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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

20/07/2015 - 5:14 PM

Little Devotee

Little DevoteeI've done a very quick mod for you, where I've cropped to a square format as I feel this adds a solemnity to the image. I've also removed some of the remaining background distractions, the top one simply by virtue of cloning a piece of the ground from the left hand side and flipping it horiziontally to replace that top right corner; the bottom right corner I just used a soft black brush to darken the area down, and then used a lower opacity to help it blend a little more. A small amount of sharpening to finish things off Smile

See what you think, anyway.

20/07/2015 - 5:02 PM

Little Devotee

Little DevoteeIrrespective of who this youngster is a devotee of, that's one heck of a compelling stare!!

I agree about the distracting background but also understand that in a grab shot, it's not always possible to do a visual check in the viewfinder. It's a good habit to get into, but doesn't always happen in the excitement of a great photo opportunity Smile

13/07/2015 - 1:58 PM

Unfinished image

Unfinished imageHiya Nishant - I've had a play, as you'll probably see from the mods Grin I've done you two to have a look at.

I like the original, with the church, although the shape of that tree is wonderfully eerie. I don't know what you were trying to do initially, or what kind of image was in your head, but I've masked out the tree from the landscape image and popped it into the other one with the sky. Resized a little to try and get the proportions right(ish) and added a Levels adjustment layer, darkened quite a lot, but then using a black brush on the layer's mask to bring back some light in a couple of places (the top of the sky is darker than your original, I think).

Mod 2 is basically Mod 1, but with a colour adjustment to take down some of the pinky blues a bit, and try and give a more of a more eerie feeling.

I don't know whether those two mods will give you any ideas or not?

I don't think the amount of stars is too much, by the way - it's the Milky Way, it has stars, what's the problem?! Wink
I also don't know how wedded you are to the idea of the foreground in the tree image - I find it a bit bland, to be honest, and not enough dips and troughs to make it interesting?

Other than that, I don't know!! Have a look at my mods and see if they spark anything for you Smile

Refuge le Repoju, Pralognan-la-Vanoise, FranceHi Sharon - given that it's a camera phone image (even if it is an Apple!) I really like it Smile Okay, it's come up the wrong orientation above, but having downloaded the image to do a very quick mod, I can really get a sense of the scene before you that you wanted to capture.

I love the way the stepped stream provides the route into the image for the viewer and that distant view is just amazing! Blue sky, mountains, emerald green vegetation and a stream that just invites shoes off and feet in after exploring the rest of the vista Grin It's a lovely shot that has immense appeal, for all the right reasons.

I looked at this for quite a while, deciding what I'd do in order to 'improve' it - and came to the conclusion that other than a slight increase in the vibrancy of the greeny-aqua tones in the stream and the blue of the sky, and cloning out that signpost, there actually isn't a lot else I'd personally do. Yes, it could do with a slight increase in contrast, just to give it a bit of oomph and reduce some of the atmospheric haze that's made it seem slightly washed out, but that's rather minimal.

So that's basically all I've done in my mod - have a look and see what you think. I did try a mono conversion, but I decided I liked the colour version more in the end.

10/07/2015 - 1:13 PM

New Friends

New FriendsHi Adam - I think Paul's absolutely right when he says that getting in closer would increase the impact of this shot enormously. I realise it's not that easy at the time, as it's more about catching the moment as it happens rather than worrying about lighting, composition or what length of lens you've got on the front of your camera Smile

You certainly did capture a lovely moment, though - the two dogs are beautifully positioned on the fallen trunk. Yes, there's a bit of branch in the way on the right of the image which does obscure the rear of the right-hand dog, but it's still a great shot!

I've done you a very quick mod where I've cropped in a bit closer (I used a 16:9 format) and also adjusted the shadows and highlights a bit to bring out some more details on the undersides of the two dogs. I did try to burn in the area along the back of the white dog a bit, but I think that area's too far gone to bring much back (or at least as far as my skills go, anyway - someone else may be able to!).

I cloned out one branch that's at the back end of the right hand dog and tried to recreate the rear quarters a bit. Apologies if that's your dog and I've mucked up the tail, but I've got no idea how it should look! Grin

Anyway, have a look and see what you think. Removing a lot of the distracting woodland area around the two certainly does simplify the composition and focuses the attention on the dogs themselves.

