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Thread: Spectators going home after Tour of Britain comes to town!

  1. #1

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    Spectators going home after Tour of Britain comes to town!

    The Tour of Britain (Cycling race) came to town over the weekend. As the glimpses of the cyclists are brief I wanted to try and capture the event as a whole. The image below is of the town centre after the race has passed through and people are beginning to make their way home. It sort of reflects the numbers that came. Could have done with some sort of sign included that reflected the event?!

    I haven't done much event type photography and it is quite a challenge. As there are quite a lot of obstacles to work with, not least being the limitations of the photographer and the camera I use!!

    Anyway, any thoughts or comments on the images. Or even taking images at events like this would be very interesting.

    Here's the image:

    Spectators going home after Tour of Britain comes to town!


    Here's a link to the gallery which shows a selection from the day:

    http://garypocklington.smugmug.com/E...5414358_wmsWmT

    Cheers for now

    Gary
    Last edited by oldgreygary; 17th September 2012 at 09:21 AM.

  2. #2

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    Re: Spectators going home after Tour of Britain comes to town!

    It's not at all unusual that photojournalism images require some sort of explanation, either by way of a caption or even a lengthy sentence. This image seems to be a good example of that. It conveys everything that it could on its own, including the van that is having a problem making its way through the crowd in the rear.

    The problem I always have when capturing a crowd scene such as this one is deciding where to crop. As an example, there are two people in the bottom right corner that we see so little of them that they are a distraction for me. If you crop to just barely eliminate them, you cut the woman in the brown coat in half. That's probably also not good. Try cropping so the edge of the frame is between that woman and the man next to her.

    Notice that the image appears flat. If you're familiar with using the Levels and Curves Tools, you could use them to make the image really pop. If you're not familiar with them, they are explained very well in the CiC tutorials.

    This is such a nice image that it's well worth the additional effort required to take it to the next level.

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    Re: Spectators going home after Tour of Britain comes to town!

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Buckley View Post
    It's not at all unusual that photojournalism images require some sort of explanation, either by way of a caption or even a lengthy sentence. This image seems to be a good example of that. It conveys everything that it could on its own, including the van that is having a problem making its way through the crowd in the rear.
    Sometimes no explanation is needed as it allows the viewer to create a backstory. But I know what you mean about adding detail, which can sometimes be nothing more than a title for the image.

  4. #4

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    Re: Spectators going home after Tour of Britain comes to town!

    Thanks Mike and John for your thoughts. I looked again at the image and re-cropped and used the 'Tone Curve' option in Lightroom with the 'Strong Contrast' option. The new crop gives it a bit more height which sort of reflects the depth of the crowd better. Although there are now some distractions overhead the crowd is still the main focus of the picture. Your thoughts and advice always welcome.

    Cheers for now

    Gary

    Spectators going home after Tour of Britain comes to town!

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    Re: Spectators going home after Tour of Britain comes to town!

    The image no longer looks flat. Nice job!

    However, now that you have made that change the image looks a little too warm, especially in the skin tones and especially considering that the shadows indicate that it is an overcast scene. You might try cooling the image just a tad to see how you like the change.

    I prefer the crop you made on the right side combined with the crop in the first one that you made at the top. Just my thinking.

  6. #6

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    Re: Spectators going home after Tour of Britain comes to town!

    Mike,

    It's interesting and confusing with the White Balance. In camera I set it to 'Cloudy' and the camera sets it to 5800 kelvin. In Lightroom if I set it to cloudy its at 6500 kelvin. Quite a difference. When I checked this info. out the numbers I got were 5000-6500 kelvin for daylight (clear sky), 6500-8000 for moderately overcast sky (cloudy?). Hence my confusion?

    Although my camera setting was cloudy the numbers suggest that that should be for daylight clear sky. That's why I changed my settings in Lightroom. Confused, I am? Or just mis-understanding the whole thing!

    For comparitiive purposes the image below is the image with the 'in camera' WB set to cloudy. As against previous versions with Lightroom WB 'Cloudy'.

