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09-29-2014, 06:38 AM   #31
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QuoteOriginally posted by wildman Quote
I agree. Sometime there just is no there there - the image is stillborn in camera.
PP can help but not enough...
..

:^o

09-29-2014, 06:56 AM   #32
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My quick impression: You shot on a drab day and let the camera do the thinking, which is always a bad combination.

If you still don't want to muck with your RAW files, you can crank saturation/clarity in-camera, but it still won't help where there isn't much to work with.

Personally, I don't (usually) mind shooting on dreary days. Living in Maine if I limited myself to nice weather I'd have a few weeks in Summer and that would be about it.

What I look for personally when its dreary out...
  • Bright elements that stand out against the gloom. Even if its something as dumb as a roadsign, if its a splash of color, your eye will immediately be drawn there simply because that is all there is to see. What would be absolutely boring on a nice day can actually work when its dreary out.

  • People (or at least interesting situations, which usually involves people...). I'm not much of a 'street' shooter, but when the weather is bad, people tend to become much more interesting as well, since they're going to be hurrying back and forth and have a completely different body language than when its nice out. This makes them much more interesting subjects.
  • Fog. If the weather is dreary enough to produce fog, all bets are off because suddenly *everything* goes magical.
  • Wait until after dark. If the day is dreary, odds are the night will be as well. Only there is never any light at night to start with, and the drearyness will become fogginess/ambience around any available light. A dreary day usually makes for a terrific night for shooting.

Finally, learn RAW. There is *so* much detail hidden in a RAW file you won't see in a simply in-camera processed JPG its worth getting into, and you don't need to spend much (if any) money for software for it. Theres freeware stuff out there, the software that came with the camera, etc, etc.
09-29-2014, 08:51 AM   #33
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Hello,

I hope some of this is helpful.
I have read through most of the replies.
Good advice with respect to drab days. Sometimes, you have to change what you do to fit the day. Sometimes, I try and, sometimes, I walk away and go somewhere else... I know I won't really want the photograph so might take a picture and move on... soft days can also be good for taking close up pictures of things.. maybe not your ice but stuff on a boat or whatever. soft shadows are good for portraits as well as little stuff that would be too shadowy and contrasty.

Old advice is to get close.
Other old advice is to get low.
Try to not always look down at the subject.

Because there have been some offers of editing advice, I will add mine.
First, I check brightness/exposure. Then, I check levels. If I don't check levels first, I might go about hitting the 'contrast' slider and who knows what else without really needing to do that... Check levels to be sure black and white point are good. Then worry with contrast or curve. Then may have to go back and refine exposure/levels... 'Clarity' is some related to sharpening. 'Sharpening' lives in the country and works for a living. 'Clarity' lives in town and likes to drink wine. Both can be abused. I like 'clarity' or contrast (via curve and not slider) more. Curves are a bit mysterious but simple use is not hard. For the picture of the lamp, I looked at the frosty lens of the lamp and found its spot on the histogram and adjusted the curve so that there would be more contrast there. May as well.

The pictures have some WB adjustment, levels, curve, clarity, and about +1 in exposure.
Better to be a little dark than to be too bright but with snow meters like about +1
The ice on limb could be brighter, if you like. A choice to have it near white or lighter gray.
As long as there are no sunlight snow parts, +1 is pretty conservative.

For the boat picture... I looked at the stuff on land and not the stuff in the water... I could only see little tiny buildings but they looked pretty straight to me. At least, not as crooked as some think the masts are. Lakes generally don't have a level shoreline; they aren't a horizon...







Last edited by Tan68; 09-29-2014 at 08:57 AM.
10-05-2014, 12:35 PM   #34
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Thanks to all for very helpful tips and advice. I didn't realize that you folks are so nice and took so much effort to modify/correct the pictures that I posted and post your own as examples. This was very helpful. I definitely picked up quite a few tips and hope to continue to learn and evolve.

10-05-2014, 08:06 PM   #35
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Hi

As for the first pic of your post, taking this as an example, there hardly ever is a way to capture a scene like this which will represent what you where seeing (or feeling) at the time. Your brain will automatically process the image to make the best of it. Emotion, smell, feel and life experience will play a part here.

You take this picture, get home, look at it and you are disappointed. Your brain still remembers but can't recreate the moment it experienced at the time when it was on location. How can it, it has only got a one dimensional image to work with. On top of it your skill to take the photograph may not have been up to the task to capture some of the magic your brain provided you. And don't forget, a dull day with dull light is always going to be dull. The trick is, on a dull day, to seek and compose pictures which will suit the dull light, in other words, make a feature of it. A moody picture taken under dull light can be very powerful.

But you are on your way to acquire those skills because you show disappointment and now seek to rectify shortcomings. A very good start. But don't be too disappointed if you cannot capture always what you see on location, I know I certainly can't.
But now with modern PP software we did not have in the old film days there are ways which will allow you to rescue, to a certain extent at least, some of the magic with post processing.

All the aforementioned pointers by other forum members are true but one suggestion is missing. CROPPING ! Cropping is very often a sure fire way (among the usual PP techniques) to improve an image dramatically. The desire to show in a photograph as much of the scenery as you saw it is not always the best way to go about it. So don't be afraid to experiment with cropping. We, as viewers of pictures, don't have to see everything.

Greetings

Last edited by Schraubstock; 12-19-2014 at 11:49 PM.
10-05-2014, 08:25 PM   #36
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Another piece of advice would be to try not to think of a day as "drab." I think of it as "very exciting soft lighting." You can do things you can't on other days, and colors really, really pop in diffused lighting. If you can find anything with color in it, it will look amazing.
10-05-2014, 11:12 PM   #37
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QuoteOriginally posted by agaurav Quote
Thanks to all for very helpful tips and advice. I didn't realize that you folks are so nice and took so much effort to modify/correct the pictures that I posted and post your own as examples. This was very helpful. I definitely picked up quite a few tips and hope to continue to learn and evolve.
You made a good and nice post and seem open to critique (though your own taste is the most important), that's why you get feedback.
10-06-2014, 12:24 AM   #38
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Hi again

Looking at your lantern shot I get the feeling the autumn leafs attracted your attention. I think you have done well in bringing the lantern into the frame which makes the leafs carry less of the responsibility as a reason to take the shot in the first place. Still they are a major focal point of the picture shared with the lantern. Trouble is neither of them are dominant exposure and colour wise to carry the picture. Again PP to the rescue.
Another decision to make would have been to use the appropriate f/stop to either get the lantern or the autumn leafs out of focus depending on the priority of your intent.

I can only work on the picture the way it is now, as I see it and the way I would like it. So don't take this as the final answer to correcting the picture but only one of many possibilities. But whichever way you look at it I think it answers your original posting question.

I used Nik Viveza to darken the sky and put a bit of texture in it at the same time, brightened up the lantern glass a wee bit to give it a bit of life. Interesting, one can see a bit of frost on the glass now. Next I took the picture into OLONEO and tweaked the Hue/Luminance of the autumn leafs a bit to make them a bit more eye catching.

The only other criticism I have, you have put the edge of the lantern too close to the edge of the frame. I would have liked a bit more space there. It would have also allowed you to straighten up the lamp post by rotation or skewing. (in Photoshop - "Select All" - "Edit" - "Transform" - "Rotate or Skew")

Does this answer your question ?

Greetings


Last edited by Schraubstock; 12-19-2014 at 11:49 PM.
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