Background Annoying or Creative?Does it work with the background at the current level of blur? Yes Smile
Does it also work without the background boat and the same level of blur? Yes as well Grin

It's one of those images that's actually fine exactly as it is, but could also be presented without the boat in the background or alternatively as a square mono version. In theory, the background boat could be a bit more vague, but in a way it adds a context and a counterpoint to the (superbly sharp) hull in the foreground. The details in the hull are so beautiful and clear that I'm finding myself exploring the textures and shapes of that, and not really worrying about the background at all.

However, in the interests of the critique gallery, I've done you two mods - mod 1 is where I've removed the background boat completely (not the best clone job, but it's only illustrative) and mod 2 is a square mono from my mod 1.

Sorry if I sound a bit vague on the "is it distracting?/isn't it distracting?" front, but like I said it actually works well exactly as it is currently.

06/07/2015 - 1:25 PM

The City Below

The City BelowIt is a very pleasing scene, and I love the bright colour accents on the buildings themselves. I really like the feeling of an isolated city in the midst of what looks like a jungle (?). As such, as much as I think that cropping some of that sky as John (Dudler) has done and Keith has reiterated, I wanted to go the other way entirely and crop up from the bottom to remove some of the trees and actually add some sky back in Smile

My reason for going this route is that I wanted to really enhance the feeling of isolation and impending danger through a tropical storm, and the lack of awareness of the humans in the city below the maelstrom of Nature's force. Maybe a bit dramatic, but an image like this one here of yours does lend itself to that treatment in many ways.

So as well as cropping the bottom, adding some space at the top and content-filling it to give more drama to the sky, I also adjusted the colouration a bit too. I took some of the saturated colours out with reducing Vibrance (rather than Saturation) and added some muddy, dark orangy/grey light, which I then reduced the opacity of, and used a layer mask to bring back some of the 'normal' light in the buildings themselves.

Hopefully, even if you don't like my mod, it gives a flavour of how simple things like lighting can really alter the feel of an image Smile

24/06/2015 - 2:43 PM


AlleyWell, I'm no expert but I've given it a go for you Grin

In my mod, I've done the following:

1) I used Photoshop's Shadows/Highlights feature to push and pull different bits of the image around to bring more details out where I could (if you want to know the exact settings, just yell and I'll put them up here, as I did save them just in case Wink)
2) I then used a Levels adjustment layer where I tweaked the midtones a little (to 1.27).
3) I added a black and white adjustment layer, just to take it back to true mono, as your image above has a bit of a purple/magenta cast in some places. (I used the eye droppers in the b&w adjustment layer, to set the black and white points.)
4) Then I smart sharpened (50% at a 0.8px radius).

Et voila!! Grin I did mess around with the perspectives of the two pillars at the front, but didn't end up leaving that bit in the mod as I wasn't sure if that's what you'd want. You may have been going for the "oh my god I'm drunk in an alley" kind of feeling Wink

Anyways, have a look and see if my mod does what you were hoping for.

21/06/2015 - 11:56 AM

Dun n Broke

Dun n BrokeOverall, I really like this. The car's wonderful and the whole image works. There's just one or two tiny tweaks that if it were mine, I'd make. Firstly, there's a hard dark line at the top of her head where (I think) it's the shadow of being under the bonnet? I realize it's not easy when you've got someone's head underneath a bonnet, but perhaps a slightly different head position would have eliminated this?

The other thing is ... well ... the thing I've always found with rubber is that normally talc is needed in order to actually get in and out the damned stuff with relative ease. However, talc really shows up on the rubber afterwards and makes it matt and untidy, when what you want is shiny. So perhaps a wee buff with something before shooting may have taken the obvious talc marks off of the derriere area? Blush

(Mind you, looking at the highlights on the bum from the studio lights, you may well have utilized the talc as a mattifier, to stop excessive highlights?)

21/06/2015 - 11:30 AM

Sily Sunday sidewalk sculpture

Sily Sunday sidewalk sculptureThe glow from those bottles is quite glorious Smile I've done a mod which is pretty obvious really, but it had to be done ... the pavement gives the image context but I so wanted to crop so it's just the bottles themselves!
18/06/2015 - 12:03 PM

Clay Mystery

Clay MysteryIf it helps at all, I used to have that same problem with uploading images here - they always came out darker and more contrasty on here than on my PC at home. However, one thing I did find really useful was using Photoshop's soft proofing feature, and soft proofing for Monitor RGB instead of sRGB. Yes, sRGB is the internet standard colour space and there are a couple of web browsers that do support colour management (Firefox and Chrome, I believe) but I don't think that IE has caught up with that yet (although I may be wrong on that point).

