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Author Topic: An image for criticism  (Read 6066 times)
Ray
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« on: January 25, 2007, 09:02:19 PM »
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[attachment=1646:attachment]


I have to say that I'm fairly impressed with this image and I'm going to print it 23"x34", but I recognise it has flaws, which I'm going to enumerate as a kick-off.

But first, some background. This is a shot at mid-day when the shadows are deep and the highlights are bright. Taming those highlights and bringing out a degree of noise-free detail in the shadows was a real challenge. I haven't fully succeeded because I didn't bracket this shot with tripod. It was a hand-held shot at 15mm, f11, 1/125th sec., no IS (Sigma 15-30 zoom). The noticeable softening in the lower right corner is due to my not using f16. An unforgivable blunder   .

So now to my own critique.

(1) There's too great an expanse of solid black in the lower right corner. I'd like at least a hint of detail there, but such detail (when brought out) has obvious noise. I should have bracketed.

(2) I used the wrong f stop. It should have been f16.

(3) The image is too 'fussy'. There's too much detail there.

(4) The image might possibly be considered as 2 images, left and right, with the strong lines leading to a confused mess.

In defense of the 4th point, I'm reminded of a point made by Professor Johnson in his recent article on Michael's home page, "Lens Equivalence", where he states that ideally, close-up wide angle shots should be viewed from close up.

As we all know, wide angle lenses exaggerate the size of objects in the foreground at the expense of objects in the background. Viewing a small print of such an image means that the 'enlarged' objects/subjects in the foreground are clearly visible at an averge viewing distance, but the more distant objects are not necessarily even identifiable at the same viewing distance.

The solution here is simply to make a very large print and view such a print from close up. One then gets a similar experience to the photographer who captured the shot.

For example, the centre of this image is really a photo in its own right.  There's some guy in red there hiding behind a pillar, who probably did not fully comply with my exhortations for him to get out of the way. (In some recess of my mind there's probably a humunculus shouting, "Get out of the way. Master photographer at work "  . )

[attachment=1647:attachment]
« Last Edit: January 25, 2007, 09:09:13 PM by Ray » Logged
Lisa Nikodym
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« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2007, 10:51:24 PM »
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I like both versions OK, and while your criticisms ae valid, I think they are relatively minor.  What I'd really love to see, though, is a black & white version of it, perhaps a relatively high-contrast one.  That could be interesting...

Lisa
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larkvi
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« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2007, 11:34:10 PM »
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I like both versions OK, and while your criticisms ae valid, I think they are relatively minor.  What I'd really love to see, though, is a black & white version of it, perhaps a relatively high-contrast one.  That could be interesting...

Lisa
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=97598\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I was thinking the same thing as Lisa--high contrast B&W. The most colorful areas are the least visually appealing, which is drawing my eye away from a lot of the really interesting content. If that red road just bacame a grey negative space, I think that would help a lot.

Is the whole image slightly soft, or is that an artifact of your compression?

he whole image makes me feel like I am falling over to the right. Actually, now that I think about it, as I sit here with my laptop on my lap, I am in fact leaning to the right as I look at this image. I think it is interesting that it has that effect on me, and cannot say whether that is a feature or a flaw.

If you do a B&W conversion, really play with the tonal range and see if you can not bring some more character out of the somewhat flat light. There are some faint shadows there which I personally would like to see playing more of a role in the photo.

I take it this was a travel photo, and you have no option of playing with different lighting and hyper-focal capture?

-S
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Ray
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« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2007, 12:11:16 AM »
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If the light looks flat, perhaps it's because I strived too hard to tame the highlights. This is an extremely high contrast scene taken at a time of day that most photographers do not consider ideal.

I'm not into B&W photography. I prefer the rich experience of color rather than the austere, minimalist approach of B&W, so I've really got little expertise in B&W.

But here's a B&W example for the benifit of those who might appreciate it.

[attachment=1648:attachment]
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Ray
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« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2007, 12:20:41 AM »
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Is the whole image slightly soft, or is that an artifact of your compression?

No. I'm just wary of over-sharpening. A 15mm Sigma lens has it's limits, you know   !
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kal
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« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2007, 01:42:01 AM »
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I haven't fully succeeded because I didn't bracket this shot with tripod. It was a hand-held shot at 15mm, f11, 1/125th sec., no IS (Sigma 15-30 zoom).
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=97583\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

As a side note, when tripod was not available/permitted/practical I've had some success bracketing hand-held, then registering the resulting frames with hugin (hugin.sourceforge.net) -- probably any PanoTools-based application will do, provided it can output its result as a multilayer image.
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Ray
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« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2007, 01:48:35 AM »
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If you do a B&W conversion, really play with the tonal range and see if you can not bring some more character out of the somewhat flat light. There are some faint shadows there which I personally would like to see playing more of a role in the photo.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=97603\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


I appreciate your impression, but as I said, shadows are noisy. I feel it necessary to clip them. This is a limitation of the 5D dynamic range. This shot should have been bracketed, with camera on tripod.

