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Archive 2012 · Oystercatcher for critique
  
 
gneto
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Oystercatcher for critique


Hello everyone,

I'm new to the forum, however I've been lurking for quite some time now. I've been really learning a lot from reading many posts, and was hoping to get some more directed feedback / critique on one of my images.

I'm mostly looking for post-processing critique, but any kind of critique is welcome. There are many aspects of photography that I need to improve on, and post-processing is the one I feel I need the most help with.

Thanks in advance to everyone.

By the way, I'm not sure if the image will be correctly posted or not, so please forgive me if nothing appears below...



EDIT: well, seems the image worked



Nov 22, 2012 at 10:02 PM
ben egbert
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Oystercatcher for critique


You have a good pose, nice eye angle and good exposure. Seems slightly over sharpened.

To really make a bird image pop, you need lots of isolation from the background and white stuff does not help. When taking, shoot as wide open as your gear allows. For example, a shot like this would be pretty good at 500f4 and better at 700 f5.6. But only so so at 400 f5.6 because of the dof gets to large.

Having the bird face into the longer extent of the image is good, but I think you have too much room here. Could crop some on the left side.

You can blur the background to compensate for dof, we have had postings on this before.



Nov 22, 2012 at 10:13 PM
gneto
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Oystercatcher for critique


Thanks for the feedback, Ben.

Funny you should mention it's over sharpened - I didn't touch the sharpening slider in LR except for the mask slider, so I could reduce the area where sharpening is applied. Other than that, it's using Lightroom defaults - perhaps I should lower them? I'm hosting this image on Flickr, do you think that the website could have done something to the image when I uploaded it?

Unfortunately I was a little far from the bird when I took the shot, and it's already a bit cropped - I'm afraid cropping it more would make it too small for printing - it is already at 3416 x 1922 pixels, do you think I could crop it some more and still be able to get good prints out of it?

I'm going to look for the blur technique.



Nov 22, 2012 at 10:32 PM
ben egbert
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Oystercatcher for critique


I suspect the sharpening halo around the head is from the web downsizing operation.

I always had to crop bird images and I was usually at 700mm on a crop camera. For me the key to a good bird image is to have feather detail and that ain't easy. I don't think I have shown any bird images here because I sold my lens and no longer do it.

But you can see some here.

http://ben-egbert.smugmug.com/Birds/songbirds/9817693_sxvWH9#!i=1680858022&k=QjbHSc6



Nov 22, 2012 at 10:38 PM
gneto
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Oystercatcher for critique


Nice images on that link.

I'm not sure I agree with bird photos requiring feather detail - I'm gonna have to think some more about it before forming an opinion...



Nov 22, 2012 at 10:57 PM
ben egbert
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Oystercatcher for critique


Maybe not, I spent too much time at Art Morris Birds as Art forum and the DPreview weekly wildlife forum where feather detail was the holy grail.


Nov 22, 2012 at 11:22 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Oystercatcher for critique


Diggin' the low angle. Blues look a little hot, pulled them back via selective color just a tad.







Nov 22, 2012 at 11:24 PM
sbeme
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Oystercatcher for critique


Welcome.
Beautiful image.
I am not on my good monitor so I will leave aside the feather detail and sharpening issues.
I love the soft OOF foreground. Nice position of the oystercatcher. I like the breaking wave background. To me there are a few minor considerations.
First, the large white breaking wave on the right is unfortunate and distracting. I would consider cropping most of it out.
Second, I am with Ben. I think the space on the left is a big long, although this is a matter of taste and message. You do lose some overall image size if you crop some from the right and a larger amount from the left.
Third, how large do you want to print? If the capture is sharp you should have no problem with a 12x18" print after a bit of uprezzing in LR or PS.

Finally, looking forward to seeing more.
And, what was the EXIF?
Scott



Nov 23, 2012 at 02:12 AM
gneto
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Oystercatcher for critique


Thanks for the feedback, RustyBug.