    Cheers for now

    Gary


    Spectators going home after Tour of Britain comes to town!
    Last edited by oldgreygary; 17th September 2012 at 02:48 PM.

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    Re: Spectators going home after Tour of Britain comes to town!

    My guess (this is not an area of expertise for me) is that different manufacturers come up with their own Kelvin temperatures for various lighting conditions. That's understandable, considering that various conditions are dissimilar even though they could all be described as cloudy. Most important, adjust the White Balance in your software to make the image appear as you want and ignore what the software calls that setting.

    By the way, I do know some lighting manufacturers set their sunny daylight specification to 5500K and others set it to 5800K. Or maybe it's 5200K, but you get the point.

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    Re: Spectators going home after Tour of Britain comes to town!

    Just a thought... IMO, one of the hardest shots to carry off is a crowd of people. That is simply one area in which digital photography is so great. You can afford to shoot multiple shots without worrying about film costs.

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    Re: Spectators going home after Tour of Britain comes to town!

    Personally I think there is a need to get to know a camera. I use auto white balance exclusively at least for a while on all of my cameras. They generally get it right and there is no need to play with what can be a very tricky area to correct..

    I'm not familiar with your software but looking at the shots they may be suffering from what I call jpg reduction problems. When the size is reduced detail is lost and it gets more mushy and flat. I understand some packages do this automatically but I prefer to control it myself. An unsharp mask tends to make the pictures come alive after they have been reduced. The amount needed varies and it must be applied after the shot has been reduced in size and is in jpg format. Often default values are too much and the amount applied needs changing. The point where the picture comes alive again is pretty obvious. Over doing it isn't so obvious. Lots of detail often needs more sharpening to be applied. The downside is that noise can be a problem if the shot contains dark areas especially of there is already some there.

    I'm also fond of tone mapping but this seems to mean different things to different people. To me it's a mechanism for enhancing contrast selectively across the image according to what's there. ie a curve representing low to high contrast that can be bent to any required shape. Basically it's an entirely different method of increasing the general clarity of an image. It's easy to get carried away.

    John

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    Re: Spectators going home after Tour of Britain comes to town!

    Richard, John thanks for your replies. I was walking home myself and had packed the camera away. This view just jumped out and said take an image! But, I agree with you Richard I should have taken more.

    John, I shoot all my images in RAW and import into Lightroom in .dng format. Lightroom offers sharpening at two levels. After you have done all the tonal adjustments to the RAW file(1). Then when you export from RAW to jpeg(2). I also use Smugmug which also offers sharpening when you export the RAW to jpeg(3). Under normal circumstances I would do 1 and 3.

    I think in Smugmug I use their default settings, not so sure about Lightroom. But I guess with all these process's and different ways of the image being displayed there will always be differentials?

    Cheers for now

    Gary

  11. #11

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    Re: Spectators going home after Tour of Britain comes to town!

    Quote Originally Posted by ajohnw View Post
    I use auto white balance exclusively at least for a while on all of my cameras.John
    When using my Nikon D80, the Auto White Balance is largely ineffective for me. When using my Nikon D7000, which is two generations later, the Auto White Balance is fabulous. I have had exactly one image that it didn't work ideally.

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    Re: Spectators going home after Tour of Britain comes to town!

    My experience of auto white balance relates to canon dslr both old, a 300D and a 5D and now olympus Pen. Also a number of compacts over the years. Those always used to be canon but I've switched to sony - really compact, the dsc-t range. My main reason for switching was canon pixel madness along with poorer quality optics. I should have said always use auto white balance really. I'm trying to sort out using removable lens cameras on a microscope. Different world and auto white balance really doesn't work in that area. It often miles out.