I tried to create minimal blowing of highlights in the processing. Here's a very high degree enlargement of a highlight area showing 'clipped' highlights (255,255,255,).

Aaargh! Never mind! This is specral. Okay!  

[attachment=1649:attachment]
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Jacqui Jay
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« Reply #7 on: February 02, 2007, 08:59:57 AM »
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Ray, I think when you have decided that you love a picture enough to print and hang it, it is probably a mistake to then pick over it looking for flaws. Enjoy it for the memories it brings you.
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Ray
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« Reply #8 on: February 02, 2007, 06:33:20 PM »
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Ray, I think when you have decided that you love a picture enough to print and hang it, it is probably a mistake to then pick over it looking for flaws. Enjoy it for the memories it brings you.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=98871\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Jacqui,
Although I've decided I'd like to make a large print of this image, I haven't yet made the print. I posted the image because I sensed I hadn't quite got the tonalities right. I'm a bit cautious before committing 24x36 inches of paper and ink to an image. It sometimes happens that after making such a big print, I decide it's not quite right, make adjustments to the image and try again, which is a significant waste of ink and paper.

But on reflection, the comments made so far are all valid. I think the image is too flat. I've brightened it, increased the contrast and applied some additional sharpening. I think it's improved, but I'm still not sure if it's ready for printing.

I often have trouble deciding on rendering intents. Relative colorimetric dulls the contrast and saturation but tends to keep the hues in gamut. Absolute colorimetric tends to keep the saturation and general appearance of the image the same (in proof colors) except many of the shadows and saturated parts of the image are shown as 'out of gamut'. When such areas that are out of gamut are simple to isolate, I'll do that and reduce the saturation locally so I don't affect the rest of the image. If it's too complicated, I'll increase saturation and contrast and use 'relative colorimetric'. Not sure if this is the most sensible approach   .

The following adjusted image shows lots of shadow areas that are out-of-gamut using Absolute Col., but none using Rel Col.

[attachment=1725:attachment]
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DiaAzul
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« Reply #9 on: February 03, 2007, 06:38:35 AM »
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[attachment=1726:attachment]

Ray,
Hope you don't mind me having a bash at your image.

I know that you have covered most of the things I am going to say but just to give someone elses perspective for what it is worth may stimulate some different ideas.

I think this pictures cries out to be done in colour rather than black and white. The colour of the stone, moss and trees really adds to the atmosphere of the image and characterises the location. The harshness of the mid day sun has the tendancy to increase contrast and wash out the colours. I have, therefore, increased the contrast and the saturation to really over emphasise what you are likely to see at that time of day. I also belive the increased contrast helps to improve the 3-D effect of the image.

Secondly, as you have pointed out this image has a left and a right which are competing with each other. Though, IMHO the right is a very weak part of the image. The real interest is in the carvings - angular and harsh versus the organic shape of the tree. I have cropped the image square as this sits more naturally with my visual appreciation of the image.

the only two further areas that need to be looked at are the red thing behind one of the pillars - this really stands out as something distracting. And the brightness/contrast of the trees/sky in the top right hand - nothing too wrong with it, but perhaps you could play with it to see how it affects the image.

Bust of luck with an interesting image.
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David Plummer    http://photo.tanzo.org/
Ray
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« Reply #10 on: February 03, 2007, 09:56:32 AM »
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You know, David, I almost wish you hadn't done that   . You've exaggerated the saturation so much, all my efforts look pale and washed-out in comparison.

Whether or not the colors are actually accurate is perhaps not the point. More saturation seems to improve the image, although I think you've overdone it a bit.

Cropping certainly removes the conflict between the two sides, but I'm not sure I want to sacrifice those long horizontal tree roots, both on the roof and the ground. I find them quite interesting.

There wasn't a great choice of places to stand at this location, but here are a couple of other perspectives, with slightly increased saturation   .

