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A quick view of zarquon's recent activity.

  • Help - I've blown the sky! by emmaS

    It is a really evocative view of a country scene. The rows of flowers provide a great lead for the eye to follow. The green and purple work well together. There were not enough pixels in the image for me to do what I wanted but there is still detail in the sky as my modified image shows.

    Select the sky with Select > Colour Range on a low fuzziness setting (I used 38) or use the magic wand on 8. Move the black point slider over to the right and you will see the detail appear. I used the highlight and shadow adjustment tool to lighten the shadows while keeping the highlights under control. I wanted to change the composition slightly and cut out the road going to the left of the poplar trees and the few light vehicles that can be seen because they distract the eye.

    I like the mystery of the building just out of sight behind the trees and would probably crop to the end of that building. It would tend to keep the line of vision following the furrows between the flowers. I added a little saturation to the colour and enhanced the contrast, although you will have to excuse the sloppy Photoshop work on this very low resolution image.

    The best fix for this sort of sky issue is don't meter with the sky in the frame when using a wide-angle lens. Grass is reckoned to be about 18% grey if you had just the grass included in the image frame, you would have got a reliable reading. Fit a long lens if there is no suitable grass next to you. A hand-held meter is more useful if it is a spot meter (1% spot on the area of interest) so that you can take reflected light meter readings from a very small area of the scene in front of you.

    If the sun was not in front of you, you could take a reading of the light falling on a scene (incident light reading) because the light value is not changed by the colour of the objects it falls upon. This scene could do with some Photoshoppery to adjust the difference between the light and the dark areas of the scene and bring them a little closer together with the highlight/shadow adjustment tool.

    The use of the rows of flowers... as a device to lead the eye into the frame, help to make this into a very good image. If you have shot in RAW mode, I would revisit the RAW file because the detail is in the image if you bring it out and the image would look great on a 20 x 16 canvas. I look forward to seeing more of your work. Smile

    • 7 Jul 2008 9:43PM
  • busy as a..... by pheonix_burns

    This is a very busy image. Unless the viewer can see the bee straight away, it can be hard to decide which is the actual subject matter. It is the very bright burnt out flower (ringed in red) which is the primary point of strongest attraction in this image. The irregular polygon describes another powerful attraction for the eye of the observer. The yellow rectangle encompasses the actual area of interest.

    The small modification shows you what it would look like without all of the image noise provided by a very fussy background. I have adjusted the green in the leaves so that it appears to be slightly darker and increased the saturation of the flower. This may not have been what you are looking for but as a subject, it gives the observer nowhere else to look and there is no doubt as to what the intended subject of the photograph was.

    This image was a good effort and if you can try to get the subject to be the only significant thing in the image frame, it wont be very long before your inner vision and photographic senses combine with your image creations skills and then we can all look forward to seeing some fantastic images. Smile

    • 3 Jul 2008 11:04PM
  • Outside by emefbee

    This is a good informal portrait that juxtaposes hard and soft. The brickwork makes an excellent backdrop to the soft white skin of the model. The skin in your rendition was fairly grey in colour and did not create an impression of feminine softness, for me, because tonally, it was too near the colour of the lighter bricks.

    The amount of dark space, to the right of the model, would just possibly have been acceptable if she was very light in tone and you had created an effect of light within darkness (chiaroscuro). The window leading to the vignette where it fades into darker tones, is a competing area of interest and I opted to crop it. I also darkened the lightest brickwork a little because it is a competitive highlight that draws the eye away from the subject.

    The heavy crescent-shaped shadow, under your model's chin, could have done with lightening. A reflector held just out of frame (possibly by your model) would have thrown some additional light into problem shadow areas and your model would have had a softer looking face.

    The under-arm area needs to be minimised or made to look more attractive. Had the model placed her arm gently by her side (or at a less extreme angle) her armpit would have been less visible.

    Overall... this is a very good documentary portrait. It contained a few distractions like the window, the large dark area and some competing highlights. You have used the wide aperture of your lens very well... to isolate the model from the brickwork and her eyes are sharp. She was rendered a little dark for my taste and the heavy shadow detail under her chin, needs to be addressed in future images.

