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08/10/2015 - 11:42 AM

Night Portovenere.

Night Portovenere.One thing I've come to realise with you, Alexander, is that when you 'do' colour you really 'do' colour!! Grin

Normally, I find the warmth of some of your shots too much but oddly for me, in this instance I quite like it. I think that's because of that gorgeous, inkly blue sky and the way it balances and complements the warmth of the rocks. Yes, technically, the rocks are way too red but I don't think I'd take them back that much - maybe just a tad.

I find blues one of the hardest colours to post process as they're prone to breaking up easily. However, here the blue in the sky is like velvet - smooth and deep Smile In fact, I could look at that sky all day long and forget the bottom half of the image Grin

But as an overall scene, I think it works rather well.

07/10/2015 - 2:35 PM

China Town

China TownThere's nothing useful I can add to what's been said above; mainly because candid street photography isn't my kind of thing but also because they've said what needs saying Smile

You will always get a better mono conversion from a colour image as a basis. If you take the image in mono mode in the camera, and then a few weeks later wonder what it might have looked like in colour, you're kind of stuffed as you don't have the colour original to go back to!

I can't do you a mod at the moment, as I'm without Photoshop currently. However, looking at your original image, there's part of me that's tempted to have more of that shutter on the left showing. Not all of it, as it does contain a few burnt out highlights that would be a nightmare to dodge down, but just enough of the shutter to give a counterpoint of interest in the image, and something for the viewer to wonder about. What's behind that shutter that's so boring they're looking the other way? Those are, for me, the kind of things in this kind of street photography that I find fascinating. Us humans are some wonderfully weird, ecclectic things and the art of people watching is something I can do all the time - I just have no interest in photographing it for some reason!

I think you should definitely pursue the street photography route, though, as I like the way your mind's working with seeing potential scenes like this one Grin

05/10/2015 - 5:04 PM

Blond & Baby

Blond & BabyI think it's actually a lovely image - 85mm is a great choice of lens for this kind of photography, and you've caught a beautifully gentle moment here. I think the Levels need a bit of a tweak to make the blacks really black, which I've done in my mod. I've also added a bit of a soft blurring effect around the edges of the people, as I think this gets rid of the sharper background tree (plastic?!) and other details which aren't really adding anything to the image.

I did a bit of a crop, too, keeping to your original proportions and added a soft vignette to really focus attention on the figures themselves and let the rest of it fall into darker tones, and a bit of Smart Sharpen to finish things off.

02/10/2015 - 1:07 PM


ForgottenHi Marius - well, I'd just got to the stage where I was about to upload my mod, having written a huge great detailed comment to go with it, and my PC crashed! Although it saved the mod okay, everything I was going to say got scrapped ...

So, in order to save my fingers - the summary of what I had written is this: I love the solitary feeling of your image, and I've got no idea what that structure is or was used for. However, I personally find your image a bit too blue and cold. Now, whether that was because you used an Auto white balance, and the camera tried to compensate for the warmth of the sunset, seeing it as a colour cast to be removed; or whether you deliberately introduced that hue along with other changes you made at the post processing stage, I don't know. All I do know is that I'd prefer to see the image warmer Smile

So that's what my mod does - warms things up quite a bit, so that hopefully the froth on the water looks more natural, and introduces a different feeling. I've also tried to compensate for the disparities in light intensity in both sides of the image (it's far lighter on the left than it is on the right).

I had written out the precise values of the adjustments I made in ACR, but rather than go back and try and do that again, I'll just say that if you're interested, PM me and I'll give them to you that way instead! Grin

Anyway, have a look at the mod. You may not like it warmer, and that's fine as it's only my interpretation of your image Smile

01/10/2015 - 5:05 PM

Bee on flower

Bee on flowerWell, apart from a little overall softness I'd say the glass has done you proud in this instance Smile I really like the soft out of focus background and flower, but have done a very quick mod where I've just given the image a little Smart Sharpen (60% at a 0.8 radius). It's subtle, but it does help the little hairs on the bee and the flower stem stand out a little more.

Other than that, though, it's a lovely macro image.

01/10/2015 - 9:57 AM

Pretty Birds all in a Row

Pretty Birds all in a RowWithout wanting to offend you, it would have been so easy to pass this one by as the thumbnail doesn't really give a hint of what's within the image. Thankfully, I didn't Grin Yes, it's minimalist to an extreme, but I love it. Colouration and textures are beautiful.

Although the horizontal line is almost dead centre across the image, it does work. It could stand a small amount of cropping either top or bottom, but that's very much a personal choice. If it was mine, I'd be tempted to remove one or two birds on the left hand side, just to even up the gap between the edge of the frame and echo the right hand side, but again, that's a personal thing.