[attachment=1727:attachment]   [attachment=1728:attachment]
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mrspairodice
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« Reply #11 on: February 03, 2007, 10:33:31 PM »
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Hi Ray!  I believe your beautiful shot could definitely be improved upon by cropping.  My eyes had a difficult time moving over the shot, maybe you're a little "busy".   Choose a focal point (not necessarily in the foreground), and crop your photo.  I would enjoy seeing an edited version.  I would also enjoy your comments on my attachment.
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mrspairodice
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« Reply #12 on: February 03, 2007, 10:37:42 PM »
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Hi Ray!  I believe your beautiful shot could definitely be improved upon by cropping.  My eyes had a difficult time moving over the shot, maybe you're a little "busy".   Choose a focal point (not necessarily in the foreground), and crop your photo.  I would enjoy seeing an edited version.  I would also enjoy your comments on my attachment.
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Ray
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« Reply #13 on: February 04, 2007, 02:02:39 AM »
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Hi Ray! I believe your beautiful shot could definitely be improved upon by cropping. My eyes had a difficult time moving over the shot, maybe you're a little "busy".  Choose a focal point (not necessarily in the foreground), and crop your photo. I would enjoy seeing an edited version. I would also enjoy your comments on my attachment.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=99104\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I guess you are having technical problems. I see no attachments. Never mind!

All the images I've posted in this thread are not cropped. I'm following in the footsteps of HCB in this regard   .

Seriously, though, I have some reluctance to crop any of these images. I was using a 15mm lens with the 5D; there were very few positions to take a shot of this scene. I wish I had been carrying a light ladder so I could have climbed on one of the roofs, to get a different perspective. But I wasn't and if I had, some official would have objected. Alternatively, perhaps I could have hired my own personal hot-air ballon, and with use of appropriate telephoto lens, got my different perspective.

These old temples near Siem Reap in Cambodia are the lagacy of the ancient Khmer civilisation. They were the dominant 'empire' at the time in this region. Their magnificance and power would have dwarfed anything in the Middle Ages in Europe at this time.

All they left for posterity was their magnificant architecture and carvings. Apart from a few isolated inscriptions on rock, their writings have been lost.
« Last Edit: February 04, 2007, 02:06:08 AM by Ray » Logged
howiesmith
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« Reply #14 on: February 09, 2007, 12:04:50 PM »
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[attachment=1646:attachment]
So now to my own critique.

(1) There's too great an expanse of solid black in the lower right corner. I'd like at least a hint of detail there, but such detail (when brought out) has obvious noise. I should have bracketed.

(2) I used the wrong f stop. It should have been f16.

(3) The image is too 'fussy'. There's too much detail there.

(4) The image might possibly be considered as 2 images, left and right, with the strong lines leading to a confused mess.

[attachment=1647:attachment]
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=97583\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

(1) I would add to that the large expanse of sky in the upper right.  How does bringing out more detail i the shadow area in the lower right help; "The image is too 'fussy'"?

(2) How will cropping fix this?  Unless you crop the entire image for the area where you happened to use the correct f/stop and focus distance.

(3) Yes.

(4) On the left side, the wall appears to be leaning into the image and perhaps endanger of falling over.  Right or wrong, it is my visual perception.
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Ray
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« Reply #15 on: February 09, 2007, 10:21:58 PM »
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I would add to that the large expanse of sky in the upper right. How does bringing out more detail i the shadow area in the lower right help;

Howard,
There's not much scope for bringing out shadow detail, lower right, but darkening the sky is possible.

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How will cropping fix this? Unless you crop the entire image for the area where you happened to use the correct f/stop and focus distance.

Exactly!. This is the option. If I take shots with the 1Ds2 and the D60 using the same lens, f stop, distance to subject etc., the 1Ds2 might well contain out-of-focus parts in the foreground or to the sides. The D60 shot might be sharp all over. Cropping out the fuzzy parts always increases the perception of greater DoF.

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On the left side, the wall appears to be leaning into the image and perhaps endanger of falling over. Right or wrong, it is my visual perception.

Good point! I'm not sure about this. The fact is, many of these ruins at Angkor are dangerously leaning like the Tower of Pisa. There are many instances where timber supports have been put in place to support walls from collapse, which sort of spoils the photo of course, but is necessary to protect the tourist (and the ruins   ).

I've reworked this image as follows, using warp and barrel distortion correction in PS.

[attachment=1803:attachment]

As you can see, bringing the centre left into vertical, shifts the far left verticals out of whack, too much towards the left. If there's a choice between verticals leaning towards the outside of the picture or the inside of the picture, I instinctively choose inside the picture.

Here's a 100% enlargement of the problem. I know of no techniques to correct this. If anyone does, please let me know.

