How to improve these? (Canary Wharf)

Discussion in 'General Gallery' started by Don Simon, Sep 22, 2006.

  1. Don Simon

    Don Simon TPF Noob!

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    Hola everyone. It's occurred to me that despite posting fairly regularly here, the number of actual shots I've posted so far numbers about two. So I'm going to throw myself at your mercy and ask your opinions on a few shots and what could be done (or could have been done at the time of shooting) to improve them. Since I have a few, and they're not particularly great, I've avoided the Critique board. Anywho...

    These were shot on my new toy, the Pentax K100d (the first dSLR I've actually owned myself rather than simply borrowed) on Tuesday, around Canary Wharf and West India Quay. The reason for this was basically just laziness, since I live within walking distance and thought it was a good way of testing the camera and various lenses. Anyway here they are...

    1)

    [​IMG]

    (SMC Pentax DA 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens)


    2)

    [​IMG]

    (Vivitar - made by Kiron - 70-150mm f/3.8 )


    3)

    [​IMG]

    (Asahi Super-Takumar 50mm f/1.4)
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    Other than converting RAW to tiff before resizing and saving as Jpeg, I haven't changed much except for using Auto Levels in Elements, cropping a fair bit off the top of the second photo and adding a very tiny amount of sharpening to the first one. Although I'm fairly pleased with these shots they seem a bit bland to me. I don't think that was helped by the weather; at this time of year I shouldn't complain at a completely clear sky on a sunny day, but it's not the most conducive or interesting conditions for photography. For the third shot in particular I was lucky to get any colour in the sky at all; I had to bracket and found I was either losing detail around the boat or losing the sky completely. I'm thinking I should probably get my hands on a good ND filter. Anyway, apart from the problems I've already mentioned, any suggestions on what could have made these shots more interesting, or simply 'better'? Everything is completely OTE. Thanks!
     
  2. tranceplant

    tranceplant TPF Noob!

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    I think the forefront of your pictures are too dark. Basicaly the things you want to show are hidden by the shadow. Not sure if there is a solution to fix that.
     
  3. Don Simon

    Don Simon TPF Noob!

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    Thanks. My monitor is fairly bright but still I can see you're right, the shadows are too dark. I've played about with the last one in Elements - does this look better?

    [​IMG]
     
  4. Danella

    Danella TPF Noob!

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    Im pretty new to this too but I would think if maybe the focus was on the ships and then the background was a bit hazy/fuzzy that would look cool too.

    Like with the last one, if you could have focused on the ship and let the building go fuzzy (yeah dont know the technical term for that, I think its DOF) then the ship would "pop" more.
     
  5. Don Simon

    Don Simon TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the suggestion. If I remember correctly I was mainly shooting at f/8 (hoping to see how detailed and sharp the images could be straight from the camera) but a wider aperture and shallower DOF would probably have had more impact.
     
  6. LaFoto

    LaFoto Just Corinna in real life Staff Member Supporting Member

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    What do I hear? You live in WALKING DISTANCE to Canary Wharf and did NOT come to our TPF UK Meet-Up right THERE on 3 September :shock: !?!?!? Ts! Ts! Ts!

    We had weather like that on that 3rd, with clouds, however, and if you have the time to go through all our thread on the meet-up you can find a couple of photos that should make you recognise the place and the buildings (see_this_thread ) ... and begin to feel you have missed out on something grand :greenpbl: ! ;)

    As to your photos: they still are a bit on the bright side. You should check out your new camera if not it takes too bright photos by default (my Canon EOS 350D does that! :roll: ), so you fare better if you let it underexpose all the while. When you shoot RAW you can always correct the dark parts much more easily than otherwise. But you would then, maybe (?) get the sky with colour?

    Though when the sun is not directly in your back (on days like we're going through right now in all of these parts of Europe), it is difficult to get an all blue sky... In that case I find it serves a photo best to leave only as little of it in the frame as possible. Like you apparently saw yourself when you looked at the original of No. 2: there was far too much sky there. And as nice and neutral an all-blue-totally-cloudless sky may be as backdrop to some things, as boring it becomes when there is too much of it to be seen. So you cropped quite a bit of it already ... and if that were my photo, I'd crop even more, mind.

    What I like a lot in weather conditions like these is the shadows this clear sun produces. But you begin to lose them about past 11 (I find - right now, in September ... in winter you never really do, the sun always shines at quite much of an angle then) and get them back, but with different light, by 5.

    Therefore when it comes to architecture photos, you can play with that more: get close, take details, work with the shadows, let them be there to your advantage.

    I might feel tempted to "play" with your pics just a little ... you say they are OTE?
     
  7. Don Simon

    Don Simon TPF Noob!

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    I know :( unfortunately I was away visiting relatives the whole weekend, so missed out. Looks like you had a great time though! I'm determined nothing will stop me coming to the next meet-up, wherever it may be.

    Thanks for the suggestions. When reviewing the shots of the third pic on the camera's LCD I was concerned that I was losing detail in the dark areas. But as you say, the detail is there in RAW and Photoshop does a good job of lightening shadow areas, whereas completely blown-out skies can't be recovered. In future I will definitely try to err more on the side of underexposure - I think I'm still having difficulty adapting from 35mm colour print film, where if in doubt I always overexposed.

    I'm sure you're right about the second pic too; that sky needs to go. I'd be surprised if I see completely cloudless blue skies again for about a year or so, but next time it happens I'll try to fill more of the frame with the subject to avoid the need for cropping.

    Absolutely - I'm always keen to learn how my shots could be improved, especially in Photoshop where my abilities are very basic. Elements 4 has a great "Shadows/Highlights" function which I've been playing with, but it seems fairly basic and I think there are more advanced methods which would bring out more detail. Anyway I'd be very interested and grateful to see what you can do with the pics. Are they ok as they are or would less compressed versions be better?
     

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