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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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  #1  
Old 30th July 2008
davidh davidh is online now
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early canal walk

photos from early morning walk along local canal - comments please
















This is my first post - looking to learn & improve my photos

Dave
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Old 30th July 2008
PeterD PeterD is offline
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Re: early canal walk

Hi Dave,

I am taking into account that this is your first post but you have asked for constructive critism.

Photo 1: A nice image but the point of focus seems to be the thistle head rather than the Gatekeeper butterfly. This has softened the butterfly. The seond thistle on the lower right is a distraction and should be removed. The image is set too high.

Photo 2: Again a soft image. There is a burnt out highlight on a petal. This may be recoverable in PP. Composition is good although the yellow oof second flower is too distracting.

Photo 3: Very good on all counts. I like the effective use of backlight to show the colour variations in the petals.

Photo 4: Again another good, well focussed image. A slight cropping to remove the rear of the swan from the lower left of your image would improve it further.

Photo 5: Excellant composition but unfortuately soft focussed.

Photo 6: Focus looks good in this shot but composition could be improved. Move further back from the subject to include all of the flower reflection in the water. This would change this from a good photo to an excellant one.

Photo 7: Good, well framed image but it is far too dark. I know, its hard to get detail in white birds but it can be done.

Summary:
Focus. What settings are you using when you took these images. In all cases I would have used single spot (small).

Exposure: The last image suggests to me that you are not using centre spot exposure metering. I would recommend that you do. One of the biggest problems is that it is impossible to correct for burnt out areas in an image.
You can recover underexposed areas but not burnt out highlights.

Please take my comments as constructive. If you want to know how bad I was visit my old gallery and have a laugh. You can get there by going to members galleries, selecting display by views and selecting the fourth gallery in the list which is unnamed. We all want to improve and I can see that you have great potential.

Good shooting

Peter
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Old 30th July 2008
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Re: early canal walk

Peter

Thanks for taking the time - very helpful comments

cheers



Dave
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  #4  
Old 30th July 2008
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Re: early canal walk

David,

I have to agree with everything PeterD said, the only thing I would add is that there is still a lot that could be done with the dark image of the swan using PP software to lift the midtones missing from the image.

Regards

Gavin
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  #5  
Old 30th July 2008
The Judge
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Re: early canal walk

I can see that you have tried hard to produce some good images but let me take a closer look and comment.

1: Poor colour and out of focus.

2: Bright on the left dark on the right and with distractions. Not easy on the eye.

3: Poor subject material and jaded colour

4: It is a swan... when you start to photograph swans you have run out of ideas. Nobody here has posted a good swan pic do not feel bad.

5: Same as 1

6: A lot better but still a confusing pic. In this the colour and DOF are starting to come together. Still some work to do though.

7: A swan. See previous comments. This one is horribly under exposed.
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Old 31st July 2008
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Re: early canal walk

Dave

As you have posted in "looking for Perfection then some comments are due

I think Peter D has given you a clear and fair assessment. These lack punch and you do need to be more selective on what you consider "perfection"

As well as the lighting focus points that are made you need to look at framing and composition. You don't have to stick to the 3rds rules precisely, but in your 1st the butterfly is too close to the top and the flowet shots are not macro sharp and therefore would probably have been better with a little more interest around them.

With the swans it's alwys hard to decide whether to go for the head shot or "all in". I'm sorry I don't think the last one which crops the feet is the tight choice. Also IMHO it's never going to be "perfection" with a ringed bird.

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Judge View Post
4: It is a swan... when you start to photograph swans you have run out of ideas. Nobody here has posted a good swan pic do not feel bad.

It's clear from this and some of your other postings that you are no fan of wildlife pictures as subjects, it's a matter of choice and abilities - I've seen some stunning shots of Swans over the years they provide both an interesting subject and a real technical exposure challenge to test your metal on. Whether or not there is a good Swan picture on the site is obviously a matter of opinion.

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Andy
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Old 31st July 2008
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Re: early canal walk

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Originally Posted by davidh View Post
photos from early morning walk along local canal - comments please



This is my first post - looking to learn & improve my photos

Dave
I know this has been criticised as oof, but I wonder if that is totally true. The body of the butterfly looks to be in focus and was probably the focus point, the wings suffer because

1) The fringe effect that is present on the trailing edges of butterfly wings

2) Because dof is greater behind the focal point, than in front of it the very tips of the wings (particularly on the rhs) are just leaving the area of focus.

