Photography Tips & Techniques forum: Image Critique - Totally RAW

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Sweden
Forum moderator Garden Photography Irises Bulbs Lilies Bee Lover
Hellebores Deer Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Photo Contest Winner: 2016
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William
Mar 5, 2020 3:56 PM CST

Moderator

This thread is for those that wants the most in-depth image critique. It is not about raw and brutal image critique, rather it is a play with words, because RAW is considered by many to be the ultimate format to photograph in. It is also the most difficult format, because you will need to learn about post processing to get the most out of it. It is however not a prerequisite to shoot in RAW to use this thread.

Likewise you will need a particular mindset to get the most out of this thread. You need to be able to distance yourself from your photos, because this type of image critique, even though it is ever so well meaning and helpful, can have a tendency to hurt. So please, know your self before posting. Make sure you understand that a Photograph is not you, nor your baby. If you are new to image critique, listening to people analyzing your picture could very well be one of the most challenging things you have ever done.

What photos are suitable?

Your very best gardening related photos or those images that you feel you need some help with. Simple!

What else do I need to know?

Include which camera (and lens if applicable) that was used. ISO, shutter speed and f-stop if you know them. Did you use a tripod, flash, reflectors or a diffuser ? It is also good to tell if the image is cropped or if any significant post processing was done.

The reason to include this info, is that it helps those that see your image to understand how it were created. This way they can provide the best possible feedback.
If you welcome others to edit your photo, to see if they can enhance it, please state that when posting.
Sweden
Forum moderator Garden Photography Irises Bulbs Lilies Bee Lover
Hellebores Deer Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Photo Contest Winner: 2016
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William
Mar 5, 2020 4:31 PM CST

Moderator

Well, I guess it is only fair that I am the first one to post an image. Hilarious!

Thumb of 2020-03-05/William/754a4e
Migrant Hawker (Aeshna mixta) as it was perching on a shrub on the south facing wall of my house.
Nikon D300 + Sigma 150 Macro + Raynox DCR-250 + possibly an extension tube , 1/250, f/20, hand held, diffused flash

7 Image focus stack. RAW's Processed in ACDSee Ultimate and the stack made in Affinity Photo. Very slight crop to align images.
This was shot in 2009, but I only managed to do a a stack of it this winter.
Name: Alan
Merseyside
Bookworm Container Gardener Seed Starter Spiders! Region: United Kingdom Greenhouse
Garden Photography Daylilies Cat Lover Cactus and Succulents Butterflies Photo Contest Winner 2019
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pikaia
Mar 7, 2020 5:46 AM CST
The image looked dark and lacking shadow detail, so I lightened it, particularly in the shadows.
The blue on the eye looks very unnatural so I desaturated it.
What do you think?

Thumb of 2020-03-07/pikaia/b82da5

Original:

Thumb of 2020-03-07/pikaia/5c899c

Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
Composter Daylilies Garden Photography Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Region: Alabama
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Seedfork
Mar 7, 2020 7:41 AM CST
I like the lighter version, but I like the blue color...but really want to see the original color, ever what that was.
Sweden
Forum moderator Garden Photography Irises Bulbs Lilies Bee Lover
Hellebores Deer Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Photo Contest Winner: 2016
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William
Mar 7, 2020 1:02 PM CST

Moderator

Thank you, Alan, for giving me the opportunity to see my image through your eyes. Smiling

Just as I know it would be, constructive criticism is always extremely useful.
I fully agree with you, the image is on the dark side. The light is only from the right side here, so it is also quite directional, leaving the neck area in quite a deep shadow.

Regarding the blue, yes saturation is increased, but not as much as may think. I'm not an expert, but I believe this is a male and those that I have seen, have much more blue in the eyes than the females. The image being dark does have a tendency to saturate colors further.

I'm going to attempt a repost. Here I brightened the image, but not quite as much as in Alan's proposal. I also removed the saturation that was added in post processing, so Larry can see how the original blue looks like(although without using a color checker card or similar at shooting time i fear it is impossible to get it 100%).

Also I had a study of Alan's version and i thought it looked much more sharpened than mine, so I thought I had been a bit too conservative, so I also added a little more sharpening.

Thumb of 2020-03-07/William/446902

Better?

Name: Alan
Merseyside
Bookworm Container Gardener Seed Starter Spiders! Region: United Kingdom Greenhouse
Garden Photography Daylilies Cat Lover Cactus and Succulents Butterflies Photo Contest Winner 2019
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pikaia
Mar 7, 2020 1:29 PM CST
That is definitely better, but the area between the eye and the body is still very dark. I expect that there is still detail on the raw file which can be brought out.