[attachment=1804:attachment]
« Last Edit: February 09, 2007, 10:24:56 PM by Ray » Logged
howiesmith
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« Reply #16 on: February 10, 2007, 04:02:31 PM »
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Howard,
There's not much scope for bringing out shadow detail, lower right, but darkening the sky is possible.
Exactly!. This is the option. If I take shots with the 1Ds2 and the D60 using the same lens, f stop, distance to subject etc., the 1Ds2 might well contain out-of-focus parts in the foreground or to the sides. The D60 shot might be sharp all over. Cropping out the fuzzy parts always increases the perception of greater DoF.
Good point! I'm not sure about this. The fact is, many of these ruins at Angkor are dangerously leaning like the Tower of Pisa. There are many instances where timber supports have been put in place to support walls from collapse, which sort of spoils the photo of course, but is necessary to protect the tourist (and the ruins   ).

I've reworked this image as follows, using warp and barrel distortion correction in PS.

[attachment=1803:attachment]

As you can see, bringing the centre left into vertical, shifts the far left verticals out of whack, too much towards the left. If there's a choice between verticals leaning towards the outside of the picture or the inside of the picture, I instinctively choose inside the picture.

Here's a 100% enlargement of the problem. I know of no techniques to correct this. If anyone does, please let me know.

[attachment=1804:attachment]
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=100118\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Ray, you clipped part of the quote about how does producing mre detail in the large dark area help make the image less fussy.

If you acknowledge you used the wrong f/stop and only a particualr crop could salvage the image, ehy not make that crop before presenting the image for comments?

You claim you should have bracketted to get more shadow detail and that you used the wrong f/stop.  Maybe the image just isn't salvagible.
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Ray
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« Reply #17 on: February 10, 2007, 06:33:09 PM »
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Ray, you clipped part of the quote about how does producing mre detail in the large dark area help make the image less fussy.

I misunderstood you. There is no fussy detail in the dark area, just a few pillars and a large-stone wall. I would prefer to have a smaller expanse of black. On the other hand, I prefer black to noise.

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If you acknowledge you used the wrong f/stop and only a particualr crop could salvage the image, ehy not make that crop before presenting the image for comments?

I've never acknowledeged that only cropping can salvage the image. All parts of an image are important. I see nothing here that I'd like to crop because it's not important. I'd prefer the corners to be sharper but they aren't and that's unfortunate. I haven't yet reached the exalted level of producing perfection.

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You claim you should have bracketted to get more shadow detail and that you used the wrong f/stop.  Maybe the image just isn't salvagible.

Don't beat about the bush, Howard. Come out and say it, 'You don't personally, in your humble opinion, think the image is salvable'. Okay?  
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Danijela D. Karic
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« Reply #18 on: February 22, 2007, 02:30:10 AM »
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You know, David, I almost wish you hadn't done that  . You've exaggerated the saturation so much, all my efforts look pale and washed-out in comparison.

Whether or not the colors are actually accurate is perhaps not the point. More saturation seems to improve the image, although I think you've overdone it a bit.

Cropping certainly removes the conflict between the two sides, but I'm not sure I want to sacrifice those long horizontal tree roots, both on the roof and the ground. I find them quite interesting.

There wasn't a great choice of places to stand at this location, but here are a couple of other perspectives, with slightly increased saturation  .

[attachment=1727:attachment] [attachment=1728:attachment]
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=99024\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
I have to ask if you processed these two images in a different way, because
I like the feel about them. To me they look like they were approached and processed in entirely different way.

The first oroginal one, a little borish, not enough depth i guess.

However, I'd love to see the first original one with the look of these two.

Regards
Danijela
« Last Edit: February 22, 2007, 02:32:49 AM by Danijela D. Karic » Logged
Ray
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« Reply #19 on: February 22, 2007, 09:07:17 AM »
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I have to ask if you processed these two images in a different way, because
I like the feel about them. To me they look like they were approached and processed in entirely different way.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=102307\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Interesting you should ask. I'm at another computer and location at the moment and don't have access to the original conversions. But even if I did, I'm not sure I could follow or remember what I did. Sometimes I use RSP for conversion and sometimes ACR. It could be the first image was converted with ACR and the other 2 with RSP and with a significant 'vibrancy' adjustment.
 
I recall having had trouble with a blown highlight in the last image at the top of the big root in the left foreground. I would have 'CTRL clicked' on RGB channels to select the highlights, selected inverse, new adjustment layer/curves at 80% opacity, and brought out the shadows whilst preserving the highlights. I would probably have increased local contrast with USM at some stage and sharpened with Focus Magic, using a duplicate layer in luminosity blending mode and 50% opacity.

I spend a lot of time experimenting and changing my mind   .
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