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Looking for improvement This is the e-group critique board. If you post a picture here it will be assumed that you are looking for comprehensive technical feedback - both good and bad, but always respectful. Only post pictures here if you can deal with potentially negative constructive criticism. Anyone is qualified to comment and post feedback, and everyone is encouraged to do so. NB: "Looking for Improvement" is the place to post any pictures you would like advice on improving, no matter how bad you might think they are.

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Old 9th June 2008
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A Little Beauty



A rare venture into 'Looking For Perfection' for me.

E-3, ZG35mm F3.5, EC1.4. Master, The GIMP

Taken on the bank of the disused canal in Swindon, the canal water lends the background colour.

Comments Please

(Oh and what is the flower?)

In Trepidation

Nick
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Old 9th June 2008
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Re: A Little Beauty

Great dynamic composition with excellent bokeh, except for three distracting bright patches on the right side of the image that need toning down or cloning. Otherwise, once you've got a name for the plant to use in a caption, it's publishable!

Is this your usual stretch of canal again, Nick? I can see a Viewpoints comming on.........

John
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Old 9th June 2008
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Re: A Little Beauty

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Originally Posted by Zuiko View Post
Great dynamic composition with excellent bokeh, except for three distracting bright patches on the right side of the image that need toning down or cloning. Otherwise, once you've got a name for the plant to use in a caption, it's publishable!

Is this your usual stretch of canal again, Nick? I can see a Viewpoints comming on.........

John
Ah, these bright patches - are you seeing the 3 just to the right of the flower stem, in a rough triangle, or where the other stems cut across and back on the picture edge.

I think it is the only stretch currently 'in-water' in Swindon (though there are plans), so yes, it is my usual stretch. I'm finding it very rewarding to concentrate most of my photography into a restricted area, the 'discipline' really makes me look for subjects and work on my technique.


Thank you

Nick
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Old 9th June 2008
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Re: A Little Beauty

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Originally Posted by Nick Temple-Fry View Post
Ah, these bright patches - are you seeing the 3 just to the right of the flower stem, in a rough triangle, or where the other stems cut across and back on the picture edge.

I think it is the only stretch currently 'in-water' in Swindon (though there are plans), so yes, it is my usual stretch. I'm finding it very rewarding to concentrate most of my photography into a restricted area, the 'discipline' really makes me look for subjects and work on my technique.


Thank you

Nick
The bright patches where the other stems cut across and back on the picture edge. The other patches you mention I don't really find distracting.

John
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Old 10th June 2008
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Re: A Little Beauty

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Originally Posted by Zuiko View Post
The bright patches where the other stems cut across and back on the picture edge. The other patches you mention I don't really find distracting.

John
Ahh - like the carbuncle on the nose of a lover, you know it's there but only your friends can see it.

Don't want to lose the whole nose so I think I'll have to try and tone it down a bit and maybe add blur. Worth a day or two to mull over I think.

Thanks

Nick
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Re: A Little Beauty

Well I've tried a bit of powder and paint. In this case cloning, blur and a low level of merge (about 25%) and in general titivated with the make-up brushes.

Unfortunately I'm now seeing every pimple and the slightest suggestion of a blackhead, definetly time to leave alone for a while. However I have lost the 'burn' white on the rhs, and looking at 100% I can't see any induced artifacts or discontinuities.

All pp in The GIMP.



Dissapointed that we've had no offers on the name of the little flowers - come on you horticulturists, it is almost certainly a weed!

Nick
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Old 10th June 2008
Jim Ford Jim Ford is offline
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Re: A Little Beauty

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Originally Posted by Nick Temple-Fry View Post
Dissapointed that we've had no offers on the name of the little flowers - come on you horticulturists, it is almost certainly a weed!
How about one of the Hemp Nettle family?

Jim
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Old 10th June 2008
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Re: A Little Beauty

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How about one of the Hemp Nettle family?

Jim
Ah - good lead, a bit of a Google on the Hemp Nettle and a slide around its family tree suggests a Hedge Woundwort, educational pursuit this photography.

Bit disappointed at the paucity of comments on the shot - either it's so bad that you are all scared I'll cry, or its nye on perfect and you are all jealous.

My money is on the first.

Nick
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Old 11th June 2008
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Re: A Little Beauty

Nick

On the ID I am afraid I lean towards books rather than google and wiki and if it is woundwort then an open flower to show the white markings would have helped. The colour of yours is far more attractively deep than the specimen I see here but everything else looks right and so it probably is.

I spent a while photographing it's near relative the yellow archangel at bluebell time and appreciate the shot you have for its good points. It is really hard to get a good specimen in the right light and without damage, bird crap etc. That said all you end up with is a botanical specimen shot - however good (and this is good).

How do you weave in its story? It has been known since ancient times as a medical plant, made into poultices and ointments to stem bleeding and act as an antiseptic. It was planted in monastery gardens and also churchyards. My book also says toads enjoy living in it's shade. It is a plant with a story to tell.

I have no real answer to my question, it is just I believe that there needs to be a story in really excellent photographs. What sets apart an image from others? Technical perfection is just a small part. And I believe you have that part sorted. Many of your other shots fill the story element far better - and as you know I am a supporter of your passionate photography of urban wildlife.

IT IS PERFECT but is it complete.

Peter
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Old 11th June 2008
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Re: A Little Beauty

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Nick

On the ID I am afraid I lean towards books rather than google and wiki and if it is woundwort then an open flower to show the white markings would have helped. The colour of yours is far more attractively deep than the specimen I see here but everything else looks right and so it probably is.