PS Thanks for the acorns!
[Last edited by pikaia - Mar 7, 2020 1:31 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #2170855 (6)
Sweden
Forum moderator Garden Photography Irises Bulbs Lilies Bee Lover
Hellebores Deer Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Photo Contest Winner: 2016
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William
Mar 7, 2020 2:30 PM CST

Moderator

Well, you have earned those acorns many times over. Thank You!

Image critique is not an easy thing to do. Some fail to understand this, but image critique is actually about helping and caring for the person you give suggestions. When you are not used to image critique, some will mistake suggestions as an attack on their image, which is an extreme rare case in my experience. So I know it actually will take a little bit of bravery to criticize an image, because sometimes it can be difficult to know how the receiving part will react. Hopefully I'm not behaving too bad on my end. Hilarious! Hilarious! Hilarious! Angel

Thanks again, Alan. Thank You!
Name: Dirt
(Zone 5b)
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Region: Utah Bee Lover Garden Photography Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Photo Contest Winner: 2015
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Photo Contest Winner: 2016 Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Photo Contest Winner 2018 Photo Contest Winner 2019
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dirtdorphins
Mar 9, 2020 8:53 PM CST
I might like your lighter version a little better William.
Definitely gotta keep the blue though--it's supposed to be there!
http://www.dragonflypix.com/sp...

Interesting new critique threads.
I'll try to figure out where to go Hilarious!

Can we have a macro thread? not necessarily for strictly critiquing, but more along the lines of sharing ideas, experimenting, posting our various fails, and trying to get better, even if we don't have photostacking software???
Sweden
Forum moderator Garden Photography Irises Bulbs Lilies Bee Lover
Hellebores Deer Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Photo Contest Winner: 2016
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William
Mar 9, 2020 10:44 PM CST

Moderator

Thank you Dirt.

Yes, we can definitely have a macro thread. Smiling I believe it is is exactly the kind of threads we should have and it is a great suggestion Hurray! Hurray! Hurray!

I think you should go right ahead and start one. Seriously, I don't want my name on every started thread as this is a community effort and not a one mans show so I would be super grateful if you wanted to start one.


Name: Dirt
(Zone 5b)
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Region: Utah Bee Lover Garden Photography Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Photo Contest Winner: 2015
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Photo Contest Winner: 2016 Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Photo Contest Winner 2018 Photo Contest Winner 2019
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dirtdorphins
Mar 10, 2020 6:31 AM CST
Okay, I'll see about getting to it at some point. ...
Thanks!
Name: Alan
Merseyside
Bookworm Container Gardener Seed Starter Spiders! Region: United Kingdom Greenhouse
Garden Photography Daylilies Cat Lover Cactus and Succulents Butterflies Photo Contest Winner 2019
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pikaia
Mar 14, 2020 4:07 AM CST
Thumb of 2020-03-14/pikaia/db4f69

I have been experimenting with the special effects in Topaz Studio 2 software. This was done with the Swirly Strokes filter, which gives an impression of windy weather, which I like. However, I didn't want the folly to look swirly so I gave it a different treatment, so that it looks solid but painterly.

How well does the folly fit into the rest of the picture, could it done better? Any other criticism?


Peonies Hummingbirder Dahlias Cat Lover Butterflies Bookworm
Bee Lover Region: California Birds Roses Garden Photography Photo Contest Winner 2018
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AnnKNCalif
Mar 15, 2020 10:48 AM CST
Hi dirt - Please start the macro thread! I just got a macro lens this week and I'm struggling with it. I'd love some help!

Ann
Name: James
North Louisiana (Zone 8b)
Adeniums Cactus and Succulents Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Growing under artificial light Ferns Garden Photography
Region: Louisiana Region: Gulf Coast Enjoys or suffers hot summers Critters Allowed Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Container Gardener
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deepsouth
Mar 15, 2020 11:23 AM CST

William ...

I love the original fly image .... think, if only the top of the fly were lightened or shadows decreased the "hairs" would standout more and that would preserve the colors

I have the same D300 Nikon ...with a 70-180 macro zoom ....but I never use the RAW format ...instead using the TIFF format

One setting on the D300 that I find very useful - is turning "on" the *Active D-Lighting* to either High, Normal or Low
(not sure if Active D-Lighting is available in conjunction with RAW format)

the one thing about Active D, is that it takes the camera a tad longer to process

I mention this because I believe your fly image could have been manipulated more, bringing out more detail, without colors being affected

pikaia ....