I really like the non-conformity of a couple of the birds in the row ... for me, that's what takes it from potentially boring and makes me look at each and every bird, just to see the differences or similarites between their stances Smile

25/09/2015 - 11:31 AM


ChloeLuckily, I personally wasn't distracted in the slightest ... Grin

I think your second mod is way better than the image as presented above, which as others have said is slightly too warm in tone. Looking at your heavy crop mod above, it does really show the quality of the original photography, as well as what you've done to it in terms of processing techniques.

It's not a technique I've ever used (although I have now googled and bookmarked for future reference!) but I think in terms of a technique for high-end retouching, it works very well. Being able to seperate the skin's textures from the skin's tones and work on each independently is a powerful way of retouching.

In the image above I think your dodging and burning is really good, as it does help to add modelling to the girl's face, which in turn changes the face shape to quite a large extent. My only concern with what you've done is that she's got a slightly plastic look to her ... which some may well like, but she's such a naturally pretty lass to start with that it's almost a shame to take away some of that 'as is' quality to her - does that make any sense?

I can't really fault your technique as I don't know enough about it to do that, but I personally would like to see it just taken rolled back a bit to result in a more naturally 'perfect' portrait.

25/09/2015 - 10:44 AM

True Love is

True Love isI like the way the two figures kind of make a heart-shape with the lower halves of their bodies; I like the way the stark red behind them is the first thing you see and then you notice the rest of it; I really like that little splodge of orange light in the centre of the heads - like a true setting sun.

If I was gonna be picky (who, me?!) I'd say that the outlines of the silhouettes themselves could be sharper and more defined, as I'm finding the slight softness of them difficult to resolve with my eyesight. But then again, in a way that's also a plus point, as it's indicative of that warm, fuzzy feeling when you're in love Smile

It's good Grin
18/09/2015 - 3:51 PM

Morning shave

Morning shaveAs a gentleman's iconic shaving equipment, does it have photographic merit? Of course it does! Wonderful items (even if the brush is the only original 'old' thing there); they remind me of my dad - he still uses this kind of equipment to this day - doesn't get the 'modern' method of electric shavers and 'modern malarky' like that Grin

There seems to be a fractional tilt towards the right hand side (I'm using the tile edge at the bottom of the frame as a reference point) but when I tried to correct for that, it kind of looked odd, because then the window itself seemed out of kilter too. You've got such a closely cropped image to start with that any fiddling along those lines on my part took away the intrinsic charm of the whole image, as well as bringing some of the elements themselves way too close to the edge of the frame.

So all I've done in my mod is to (a) remove the obvious reflection of the shaving mirror reflector in the double-glazed window pane, (b) added a touch of contrast and (c) crop the slightly off horizontal strip of the bottom.

Other than that, though, it's a very nostalgic image that I'm sure many men will be nodding at!

14/09/2015 - 11:06 AM

House on the Loch.

House on the Loch.I doubt you'll agree with me on this, but the original image is so lovely I'm kind of at a loss as to why you just didn't put it up the way it was - it's actually a gorgeous scene! Still, in the spirit of modding and in line with what I said above, I've done you two mods to have a look at:

Mod 1 is essentially your original image, but with a neutral density gradient applied, to try and bring the lighter left hand of the sky into balance with the right hand side.

Mod 2 is (admittedly) played with a bit, but in what I personally feel is a style which is sympathetic to the landscape and inkeeping with the threatening mood of the weather. No, it's not as vibrant or colourful as your original image, but it is just another way of looking at, and interpreting, the same scene. Mod 2 started out as Mod 1, but has then had a gradient map applied to it, and some photographic toning added to it to give it sepia highlights and then another black and white layer on top of that, set to its neutral density preset, to give the contrast range a bit of an oomph Smile

Both have had a border added, to try and give the appearance of how it would appear in a frame on a wall somewhere.

(And it's fine if you hate them both; I won't mind in the slightest! Grin)


(PS - I forgot to say that I cropped the original a little, too.)
11/09/2015 - 5:06 PM


SparksWell, I can see sparks and they're very effective, so I'd say that worked out rather well! Grin

I like this one ... there's a lovely sense of intense concentration from the man and random chaos from the sparks. Yes, a pretty high ISO has given you some slight noise in the image but it certainly doesn't massively detract from it overall. I like the way the man's bent over back is echoed by the direction of the sparks out of the back of the cutter, and the arm coming down to connect the two and provide a link between human and machine.