    Your portfolio shows that you have excellent skills with a camera. The darkening of images at the corners is one technique for bringing the viewer's attention to the subject. It will not suit subjects where there are too many composition elements in the frame. I really liked the image "*" and it demonstrates that you have no difficulty with 'seeing', photographically. I look forward to seeing more of your intriguing work.

    • 3 Jul 2008 4:19PM
  • Broke Inlet Sunset by BazE

    A tranquil scene that makes me wish that I had been there to capture it. The placement of the horizon very near to the vertical centre line, encourages the observer to see a static composition that induces calm. It is a very well seen and framed image. The water sloping down to the right tends to drag the eye towards the trees.

    The extremely panoramic crop was the right choice for this elegant composition. I feel that the area (to the left of the vertical feature that is sticking out of the water to the left of the boat) is adding very little to the composition and the vertical pole provides a point where the image is neatly bisected by the eye. I opted to crop it and I find the resulting image much easier on my eye.

    On my monitor, the orange colour appears to be highly saturated and it hides the structure of the clouds and the lighter areas of the water look a little too orange for my tastes. I added 20 points of green at the light end of the histogram, which was 35 points away from the edge of the start of the histogram graphic.

    I have also added 141 points of blue at the white end of the histogram. It has helped to clarify the water and given a little structure to the clouds, in my view. I then opened the shadows very slightly, while selectively adding shadow contrast to the shadow detail in the background, that was heavily orange in colour.

    The deeply saturated orange colour is difficult to remove from around the lighter tree branches at the tops of the trees. I have produced a monochrome version of your image (before adjustments) to give you a sense of what I am referring to. You will see that there are many lighter coloured areas that are easily big enough to be dark branches... yet they are not.

    Overall... it is an excellent image. It just had one too many elements in this particular composition for my taste but every element was well placed. The over-saturated colour is a matter of personal choice and I prefer not to see colours that have been pushed quite as far. It is not just the distortion of the colour, when one is, ostensibly, depicting reality, but the colour distortion veils other features (possibly as an intended consequence) like the tree tops and the land mass in the background.

    You have a great eye for an image and I am looking forward to seeing more of your work.
    • 3 Jul 2008 3:24PM
  • portrait by mex

    This is a fairly flattering, relaxed and informal pose and it shows your model off to good advantage. The lighting is good and the exposure is fine. The plane of sharpness is also good. What is 'wrong' with this image is that the colour balance is incorrect and the result is that there is a strong red/magenta cast to this image.

    While I can and do accept that the model's hair may be the precise colour which you have depicted, her face certainly wont be that colour. The iris colour looks to be veiled (obscured by the colour cast) and the whites of the eye contain rather too much red.

    The models clothing looks to be far too close in colour, to that of the wall behind her, while the light coloured trimming probably ought to be much nearer to white. There is a clue in that all of the colours in your image appear to have been taken from the same portion of the colour palette.

    In cases of colour problems, it is instructive to look at the relevant RGB histograms... not just the luminance histogram which shows you a brightness value for every pixel in the image. Looking at the histogram, separately for each of the RGB colour components, is a simple way to detect errors of colour balance.

    You will see (from my modifications) that none of the histograms demonstrate that your image contains pixels that hold the full range of available tones. This is why the image looks as if the colours are all wrong. The existing tones and luminance values have been wrongly ascribed brightness and tonal values that did not exist at the time you pressed the shutter release.

    it is likely that if your post processing addressed this single issue, that your posted image would have been excellent. I have subtly softened some of the lines that we see and interpret as signs of age and provided a little sharpening too. The lines that are the most difficult to deal with are the folds of skin on the rights side of the image frame at the model's neck.

    When posing a model, it is important to put the body into naturally elegant positions. This lady would have had long and elegant neck lines, had you just stood on a chair so that she was looking up at you. A tilt of the head is also a visual cue for femininity and it would have help this composition to feel more complementary to your model.

    The crop i have chosen is very similar to your own but I have removed the small amount of skin at the bottom left hand side of the image frame. It is one lest distraction and the observer has nowhere else to look other than your subject. Overall, it is a good image that has been affected by the suppression of the full tonal range. The false colour, once removed, was hiding an image that is a good view of the sitter and conveys something of her personality. Well done!

