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Critique Please - I love this shot. Am I crazy?

Canon G16 Porcupine Puffer

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#1 linda99


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Posted 04 March 2014 - 08:08 AM

Hello everyone,   I am a very novice underwater photographer taking "point and shoot photos" for the past 5 years.   All my photography has been with  the Canon G-series cameras in the Canon case (no external strobes).   I'm at a point where I would like to up my game and have just purchased the G16.  I'm contemplating a strobe purchase.

This photo of the Juvenile Porcupine Pufferfish was one of my first photos with the Canon G16.  Taken about 5 meters in natural light in Cozumel.  I've done post editing (crop, sharpen, white balance, and minimal back scatter removal with healing brush).   I thought it was one of my lifetime best underwater photos...but then nobody likes to call their baby "ugly".   
One of the areas where I struggle is the post processing...I try to get the color as true as possible but I'm very aware that we don't see the true color of the fish without the aid of artificial light and I'm shooting with ambient light.    

Would some of you "expert" photogs please give me some feedback on my photo and my post processing?  Any advice welcome.  :-)Happy_Little_Puffer.jpg

Thanks so much...Linda 



#2 kc_moses


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Posted 04 March 2014 - 10:10 AM

I like that picture too! I would say the composition is great and you captured the right moment, much needed break from the rule of third composition.


I just added my first strobe to my system but I shot with a loan strobe before and that's what sold me the idea of having a strobe. The strobe, besides adding color, it also add mood to the picture. Do consider attending some UW photo work shop where you might get more explore to different equipment etc. I will be attending the Digital Fiesta (http://www.underwate...italfiesta.com/) and they have strobe and other equipment for divers to try out for free.


Back to your question, post processing should be kept to minimal such as cropping, adjusting expose. That should be it. The goal is to get the picture right the first time so you don't end up with too much post processing, and that's why competition set rules of very minimal post processing. Treat RAW format as a nice to have work flow and don't heavily rely on taking a RAW picture and restore it back because some information just can't be restore back from even RAW format.

#3 troporobo


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Posted 04 March 2014 - 03:49 PM

Agreed, it's a great shot!  I'd also recommend a strobe (or two).  Not only would lighting add extra dimensionality to the shot, but even in strong ambient light you could get darker backgrounds to isolate a subject like this

#4 Steve Williams

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Posted 04 March 2014 - 05:32 PM

Hi Linda,

All art is subjective and what looks good to me won't look right to others.  I believe an image is processed correctly when it represents what we intended when we made it.  If you love it that is all that matters.   :dancing: For me, amazing photography is very much all about relationships and if this were my image I be trying to increase the contrast between your little puffer and the background so she can stand out a little more.  If you're in LR or ADR try increasing the mid tone contrast (clarity) a bit. I'd also try increasing the sharpening a touch to add a little definition to the cute wrinkles around the eyes.   This type of composition is just begging for a vignette effect to darken the background rocks and bring your eye to the puffers face.  As the guys have mentioned a small strobe could accomplish the same thing (darken the background) and would give you more options next time.  




Have fun with it!




PS  - Yes you may be crazy,  some of the signs are pointing in that direction.  I don't know you well enough to say, but don't feel bad, you'd be like all the rest of us who love going in the water with cameras,  and some of us have decided that sanity is severely overrated.

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#5 Uli Kunkel

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Posted 06 March 2014 - 02:17 AM

Hey! Thats a good one!

As you mentioned that you were taking point and shoot photos for quite a while, you put yourself in the shoes of many diehard photo fanatics that started much like you.... taking snaps from time to time until one day they started to get an attachment to one or two of their better photos and really think about what it was they were doing and how to improve!

The G series are great cameras to get into, and I think that the g16 would be a great tool for you to use. But before you splash down for a strobe I would recommend that you get practice with using your camera's manual settings and the internal flash. This would help you get a better feel to control your camera and strobe when you eventually do get one (and if you are still hooked, a strobe is essential!)

I like the shot. But if youre looking for more ideas and suggestions, I would have used the internal flash with a higher shutter speed to keep light on the subject while reducing the ambient light in the background. Sometimes the background can be a nice addition to the shot, but more often than not (I find) it is distracting.

Keep it up!

#6 tdpriest


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Posted 07 March 2014 - 03:49 AM

much needed break from the rule of third composition



I hate the "rule of thirds", too. It's a cheap knock-off of the "golden section".


I guess that the Greeks were more civilised than the moderns...

#7 linda99


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Posted 19 March 2014 - 05:57 PM

Hi Everyone,  Thanks for your comments on my "Happy Little Puffer" shot.   They were very helpful and I was thinking the same thing myself about the background, wishing there was less of it.  Now I have some things to work on for this shot and future shots thanks to your suggestions.  I do have one thought about the use of flash in this shot and the affect of the puffer's eyes.  I wanted to keep that blue-green iridescence of this particular puffers corneas. Many of the puffers I've seen in Cozumel have that green-yellow shade and lack the iridescence.  I read somewhere that age may have something to do with it.    Would using flash change how the eyes looked?    Thanks much. Linda


#8 TomR1


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Posted 26 April 2014 - 01:31 PM

Art is art. I do not give into the idea that post processing is a no-no. In my view it is a throwback to an earlier age.

In ths shot I woule creat a background layer and a foreground layer(fish). I would blur the background layer and possibly desaturate. I would then mask the foreground layer (black) and paint in the fish with a white brush.

This is a quick and dirty. To do it right I need more pixels and open in raw

Attached Images

  • post-4526-0-35479100-1393982442.jpg

Edited by TomR1, 26 April 2014 - 01:32 PM.

#9 jannatul18



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Posted 26 August 2014 - 01:19 AM

I dont think you that you are crazy. Its a great shot and me also like this picture.

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