I often underestimate how shallow the DOF is in front of the focal point when taking insects, I think that is what has happened here. So right focal point, to low an f-number.

My suspicion is that this image has not been sharpened at all, a touch of sharpening shows just how clear the detail on the body is.

Nick
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Old 31st July 2008
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Re: early canal walk

Hi Nick,

Just look at the thistle petal to the right of the subject. It too is in focus. I know you are right at about the front focus effect. Without knowing what f-stop was being used and the distance to the subject we cannot presume anything. Sharpening this image would not bring the wings into focus at all. Stopping down at the time of shooting would have helped. As a guide, I use f8/9 which usually allows for sharp butterfly images and is certainly acceptable when the butterfly holds its wings open even given the angle of the shot.
I think it more probable that a pattern focus method was used and the camera has chosen a focus point not on the butterfy.

If David will share his settings with us then I am sure we can provide further help.

cheers

Peter
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Old 31st July 2008
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Re: early canal walk

Quote:
Originally Posted by PeterD View Post
Hi Nick,

Just look at the thistle petal to the right of the subject. It too is in focus. I know you are right at about the front focus effect. Without knowing what f-stop was being used and the distance to the subject we cannot presume anything. Sharpening this image would not bring the wings into focus at all. Stopping down at the time of shooting would have helped. As a guide, I use f8/9 which usually allows for sharp butterfly images and is certainly acceptable when the butterfly holds its wings open even given the angle of the shot.
I think it more probable that a pattern focus method was used and the camera has chosen a focus point not on the butterfy.

If David will share his settings with us then I am sure we can provide further help.

cheers

Peter
Well we know it was shot with an E-510, on F8, at 300mm focal length and using esp metering. That's in the exif.

We know that the in focus plane will extend forward/backward from the point of focus and we know that the e-510 only has a choice of 3 central focus points.

The back of the thistle beyond the butterfly is clearly starting to go out of focus, that gives us the max depth of the in-focus area.

The wing tips can't be behind this thistle - it is not possible.

The wing tips are less sharp than the body of the butterfly, therefore somewhere along the wings represents the closest edge of the in-focus area.

The thistle on the rhs is confusing - you are right the image would look better without it - but it consists of straight lines of high contrast to the background - it will look to be in far better focus than it actually is.

The body is actually sharp, as are the antenna. The sharpness of the body is concealed because of the hair like structures surrounding it.

At F8 on a focal length of 300mm standing at minimum working distance (about 1m) the dof is going to be shallow, quite shallow enough to support my reading.

I know why you are reading it the way you are, it is how I read it when I first saw it. I just don't agree, so I'm happy to make a fool of myself by presenting my 'argument'.

Nick
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Old 31st July 2008
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Re: early canal walk

Nick,

Neither of us is being foolish in expressing our opinions. You have gone much further than I in that you have bothered to view the exif data. I had not. It was rather late when I made my comments.

One bit of information missing from the exif data you quote is the distance to the subject. The closer you are, the less the dof will be. I suspect that the butterfly was quite close and the 300mm focal length was used to get a bigger image. This is suggested by the shallow dof. Had this been a cropped image taken from some distance away, I would have expected the dof to be larger. Unfortunately the exif data does not include the data on original and cropped image sizes.

This is the sort of friendly discusion that used to take place frequently on this site and I welcome it.

Peter
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Old 2nd August 2008
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Re: early canal walk

Thanks for all the comments & advice, i have changed settings as suggested by Peter

My next post will hopefully show improvement

Dave
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Old 2nd August 2008
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Re: early canal walk

Quote:
Originally Posted by davidh View Post
Thanks for all the comments & advice, i have changed settings as suggested by Peter

My next post will hopefully show improvement

Dave
David,

I am glad that you are trying new settings/methods. I have had some very good mentors on other sites in the last few months. They politely advised me where I could possibly gain improvements and I have followed their advice. My settings and methods are not precisely what they suggested but I have found a set that suits me for now.

Do not get put off by people sentencing your work. We all had to start some where and I am not ashamed of my early efforts. In fact I look back over them and compare them with my later efforts. I get a great deal of satisfaction and encouragement when I do so. So, keep your old images, they do still have value to you.

Peter
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