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Old 11-16-2008, 10:38 AM
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Critique Thread

Here is the start for the critique thread. The idea here is to submit an image that you want to get some input on. Get some ideas on how others might use photoshop to sharpen a particular area or brush in some detail or apply a specific filter or how to change the original setup. No holds barred, just keep the critiquing civil and useful. Photo submitters should provide as much detail as possible including camera, lens, iso, lighting conditions, elapsed time, ect...

Critiquers can take the image and play with it in photoshop for different effects to illustrate their points.

I learn something every time I pick up my camera. There is so much that I don't know and want to learn. So have at it.

My first submission is of a Ferrari Tour de France. The car sat in near darkness with some lovely yellowing lighting in the background. I setup my tripod, moved all the security cones to the side, and started to play. I finally fell upon a 30 second setup where I then walked around the car out of framed and manually flashed the car about 10 times with my sb800 with a soft box on it. I then took the image into photoshop, made a few raw adjustments but was leerily to attack the yellow lighting in the background. I got rid of the hot spots in the car of the flashes but that's about all I did.

I still think this photo can still be improved. Any suggestions?

The image specs:
F16
30 second exposure
ISO 400
Fugi S3 pro with 2.8 Nikkor 20mm
White balance auto

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Old 11-16-2008, 10:56 AM
John Thawley John Thawley is offline
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Good choice... I thought this was a good photo that would definitely catch the eye of members on this board.... but felt there were a few ways to make the shot a lot stronger.

Obviously, with a 30 sec exposure the camera was up on a tripod. I'm guessing that moving the car might have not been an option. So, I'll try to hit on the things I think were in your control.

First, I think had you lowered the tripod and changed the view to where you were shooting at the car from waist level, would have done two things... it would have created a much nicer stance and better point of view of the car.. (this view just looks like I'm walking by... it's at eye level) and, more importantly, it would have reduced that harshness of the reflections on the passenger side of the hood.

Also, I think if you had set the ISO at 100, you could have still managed a 30 second exposure but cut down the depth of field a bit... thereby softening the background.

If you could have moved the car, I'd have brought it out away from the wall ..... just rolled it forward a couple of feet and I would have turned the front wheels in a few degrees.

That said, this was obviously, technically a tricky shot to pull off. I don't know all of the challenges that might be sitting outside the frame. But those were the details that caught my eye when I first view this image.

Love this car... I shot a yellow one about three years ago. Also, appears to be nice location to shoot.

JT
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Old 11-16-2008, 11:37 AM
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I like the shot, and most of the points John made I can subscribe to. Did you try a lower position of the tripod? Did you try different positions from where to flash from just to see what the results would be? I you have an opportunity like this it might be fun to take some time for experimenting.

The colours are nice and not "screaming".

A minor point, the car is positioned to the right in the frame, but on the left side there is the horse and half a statue of a man. I don't know what the full frame looks like, but I would have probably cut off the the waving arm there...
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Old 11-16-2008, 11:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Thawley View Post
First, I think had you lowered the tripod and changed the view to where you were shooting at the car from waist level, would have done two things... it would have created a much nicer stance and better point of view of the car.. (this view just looks like I'm walking by... it's at eye level) and, more importantly, it would have reduced that harshness of the reflections on the passenger side of the hood.
I'm no authority on the subject but wouldn't lowering the position of the camera/tripod have given the appearance of that shrub growing out of the hood?
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Old 11-16-2008, 11:56 AM
John Thawley John Thawley is offline
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Originally Posted by Rockefella View Post
I'm no authority on the subject but wouldn't lowering the position of the camera/tripod have given the appearance of that shrub growing out of the hood?
Maybe, maybe not... I think in this case, the background is the background... there are several shrubs so it's not like those times where you see a pole skewering the whole car. Your point also refers back to the ISO 100 and a little less depth of field, though, too.

Obviously, in a situation where you don't have total control, there are always going to be trade offs. For me, I'd live with a softer dark object in the background to get ride of the hood reflections AND... provide a much stronger view of the car.

Just an FYI, the idea behind "viewpoint" is to try and position the subject in a favorable and flattering angle AND to give the viewer a perspective that they wouldn't normally see or get. It's like when you shoot little kids... one of the coolest ways to shoot little kids is get down at their level... this is a view as adults that we wouldn't normally see.

