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Thread: Dusk shot, soliciting CC

  1. #1
    dlj's Avatar
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    Dusk shot, soliciting CC

    I hope I'm posting this correctly, and that everything shows up intact!

    I'd appreciate any constructive criticism on the following shot. I'm looking for composition advice (post & when taking the photo), and especially, any advice on recommended post processing.

    Lately, all my shots are left untouched, other than some cropping and tweaking of the colour balance, and only when necessary, slight exposure adjustment. I have some (rusty) skills in photo editing, so am able to do almost anything required (not quickly mind you, but eventually!), however I don't want the photos to look 'fake'.

    So putting on my thickest skin, I want to take the plunge and try to better my finished results.

    Thanks in advance to anyone that can spare the time for a few words...

    dlj

    Dusk shot, soliciting CC

  2. #2

    Re: Dusk shot, soliciting CC

    dlj

    My first thought is that there are too many competing elements in the shot - the fountain, the nice window on the left, and the tree with blue lights behind it. The waste bin doesn't really add to it. I think (hard to say as I wasn't there) it might have been better to pull back a bit so the fountain was less dominant, and swung the camera to the left to drop the tree - what was further to the left? The water spout is running in-line with the door architrave and is hard to pick out. Moving to one side slightly would have fixed that.

    With a shot such as this you need to decide what is the dominant subject - is it the fountain? If so, is it interesting enough to be the centre-piece of the shot?

    A close-up shot of that window and bench with an interesting character sitting there would have been more interesting and focussed.

    Hope that helps, and sorry to be so critical. Don't get dis-heartened if you are new to all of this. It takes time.

    rob

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Dusk shot, soliciting CC

    Hi Lew,

    OK, ready for more? - I know you can take it

    Firstly, the posting is spot on, just the right width.

    Now the pic:
    Given the light is in shot and without HDR you're not gonna see its detail, I would say the exposure is a good balance, it's like I'd see it if I were there.

    The other thing that has come out right is the verticals, which without PP don't converge and are not leaning - well done.

    I agree with Rob about the bin, and also about there being too many things in shot. In fact I don't disagree with anything he said.

    The EXIF data reveals you've done all the right things there; 30 sec @ f16, ISO50 on your Sigma SD14 at 24mm.

    One thing that would have been worth while when taking is to remove the stray leaves from the fountain (assuming you could reach), as particularly the one on the left sticking up in silhouette is quite distracting.

    One thing for PP is to clone out the two straight lines at about 45 degrees I am seeing in the light's beam (on left), not sure what they are, but they do grab the eye. i am also seeing a few odd white specks in the fountain area, could be reflections of light from behind the camera, but again, they distract (IMHO) and a quick click with the spot healing tool would fix them in a trice. Not all of them, those on the rim are mostly OK, but on the column and wall I mean.

    What I do (sometimes - when I remember) is when I think I have finished PP, walk away for 5 minutes, come back and look at the whole image again and see if anything instantly distracts and doesn't contribute, and deal with it. Then, when you have saved and posted to Multiply, but before you post here, have another critical look on the web image before committing. It's just like reading a word processed document on screen and not seeing the typos until you go into print!

    Hope that helps,
    Last edited by Dave Humphries; 31st August 2009 at 06:55 PM. Reason: added name

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    Re: Dusk shot, soliciting CC

    I think the fountain spout itself is distracting because is it blurry due to long exsposure? and it is distracting...

    Also while i normal dont like to change anything in a scene or tamper with the ways things are..In this case i would have removed the leaves form the lip of the fountain..

    I like the blue lighing thou,,,pretty neat...

  5. #5
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    Re: Dusk shot, soliciting CC

    Dave And Carregwen;

    This is wonderful. This is exactly the kind of observations I was hoping for. And I didn't need to be wearing armour! Thanks for the thoughtful consideration there every bit as much.

    Yes, i was wondering (as an overall improvement) if I should be fixing up the minor distractions, and it sounds so far like you both feel that would help. That should be reasonably easy (time consuming perhaps, but easy, and at least my editing skills will get faster through use).