I think apart from a minor crop on all sides to remove some distracting elements and a bit of spare foreground, and a slight adjustment to midtones, there's not a lot about this I'd personally change. Perhaps a slight reduction in noise, but very little else. All done in my mod for you Smile

Good job!
25/08/2015 - 12:43 PM

Brigde too heven

Brigde too hevenHello Harald - welcome back to the critique gallery Smile You haven't said what aspects of this image you'd like feedback on, but I will tell you that I like it very much, pretty much as it stands.

I think you've done very well indeed to remove virtually all traces of the vegetation and the water underneath the bridge. Yes, it's give you a very dark image, but that's what I like so much about. However, I do think that your editing has made the tones a little flat and lacking in contrast. I can understand why, as in order to get rid of the unwanted elements, you needed to go this dark. What I'd personally like to see is a little more detail in the central walkway itself, and perhaps a little more focus on the looping rope down the sides of the bridge.

One other thing that I think would suit this image enormously is a square crop. This is all about formality, straight lines and linear shapes. The only deviation from that really is the loops of the rope - like a little piece of rebellion in amongst all that rigidity and formality Smile

So my mod helps this feeilng along a bit - a square crop, some adjustments in Levels to bring up a little more mid-tone detail, and I've also brought out the red of the rope more, to catch the eye and take it forward along that wonderful bridge.

I don't know why, but looking at this image while doing the mod made me think of the game Chess ... whether it's because the shape of the bridge as it disappears into the distance is reminiscent of the shape of the rook (or castle), I don't know. But I do like it Grin

Anyway, have a look at my mod and see what you think. It would also be great if you can let us know what you wanted to achieve with this image, and whether you think you did that?

I hope you're enjoying the site so far Smile

24/08/2015 - 4:54 PM

Did you want something ?

Did you want something ?
Quote: Just to say that i have never before been tempted to describe buttocks as epic. Or architectural...

Er, no ... neither have I, although I have used the term 'perky' before ... but epic? architectural? Nope Grin

I've just noticed Pitter's comment above about the chest and gone and had another look ... and he's right. There's a definite case of under-side-boob going on there! If you look at the cleavage line down the middle of the chest, and then look at the arc of the breast side behind the elbow - the scale's wrong. Not something I noticed before.

Have you changed the way you do hair? When I look back at, for example, this one - the hair's much more flowy and natural looking. Here, it has a texture that is different, a bit translucent and see-through both in the wispy fly-away bits, and the plaits themselves, but I'm not sure it's natural looking?

23/08/2015 - 5:32 PM

i don't do selfies

i don't do selfiesLexi, just out of interest, where did you place the reflector? As far as I can see, it's actually not doing a lot to help any residual shadows in the face, although it has lit the neck area quite nicely ...

Your eye sockets are still quite dark (and yes, I know you're wearing eye shadow, but that's not what I mean) and if you look closely underneath the nose, there's a fairly deep shadow coming away at an angle, towards the left of the image (as I'm looking at it).

Brollies, although good, aren't as flattering as using a softbox because (a) brollies, by their very nature, scatter the light across a broader range and (b) the light is then less controllable. You can get a softbox (among other things) for your speedlight (google the ExpoImaging Rogue range of accessories) and that would be much more flattering. The other thing, if you've got a second flashgun that you can set to 'slave' and dial in a lower power output, is to use that on the other side of the main light. If you can't adjust the power output that much, just physically move it further away.

Your skin smoothing is good, but be wary of going too far and making the skin look plastic (I know you know that, but I'm still saying it Tongue). With the right lighting, you won't need to do much softening at all ... if you get a moment, google Strobist: Lighting 101 - lots of good advice on there about using speedlights as the main source of lighting. (It's something I'm currently getting into myself, so I did find lots of good info on that site.)

And on top of that ... none of us like 'criticism' on our images, especially if they're of our good selves, but ... cheer up a bit?!! Grin To say you look nervous and like you really don't want to be there is an understatement!!

Feel free to tell me to get knotted any time around now ... Wink

21/08/2015 - 1:14 PM

Kayla Sr. Pic

Kayla Sr. PicI personally love the pose - it's relaxed, it's chilled (a youngster's word, that one!) and I think your setting is lovely and natural. She's got some great shapes happening in the limbs, none of which look awkward at all.

She also has the glowing skin associated with youth - even if it is bruised in places because she plays sport - and a twinkle in her eyes. She's obviously very comfortable around you, and this shows beautifully in the relaxed feeling in the image Smile

My mod is similar to the others', although I've gone for a slightly squarer look and although I've reduced some of the space above her head, I've retained some of that space on the left as I think it balances the image overall - it also shows a context, which is very nice indeed in your original shot.

