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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 24th November 2007
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frosty leaf - flat & lifeless

The subject is good, but the result is flat and lifeless.

Taken with: E-510, 50-200@200mm, f4, 1/160s on a dull and overcast day.

What should I have done?


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  #2  
Old 24th November 2007
ewan
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Re: frosty leaf - flat & lifeless

Seems to me that there's not enough contrast between the leaf and grass.
I've lightened the image in levels and boosted the midtones by +36 towards red, to make the leaf browner, and -20 towards yellow for the grass.
It could work better as black and white.
Now I just need to sus out how to include the changed images in this post?.
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Old 24th November 2007
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Re: frosty leaf - flat & lifeless


I uploaded the images I edited into my gallery and then added them to a reply from the smillies page. Is there a better way?.

Last edited by ewan; 24th November 2007 at 08:34 PM. Reason: wanted to include text with images.
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Old 24th November 2007
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Re: frosty leaf - flat & lifeless

Quote:
Originally Posted by swazon View Post
The subject is good, but the result is flat and lifeless.

Taken with: E-510, 50-200@200mm, f4, 1/160s on a dull and overcast day.

What should I have done?


How about my version:



I'm logged in using my kids' PC and they are always messing around with the monitor controls so in no way is it calibrated!

Anyway - assuming it looks OK, I used the levels dialogue in Phtoshop and adjusted each colour channel separatel - equalising the histogram and playing with the brightness. Then I made further luminance adjustments and finally reduced the brightness and increased the contrast.

Ian
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Old 24th November 2007
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Re: frosty leaf - flat & lifeless

It's amazing what can be done with Post Processing

But what I really wanted to know is how I should have taken the original shot...
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Old 24th November 2007
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Re: frosty leaf - flat & lifeless

Quote:
Originally Posted by swazon View Post
It's amazing what can be done with Post Processing

But what I really wanted to know is how I should have taken the original shot...
There is too much blue in the picture - were you using auto white balance? If you have a RAW version of this picture it's very simple to correct this.

I think, mainly, it's a white balance issue - but this can be much more difficult to fix in a JPEG compared to RAW.

Ian
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Old 24th November 2007
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Re: frosty leaf - flat & lifeless

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian View Post
There is too much blue in the picture - were you using auto white balance? If you have a RAW version of this picture it's very simple to correct this.

I think, mainly, it's a white balance issue - but this can be much more difficult to fix in a JPEG compared to RAW.

Ian
Hi Ian,

As far as I remember it was set for auto white balance.

I've not used raw - what's the file size like?
May need to get a CF card and another disk for the computer
Also how does one process raw images (in Corel Photo-Paint?)

Robin
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Old 24th November 2007
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Re: frosty leaf - flat & lifeless

Quote:
Originally Posted by swazon View Post
Hi Ian,

As far as I remember it was set for auto white balance.

I've not used raw - what's the file size like?
May need to get a CF card and another disk for the computer
Also how does one process raw images (in Corel Photo-Paint?)

Robin
Photo-Paint doesn't support RAW. You can convert RAW files using the free Olympus Master software, then export as TIFF or JPEG for further editing in Photo-Paint.

RAW files are 2-3 times bigger than a SHQ JPEG. But memory cards are cheap now - 2GB for a tenner, 4GB for 18 if you know where to look

Ian
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Old 25th November 2007
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Re: frosty leaf - flat & lifeless

Quote:
Originally Posted by swazon View Post
The subject is good, but the result is flat and lifeless.

Taken with: E-510, 50-200@200mm, f4, 1/160s on a dull and overcast day.

What should I have done?


Well swazon, I guess that's very subjective, but I'd have suggested changing the angle of the shot form a flat 'above' perspective, to a low level, on the ground shot taken from the bottom of the leaf, and used a fairly wide aperture to get a small DoF focussed on a point about half way up the leaf.

Just a thought...
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Old 25th November 2007
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Re: frosty leaf - flat & lifeless

Quote:
Originally Posted by swazon View Post
The subject is good, but the result is flat and lifeless.

Taken with: E-510, 50-200@200mm, f4, 1/160s on a dull and overcast day.

What should I have done?


Hi Robin/Swazon

I love this time of year for frost and colour mixed and have lots of examples of what I feel works well. So I take the liberty of posting this in your thread to make a couple of points that work for me.