After seeing what you did with the image, I agree the original image was a little 'over' on the blues, but your version has the blues too muted for my taste. I'm gonna try and find somewhere in between - the tricky thing is, I don't have a calibrated monitor, so your image might be just right and muted in my current monitor only...

Anyway, it might have to do with the white balance, as it was really close to sunset, and I took advantage of the fact to make the ugly brown sea we have around here to look more to the blue side. I'm gonna play with it a little, thanks for the suggestion - after seeing your version it became clear my blues were too hot.



Nov 23, 2012 at 09:59 AM
gneto
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Oystercatcher for critique


Thank you for the feedback, sbeme.

Ok, I agree with the white wave to the right, and after what you said, I guess I'm a little more comfortable with cropping the image a lot more. 18" on the larger side would definitely make me happy with this image. I'm gonna take yours and ben's advice and crop the left, too.

As for the EXIF info, it was shot on a Nikon D3100 with the 300mm f/4 AF-S, Auto ISO at 110 (I usually shot birds in aperture-priority and auto ISO from 100 to 400 trying to keep the shutter faster than 1/1000, rarely I'll go into full manual mode), 300mm, F/4, 1/1250 sec shutter speed.

I didn't use a tripod but my arms were resting on the sand, so it was pretty much the same as using a monopod, maybe even a tiny bit better.

If you want to know anything else just ask.



Nov 23, 2012 at 10:12 AM
 

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gneto
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Oystercatcher for critique


Ok, here's a new take on the image after all the feedback. I tried to follow mostly the advice for cropping the extra space on the left, crop the distracting wave on the right, and I did change white balance a bit to try to get rid of the hot blue tones on the water. I tweaked contrast a bit on this version also, as after the change in white balance I thought it was needed. What do you think?




EDIT: the final cropped image is at 2377 x 1337 pixels. Any guess at how big it could be printed?



Nov 23, 2012 at 10:21 AM
sbeme
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Oystercatcher for critique


you seem to like the "long", more pano format, but I am not sure you need to take off the top. And you might end up with a more standard aspect ratio, always cheaper to frame.
There are many, many different ideas about print resolution but there are many variables as well.

Type of paper: Glossy needs more sharpness, higher res. Matte is more forgiving. Canvas more painterly still, less detail preserved typically, can go lower res.

Subject: Portraits can often be low rez. Unless you want a detailed gritty look, lower res is fine. And for beauty and women's portraits, kids less detail is often better.
Landscapes are typically viewed with expectation of great DOF, high detail and need tons of resolution.
Architectural shots vary but often can be lower res as long as there is strong edge sharpening applied.

Viewing distance: This is one place where people fret too much. While most of us and some of the general public will try to get as close to an image as possible, seeking out detail, especially with landscapes, in most situations photos will be viewed from a couple of feet away or more, further the larger the print. Closely viewed images need more res.

Where does this go? I print a lot of bird images at 12x18 on glossy papers. Well-captured images with excellent sharpness, detail often come off of a 200 pixel/inch file, uprezzed by the printer. Below 180 pixel/inch I would always uprez in PS first. I just did a 12x18 print from a heavily cropped capture, yielding a 6 MP file. After uprezzing my friends decided to get it. I thought it was a bit soft. My wife said no.

Yours? I would uprez. Probably shoot for 14" on the long edge. By personal satisfaction with the image is another variable. With good uprezzing, maybe a bit more on lustre.

Scott



Nov 23, 2012 at 01:30 PM
gneto
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Oystercatcher for critique


Yes, I'm really addicted to the wider format 16:9... I recon sometimes it's simply not the best option, but I try it anyway. Hopefully I'll be able to overcome this in the future

Here is a 2x3 version (I'm starting to think I'll end up liking this one better):



Thank you for the invaluable info on printing. In Lightroom, if I uprez to 30cm (around 11.8 inches), should I use 300 dpi resolution? Also, should I enable output sharpening for the type of paper I'll be printing on (matte in this case)?