I now softproof for both sRGB and MonitorRGB before uploading - if there's a massive difference between the two, I often adjust the image to something that looks good with either proof space, and go with that Grin

(Mind you, once I'd stopped being an idiot and realised that it wasn't enough to just 'view' the proof setup, you had to toggle the proof colours on and off to actually see the differences ... well, it all became a heck of a lot easier!! Blush)

18/06/2015 - 11:39 AM

Last Rays

Last RaysHaving looked at the other image you've uploaded, I'd probably also opt for midges being the culprit - especially if they weren't present on any of the other images from that same evening. Looking at their dispersion pattern, it is quite reminiscent of midges flying around in clustered groups. They also seem quite close to where that bush is on the right of the mod image, so if you were standing in grass or something like that, you have have disturbed them and they've flown up?

With the main image above, as gorgeous as it undeniably is, I find myself wanting to see more detail in the foreground and middle ground areas. That sun star, being so bright, is the first thing my eye want to - whereas I wanted to explore the textures in the foreground more, the grass, the nooks and crannies of the dry stone wall, that kind of thing.

So I've had a go at a quick mod, where I've tried to shift the balance of the light in the image more towards the foreground. I used Photoshop's Shadows/Highlights feature mostly, but then also used a neutral density graduated filter (set to the Divide blend mode, oddly, as it seemed to work), which I then softened the effect of on a layer mask. After that, I added a Levels adjustment layer, moved the midtones to the right in the upper box and the whites to the left in the bar below, and then used a large soft brush, set to black, on the Levels layer mask to bring back some of the gorgeous warm light on the wood, grass and stones in the foreground areas.

What I've done with my mod may not be at all what you wanted for the image, which is fine Smile But for my eyes, I can now see the bits I want to explore more and the brightness of the sun star and sky are background players, rather than the main event. (Oh, and the vapour trail went as well Grin))

17/06/2015 - 2:12 PM

The Nobel.

The Nobel.Hi Mario

It's very hard indeed to find any fault with this image Smile I love the light on the man's face and, though I've tried really hard, I can't actually see anything amiss regarding your selection at all. Perhaps a hint of a shadow of something coming through in the hair on the neck, just above the collar on the left side of the image, but equally that could be natural shadow of some sort. The whites of the shirt could be just a touch whiter, though that's strictly necessary.

I think that, for me, the only adjustments I personally would make is to (1) remove a little dead space on the left of the image and (2) I would have liked to have seen the complete ends of the collar points (the ones on the left of the image).

Very minor points though, to be fair. I've done a very quick mod where I've done both of these things for you to consider. I have whitened the shirt just a little, although I'm in two minds as to whether I think it contributes anything or not.

16/06/2015 - 10:21 AM

Feral, Molonglo River

Feral, Molonglo RiverMoira's description made me smile, as it said what my mind was thinking while I was looking at the image. I really like it. I love the way the main tree and the smaller twigs on the right are leaning towards each other, like they're having a lazy private conversation. In your image above, the way that small tree on the other side is leaning away from the other two just reinforces that in my imagination, as thought it's being excluded somehow from the 'in crowd' on the bank Smile

However, that smaller tree on the right is, in some ways, out of place. Looking at the V2, I can see that it wouldn't be easy to decide where to crop in order to just isolate the two main parts (centre tree and the bit on the right). If you include too much of the vegetation on the left, then it can unbalance things and the image then becomes something other, perhaps, to what you intended.

I've done a very quick mod where I've cloned out the tree on the left and a little of the other twigs and stuff. I've also tried to clone out the reflection as well, thought I'm the first to admit it's not the most seamless cloning in the world! That way, for me, the focus is now firmly on the main tree and the twigs on the right, with that little stand of bushes on the left taking a far less intrusive role than they did.

The other thing I did was to add a very soft, neutral density gradient from the top down, to try and balance the two halves of the image a bit more.

See what you think anyway. And please, if you feel that any mods that are done don't fit your vision for the image, don't hesitate to say so Smile

15/06/2015 - 4:10 PM

Pa sa re lla

Pa sa re llaHello Bernabe, welcome back to the critique gallery Smile

I can completely understand why you wanted to record the beauty and tranquility of this place, as it's absolutely gorgeous! I love the muted colour palette, where everything is softly gentle and ... 'quiet' is I think the word I'm looking for, although it's perhaps not the best one to use. There's a sense of hush over the scene, as if a careless heavy footstep could upset the balance of calm.