Swirly Stroke doesn't even look like a photograph and done with a camera & editing software...(I mean that in a good way)...... reminds me a lot of impressionism art ...except instead of the "flat" colors of usual impressionism, these colors are vibrant and glossy


I agree - a macro thread !

Sweden
Forum moderator Garden Photography Irises Bulbs Lilies Bee Lover
Hellebores Deer Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Photo Contest Winner: 2016
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William
Mar 15, 2020 2:02 PM CST

Moderator

Thank You! James. Active D-Lighting can be used for RAW's with Nikon's own software, but i believe it has to be activated at shooting time, which it isn't here.
For this reason I can't say how it would look Smiling

Name: James
North Louisiana (Zone 8b)
Adeniums Cactus and Succulents Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Growing under artificial light Ferns Garden Photography
Region: Louisiana Region: Gulf Coast Enjoys or suffers hot summers Critters Allowed Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Container Gardener
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deepsouth
Mar 15, 2020 2:13 PM CST

yes ...that's true ... Active D must be preset .... but hey .....useful to know for future shots
Sweden
Forum moderator Garden Photography Irises Bulbs Lilies Bee Lover
Hellebores Deer Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Photo Contest Winner: 2016
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William
Mar 15, 2020 2:15 PM CST

Moderator

pikaia said:Thumb of 2020-03-14/pikaia/db4f69

I have been experimenting with the special effects in Topaz Studio 2 software. This was done with the Swirly Strokes filter, which gives an impression of windy weather, which I like. However, I didn't want the folly to look swirly so I gave it a different treatment, so that it looks solid but painterly.

How well does the folly fit into the rest of the picture, could it done better? Any other criticism?



I think the colors are splendid. I love the warm saturated look. I do have the impression that the folly is floating around in the picture. This could be because there is no difference to the treatment of what must be grass or some other ground cover and the trees in the background around the folly. It blends together so there in nothing to anchor the folly. Also perhaps there could be some more precise strokes going over the folly with greens, just like a natural bush or something would do. So maybe you could work with a bit more precision in that exact area and that would elevate the image to the next level. Otherwise I like it! It is a happy image. Hurray!

Name: James
North Louisiana (Zone 8b)
Adeniums Cactus and Succulents Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Growing under artificial light Ferns Garden Photography
Region: Louisiana Region: Gulf Coast Enjoys or suffers hot summers Critters Allowed Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Container Gardener
Image
deepsouth
Mar 15, 2020 2:15 PM CST
oh yeah ...thanx for the acorn
Name: Alan
Merseyside
Bookworm Container Gardener Seed Starter Spiders! Region: United Kingdom Greenhouse
Garden Photography Daylilies Cat Lover Cactus and Succulents Butterflies Photo Contest Winner 2019
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pikaia
Mar 16, 2020 3:06 AM CST
Thumb of 2020-03-16/pikaia/44ff9c

Thanks for the comments. I have slightly lightened the greenery in front of the folly to bring it forward, and I painted in a shadow behind the folly. I also tidied up that part of the picture.
Sweden
Forum moderator Garden Photography Irises Bulbs Lilies Bee Lover
Hellebores Deer Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Photo Contest Winner: 2016
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William
Mar 16, 2020 12:23 PM CST

Moderator

I think that is much better.

While I like the shadow, I wonder if it wouldn't be even better if it matched the shadow in the doorway for a more natural look?

Also I'm still wondering about adding some greenery going over the folly. It looks like a ruin to me, yet there is nothing growing over it. Maybe some ivy or something like that could work? Of course this is just my thoughts and you may like the image just as is. Smiling
Name: Rick R.
Minneapolis, MN, USA zone 4
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages The WITWIT Badge Garden Photography Region: Minnesota Hybridizer
Seed Starter Plant Identifier Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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Leftwood
Mar 16, 2020 2:28 PM CST
pikaia, the changes to the pic make it much better. The lighter front brings your eye to the folly, and because you darkened the background, your eye wants to peer inside the structure, rather than being pulled away by the lighter background. After you made this change, it's easier to see what William meant when he says it seems like the folly is floating around in the picture. (Or as I saw it, just plopped there.)

The swirly strokes is quite effective in this image. And your changes already show the difference between a pic that just uses an editing tool, and one that incorporates art and design with it. I agree with William, too, that softer lines on the folly will help anchor it in position.

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