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 Post subject: Critique?
PostPosted: Sun Apr 10, 2011 8:25 pm 
I didn't know one could recieve some critique here. I would love for some tips on how to improve. Here are a "Few Good Shots" I got.

Critique on any of these or all as a whole would be so greatly appreciated.
Thoughts?...

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image


Thanks in advance for your words of wisdom,
M~


Last edited by Mibbitts on Tue Apr 12, 2011 7:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2011 3:44 am 
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Joined: Wed May 23, 2007 8:38 am
Posts: 357
Since there is no common theme among them why have you elected to show these? What are you trying to depict?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2011 6:20 pm 
Its 3 themes 2 pics each.

!st 2: Night at the lakeshore.

2nd: My Sons

3rd: Fire next door.

I didn't want to flood a thread with all the pics from each. I was just hoping for some critique on tjose because of all the ones i took i think those 6 are the best. Though this morning I got some awesome shots of a thick fog rolling over the lake and the city. it was so thick at one point that it completly hid all the lights from view.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2011 2:19 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 18, 2009 5:23 pm
Posts: 825
Location: Boca Raton, FL, USA
Comments/critique - all completely neutral just commenting and observing on technical/compositional/etc - nothing meant to infer that I am any better than you or more capable of taking these shots - just in helping suss out things that can be looked at/corrected/thought about next time you shoot.

1. The white balace is extreme red - sodium vapor lights likely created a bad cast - though white balance doesn't need to be technically perfect, this one does look like it could use a little correction. If you shoot in RAW, it can be corrected easily. If shooting JPG, switching to Tungsten or Flourescent white balance mode, or manually adjusting the temperature more towards blue, would correct this at shooting. Also, there is a slight tilt to the photo towards the left - the status is well aligned, but it rendered the horizon line off a bit - it could be solved also with minor perspective correction. Also, you've got some flare spots - likely composing just a wee bit more left would have knocked that streetlight out of the frame and might have eliminated that flare. The branch creeping in the upper right doesn't do anything for the composition - moving a hair to the left might have also eliminated that.

2. White balance again extreme to the red side - though it actually might work a little here - it has a sort of apocalyptic nuclear sky feel, and could be played with that tree. Composition-wise, there seems to be a bit too much foreground, and the tree cuts off too soon - I'd like to see the composition moved a bit up, so more of the tree against the sky was in the shot, and less foreground.

3. Interesting concept - I like the idea, though the dark shadow of wood close to the lens takes up a bit too much of the left of the frame and is a bit distracting. I think maybe zooming in or getting a bit closer might have worked well - it would get rid of some of the distracting elements on the left and upper right. The eye actually works OK near the center of the frwma - I'd probably try to work with the composition so some of those lines play more geometrically - either run those vertical boards exactly straight up and down, or tilt the camera more and run them to the diagonal corners.

4. Nice expression, and background - the B&W works well too. The foreground OOF object doesn't do anything positive though - I'd prefer to see it gone, or incorporated more so you could determine what it is. I probably wouldn't compose the boy in the center this time - I'd like to see him more to the left third of the frame. I'd also probably try to watch the background a bit more - put a lighter element behind his head and avoid running the vertical lines right into his head - that background tree is a bit too dark and keeps the hair from standing out from the background as well.

5. This is more a documetarian style shot, so the technical aspects aren't as important as telling the story and capturing the moment. It does - I'm sure there wasn't quite as much time or thought to composing! A slightly wider perspective might have been a bit nicer, but you can't be picky with situations like this that are quite spontaneous and a bit scary.

6. Nothing wrong with this one - another documentary shot - it captures a nice moment and tells the story.

_________________
Justin Miller
Sony DSLR-A580 / Sony 18-250mm / Minolta 50mm F1.7 / Sigma 30mm F1.4 / Tamron 10-24mm / Tamron 150-600mm / Tamron 90mm F2.8 macro / Minolta 300mm F4 APO
Sony A6000 / 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 / 55-210mm F4-6.3 / 10-18mm F4 / 35mm F1.8 / 16mm F2.8 / via manual adapter, lots of Pentax K mount, Konica K/AR mount, and Leica M mount manual lenses

Galleries:
http://www.pbase.com/zackiedawg


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2011 7:03 pm 
Thanks Zackidawg for all your insight and thought out response, ecerything said is right on target and very helpful.

I love taking night photography, but I have had a large problem with that reddish glow. I have tried to get it more to a real color when taking the shots but to no success. The night shots posted here were with a 30" shutter speed, and wide open aperature, ISO 100. The one of the picnic table was almost pitch black when I took the shot.

I have a macbook pro, Photoshop CS5 & IPhoto, but have just started with photography and don't know much about the difference between RAW and JPG. I shoot all my pics in L (JPG). I tried editing the night shots with some fading and antiquing to try and remove some of the reddishness but it ruined the shots a bit.


Same with portraits, I didn't know what to look for when photographing my boys, now I have an idea about it and will put your advice into practice next time I get the chance to chase them around.

Thanks again for your great Critique,

Mibbitts

Any tips on night photography would be uber helpful, I am new to it but find that night photography is soo relaxing.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2011 7:51 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 18, 2009 5:23 pm
Posts: 825
Location: Boca Raton, FL, USA
Shooting JPG is no problem with night photography - I tend to shoot JPG 90% of the time, even for stuff I sell or publish. RAW gives more latitude for correcting/altering in post processing, but get it right when you shoot it, and both formats can look great. Night photography is something I do a ton of...it's been a favorite and a specialty of mine for years.