    Your portfolio demonstrates your developing skills and I look forward to seeing more of your work. I particularly liked your framing of Jon and it demonstrates a good photographic eye.

    • 1 Jul 2008 9:57AM
  • Artist Place du Tertre by kopo

    This is a charming image. It is rather low resolution and the pixels fall apart when adjustments are made so I have limited them to the single highlight/shadow adjustment tool in Photoshop. It has helped to balance the very bright highlights with the very dark shadows. There is far more shadow detail to be extracted from this image than your post would suggest.

    Bright sunlight produces very strong shadow detail with lots of contrast. A flash unit is your friend here. It will lift the shadow detail and put catch-lights into the eyes of your subjects. Use a flash unit set to exposure compensation of -1 (fill-flash if you have such a setting) which is 1 f stop under the camera's own meter reading.

    You've used a focal length of 35mm to create this image and that will approximate to a standard angle of view on a dSLR with a sensor that has a FOV crop. Nikon sensors are typically, 1.5 times the angle of view of the lens in use. The perspective is nice and natural and the tight crop works for me in this composition because it establishes and confirms the link between the artist and her easel, as well as the work on it.

    The aperture was f7.1 (not far from the optimum for the lens) and it was sufficient for front to back sharpness for your subject matter at this size. The ISO of 200 is a little more than necessary, for the prevailing lighting conditions, but I believe that Nikon don't offer a lower setting on some of their dSLRs. the shutter speed of 1/200 was good enough for this focal length but I cannot address any sharpness or focus issues on this image as it is breaking down due to the very low resolution.

    I love the documentary feel to this image and the typically gallic woman that is portrayed (complete with Gitane?) I commend the work of Robert Doisneau to you. If you can address the post capture processing issues, then this is, indeed, an image to cherish. More please!

    • 28 Jun 2008 2:04PM
  • Womans Work by SLW

    This is a delightful informal portrait. The composition is very good and the log that the foreground character is sitting on, makes for a feature that leads the eye into the frame, especially when combined with the large log at his feet. Having the tribesman's wife in the background says something about the relationship between the couple (albeit unintentionally) and it provides an insight into the local society and their social mores. It is a good documentary image and leaves me wanting to find out more and to see more images from the island of Siberut. Well done!

    Photographically, I opened up the shadow detail with a little adjustment of the highlight and shadow tool in Photoshop. It helped to balance the tonal values between shadow and highlight, in my opinion. it also gave a slight lift to the colours, especially browns and greens and I was able to lift the contrast slightly. The effect of that small contrast lift was enhanced by a gentle application of some unsharp masking to sharpen some details. (see modified image)

    Overall... the crop was perfect for my tastes. I like the documentary feel to the image and it was well composed. Good work! I look forward to seeing more in this series.

    • 28 Jun 2008 1:30PM
  • What about this?

    "Starts as a photo meet and then migrates to a local pub for food and drink -" Sounds good, how far down south ?
    by zarquon | Last Post | Unread
    Replies: 31
  • Posted on: Hensel Expert Pro 500 Plus

    Quote:Hi Jeff,

    Nice review - thanks for sharing. I like the Hensel kits but have some doubts with the remote triggering. It's quite costly and I would think that pocket wizard would give more flexibility for about the same additional cost. What do you think of the added value of the Hensel remote?


    Hi Ed.
    Thanks for the kind words.

    If you were going to equip a studio with Hensel kit, then the remote triggering is a very well implemented system. Some systems such as the pocket wizard can be plugged into a wide variety of kit and they can be obtained fitted into flash-metering systems such as that which is supplied by Sekonic.

    For me, the choice was that Hensel make a very well-specified product with excellent build quality. My view is that a tool designed for one job is usually significantly easier to use than a tool that is designed to cover all the jobs you can think of and some you can't.

    I gave up the fight many years ago... trying to make one master tool do everything. So I still own medium and large format kit and my choice of Hensel kit for a simple and portable studio set up, suits my style of work.

    In a permanent location, I would have no difficulty buying the separate heads and generators from Hensel. The wireless kit is useable with all of their lighting. I don't particularly want to carry a set of pocket wizards around.

    Kind regards,
    • 17 Nov 2008 11:57PM

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