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09-28-2014, 06:18 PM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by VisualDarkness Quote
It now tilts the other way
It may . I am on my lap top at the moment and it is on my lap.. and only a piece of paper to measure with. There are 4 masts that appear to be at the same tilt so I used them. Assuming the coast and boats are at an angle from the lens instead of straight on. So I tried lining up the two masts on the left side. There are now 7 masts close to vertical . Besides it makes starting the boats a movin easier, if they are headed down hill.
The K-30 has a level in the viewfinder to help with these kind of shots. I do not remember if I had to go into the menu or not, to turn it on .

09-28-2014, 06:24 PM   #17
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First, remember that people typically show good stuff here, so don't get discouraged.

Second, the skill is to show the viewer what caused you to pick up the camera and take the shot. Sometimes all you have to do is press the shutter button, but sometimes you have to work at it. That's one reason to use a really wide aperture lens. You can make parts of the image blurry and parts sharply focused. The viewer knows right away where you want them to look.

Here is an example which may not be anything like your original idea. I cropped your shot, turned down all the colors except red, and used a graduated filter on the very flat sky. Right away, you can see how I looked at your shot. I saw the red boat against a background of mostly white boats, so I emphasized that difference. I cropped to put the red boat closer to an intersection of the "rule of thirds" lines, one third up and one third right. Cropping reduces the amount of sky and emphasizes the diagonal line of boats leading up to the red one. The graduated filter trick makes flat skies more interesting to me without doing something obviously fake.



I wouldn't spend a lot of time on these processing tricks unless I saw the photo that way in the first place. They are just examples of highlighting your original vision. Yes, that sounds like artistic claptrap but it's still something you should have. Just don't use that phrase around civilians.
09-28-2014, 06:26 PM - 1 Like   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by patrick9 Quote
Besides it makes starting the boats a movin easier, if they are headed down hill.
That's one positive spirit!
Joking aside, getting a straight horizon can be tricky, especially when you're editing too many pics at a time and your eyes see angles everywhere.

---------- Post added 09-29-14 at 03:28 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Just1MoreDave Quote
First, remember that people typically show good stuff here, so don't get discouraged.

Second, the skill is to show the viewer what caused you to pick up the camera and take the shot. Sometimes all you have to do is press the shutter button, but sometimes you have to work at it. That's one reason to use a really wide aperture lens. You can make parts of the image blurry and parts sharply focused. The viewer knows right away where you want them to look.

Here is an example which may not be anything like your original idea. I cropped your shot, turned down all the colors except red, and used a graduated filter on the very flat sky. Right away, you can see how I looked at your shot. I saw the red boat against a background of mostly white boats, so I emphasized that difference. I cropped to put the red boat closer to an intersection of the "rule of thirds" lines, one third up and one third right. Cropping reduces the amount of sky and emphasizes the diagonal line of boats leading up to the red one. The graduated filter trick makes flat skies more interesting to me without doing something obviously fake.



I wouldn't spend a lot of time on these processing tricks unless I saw the photo that way in the first place. They are just examples of highlighting your original vision. Yes, that sounds like artistic claptrap but it's still something you should have. Just don't use that phrase around civilians.
That's a popping edit for sure!
09-28-2014, 06:30 PM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by Andi Lo Quote
I think you need better light quality, try photographing it again at sunrise / sundown. The light on those pictures looks pretty drab to me.
Yeah, wake up earlier.

09-28-2014, 06:31 PM   #20
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Yeah, I just checked the shutter counts on my cameras and together they are hitting just below 40 000 pics now, but that's not even close to 10 000 keepers. I upload way to many of my bad shot and still it's only marginal to actual amount I shoot.
09-28-2014, 06:33 PM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by agaurav Quote
Hello all,

I am a beginner though I have been taking pictures for almost 10 years - but not regularly. Lately, I am getting more interested after having couple of summer vacations and disappointed with my capabilities/results.

I have a Pentax K-30D with 18-135mm WR. Most of my pictures are dull and drab looking. They are missing oomph like I see in pictures on various sites online. I shoot RAW+JPEG but I haven't tried too hard to process RAW. I felt that the JPEG should be quite good and the RAW would add the last 10-20%. What could be going wrong technically?

I can understand that my composition and artistic skills are lacking but I do know the basics of exposure and lighting after having started with MX way back when and progressing through PZ-1, ZX-5 and then K-10D and now K-30D. Where all can I be screwing up?

I have attached a few sample images that aren't eye popping! Obviously, this is vague but I will take any tips or pointers. Questions welcome, of course. Thanks in advance!!
Snow + auto exposure = classic photographic trap. Your camera's meter will most consistently expose in such a manner as to render the snow as grey, which is what it was designed to do. When shooting in snow or grey skies, it might be best to add a stop or two of exposure compensation. In your last image, I think the post and the branches are fighting for our attention, due to the framing, and the fact that they are both in focus. If framed with the post at the intersection of vertical and horizontal thirds, it wold have stood out more.

Also, I think some curves and tone mapping can bring out the detail. I'm going to give it a quick go.
09-28-2014, 06:59 PM   #22
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Here's what I came up with. It's not perfect, and I could work it further, but it's a different take. The important thing is that you were looking at something interesting in real life. capturing it and presenting it is the difficult.