Nov 23, 2012 at 03:03 PM
ben egbert
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Oystercatcher for critique


I like your last crop. I print down to 200ppi. I like the 16x9 for landscapes but prefer more squarish aspect ratios for birds. I try not to print a bird larger that it would be in life.

My small birds are on 11x14. I have an eagle at 13x19 and a swan which required no cropping on a FF camera that is printed at 16x24.

I print on matte paper and use no glass.



Nov 23, 2012 at 03:51 PM
sbeme
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Oystercatcher for critique


What paper are you planning on using?
What printer?
I print on an Epson 3800. I rarely use matte. Never happy with the lower contrast and vibrancy of color although I know you can adjust in post to maximize these qualities.
For an Epson printer I set resolution at 240 in LR. Others might tell you to use 360 or 720. I chose LR output sharpening based on paper. Make sure you turn off color management in the printer, let LR manage colors and make sure you use the correct paper profile. (sorry if you know this. These are common errors).
Finally, let us know how it works out.

Scott



Nov 23, 2012 at 05:14 PM
ben egbert
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Oystercatcher for critique


Hi Scott. I use Red River Aurora White on an Epson 3800 with Qimage handling the uprez and sharpening. Been pretty happy with the results.

I don't like the glare of semi-gloss or glossy paper. That's why I frame without glass.

Here is a little write up on my printing and it includes some math concerning PPI.

http://ben-egbert-photo.com/?page_id=790



Nov 23, 2012 at 05:20 PM
gneto
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Oystercatcher for critique


Ben and Scott, thank you for the comments and useful information.

I'll actually be using printing services from a store close to home, whose results are really close to what I see on my monitor - I tried other places, but none was as good. I don't have a printer, and don't plan on buying one in the near future, as its cost would be really high where I live (Brazil - electronics cost more than double what you pay in the US).

I prefer the matte paper for the same reasons stated by Scott, the lack of glare. I didn't know it had lower contrast and vibrance; I guess I'll need to study the subject and learn to deal with those limitations if I want to get the best possible matte prints.


Once again, thank you all for the feedback. It was invaluable. I'll be printing this image as soon as I get back home (currently overseas for a business trip) and will let you know how it turns out - I'm specially interested in seeing if the low resolution won't be a problem.

I'll be posting more pictures for critique, since the feedback I received for this one really made a difference for the final result. In fact, I'll be posting a new one in the next few minutes...



Nov 23, 2012 at 10:08 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Oystercatcher for critique


+1 @ monitor variance, but glad that the comp helped see the blues better.

The new crop is a touch tight for me taste, as seeing a broader environment suggests he is combing the beach. The tighter crop is more "portrait" like to me.




Nov 24, 2012 at 04:39 AM
gneto
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Oystercatcher for critique


Hey RustyBug,

After reading your post I brought it back to a 16:9 composition. Still pretty tight so might still get the 'portrait' feeling. I honestly don't know anymore what I'd prefer for the aspect ratio; I guess I need some time away from this image now, so I can get a better judgement once I return to take another look at it.

I'm curious as to what would be ben's opinion regarding this 16:9 crop. Ben, what's your view on it? Do you still prefer the 3:2 one?




Nov 24, 2012 at 10:34 AM
ben egbert
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Oystercatcher for critique


I almost always consider birds to be portrait type subjects. The exception maybe a feeding eagle doing a fish pick up, or a pair doing acrobatics.

Even then I would use 3x2 rather than 16x9 which I consider a landscape aspect ratio.

But everything I just mentioned is strictly a matter of taste so you should do what meets your personal taste.

I do understand one thing, a monitor wallpaper for a 16x9 aspect screen works better as it approaches 16x9. This may feed my dislike of verticals.



Nov 24, 2012 at 03:30 PM





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