    I must admit I have a positive attitude about auto white balance. No harm done if it gets it right and it very often it does where as guessing a colour temperature has had a lower hit rate for me. The error can be small but given the degree of cloud cover, how diffuse the light is etc I suspect the only way of getting it exactly right is a meter or a grey card. The other point in this area is just how real a shot can be in practice. Real probably needs large format, 48 bit colour and high end printing. Even that will fall short of what we can see so shouldn't the aim generally be a pleasing representative picture? It's also worth remembering that prints are balanced for viewing at 5000K - our eyes are very good at adjusting for the colour temperature effects but will spot minute colour casts in whites or many pale colours. The main aim is to get the colours correct as they can be or as the photographer wants them to be.

    I've found the colour temperature correction sliders on the raw converters I use far to coarse to be of any use so generally use the eye dropper or a gimp plugin called greypoint. The auto is generally worse than the camera. There is nearly always some grey to white colouring some where in a shot often several so I try each one. Also several times in different place as I'm never sure how many pixels the software is averaging. Grey point exists in in some form in several packages. This link shows how it's used..

    http://ywwg.com/wordpress/?p=270

    The package I use most often now seem to use a variation on grey point. Eye dropper and a slider to weaken the effect of the change. It's still not easy but fortunately I find I often don't need to do anything. Wish I could say the same about microscope shots.

    Looking at your shot the last one looks the best to me and if I read correctly you have used camera white balance for developing the raw file. The elderly ladies t-shirt is blued in the 1st post and the grey in the other ladies t-shirt doesn't look correct. The contrast adjustment will have changed things as well. There are several white areas in the shot and I would be inclined to try and use those to correct the raw before trying to do anything else but only if it's needed. Maybe the grey t-shirt would be worth trying as well. If I can't do that on the packages I use I save to a tiff and do it with something else. Also on camera jpgs which I use anyway if they are ok.

    One thing I do notice on all of the shots is the grey in the road. It might still be incorrect but does that matter really? It might not be possible. One odd aspect of cameras is that they see linearly were as we see logarithmically. This can have an odd effect on colouring in general. The camera can actually accentuate something that we can hardly see even though we can see over far more "bits" than a camera can.

    On the sharpening I've found that it's best to finally optimise that one the final size of the shot. I've been using a Pen lately. The full image is way way bigger than a pc screen - about 4ft by 3ft on my screen. I can reduce the entire thing or crop rather large web shots directly out of it or some combination. I invariably crop to some extent. Where the shot finishes up being reduced and is about to be saved as a jpg I find it best to play with sharpening levels then. Early sharpening as well sometimes but reducing it later often spoils the effect. I'm totally a linux user so know very little about the packages that most people use on here

    Warm skin tones - the people in the shot would probably prefer it showing them with a slight tan and of course some may actually have one. I'm old enough to remember the explosion in Fuji film use in the UK. Balanced for asian skin tones and bright sunlight so us pale people always came out with a pleasing tan. Agfa - probably better in brighter sunnier areas of europe. Kodak - big country maybe they couldn't make their mind up.

    One aspect that doesn't seem to crop up these days is suiting focal length to purpose and subject. In 35mm terms something around 80mm gives an eye perspective to shots. There is a tutorial on here that mentions the effect but it's more interesting to shoot with different focal lengths from the same distance. With the wide angle the shot can be cropped to give the same view as the 80mm and the differing apparent spacing of detail in the photo will show the telephoto effects. There has always been some debate about the eye perspective length. Some reckon 100mm. These lengths are always used for portrait lenses and this is part of the reason why. Hasselblad also list them as suitable for landscape work for the same reason. ;-) Actually I have a large nose and have had some exposure via a friend to several professional photographers. They always shoot me from rather far away even on my passport photo's taken by the friend. I sometimes had rather long looks from customs in pass port control. This may explain 100mm as it's likely to be flatter many people. Other companies might say no show it as it is.

    John

  13. #13

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    Re: Spectators going home after Tour of Britain comes to town!

    John an Mike thanks for your responses. Mike, I can certainly see that my Canon G2 is limited and an upgrade would give me better options. John your detailed and interesting response has given more additional things to think about which I will experiment wuth.

    Cheers for now

    Gary

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