I took the yellow tones down a touch (hopefully not too much) and did a little cloning on some of the bruises and marks on her face. I removed the branch sticking into her back (which Parob pointed out above) and that was about it. I don't mind the level of clarity in the background at all, and I personally wouldn't blur it any more than it is already. It's unobtrusive enough to not to distract.

I think it's a great shot and hopefully she will too Grin

Blowin in The Wind - (Bob Dylan)I was about the press the 'Vote' button, then realised it wasn't there!! (Which I suppose is a comment in itself ... Smile)

I think this is simply beautiful. If I had to suggest anything, it would be for a fraction more space on the left, to equal what's above that lonesome petal, and perhaps a touch more exposure.

My mod (not that I really need to do one) has both of these things done - I've added +0.43 exposure, which brightens things up a touch, without (hopefully) losing that wonderful mood of your original.

Bellinzona, Switzerland, night, castleVery sorry to hear about your troubles while travelling, Alexander - it's always horrible if you get your kit nicked like that, and the only real consolation is that it didn't happen while you were walking around with it, and so you remained physically safe.

I love the way the foreground rocks here lead the eye into and then through the image, to that corner tower and beyond. Yes, the little bit of bright tree foliage on the left of the image is a bit distracting, and I like what John's done in his mod by removing it (even though I now find myself wanting to fill that side with something ...).

I'm going to try something weird with my mod, which may or may not work, so if it does I'll pop back in a minute and upload it ...

Welcome back Smile

12/08/2015 - 12:23 PM

Night in Roscommon

Night in RoscommonThis isn't something I've ever tried myself, and in your image above I can see stars, the Milky Way and lit trees so on that score, I'd say it's definitely a success Grin

In terms of the image itself, I'd be tempted to clone out that little stand of dark tree tops in the bottom right corner, and a small one on the left of the image next to the smaller lit portion, as I think these are distracting. I really like the way the lit trees in the bottom left and top right corners are framing the stars and Milky Way.

I can't advise in terms of camera settings, having never done this - so hopefully someone else will step in with any necessary advice on that score.

But I like it - it's almost abstract in a way, and that appeals to me Smile

03/08/2015 - 12:50 PM

Nature's subtle beauty

Nature's subtle beautyWith the highlight top left, how much have you already tried to bring it back in post processing? (I notice you shot RAW ...) If you've brought it back as far as you can, without losing some of the delicacy of the light in the rest of the image, I'd say leave it as it is. Unless you're pretty nifty on the PS side of things, fixing that in PS could, potentially, cause more issues than it solves?

It certainly doesn't bother me as it currently stands, and in a way is an integral part of the light shafts across the rest of the image. With it in, there's a reason for the light shafts that the viewer's brain can understand; without it, the brain might perceive 'something' missing in the image and although they might not be able to put their finger on it, something would feel out of kilter Smile

28/07/2015 - 12:53 PM


WeedsHi Sparsh ... so you got the new camera then?! Grin (I've just read back over some of the comments on your previous uploads.) I really hope you're enjoying using it and exploring all that it can offer you.

One thing that would help enormously is that you include all the EXIF data when you upload an image. It might be that you did a 'Save for web' which may well strip out that important information. It's easily added though - go to the Options tab underneath the photo and click on 'Edit photo'. In there, you'll find a tab called 'Exif' ... click on that and you should be able to add the necessary information. Alternatively, add it as a comment here underneath the photo - it helps the critique team by letting us see what settings you used to take the image, and lets us suggest other ways of doing things if necessary.

I like your image above. I really like the simplicity of it, and how you've concentrated on just one flower, allowing the background to blur into a soft supporting act for the beautiful flower in front. I know you say it's a weed, but I've always thought that a weed is just a flower growing in the wrong place! Some weeds are absolutely beautiful Smile

Here, although I like the wider landscape format (i.e. the image is wider than it is tall) I think this one flower could be shown to better effect in a square format crop. So that's what I've done in my mod ... cropped to square. One of the reasons I've done this is that normally, the 'rules' say that a main subject shouldn't be placed in the centre of the image. However, with a square format, you get to do exactly that and it's a format that allows the attention and focus of the image to be about that one thing - the subject. The square format can also help emphasise the shape of your main subject, too ... here, the elongated stalk and delicate flowers are contrasted nicely by the 'formality' of the square frame.

I've adjusted the contrast of your image a touch, to give it a little more drama and also upped the vibrance overall to help the image 'ping' off the screen. A small amount of sharpening as well, as the original was a little soft.

Anway, have a look at the mod and see if you think it improves things at all Smile