New here - Hello! A couple of pictures for advice

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by quiggy, Aug 20, 2008.

  1. quiggy

    quiggy TPF Noob!

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    Hi all,

    I've had my trusty Canon Powershot A540 for 2 years now and decided to get a bit more serious and purchased a 450D twin lense kit.

    I took these two pics today at around 3pm facing north (actually 2nd one, first one facing west), as you can see the sun is already on its way down making it terribly difficult...

    These two jpegs have been created straight from the RAW file, with no adjustments as I would like to get some advice on how to use these adjustments both while shooting and processing on the computer.

    Apart from leveling the horizon these two were the best from the lot in terms of composition (I thought...) but lighting and colours were very difficult to get right. I have a vague idea of exposure concepts - but any c&c is definately welcome!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Thanks all in advance!
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2008
  2. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    The best advice that I can give you is: "Get it right in the camera". A lot of people seem to feel that with the advent of digital photography, and the digital "darkroom", there's no longer a need to do anything but take a quick snap and then tweak it in Photoshop (or the editing app of your choice).

    You've already identified the main issue with these two images, and that's the time of day they were taken. Generally speaking, the best time of day to shoot most scenes is either early in the morning, or later in the evening when the sun is low on the horizon. Mid-day with the sun high in the sky produces flat light and harsh shadows. There are exceptions of course, say for instance a river gorge might only get full light for a couple of hours in mid-afternoon, but that's not the case here.

    As far as getting thse right in the camera (assuming that you absolutely had to take them at this time of day). There are a couple of things you could do to improve them. For image #1, you could have used a graduated neutral density filter (probably 2-3 stops) which would have rendered the sky almost the same luminosity as the ground, giving you a nice, even exposure. The promitory image right would have caused a bit of a problem, but nothing major. You could take several images, one with correctly exposed sky, one with correctly exposed foreground, and another with correctly exposed hills and merged them either using layer masks or HDR merge in Photoshop (or similar app).

    To correct it now, I would select all of the ground and create an adjustment layer, and work on it, by adjusting the levels, curves, brightness, etc.

    For image #2, you could use the multiple image approach, but becuase of the geography, neutral density filters won't work. A circular polarizer might be of some benefit.

    As far as improving the image as-is, a levels adjustment in Photoshop will clear up a lot of the haze, and then again, a process of selecting the various areas, creating layers and working with them. This one, I don't think is ever going to be a spectacular image, but if it were shot early in the morning, I think there'd be some hope.

    The big difference between taking pictures and taking photographs (IMHO) is that with a picture, you snap what's there. With a photograph, you look at what's there, envision the final result, and decide how to achieve that. It may mean coming back at another time, or dragging more equipment down, or...

    Good luck, keep at it, and looking forward to seeing more.

    Just my $00.02 worth - your milage may vary.

    ~JOhn
     
  3. kostasfmx

    kostasfmx TPF Noob!

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    Nice shots but the second one is blurry so photoshop the second and is going to be perfect
     
  4. quiggy

    quiggy TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the comments.

    I am mainly looking at improving the photo in the camera, so will heed the advice above!

    Actually the sun is not at all high I think I took these at around 3:30pm - sunset at around 6pm now (still winter) and the haze coming through is a mixture of low cloud and sea spray...

    Actually if I may I will post a couple more pictures to get some comments on (I personally really like these 2 photos but never had a anyone in the business comment on it...)

    3. - I especially like this one, again taken at around 3pm but this time facing east. Taken with my A540 on landscape mode with vivid colours...

    [​IMG]

    4. I took this on Christmas night last year, had to push through a lot of people to find this spot. Quite like it, a shame my little camera had spots of dust on it that showed through with such a long shutter. It was always sitting in my pocket ever ready on my 2 and half month world tour...

    [​IMG]

    Please let me know what you guys all think, harsh criticism is appreciated as that means I learn faster! :mrgreen:
     
  5. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    The first image is nice, the only real issue is the bright and/or blown areas on the cliff face. This can be improved using the burning tool in Photoshop. The best way to have got this right in-camera would have been to set your exposure as high as you could go without blowing any of the highlights, and the deal with equalizing it in photoshop. Note that you can't always get it right in the camera; there are times when you have to sit down and spend a good chunk of time on the post-processing side. You can however mitigate that to a great extent if you get as much right in the camera as you can. Don't forget to level your horizons!

    I quite like the second image; it's well exposed, although some might take issue with the colour caste; if you shot this in RAW, it can easily be adjusted by chaning the WB. The only major issue it has is the skewed perspective. Without a $2000 lens, there's little you can do, so again, that's a photoshop job.

    Nice work!

    Just my $00.02 worth - your milage may vary.

    ~John
     

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