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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 25th July 2018
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Lost direction

Simba - edit advice please by philip Gate Keeper, on Flickr

Lion - Edit advice by philip Gate Keeper, on Flickr

The above photo, I spent quite a long time yesterday editing. I tried a vignette but it did not look right, but I could be wrong. It was not a perfect shot, as it was slightly out of focus, but was spot on for a blade of grass and at the time, I could not get close enough to Simba, as he was guarding Bambi.

I lost direction with this photo.

How would you do approach this photo, or would you delete it and move on?

Thank you for looking
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Old 25th July 2018
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Re: Lost direction

You might find that a white vignette would look better than the black if that's the way to want to go.
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Old 25th July 2018
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Re: Lost direction

Black and white, add a little noise. Sins hidden.

Else spend another million hours on the editor separating foreground and adding blur just so so that it is correct and balances.

Else back to the original and give it another shot with some contrast. I like it, again B&W and a little noise. Give it another shot
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Old 26th July 2018
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Re: Lost direction

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Originally Posted by OM USer View Post
You might find that a white vignette would look better than the black if that's the way to want to go.
Food for thought. Thank you very much for the encouragement.
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Old 26th July 2018
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Re: Lost direction

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Originally Posted by al_kaholik View Post
Black and white, add a little noise. Sins hidden.

Else spend another million hours on the editor separating foreground and adding blur just so so that it is correct and balances.

Else back to the original and give it another shot with some contrast. I like it, again B&W and a little noise. Give it another shot
Thank you for pointing me in another direction, black and white, plus some noise, something I had not considered. In follow up, I will post up the results.
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Old 26th July 2018
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Re: Lost direction

There is a lot of contrast to deal with, but to be honest I think the main problem is the focus.
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Re: Lost direction

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Originally Posted by Zuiko View Post
There is a lot of contrast to deal with, but to be honest I think the main problem is the focus.
Thank you. You are so right about the focus. The blades of grass were good, but not Simba. I had the camera set to auto and in another shot it was on Aperture control. I remember trying manual-focus Peaking in white. The light was very bright and I had difficulty in seeing the white outline, so went to auto. I think I should have tried it in black. I am still learning about the camera and how to use it. Thank you for helping.

I did take another photo of a much younger Lion in the long grass, but he looked very thin and chased us away. Most people would be distressed to see the photo as he was ragged and unwell looking, thin and I suspect he was disease ridden. I reported this sighting to the rangers, as I felt he was in need of being rescued.
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Old 26th July 2018
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Re: Lost direction

How about this:



I gave it a bit of a "painted" look - it hides the lack of sharpness quite well. I also added a slight lightening vignette and cropped the right slightly to get the lion's eyes on the thirds intersection. I think it's better in landscape since the gaze of the lion takes the eyes across to the left and you can appreciate the anaimal in all its glory as well as taking in some of the environment.

I really like the shot actually - lovely colours and the lion's pose is excellent.
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Re: Lost direction

Thank you Paul for going to the trouble in turning the photo into a work of art. It shows another medium I had not thought of doing and I like it. I will show this to my wife who spends most of her days painting wild life and landscapes. She is always looking for subjects. What you have done with the photo, is imaginative and adventurous.
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Old 26th July 2018
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Re: Lost direction

I like all the above suggestions and it's a shot I'd want to do something with if I took it !

How about cloning out the sole blade of grass that conflicts with the lion's nose - leaving the rest which serve to frame his face very well. THEN working on the rest of the processing to your taste ?
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Re: Lost direction

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Originally Posted by Kami View Post
I like all the above suggestions and it's a shot I'd want to do something with if I took it !

How about cloning out the sole blade of grass that conflicts with the lion's nose - leaving the rest which serve to frame his face very well. THEN working on the rest of the processing to your taste ?
Itís a fair comment about doing something about the shot, thank you for helping

This evening, the first thing I did was to clone out the blades of grass. This was not easy, as one of the blades was right on the nose line and I had to create a new one and line it up and blend it back in. Secondly, I converted the photo to black and white, played around with the contrast and then added some grain. Lastly, I changed the photo to a white vignette. Sadly the photo still doesnít look right. So I have decided to call it a day and will revisit tomorrow

I am always learning
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Old 28th July 2018
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Re: Lost direction

Quote:
Originally Posted by al_kaholik View Post
Black and white, add a little noise. Sins hidden.

Else spend another million hours on the editor separating foreground and adding blur just so so that it is correct and balances.

Else back to the original and give it another shot with some contrast. I like it, again B&W and a little noise. Give it another shot
In follow up, thank you

King Cat by philip Gate Keeper, on Flickr
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Old 28th July 2018
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Re: Lost direction

Keep trying - something may surprise you.
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Old 28th July 2018
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Re: Lost direction

I should be very pleased to get a photo like this. One way to deal with an out of focus subject is to de-focus the rest of the photo, to keep the attention on the subject.

To illustrate this method, using Photoshop Elements, I used the lasso tool to select just the lion's head, with the edges feathered by about 5 pixels. Then I inverted the selection and used the gaussian-blur tool to soften all the grasses (and the rest of the image).

Next, re-invert back to the original selection of the head. Remember, you don't have to use a clone tool to remove the grasses over the nose. Sometimes, it is better to use the paint tool to draw over the offending bits, picking up the relevant colours with the dropper tool. Once this looks ok, you can apply an unsharp mask to the head selection, keeping an eye on the whiskers for a good result.

Finally, since the eyes are always the critical area when viewing a photo, use the lasso on these alone and, after feathering the edges, apply more sharpening to give that crisp 'stare'.

I've only spent a few minutes on your pic to illustrate these methods so it's a bit coarse in places, but see what you think.


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Last edited by MikeOxon; 28th July 2018 at 04:26 PM. Reason: typo
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Re: Lost direction

I think the original may just be a bit muted. A quick sharpen and play with saturation and contrast in OV3 followed by some further (spot) sharpening of the eyes in PSE12 and a very slight lighten of the background with a radial mask to give the slightest of bright vignette.

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