If you're shooting while it's snowing, try turning on your flash. it makes snowflakes in the air look magical.
Attached Images
 
09-28-2014, 07:01 PM   #23
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Here are what I think my starting steps would be for processing the raw files in Lightroom:

#1: It looks like gray, hazy weather with a boring sky and not much interest in the background. Rather than trying to blue-en the sky, I think I would crop to emphasize the diagonal line of 5 outboards and de-emphasize sky, moving the red boat closer to the lower-right corner and the next 4 boats moving to the upper-left corner. (2 others already responded with similar crops but maybe crop tighter).

#2: I would put that in my discard pile and not process further because it doesn't appeal to me.

#3: Try recovering the pure white sky by decreasing the highlight slider. Then boost contrast and saturation a little to lessen the washed out background caused by humidity in the air.

#4: Has potential to be the best of the set. This looks too gray to me so I would brighten the entire image until the snow looks white (but not blown out, maybe a bright gray just short of white). Then play with contrast and clarity. I generally don't like too much clarity but a lot might work for this photo.

#5: A little of the right edge of the light fixture falls out of the frame. I would probably discard this one too.

09-28-2014, 07:38 PM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by agaurav Quote
Wow! Thanks a lot for such amazing feedback and tips. These are all helpful and I will read them again to make sure some of them stick around :-) Getting old... I will definitely try my 35mm prime as well as try to acquire another while making attempts to take pictures earlier/later in the day. I don't use a tripod but will try to use one going forward. I know that should help but felt that I am shooting in good daylight and with the sensor image stabilization, I should be good.

What is clarity anyways? Is there a particular software that you would suggest? Right now, I have Photoshop Elements 10 though I don't use it actively. I want to get started before I spend lot more on Lightroom or Photoshop CS.

@ElJamoquio - that's a great shot. Where did you take it?
Thanks, it's June Lake, near Mammoth Lakes, CA. Trust me, anyone that was there would've had a great shot. But you have to be awake and getting there before dawn.

Clarity is one of the 'sliders' you can turn up or down in Adobe Lightroom. It's a form of small-scale contrast.
09-28-2014, 07:48 PM - 1 Like   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by agaurav Quote
I can understand that my composition and artistic skills are lacking but I do know the basics of exposure and lighting .........

I have attached a few sample images that aren't eye popping! Obviously, this is vague but I will take any tips or pointers. Questions welcome, of course. Thanks in advance!!
Far more important then your exposure is the composition. In your samples, there is no dominant element, no real subject. We don't know where to look and when we do, everything is equally important There are lots of details but no story. The eye doesn't know where to go or what to do.

Photography is a reductionist medium. In some way, we need to bring order to the mass of visual input we are bombarded with. Something in the composition need to have the starring role, the other
things need to be supportive. Figure out what the subject is and how you want the viewer to see it. Where will they look and why?








09-29-2014, 01:14 AM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by Brooke Meyer Quote
Far more important then your exposure is the composition
Light and PP are one thing. But this comment is addressing where the picture should take a good start.

Try playing background/foreground. Don't be afraid to get close to your subject and frame close to the edges.
Isolate the subject you want to capture. Everything else is just ballast.
Play more with the 2/3 rule & take your time to frame it.
Train your eye. I went through this process myself & find it's a lifetime learning process. But it makes all the difference.

Looking at the pictures you posted, you have that eye, but it needs training.
my 2cents..

https://www.flickr.com/photos/grispie/9396711394/in/set-72157634852313692
https://www.flickr.com/photos/grispie/9393944579/in/set-72157634852313692
https://www.flickr.com/photos/grispie/14652560828/in/set-72157645792391367

Last edited by grispie; 09-29-2014 at 01:15 AM. Reason: links
09-29-2014, 02:58 AM   #27
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You already have some suggestions. For dull/drab days, I do use quite a bit of Black and White. Underexposing a little to try to leave some detail in the sky can be helpful. If there is no detail in the sky to catch then try to frame without much of the sky, as it doesn't add much to the image.

Get up early or go out at sunset. Those are the best words of advice I can give. The light is way, way better then, then it will be later on. Maybe try picking different angles to shoot at as well.

Post processing can help some, but honestly, the best photos are best coming out of the camera and it is just tweaking after the fact to bring out detail, contrast that is already there.

This shot was on a particularly dull morning when the sun came up without any colors to speak of. I chose to do black and white, bump the contrast, and bring out the lines I saw in the mud flat.

09-29-2014, 03:13 AM   #28
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You've even got to work hard in a B&W conversion if the light's flat, because the result should have a lot of contrast.

Overcast days are lousy for landscapes, but pretty good for portraits.
09-29-2014, 05:48 AM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by ElJamoquio Quote
Post processing will help but will never solve the problem.
I agree. Sometime there just is no there there - the image is stillborn in camera.
PP can help but not enough...

Last edited by wildman; 10-06-2014 at 05:00 AM.
09-29-2014, 06:12 AM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by clackers Quote
You've even got to work hard in a B&W conversion if the light's flat, because the result should have a lot of contrast.

Overcast days are lousy for landscapes, but pretty good for portraits.
I agree. In the end, photography is about light, subject and composition. And particularly the first two. Without them, everything else is not going to work.

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