The other thing that really does strike me about the image is that it's got a very definite oriental art feeling about it. All simplicity and contemplation; everything placed carefully in order to lead the visitor through almost a meditation. Does that many any sense or am I off in a world of my own, here ? Grin

Although I don't think the image needs any changes, other than perhaps a bit of work on shadows and highlights, to give a little more modulation and structure to some parts of it, I've taken the liberty of doing you a mod which is a personal interpretation of your scene. As well as cropping to a square format (in some ways the bit on the right isn't necessary and is perhaps a little messy and distracting) I've also done a bit of noise reduction in order to introduce an almost smoothed out, slightly artistic feeling overall. You may not like that, which is absolutely fine. It's just another way of interpreting the feeling that the image inspires within me.

Have a look at the mod and see what you think of it, though.

15/06/2015 - 3:47 PM

Bursting at the seams

Bursting at the seamsMany moons ago, I used (and even still have) a little gadget called an SRB Monovue Eyepiece viewer that enabled you to look through it and 'see' a scene in black and white. It was basically a little eyecup on a stick that had a couple of filters you could insert into it - a 'mono' one and a 'colour' one. It didn't work perfectly, of course, but what it did do was enable you to view the tonal range of a scene without the distraction of colour, in order to previsualise how it might look in black and white. (This was back in the film days, by the way, when nothing was certain until you got the film/slides developed; and were then either really happy or really depressed ... Grin)

Anyway, I digress ... Of your two images, I'm firmly in the mono camp. I completely agree about the bright visual impact of the colour version, but the mono one is a piece of art first and a picture second to my eyes.

Having said that, though, I wanted to see where I could take the colour image in my mod and do something somewhere between colour popping and pure mono. I like your idea of olde-worldy and for me, in either image, it's the droplets that are the stars of the show. So I've done the following in my mod:

1) I added a Color Lookup adjustment layer, set to the FoggyNight.3DL preset (I love that one - it's a Photoshop CS6 onwards feature, though, so you may not have it?)
2) On top of that I added a Levels adjustment layer, and pushed the midtones a fraction to the right.
3) I made a stamped image of the underlying layers and used the Image/Adjustments/Shadows&Highlights feature to push back and bring forward various elements in the scene - I was basically trying to give more prominence to the droplets themselves.
4) Another Levels adjustment layer just tweaked things a touch.
5) Finally, some smart sharpening to give some clarity to the water.

Don't know what you'll think, but it does give you other options and looks to consider Smile

12/06/2015 - 1:24 PM

Damn Cute

Damn CuteGreat, apart from one small thing for me - the double-nipple effect! I realise it's an angle-thing, but I think either include more of the other one or don't have it at all?
Other than that, though, good work as usual Smile
10/06/2015 - 3:06 PM

different hay

different hayI'm another one who would definitely advocate sharpening for each image individually, rather than using one set of parameters for all images. For instance, here, those settings haven't done you any favours.

However, well done on merging the two images - if you hadn't have said that's what you'd done, I would have been hard pressed to see that it was essentially a composite image. The quality and temperature of the light between that sky and the foreground are well matched.

The image is a blank canvas in some ways, but rather than adding something (as Willie's done in his mod - took me a while to figure out what it was, but I think it's a church spire?) I've tried to tailor my mod to make the most of the bales themselves.

As well as using a neutral density graduated filter on the sky (in Photoshop), I've also cropped in a little from the left hand side, adjusted Levels and Vibrancy, and tried to play with the shadows and highlights a bit to bring the focus of the light forwards to the front of the image, so that the bales are the main event, not the supporting act, within the image as a whole.

You'll also notice that my mod is quite a bit less sharp than your original Grin That's deliberate on my part - I wanted to take away the gritty feeling that the over-sharpening had given yours and make it more dreamlike and soft. In using the 'Reduce noise' filter, I chose not to retain or preserve or sharpen details. Not everyone will like this effect, which is absolutely fine.

See what you think anyway
09/06/2015 - 4:14 PM


CurvesHi Anita - I've added a quick mod for you to have a look at, mostly to illustrate the point that just because it's architecture, your imagery doesn't have to be an absolute record of what you saw at the time of taking Smile (I can't add to the great advice given above by the others, so thought I'd have a play instead ...)

I've messed around with your image quite a lot (in Photoshop, which I know you don't have, but once you get into software a bit more there's loads of things you can explore and exploit) - mostly, I've duplicated the image and used the Polar coordinates filter which does some pretty funky (and often weird) effects. Blending those two layers and adding some fairly obvious noise gets round the problem of sharpness in the original, and I've also added a slightly warm tone to the image overall.

Just because it's architecture, doesn't mean you can have some fun with the images afterwards Grin It can be artistic - it doesn't have to be a straight record shot at all!