1. You said it was a dull day. That is fatal - photography is painting with light. You need to go out very early on a day with low, bright and colourful light to see the difference. The sun starts to cut through the frost and you can look for backlit or rimlit shots (some work some flare - but hey it is all good experience). Then shoot in raw if possible to adjust the white balance and compensate for any big problems easier.

2. Composition needs to be thought out a little. For me, I look for an angle to make me want to touch the stuff in the picture. So to want to touch a leaf or fungus or seeds etc get down low and try to be on a level or under. Looking down on a leaf is just too ordinary so even with good sparkly light it wouldn't be the best.

I hope this helps. I am aware this is just my view but it might give you something to try.

best wishes

Peter
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Old 26th November 2007
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Re: frosty leaf - flat & lifeless

Hi Swazon I think that Depth of field (DoF) could also be an issue with this shot. It is very difficult to get much DoF with this type of shot as the subject is so close to the background. The lack of light contrast due to the weather etc also doesn't help. An F stop of 2.8 or less might well give you the DoF you needed. I am not familiar with the 50-200 so I don't know if it stops down to f2.8. I ran the shot through Paintshop Pro X2 using the Depth of Field tool, centering on the leaf and giving some blurring of the background, a little brightening up -What do you think?
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Old 26th November 2007
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Re: frosty leaf - flat & lifeless

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian View Post
But memory cards are cheap now - 2GB for a tenner, 4GB for 18 if you know where to look

Ian
Memory cards aren't the problem (less than 2Gb left on my HD for photos!)
Data on the PC collects like rubbish in the garage...
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Old 26th November 2007
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Re: frosty leaf - flat & lifeless

Quote:
Originally Posted by art frames View Post
Hi Robin/Swazon

I love this time of year for frost and colour mixed and have lots of examples of what I feel works well. So I take the liberty of posting this in your thread to make a couple of points that work for me.



1. You said it was a dull day. That is fatal - photography is painting with light. You need to go out very early on a day with low, bright and colourful light to see the difference. The sun starts to cut through the frost and you can look for backlit or rimlit shots (some work some flare - but hey it is all good experience). Then shoot in raw if possible to adjust the white balance and compensate for any big problems easier.

2. Composition needs to be thought out a little. For me, I look for an angle to make me want to touch the stuff in the picture. So to want to touch a leaf or fungus or seeds etc get down low and try to be on a level or under. Looking down on a leaf is just too ordinary so even with good sparkly light it wouldn't be the best.

I hope this helps. I am aware this is just my view but it might give you something to try.

best wishes

Peter

Hi Peter,

Beautiful picture - I see what you mean by "Painting with light"!


Hmm, composition and thinking (2 things at once - not sure if that's allowed for us men). Must admit I usually shoot instinctively and when I think the photo ends up worse! Probably lack of practice in the thinking...


Thanks,
Robin
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Old 26th November 2007
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Re: frosty leaf - flat & lifeless

The main problem with this image is that the lower half of the leaf and the grass at the bottom is out of focus. You took the shot at the zoom limit, and probably at the close focus limit, of the lens. I don't think you were vertically over the leaf but at a slight angle so that the lower part of the subject was slightly nearer and is not focussed. So if you take this sort of overhead shot again, make sure you are vertical and try not to be at the close focus limit. You could also try bracketting exposure. I have faffed around a bit to make it more colourful and added a touch of USM.
Cheers
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Old 26th November 2007
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Re: frosty leaf - flat & lifeless

Quote:
Originally Posted by Napper View Post
Hi Swazon I think that Depth of field (DoF) could also be an issue with this shot. It is very difficult to get much DoF with this type of shot as the subject is so close to the background. The lack of light contrast due to the weather etc also doesn't help. An F stop of 2.8 or less might well give you the DoF you needed. I am not familiar with the 50-200 so I don't know if it stops down to f2.8. I ran the shot through Paintshop Pro X2 using the Depth of Field tool, centering on the leaf and giving some blurring of the background, a little brightening up -What do you think?

Hi Napper,

The 50-200's maximum apperature at 200mm is f3.5.

I see what you mean by the leaf not standing out as it is not properly in focus while too much of the grass is.

Thanks,
Robin
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