critique appreciated :) - from river to canal.


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nartz

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Mar 5, 2006
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#1
hey all, this is my first time posting my pics up here for critiquing. be gentle but helpful yeah? :)


anw some background. this picture was taking at sengkang. the street name, i dont remember now but ive bladed past this river a few times and during the weekends, the foreign workers who live in the vicinity would go swimming and locals would go fishing in this small river. but at the time of this picture (2006), turns out the gahmen decided to convert this simple river into a canal, probably to facilitate the building of hdb houses that may sprout next to it in the future.
and the whole irony of this is the very same foreign workers are working to convert this river.

i use a puny point and shoot. an aigo (china brand) which my dad grudgingly bought me while on holiday to china. i'm hoping to upgrade to a dslr soon, i need advice! :) http://forums.clubsnap.org/showthread.php?t=273487. and this photo was mildly photoshop. colour adjustments, leveling changes. do you think its too much?

thanks, in advance.
 

C J GOH

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Mar 18, 2007
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#2
It looks Over and Under quite serverely...

What did you meter? Large portion of sky?

It's a nice attempt, but I find it a trifle bit too - messy, ill-composed (there are some tree leaves dangling on upper left) and all the shadow details are largely gone...

However, I noted the nice blueness in the sky and those puffy white clouds...

Did you meter the sky??
 

nartz

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Mar 5, 2006
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#3
hey thanks for the critique. :)

hmm. whats over and under please? haha. i metered the sky. yupp.
 

C J GOH

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Mar 18, 2007
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#4
Well, I'd say it is largely Under (under exposed) because you metered the sky.

When you meter the sky (or anything brighter than the surrounding or a subject matter) everything else will be darkened. It's also called exposing for Highlights. And if you meter and expose for shadow or darker areas, the brighter (highlights) will burn off (over).

Whether it's a P&S or pro level SLR, servere overs or unders can happen if metering zones in your compo wasn't carefully selected.

Oh and avoid shooting in mid day sun...you can never get a satisfactory exposure.. light is too harsh...
 

nartz

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Mar 5, 2006
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#5
wow, cool i never knew that. :D

hmm, this was taken 5ish. near evening time.

or could it be over manipulation on my part in photoshop? for this photo, what should i have metered?
 

C J GOH

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Mar 18, 2007
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#6
Well, personally I would meter midtones; that is I will meter areas where there are some trees (greens) and include some highlight areas (those distant HDB buildings)...

This way, shadow areas will reveal more details, but the sky and those fluffy clouds may burn.. but that's not the main subject so let them burn..

I Used to have these problems way back when I started photography..
 

C J GOH

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#7
Back when photography was all about films, and not Photoshop, metering and getting as much as possible everything spot on, was critical - because after you press the shutter button, there's no turning back...

Of course you can spend hours breathing dev-fumes in a private lab, but that's not ideal to me.

Ok now I finally accepted Digital Photography when the megapizels have gone into and beyond the 10Mp mark, I would still try to get everything as spot on as possible so that I don't spend hours editing with PS...

It's a victory to me if I don't have to change or correct much via PS after the shutter...
 

nartz

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Mar 5, 2006
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#8
yeah, i believe in that too. but problem is, i just feel that the colours that my camera produces is really quite pathetic, washed out and sad looking. does that mean i have to hone more of my metering skills rather than the camera's problem?
 

espion

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Aug 25, 2005
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#9
it seems ur intention was to capture/present/say visually in a picture the transformation of a river to a canal, and thus you picturing the construction - and it concomitant messiness, etc. If that is the case then the sky occupying 50% of the photograph is irrelevant altogether to this intent.

Also I see construction, I see water, but I dont see the former river; if at all - it could well have been a big longkang all along, and never was a river flowing there. Also if you are trying to convey your nostalgic feelings for that ancient river, this picture is not saying it too.

To do this maybe you find some remnants of the previous river - from what I see the bank opposite seems "unconstructed" - maybe it is still the original river bank - but i dont know, its too dark too see. But if so then maybe you take the construction - with workers working on it - from that far bank, making sure to include some near bank to contrast against the construction. Or maybe you get someone to pose - barefooted, barebodied, and wet as if he has just gone for a dip in the river ... etc etc ...

But these are just ideas, and not prescriptions, the point being that you have to think through what you want to say and how you can say it visually before you even pick up a camera.

And if such thoughts are well thought through and if the visual opportunities are available, then even a china made point and shoot and make a real WOW picture! Or put conversely having a DSLR or superb photoshopping skills wont change, if not entirely irrelevant to your photographic skills at all: its always the carpenter and not the tools.

But I am altogether presuming what you are trying to say in this picture, for I really cant tell from it, which is merely about construction and messiness, and nice blue sky.

PS: Even if the picture is well exposed etc, it is still about a blue sky and messy construction. But if you have captured a good picture, then I will use whatever necessary photoshop - and use it to the max - to make it as good a photograph as can be.
 

C J GOH

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Mar 18, 2007
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#10
Indeed, espion is correct on all counts regards the picture.

I think to improve on your composition skill, it is good enough to look at pictures taken by photographers for papers like Straits Times. They are able to frame messy scenes in an ordered manner...

I feel that photography is 70% about observing, and only 30% photo-graphing.
 

nartz

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Mar 5, 2006
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#11
its done intentionally. yupp. actually to tell the truth, i'm a fan of lomo pictures, thats why i thought the colours on this was beautiful. even though the dark areas were too dark. i'm not a fan of true colour, adjusting my photos so it looks like the real thing. think that affects my take on the colours here?

but espion and cjgoh, i agree with your point on composition. i probably never meant to tell a story in the first place, i only thought of this river morphing into a canal thing after i got back home. but yeah. point taken. thanks for the critique.
 

ortega

Moderator
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Nov 2, 2004
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#12

meter for the sky and
some pp will be able to bring out the shadow details

composition wise i would lose some of the empty sky and tilt the camera downwards
to have more foreground as the starting point, then use the lines to bring the viewer
into the image.
 

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