Anyway, you're right to point out background issues... they're killers. I have a rule of thumb to remind myself to literally move my eye into all four corners of the view finder when setting up for a shot. It's amazing the stuff that shows up AFTER you've push the shutter. LOL

JT
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Old 11-16-2008, 01:09 PM
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Besides the points that are allready mentioned I want to say that I like the idea of using the flash to kill the yellowness. Allthough altering the white balance might be enough to get rid of the ugly yellow... i don't know for sure tough.
But the thing with the flashes is that it creates shadows, like you have now on the right side. Flashing at a few more points around the car could perhaps get rid of this.
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Old 11-16-2008, 01:13 PM
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what is the real colour of the building? White? Creme? Light yellow?
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Old 11-16-2008, 03:58 PM
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Nice photograph kvisser. I like the sharpness of the colours on the car and the look of those chrome wheels. I noticed that you have used an aperature of f/16 which, I feel, may be a little small. If you duck down a little and set the aperature to something a little bigger like f/6 or f/5.6 it would have seperated the car from the background much more. Since the car is the center point of focus, the background feels a little too distracting to be honest.

Also, next time when you do this, try to move to a different position where you wont see that light/flash on the side Ferarri badge. This is just a personal thing but I would have liked the Ferarri badge to be a bit sharper and a bit more clear. Get it to jump out and scream Ferarri!

Here's my entry. I have entered the photograph below some time ago and I hardly got one vote! Please tell me what I have done wrong and how I can improve this shot. Apart from the ISO 800 (which was a mistake btw) I struggle to see what went wrong with my settings, so please point that out for me.

superwaxer
WRC New Zealand/WRC CitroŽn
30/08/2008
Canon 400D | ISO 800 | 1/125sec. | f25
Adjusted colour levels

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Old 11-16-2008, 04:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by superwaxer View Post
Here's my entry. I have entered the photograph below some time ago and I hardly got one vote! Please tell me what I have done wrong and how I can improve this shot. Apart from the ISO 800 (which was a mistake btw) I struggle to see what went wrong with my settings, so please point that out for me.

superwaxer
WRC New Zealand/WRC CitroŽn
30/08/2008
Canon 400D | ISO 800 | 1/125sec. | f25
Adjusted colour levels
I can't really get too far into technical merit but I'll voice what I think upon looking at it. While it 'seems' like a great photograph, it's lacking something for me. Maybe if the car hadn't been centered but entering/leaving the frame could have helped. With that the background blur is nice in comparison to the contrast of the car, but the coloration is dull in my eyes. Perhaps more contrast in color or sharpness would have helped. With that being said, I think it's a good photograph that lacks a 'wow' factor.

I brought the picture into photoshop. I know I murdered it with editing but I was fooling around with what I thought it lacked. I'm bored.


And a second version without frame and edited further: extended the background and desaturated/darkened it a tad. Again I know I murdered this picture.

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File Type: jpg thread2.jpg (436.5 KB, 168 views)
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Last edited by Rockefella; 11-16-2008 at 04:46 PM.
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Old 11-16-2008, 04:52 PM
John Thawley John Thawley is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by superwaxer View Post
Nice photograph kvisser. I like the sharpness of the colours on the car and the look of those chrome wheels. I noticed that you have used an aperature of f/16 which, I feel, may be a little small. If you duck down a little and set the aperature to something a little bigger like f/6 or f/5.6 it would have seperated the car from the background much more. Since the car is the center point of focus, the background feels a little too distracting to be honest.

Also, next time when you do this, try to move to a different position where you wont see that light/flash on the side Ferarri badge. This is just a personal thing but I would have liked the Ferarri badge to be a bit sharper and a bit more clear. Get it to jump out and scream Ferarri!

Here's my entry. I have entered the photograph below some time ago and I hardly got one vote! Please tell me what I have done wrong and how I can improve this shot. Apart from the ISO 800 (which was a mistake btw) I struggle to see what went wrong with my settings, so please point that out for me.

superwaxer
WRC New Zealand/WRC CitroŽn
30/08/2008
Canon 400D | ISO 800 | 1/125sec. | f25
Adjusted colour levels

Couple of things... it's not a "bad" picture... but, it's a bit common place. As photographers, I think sometimes the blur of a pan shot is more important to us than the viewer. And, in striving for the ultimate pan, we overlook other aspects. Here it comes back to "where's the story."

It's obviously a rally car heading down a dirt road in between to grassy meadows. Unless they stole it, there's the story in a nut shell.

Lower would have been better .... this is odd looking down angle... not really over head though.. so a bit mundane.

Probably what's killing it the most is the background is too clean. We don't really get the impact of the good job you did panning because there's nothing back there to show off the blur.

Post process could have punched it up... but I still feel it's a photographer's shot... and not one that grabs the eye of the viewer.

Good pan, though.

JT
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Old 11-16-2008, 05:27 PM
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Here's a couple of mine. The B&W shot was in a showroom. The 355 was on the top of Mount Washington, NH. Have at them.