I spent a while photographing it's near relative the yellow archangel at bluebell time and appreciate the shot you have for its good points. It is really hard to get a good specimen in the right light and without damage, bird crap etc. That said all you end up with is a botanical specimen shot - however good (and this is good).

How do you weave in its story? It has been known since ancient times as a medical plant, made into poultices and ointments to stem bleeding and act as an antiseptic. It was planted in monastery gardens and also churchyards. My book also says toads enjoy living in it's shade. It is a plant with a story to tell.

I have no real answer to my question, it is just I believe that there needs to be a story in really excellent photographs. What sets apart an image from others? Technical perfection is just a small part. And I believe you have that part sorted. Many of your other shots fill the story element far better - and as you know I am a supporter of your passionate photography of urban wildlife.

IT IS PERFECT but is it complete.

Peter
H'mmm - Guilty as charged I think, I just thought it was a beautiful little flower and wanted to make a pretty picture, can't do much better than that for a story other than it was an afternoon I devoted to looking for beauty in small things.

But there is nothing wrong with a bit of 'pretty', nor do I think that you suggested there was.

Yes, it is only a provisional identification as a Wound Wort, I too think it is darker than the references I have seen would suggest (but of course the flowers were curled and therefore denser). I'm happy, having been back, that the colour is pretty accurate. But I can't see anything much else that would match those leaves.

I'll be back to more documentary style when I get the chance, it's just that the coots/moorhens/mallards are onto repeat broods. There is a Little Grebe nest with eggs I'm watching, and a visiting heron that refuses to co-operate. I may as well photograph flowers whilst I wait for the unexpected.

Nick
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Old 11th June 2008
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Re: A Little Beauty

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Originally Posted by Nick Temple-Fry View Post

But there is nothing wrong with a bit of 'pretty', nor do I think that you suggested there was.

I may as well photograph flowers whilst I wait for the unexpected.

Nick
Sorry Nick, I meant no offense. I enjoy pretty things too.

I think my thoughts are probably just as much about where I am in my own work. There are many butterflies I still photograph because I find them beautiful, amazing and my heart is touched. I enjoy that and it is therefore good for me - and an end in itself.

But when I share them with others - is that still enough? How do I convey what I see to others. I have tried to capture the more unusual moments and increase the photographic skill level. But what makes a nature shot perfect? When I look at the 'experts' who get published, what more do they have in their work...

In your work I do feel you have an insight and a story to tell. The coots and heron will probably show that much more for me.

I was in my own way encouraging you to do more of that (and then to post those as perfection). Which they are to me.

Peter
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Old 11th June 2008
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Re: A Little Beauty

I think the problem is with the subject:

It's a dark flower, in shade and surrounded with darkish leaves. Without significant highlights with a trace of clear white, and shadows with a trace of solid black, and a range of tones between the two, - it's never going to have the sparkle (or the currently fashionable term 'pop' ) that grabs the attention.

Jim
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Old 11th June 2008
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Nick Temple-Fry Nick Temple-Fry is offline
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Re: A Little Beauty

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Originally Posted by art frames View Post
Sorry Nick, I meant no offense. I enjoy pretty things too.

I think my thoughts are probably just as much about where I am in my own work. There are many butterflies I still photograph because I find them beautiful, amazing and my heart is touched. I enjoy that and it is therefore good for me - and an end in itself.

But when I share them with others - is that still enough? How do I convey what I see to others. I have tried to capture the more unusual moments and increase the photographic skill level. But what makes a nature shot perfect? When I look at the 'experts' who get published, what more do they have in their work...

In your work I do feel you have an insight and a story to tell. The coots and heron will probably show that much more for me.

I was in my own way encouraging you to do more of that (and then to post those as perfection). Which they are to me.

Peter
No offence was taken, I'd hoped I'd expressed myself in such a way as to show that. But words, sometimes they run away with meanings of their own.

And yes I took it as encouragement.

I photograph animals doing things because I like to see, and share my wonder at, what they do. There is a privilege in seeing life innocent of human rationalisation. Somehow it puts us in perspective. As for an agenda, well mostly I just want people to see and enjoy what's at the end of their street, after all it came as a revelation to me.

People often misjudge the urban environment, but where I live is typical inner town, the houses have been established since before 1900, there are probably more trees and bushes per square mile than in much of the countryside. Much of our native wildlife has made the migration to the town, in many ways a much richer and more varied environment than much of the countryside.

As for meaning, well wonder is a meaning and can be brought about by a variety forms of art. If a specimen style photograph (say one of your butterflies) opens someone's eyes to the 'beauty' and variety there to be seen, if it encourages someone's interest by allowing them to identify a species, then surely that too is a meaning.

I'm trying to be a promiscuous photographer, if it's there I'll try to find an image, if I lay my hands on a lens I'll try to make it work for me. At the very least each attempt teaches me something, that too is surely a reason or meaning.
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Last edited by Nick Temple-Fry; 11th June 2008 at 11:32 AM. Reason: I lost the first sentence
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Old 11th June 2008
Malcolm Cousins Malcolm Cousins is offline
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Re: A Little Beauty

Beautiful sharp and clear image but lacks a little punch colour wise.
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Old 11th June 2008
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Re: A Little Beauty

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Beautiful sharp and clear image but lacks a little punch colour wise.
Thank you Malcolm.

You are right of course, but I think I prefer to describe it as subtle.

But I did post another couple of images in the gallery under the same 'generic' title.





Maybe the same criticism could be fairly applied to all of them?

Nick
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