Just back from cornwall, a couple of my fav pics

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by mfarrar, Jun 14, 2009.

  1. mfarrar macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2009
    #1
    Hi all,

    I am a beginner and posted a few pics for critique a while back. I have just got back from a holiday in cornwall and these are a couple of my favourite pictures I took down there. I Would appreciate any tips on how to improve them, I have not done any postprocessing.

    Cheers, Mark

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Phrasikleia macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2008
    Location:
    Over there------->
    #2
    OK, here's my $0.02.

    They both would have benefited from better lighting. I suppose you were trying to capture a sort of melancholic mood, but you still need a certain quality of light to pull it off. The castle in the first picture is probably best shot early in the morning, when it won't be backlit. Likewise for the boat: it's not getting any light in this picture, so the eye tends to go to the (rather unrewarding) light part of the sky instead.

    As for composition:

    The horizon line in the first shot runs right across the middle of the photo, leaving us with a lot of uninteresting sky at the top of the frame. That line would be better placed much higher in the frame. This shot would benefit from a composition that uses the thirds; not all do, but this one certainly would. I would place the castle at the intersection of the thirds and let the water line run across the upper horizontal.

    The second shot is too wide and likewise has the water line running right across the middle of the frame. Your subject gets lost in the frame because it is too small in relation to the setting. Also, it has about the same visual weight as that small bunch of rocks in the water, so there is some competition going on there that is not helping. It probably would have been better to wait for the boat to get closer and therefore be larger in the frame. But with both shots, the light was working against you anyway.

    As for technical issues:

    The second shot needed an aperture wider than f/22 (or else you should have used a tripod). Your shutter speed was just too slow for you to handhold that shot, so it's blurry. Perhaps you were trying to capture softly blurred water, but those kinds of shots are only satisfying if something in the scene is really sharp.
     
  3. mfarrar thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Feb 16, 2009
    #3
    Thanks, I understand what your saying about the lighting and how the eye is drawn to the sky. Not sure what you mean about the thirds method when talking about composition, could you perhaps crop the pic to show me what you mean?

    Regarding the techinical issues I should I really buy a tripod instead of trying to rely on the steadyshot. Out of interest how did you know the picture was taken at f22?
     
  4. Doylem macrumors 68040

    Doylem

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    #4
    Google for "rule of thirds"; there are lots of simple tutorials on the web. And I agree, too, that what your pix lack is light...
     
  5. Phrasikleia macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Over there------->
    #5
    Sure. Both of these crops roughly follow the "rule of thirds."

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    But no amount of cropping or fiddling with settings can infuse a photo with light that didn't exist at the moment of capture. If you have an opportunity to return to this site, try setting up a tripod just before sunrise; you're likely to get something pretty dramatic then.

    I viewed the EXIF info. The easiest way to do this is to use a plug-in for your browser.
     
  6. RedTomato macrumors 68040

    RedTomato

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    Location:
    .. London ..
    #6
    Nice to see Cornwall come up there.

    Your photos show pretty much the view from my bedroom window when I was growing up. I live in London now. Win some, lose some.

    I agree, not enough light. I'm guessing you took these a month or two ago as it doesn't quite look full summer light (tho you never know with british weather).

    The castle photo would be a candidate for HDR, as then you could bring out the murky castle. It's difficult to get the castle properly lit, as on that beach, you're facing south, so the sun will always be more or less behind the castle.

    A tripod would have really helped with letting you have longer exposures without blur.

    If no tripod (and I don't often take a tripod to the beach myself!) prop the camera on a wall or on some stones or a pile of sand, set it for a shutter delay, (2 secs or whatever), get the framing right, press the button and back away. 2 secs later it'll take your photo with zero blur. I do that quite often :)

    Another tip is to zoom into the castle/island, take a photo, let the auto work out the right settings for the castle, then zoom out to the framing you want , and re-apply these settings. You might get blown-out sky, but that's the choice you make.

    Addendum - you could have walked over to Newlyn and taken a pic from the pier / pebble beach there. It's an interesting visit in its own right (lots of lovely cornish cottages) and the morning sun would be behind you.
     
  7. Doylem macrumors 68040

    Doylem

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    #7
    Sand and cameras: a bad combination... :eek:
     
  8. RedTomato macrumors 68040

    RedTomato

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    #8
    Depends what type of sand... or put a book or towel (never be without your towel!) between sand and camera to protect it. Pretty basic really.
     
  9. mfarrar thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Feb 16, 2009
    #9
    Thanks for the cropping examples.

    I only just took the pics last week, just got back. The weather wasn't great, I did take some in good light but I was going for that sort of mood lighting.

    I did try an HDR of the castle after reading the thread on here before I went away, but I did it balancing my camera on a rock and I haven't managed to get it to look good.

    Here it is:

    [​IMG]

    And my attempt at a night shot:

    [​IMG]
     
  10. rouxeny macrumors 6502

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    Jan 22, 2008
    #10
    I think your first shot is a bit dark, probably all the appropriate comments about light have been made.

    The second looks like it's out of focus.

    The HDR looks pretty good actually, but I'm not sure if there's some ghosting. Is that from one picture or 3?

    You have a great subject, which is important. Now it's just a matter of finding the right lighting.
     
  11. Doylem macrumors 68040

    Doylem

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    #11
    It's a great location; in good light I'm sure it looks fantastic. For HDR and evening shots you really need a tripod. In the HDR pic the clouds have shifted between shots, which means that they are 'out of register'. In low light you'll be able to use your lens at any aperture (f8, f11, say), and shutter speeds that may run into many seconds. Even in daylight a tripod gives you much more control (and eliminates camera shake altogether)...
     
  12. rouxeny macrumors 6502

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    Jan 22, 2008
    #12
    Or, try making your HDR from just one of the shots. Even a tripod may not help you, if there's wind and the clouds are swiftly moving, even 3 shots taken quickly may not show them in a consistent position.
     
  13. mfarrar thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Feb 16, 2009
    #13
    I used quite a few pics to make the hdr 5 or 6, I did try less but I think I still had the cloud problem, they were moving quickly. I haven't tried it from one so I might give that a go later.

    It was a great location, just a shame the weather wasnt great. Typical that as soon as we got home the weather was fantastic!
     
  14. mfarrar thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Feb 16, 2009
    #14
    Trying an HDR from just one of my RAW photo's:

    [​IMG]
     
  15. rouxeny macrumors 6502

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    Jan 22, 2008
    #15
    That seems a lot better.

    I've had decent luck with making HDR's from one RAW.
     

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