PS, great thread idea!
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Old 11-16-2008, 05:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Thawley View Post
Good choice... I thought this was a good photo that would definitely catch the eye of members on this board.... but felt there were a few ways to make the shot a lot stronger.

Obviously, with a 30 sec exposure the camera was up on a tripod. I'm guessing that moving the car might have not been an option. So, I'll try to hit on the things I think were in your control.

First, I think had you lowered the tripod and changed the view to where you were shooting at the car from waist level, would have done two things... it would have created a much nicer stance and better point of view of the car.. (this view just looks like I'm walking by... it's at eye level) and, more importantly, it would have reduced that harshness of the reflections on the passenger side of the hood.

Also, I think if you had set the ISO at 100, you could have still managed a 30 second exposure but cut down the depth of field a bit... thereby softening the background.

If you could have moved the car, I'd have brought it out away from the wall ..... just rolled it forward a couple of feet and I would have turned the front wheels in a few degrees.

That said, this was obviously, technically a tricky shot to pull off. I don't know all of the challenges that might be sitting outside the frame. But those were the details that caught my eye when I first view this image.

Love this car... I shot a yellow one about three years ago. Also, appears to be nice location to shoot.

JT
Fine, tear my picture apart! What is this, a critique thread?!!!!


Just kidding. I like the iso 100 idea. I should have tried that. It always seems that you think of 100 things you could have done, once you out of the situation. I only had 30 minutes to play with the shots. I moved all the security cones and the rent a cops just looked at me then continued their conversation. (I put then all back when I was finished.)

As far as moving the car, I tried to get them to throw me the keys but was shot down on that, couldn't be that its a multi-million dollar car... the basterds! (I judged this car as well. It didn't win best in class.)

I can see lowering the tripod and would like to have tried that. I was conscience of having the shrubs poking thru the car. The camera was set on a tripod about 5 feet off the ground. I especially wanted to have the horse in the background tying together the theme of the concours, Horses and Horsepower - Ferrari featured marquee.

The location was the Paddock area of Churchill Downs. Very prestigious car in a very prestigious location. That's why I wanted to include so much of the background. Going with the lower iso would have permitted a smaller depth of field.

Thanks for the comments, lots of stuff to throw in my vast empty memory resources.

Last question, what is the best way to set white balance in such a dark atmosphere with over enthusiastic sodium lights supplying light?

regards

ken
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Old 11-16-2008, 05:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rockefella View Post
I can't really get too far into technical merit but I'll voice what I think upon looking at it. While it 'seems' like a great photograph, it's lacking something for me. Maybe if the car hadn't been centered but entering/leaving the frame could have helped. With that the background blur is nice in comparison to the contrast of the car, but the coloration is dull in my eyes. Perhaps more contrast in color or sharpness would have helped. With that being said, I think it's a good photograph that lacks a 'wow' factor.

I brought the picture into photoshop. I know I murdered it with editing but I was fooling around with what I thought it lacked. I'm bored.
Thanks Rockefella for your efforts to try and enhance the look of the photograph, I appreciate it.
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Old 11-16-2008, 05:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Thawley View Post
Couple of things... it's not a "bad" picture... but, it's a bit common place. As photographers, I think sometimes the blur of a pan shot is more important to us than the viewer. And, in striving for the ultimate pan, we overlook other aspects. Here it comes back to "where's the story."

It's obviously a rally car heading down a dirt road in between to grassy meadows. Unless they stole it, there's the story in a nut shell.

Lower would have been better .... this is odd looking down angle... not really over head though.. so a bit mundane.

Probably what's killing it the most is the background is too clean. We don't really get the impact of the good job you did panning because there's nothing back there to show off the blur.

Post process could have punched it up... but I still feel it's a photographer's shot... and not one that grabs the eye of the viewer.

Good pan, though.

JT
Thanks for the compliment JT. I too didnt like the look of the background and Im really glad you pointed that out for me, I will try a different spot in the future and try to get lower.

After reading your feedback on this, I willo start thinking in a whole different way! Im beginning to like this thread already!
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Old 11-16-2008, 05:43 PM
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Originally Posted by kvisser View Post
Last question, what is the best way to set white balance in such a dark atmosphere with over enthusiastic sodium lights supplying light?
If you shoot in RAW format, you dont have to worry about the white balance till post-processing. Usually I dont really care about the camera's white balance setting because as long as I shoot RAW, I can just change it afterwards and immediately see what difference it makes. I have taken pictures of sunsets yesterday and I found that having the white balance set to shade gave me better colour than having it set to cloudy! You wont know this unless you shoot RAW and post-process it.
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