A beauty dish needs to be at least 18" diameter to soften the light appreciably.

    That said, it is possible to get good images with what you used here, but you'll have to work the light hard and within the limitations of a small light source.

    I also agree that an off-centred composition would be more harmonious, and you need a stop or two more light. You can always darken a little it in processing for a moody feel, but it's harder to lighten dense shadows without introducing colour artefacts.

    • 23 Oct 2015 10:47PM
  • Early Morning Light

    A nice idea to use detail to convey the atmosphere. I'd have liked to see the nettle entirely within the light area, so looking down slightly more from closer, and perhaps a small crop from either side to tidy the composition up a little. Having the one on the right draws the attention away from the centre.

    It could be sharper, but that may be due to the resizing/uploading process, and the out of focus stems are still evident, though there isn't much you could do about them except get closer to them.

    Another option was to find an angle where the plants are sidelit against a dark background. It's good to look for alternative angles though, and this wouldn't be immediately obvious to many.

    • 1 Oct 2015 10:03AM
  • Sizes!

    Had to? Why?

    I don't see the point of this one, sorry.

    Technically fine, but what is the subject? Bottoms? Fat people? Markets? Maybe better aesthetically to isolate the two girls, but the subject matter may be construed as contentious if you're using their size as the subject.

    • 1 Oct 2015 9:51AM
  • Girls on a Train

    It was taken on a Leica, therefore you are free to ignore any and all criticism.

    For me, it works better as a rectangle than a square. I find the square crop more static, though a tiny crop from both sides tightens it all up a little.
    The fact is, there are two seats, as there are on large parts of most trains (tube or otherwise). You shoot what you see, not what you would like, and I like the contrasts between the two girls and their chosen reading methods.
    A little more contrast is ok, but it's more about the observation of life, and perfection is subjective. As is, I'd say it was close to a "typical" Leica street shot.


    Ps, when you're finished with the Summilux........Wink
    • 29 Sep 2015 12:24PM
  • art of the selfy

    Personally, I don't think the second version works, as you need the context of the surroundings to make the most of the "tourist" look. It's too closely contained.

    The first is ok, but very muted, due to the dull day. A lift of colour and contrast would help. What really jars though, is the text. I find it unnecessary as the image should stand for itself, but the letter spacing is all over the place. Have you tried justifying the text box to at least even it out?

    Black and white would work too, as long as it wasn't over processed.

    • 14 Sep 2015 10:35PM
  • Red Arrows

    As you have no doubt discovered, it's not as easy as it looks!

    It shouldn't be hard, mostly a clean background, single subjects, predictive paths, yet nailing exposure is tricky, getting a good composition is hard, and making the aircraft look attractive can be hard too.

    This is a little cluttered, though exposure and settings look ok. Shooting like this, it's usually better to add a little positive exposure composition, to compensate for the bright sky fooling the meter, though here you've got away with it due to the overcast. A brighter sky would give darker aircraft, even semi silhouettes. Also, with jet aircraft, you can use as fast a shutter speed as you need to freeze them, props and helicopters require a speed slower than the rotational speed of the blades to avoid freezing them and making them look static.

    There are several pictures here, mostly smaller groups and single aircraft, as usually, the Reds are better photographed where the formation looks symmetrical or 'cleaner'. The crossing lines and partially obscured aircraft are a bit untidy, yet are images in themselves. Practice makes perfect! That and watching their display several times so you know what's coming next.

    • 6 Sep 2015 10:04PM
  • It must be love, love love....

    Yup, exactly what second shooter is expected to get, and well got!

    I would also crop and clone out the sign upper left, but otherwise, great shot. Black and white treatment gives it a semi-timeless quality, and these are the type of shot people will still look at long after the day.
    Formal shots are good, but the "behind the scenes" pictures are just as valid in telling the story of the day.

    • 6 Sep 2015 9:14PM
  • Boat House by the Loch.

    This has the appearance of quite a lot of tonemapping. Though I appeciate the scene is predominantly greens, they are a little overdone, and apart from the trunks either side, most of this image is around the same tone. It needs more tonal range and colour balance to make it more attractive.

    It's also a very busy scene, and the abundance of fine detail close to the camera prevents me immediately seeing the main subject. There is also the green shed that vies for attention, despite it being largely hidden, and I wonder if there is another angle that would exclude it. I think there is too much fussy detail, and a clearer main subject would stand out more, perhaps if some of the sharp branches were cropped or blurred. Stepping back and using a longer focal length would have flattened the perspective slightly, allowing the subject to be bigger in the frame, yet keeping the trunks either side. It could even have been darkened around the edges to give the impression of peering through undergrowth at a brighter lit subject.

    The main problem for me though, is the obvious HDR effect, which would be better if toned down a lot.

    • 6 Sep 2015 9:09PM
  • Beauty

    I like it that the front model is engaging with the camera, and the haughty indifference of the other two. The mixed lighting spoils it for me, really.

    Not a fan of figurines myself, but there is exquisite detail in these.

    • 28 Aug 2015 12:11AM
  • Sleeping in the sun

    1. You aren't taking advantage of them, but of the situation. If you were making money from the sale of the image, there may be slight qualms, but your first instinct was correct, as far as I'm concerned. Get the shot first, worry about the niceties afterwards.
    2. Are they really homeless? Or are they just without accommodation while visiting the festival? People frequently arrive without planning first, hoping to find something there, only to find everywhere booked up. Sleeping rough is not unusual.
    3. It's a decent grab shot....the couple on the bench are a subject in themselves, as is the guy in the background, perhaps a slight change of position right to isolate the separate subjects would result in two better pictures.
    4. I can't help but see the angles of the bench and windows. Having got this shot, I would have moved to try to square it up; what with them sitting at one end of the bench, they would make a nice off centred composition and be framed by the background.
    5. The monochrome treatment is fairly high contrast, but not too bad for the subject. You possibly didn't need the 1-stop under compensation, but there are a good range of tones to work with.

    • 27 Aug 2015 9:32PM