    Also very helpful were all the suggestions for during the photo session. Extremely useful, in fact. So many of those little glitches shout out now as if from a bullhorn. I was at least terribly nagged by the waste bin while I was shooting this, and was hoping to use the fountain as a central focal point, with the doorways serving as a form of calming framing device. My lateral movement was extremely restricted, and while the final colours were spot-on from my immediate LCD reviews, it still was terribly dark, even at F2.8 for focus & framing: I never noticed how the fountain's spout literally overlays the doorframe's column. No better than a tree sprouting from a subject's head!

    I hadn't even given consideration to perspective correction. I see that much of the current post-processing software supports that to some degree, and want to take advantage of that, as well as lens corrections & anti-vignetting, but I'm somewhat worried that all that mesh-warping and further brightening might make the photos look fuzzy or noisy, and require over-sharpening and then repairs afterwards. Or maybe that *is* the typical workflow nowadays... This is what I'm learning all about.

    I will fix up these corrections and post an update as a WIP. Thanks truly for honest (but not brutally honest!) and quite constructive input. It may take awhile (and I should get back to work, but I got excited about the rapid response notices!).

    Very Best Regards,
    dlj

  6. #6
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    Re: Dusk shot, soliciting CC (WIP v.1.1!)

    OK, it's been a tough week (10-12 hr days at work, plus tasks afterwards, so limited time here & there for this), but I've made a dent in this task, and finally mastered one function in a bitmap editing suite: 'Undo'!

    Garbage Bin: Gone!
    Dark leaf intruding into contrasty reflections: Minimized!
    Back wall textures emphasized.
    Also: minor distractions like graffiti, shadows from out of frame, eye-catching annoyances, etc.

    I prefer the colours and lighting a bit better, but the edits fall just short of making this a surrealist piece. I don't like the irregular shape of the blown out lamp illumination or the shadow stretching beneath it. The 'ring' around the top of the fountain's pedestal base is also distracting. I do so wish I had isolated the fountain plume, but the colour changes bring out the refraction of blue in the water at the top, which makes it stand out a bit against the doorframe column (and hopefully not the extent of a discount store 'art-card'!). In fact, there is so much that could have been improved at capture-time.

    I'm worried at this point about going 'too overboard' with edits. Is this what people do?

    I do find with all this editing that the beautiful Foveon resolution at 1:1 (or larger even) is slowly slipping away for artificial, 'process resolution'. Maybe I've been doing things wrong.

    Thanks to Rob (carregwen), Dave and Kevin for the kind insight or comments.

    Dusk shot, soliciting CC
    Last edited by dlj; 6th September 2009 at 04:55 AM. Reason: Added biggest edits, as its too long a scroll to easily compare versions.

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    Re: Dusk shot, soliciting CC

    I'm worried at this point about going 'too overboard' with edits. Is this what people do?

    Yah some Do in my opinion and dont in someone else's. But its your work and your idea so do what you like. We are just telling you some bits of technical advice and howd we do it..but theres no right or wrong or too much or little aslong as your happy with it.


    I personally like to take out of focus and blurry pictures and I am very good at it. No one else likes them but who cares.
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 5th September 2009 at 07:29 AM.

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    Re: Dusk shot, soliciting CC

    Quote Originally Posted by kevinbythebeach View Post

    I personally like to take out of focus and blurry pictures and I am very good at it.
    Ahh - that'll be why you loved the helicopter shot so much!

  9. #9
    dlj's Avatar
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    Re: Dusk shot, soliciting CC

    Would the stunning CiC gallery shots have undergone as much post processing as I've applied, or do my efforts reflect the amount of fixes required because of the oversights at the time of the photo? Many of my oversights cannot ever be overcome.

    (And to clarify, I'm not comparing my photos to those shots, but just 'aspiring').

    Thanks again.

    PS Although I did find a photo with some old-timers sitting on a bench at a similar angle, that I might be able to clone-in, giving a more obvious focal point to the whole image! However, at this stage, it might be as plausible to also add in some trolls, a spaceship and perhaps a pony and some puppies too.

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