Getting the white balance correct will be a big key for night shots. First thing you should do is determine what type of light cast you are experiencing - if your camera has live view, this can be a good tool to use in correcting white balance - or take a shot to review after changing the white balance mode to determine if you got it right. Often, cameras will even allow bracketing in white balance. Many times shooting city scenes or architecture in cities or public areas, sodium vapor lights are the culprit - they usually create a massively reddish cast. I find 'flourescent' white balance, or 'tungsten' white balance, modes to both compensate for this very well. Here's a quick example - the first shot was taken years ago with auto white balance, and I hadn't even realized at the time how much of a yellow/orange cast the shot had:

Image

Only years later, as I became a little better at watching my white balance did I look back at the photo and realize it was way off on white balance. This past year I had the chance to reshoot at the same location - the angle and landscaping have changed a bit, but you can see the color of the building, and the sky, are both more to what was visible to the naked eye:

Image

The building does have a dark green roof, the sky was blue, the trees on the cliff were actually green rather than yellow, the rocks are a more natural color, and so on.

Another thing worth mentioning - you said you had shot with wide open aperture. Many times, lenses will get significantly sharper when you stop them down a bit - so you might find your results get better if you set the aperture to F5.6 to F10 or so...let the shutter go longer to compensate if the scene is very dark. I'd prefer to shoot a 30 second shutter at F8 than to shoot a 5 second shutter at F2.8 on an F2.8 lens. You might find you can get pretty solid results by shooting night photos using Aperture Priority mode on your camera. Set the aperture in the lens' sweet spot - think around F8 as a beginning point, and adjust slightly up or down if you need to - set ISO to lowest level, and let the camera choose the shutter speed. Don't forget to set the white balance first. And when shooting on a tripod, use either a remote shutter release, or set the self-timer to snap the photo so you can be hands-off. Turn off any stabilization systems in lens or body. If you have a mirror lock-up function, use it - sometimes it's built into the 2-second timer.

You'll get sharper, crisper results, better depth of field, and with the right white balance, you'll get good colors at night. Sodium lights will still show up reddish or yellowish in the shot, but they won't create that color cast that makes the whole thing red - blue skies will still be blue, and green trees will still be green:
Image

Hope that helps!

_________________
Justin Miller
Sony DSLR-A580 / Sony 18-250mm / Minolta 50mm F1.7 / Sigma 30mm F1.4 / Tamron 10-24mm / Tamron 150-600mm / Tamron 90mm F2.8 macro / Minolta 300mm F4 APO
Sony A6000 / 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 / 55-210mm F4-6.3 / 10-18mm F4 / 35mm F1.8 / 16mm F2.8 / via manual adapter, lots of Pentax K mount, Konica K/AR mount, and Leica M mount manual lenses

Galleries:
http://www.pbase.com/zackiedawg


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2011 8:31 pm 
It does help, very much so. For some reason my white balance does not go up or down. It has two brackets that go both ways

2..1..0..1..2
|..|..|

How do I get it to go one way or the other? Also when shooting night I use the Manual mode which may also add to my problem? When using AV mode the camera because I guess it reads the picture is too dark?

Thanks,

Mibbitts

P.S. I am using a Canon Rebel T2i 550D


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2011 8:43 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 18, 2009 5:23 pm
Posts: 825
Location: Boca Raton, FL, USA
It sounds like you're in the white balance bracketing mode...that's the one that will have the camera take 3 exposures at 3 different white balances - the +/-1/2/3 is the amount of variance between the color temperatures. Separately, you should have either a dedicated WB button on your camera, or in the main shooting menu a White Balance option. This is the one that should give you options for "Auto", followed by a lot of preset ones (daytime, cloudy, flourescent, tungsten, incandescent, etc), and usually options for a manual white balance set, or a temperature adjustment. I don't know the 550D well, but since it's an entry level I'm guessing white balance is going to be in the main or primary shooting menu.

As for Manual mode - that can be part of the problem. It's perfectly fine to shoot in manual mode, but then the exposure is completely up to you to get it right...if the picture is going to be too dark, the camera won't adjust anything - it'll just shoot too dark. In Aperture priority, the camera will always try for a correct exposure - so if it thinks it needs a longer shutter speed, it will adjust and choose it. You can always fine-tune how much the camera over- or under-exposes a given shot by adjusting the EV control up or down. This is usually what I do - set the aperture as desired, and try a shot - if the camera overexposed or underexposed, I'll adjust the EV a bit to compensate, and shoot again. That will usually nail it.

_________________
Justin Miller
Sony DSLR-A580 / Sony 18-250mm / Minolta 50mm F1.7 / Sigma 30mm F1.4 / Tamron 10-24mm / Tamron 150-600mm / Tamron 90mm F2.8 macro / Minolta 300mm F4 APO
Sony A6000 / 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 / 55-210mm F4-6.3 / 10-18mm F4 / 35mm F1.8 / 16mm F2.8 / via manual adapter, lots of Pentax K mount, Konica K/AR mount, and Leica M mount manual lenses

Galleries:
http://www.pbase.com/zackiedawg


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2011 9:24 pm 
Not much to add here, but you can correct the color cast using a color balance adjustment as well. In photoshop make a new color balance adjustment layer and take the slider from red to cyan... that should help.


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