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Thread: Beach Nakua - B&W

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    Beach Nakua - B&W

    This is my first posting in the forums so I thought that I would throw up an image for some C&C. This image of beach nakua (a native coast shrub) was shot on an overcast Christmas morning in Hawaii.
    1/80 sec f/4.5 23.0 mm ISO 100

    Beach Nakua - B&W

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Beach Nakua - B&W

    Hi Shane,

    Firstly; welcome to the CiC forums from me.

    An interesting choice of first image

    I find it difficult when shooting/processing a shot like this;
    what do I leave in?
    where do I crop?
    what aspect ratio?
    what do I clone out (because it distracts)?
    what do I tone down (because it distracts)?
    what do I blur the sharp edges off (because it distracts)?
    and if colour;
    what do I desaturate (because it distracts)?

    Not being able to see the full capture, nor (for that matter) what was just outside of the capture, I can't answer some of those questions and saying this doesn't mean I think you got it 'wrong' - there's really no such thing.

    What I will say is (in my view) the bright leaf/petal top right could be cloned out and not adversely affect the shot - and if anything isn't contributing, it probably should be removed - or toned right down.

    At the nine o'clock position, I'd pay some attention to the brightness of that leaf below the one with the hooky shape.

    There are a few 'sharp edges' (of leaves) in the other 3 corners that might benefit from a 'tone down' and/or blur.
    Another possibility is a deliberate vignette, but that may not suit this offset composition.

    What's the point of all this? - to concentrate the viewer's attention upon the subject. The changes don't need, or want, to be obvious - very subtle; think of those "spot the difference" cartoon drawings. It shold take several switches between this and an edited version to see what has been done, but (hopefully) the second version will be a stronger image. I'm almost tempted to demonstrate.

    On the capture, I'd say you have a good balance of focus distance and DoF and the tonal range of the mono conversion is good too.

    Hope that helps,
    Last edited by Dave Humphries; 28th December 2012 at 10:53 PM.

  3. #3

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    Re: Beach Nakua - B&W

    Thank you so much for your input Dave. You sure gave me a newbie Photoshop challenge (a much needed one) that probably took me quite a bit longer than the average photog! But that's why I am here.

    Below is my attempt at putting your suggestions into action. I am a bit concerned that I blurred the edges a bit too much but will defer to other more experienced eyes on that and your other suggestions.

    As far as my choice for a first image. Well, it was the only decent shot I got on my overcast Christmas morning photo walk and I am a bit shy to go for the grand landscape give all of the amazing images around these forums. Mine will surely pale in comparison but will certainly give me something to strive for

    Beach Nakua - B&W

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    Re: Beach Nakua - B&W

    A quick follow up on my first ever post at CIC. I rotated the image, re-cropped, and used some of the editing techniques that you are all so kind to share with newbies. And of course, to Dave Humphries, the first to respond and make me feel welcome (& think more about my images) - a big Mahalo!

    I'm a bit nervous to post this and hope that you folks see an improvement

    Beach Nakua - B&W

    What do you think?

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Beach Nakua - B&W

    Quote Originally Posted by ShaneS View Post
    I'm a bit nervous to post this and hope that you folks see an improvement
    Shane - I know what you mean about being nervous when you're making your first posts. You get into the position of thinking you like what you have done and then wonder if other people will agree with your judgement, or whether you have got it all wrong. We've all been there!

    On this latest version - I think that is a great improvement. Why? Because, primarily, I think it is a much, much better composition. There is much more harmony and balance in this image. I think the other images were quite 'aggressive' in that you made images that were close in on the flowerhead and, to me, were pushing it into our faces. In this one you have stepped back a bit and give some room (more breathing space) around the main subject. I find that much more appealing.

    Your post processing on this latest image is also far, far better. Your sharpening is, I think, very good and the main plant head really pops out from the background. Well done.

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    Re: Beach Nakua - B&W

    I didn't see this thread until today but I do agree with everything already said. Well done, Shane!

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Beach Nakua - B&W

    Quote Originally Posted by ShaneS View Post
    A quick follow up on my first ever post at CIC. I rotated the image, re-cropped, and used some of the editing techniques that you are all so kind to share with newbies. And of course, to Dave Humphries, the first to respond and make me feel welcome (& think more about my images) - a big Mahalo!

    I'm a bit nervous to post this and hope that you folks see an improvement
    No need to be nervous Shane - and I'm sorry I missed the first reply back in December.

    Quote Originally Posted by ShaneS View Post
    What do you think?
    This is much better, there are just two little bright slivers of petal on the left side that I would have cloned out.

    Turning it like this was a stroke of genius (and I didn't suggest it), so well done.


    Now you have the hang of this, let's move on to another topic (I think you are ready) and if you don't know me by now, I'm rarely satisfied - if it is any consolation, it's why I don't post much of my own work (so don't get like me), but I digress.....

    The only other issue I detect is that perhaps there is a little too much/too wide sharpening applied in this third version, although this is only a problem in the centre.

    There looks to be black, then white, edges either side of transitions, here is a 100% crop from the middle to concentrate on the effect I mean.

    Beach Nakua - B&W

    I always sharpen at sub-pixel radii these days (e.g. 0.3px - after downsizing), to avoid this problem, which I think always looks a bit worse on living things (as opposed to say, architecture or mechanical things).

    Do bear in mind I am being super-critical, not many will even see this, especially since it won't be that visible unless viewed at 100%, and besides, I am super-sensitive to it because it is a topic I struggled with when I first came to CiC. You can't learn everything at once and you are definitely making good progress, as I have noted in many of your other posts, even if I haven't had time to say.

    Hope that helps,

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    Re: Beach Nakua - B&W

    Thanks Donald, Mike & Dave - I can't say how much I appreciate your willingness to share your knowledge with others. As I have said on another thread I am fighting with self doubt on post processing quite a bit now and have decided to make my best edit of an image and then let it sit for a day or two before I come back to it and decide if everything is right or it needs further tweaking. I think that this takes away some of the temptation to over-process an image and I also find that when I come back to it I often realize that there may have been a simpler way to accomplish a goal that I didn't 'see' the first go round or some things that I did that should be eliminated.

    I am doing a lot of learning and testing of new techniques right now and you would probably be shocked at the number of layers that this new image has (OK, I admit there are nine but there were more before its designated rest period ).

    Dave, to your comments. Those two little slivers are now jumping out at me, thanks . Of those nine layers, two are for sharpening, one a global high pass sharpen, and a second where I created a mask to sharpen only the center flower. It took me a bit to isolate the effect that you mentioned but it is there and I will play around with eliminating or decreasing the opacity of one or both of those layers.

    On the subject of sharpening when do you utilize high pass sharpening vs. the unsharp mask? My current understanding is the former is for subjects such as buildings or highly structural items where the edges are integral to the image and and the latter for more general overall sharpening (maybe HPS was not the way to go with this image based on your comments above?). Are there any general guidelines to use?

    Thanks again, despite the learning curve and frustration that comes with it I am having fun learning!

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