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how can this be improved


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#1 stewsmith

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Posted 25 March 2009 - 01:50 PM

I really like this shot as it was so difficult to get. I was fighting a very strong Maldivian current at the time, and although this photo isnt anything special it is special to me as it brings back good memories of watching the rest of the divers go flying over the top of me, being hurled along. I love honeycombs anyway and I managed 3 shots and this was my favourite.

I would like to get it printed but would like any advice that would improve it. I would also appreciate any comments as a photo in general.

Location :- Felidhe Atoll - Maldives
Camera :- Canon 350 D
Lens :- 18-55mm
F/8
1/80
ISO 100
Strobes : 2 x YS90
PP :- CS


Stew

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#2 loftus

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Posted 25 March 2009 - 05:13 PM

I really like the image Stew. I would like the guy to be a bit sharper and pop a little more.
Try this - run Unsharp Mask in PS Amount 15% Radius 80 - to increase Local Contrast. Even run it twice
I've done it with your JPEG and it looks better to me but I don't think will show very well.
If you like send me a TIFF or RAW version and I'll try run it in Silver Effex Pro, I've been able to get my best B&W images using it.

I've taken a shot at it with two things in PS. First I ran Unsharp Mask as above twice. Then I duplicated the layer as a Screen to lighten the eel; then masked out the background so that it's the same as before and the eel pops a little more.

Posted Image

Edited by loftus, 25 March 2009 - 05:20 PM.

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#3 sgietler

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Posted 25 March 2009 - 06:36 PM

Stew, I like it a lot, I think its a great photo. great choice for a B&W, good detail, really nice background too.

If I really had to nitpick, I might like it a drop better a little brighter, but not too bright in the center, with a touch more contrast. And I might have liked it a little better if the moray was at a slight diagonal, with the left side of the moray a little lower.

Scott

#4 M.Henke

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Posted 25 March 2009 - 09:43 PM

Maybe try something like this.
post_5742_1238017773_1_2.jpg
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#5 stewsmith

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Posted 25 March 2009 - 11:13 PM

If you like send me a TIFF or RAW version and I'll try run it in Silver Effex Pro, I've been able to get my best B&W images using it.



Posted Image


I will try and send it later today, I do not have the image on the pc I am using atm. It does look better, crisper and have that " popping effect which is what I was after.

I think I like the look of the cropped version also, even though the image loses areas of background.

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#6 cpix

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Posted 26 March 2009 - 12:19 AM

Michael's version with a vignette applied to the right hand side and slightly cropped to the right and the spacing of the wording slightly altered :)
Lovely image.

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#7 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 26 March 2009 - 12:27 AM

Needs more separation from the background.

If you weren't fighting such a current, your right hand strobe needs to be on a lower power and it would pop out much more from the background. The left had strobe is also hot-spotting the moray. Pull it back a little to spread the light (I presume you had the diffuser on it? If not you need to).

Obviously, if you used TTL then it is a pain to adjust the power of the strobes independently - so you have to darken the background in Photoshop and make the light on the moray more even in the foreground. Dodge and burn brushes will do this pretty simply.

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#8 stewsmith

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Posted 26 March 2009 - 06:24 AM

If you weren't fighting such a current, your right hand strobe needs to be on a lower power and it would pop out much more from the background. The left had strobe is also hot-spotting the moray. Pull it back a little to spread the light (I presume you had the diffuser on it? If not you need to).


The current was a bit to blame and also what you cannot tell from the image is that there were corals in front and to my left and to my right and I could not really angle the strobes/dome port where I would have wanted. You know the kind of terrain that morays seem to like. not always ideal for the uw photographer. I was trying to put some of the right hand strobe lighting into the mouth. I did have the diffuser on both strobes, i think I just needed to power down a tad. pulling it back was not an option. It was a case of get a few shots in before I had to just go with the flow.


Obviously, if you used TTL then it is a pain to adjust the power of the strobes independently - so you have to darken the background in Photoshop and make the light on the moray more even in the foreground. Dodge and burn brushes will do this pretty simply.

Alex


No TTL I will give this a try in PS tonight when I get back to the hotel.

Cheers for your input Alex

Stew

Edited by stewsmith, 26 March 2009 - 06:33 AM.

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#9 loftus

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Posted 26 March 2009 - 06:41 AM

The current was a bit to blame and also what you cannot tell from the image is that there were corals in front and to my left and to my right and I could not really angle the strobes/dome port where I would have wanted. You know the kind of terrain that morays seem to like. not always ideal for the uw photographer. I was trying to put some of the right hand strobe lighting into the mouth. I did have the diffuser on both strobes, i think I just needed to power down a tad. pulling it back was not an option. It was a case of get a few shots in before I had to just go with the flow.




No TTL I will give this a try in PS tonight when I get back to the hotel.

Cheers for your input Alex

Stew

Stew,
If you are comfortable with layers and masks, rather than dodge and burn, use duplicate layers with screen and darken modes to achieve the same effect. Particularly for dodging, this is less destructive to your image, and of course is more able to be controlled with masks and changing screen opacity, and is reversible until you flatten the image. Not so critical for web images, but if you are trying to squeeze the most quality out of the image for a big print, I think it makes a difference.

Edited by loftus, 26 March 2009 - 06:43 AM.

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#10 stewsmith

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Posted 26 March 2009 - 06:55 AM

Stew,
If you are comfortable with layers and masks, rather than dodge and burn, use duplicate layers with screen and darken modes to achieve the same effect. Particularly for dodging, this is less destructive to your image, and of course is more able to be controlled with masks and changing screen opacity, and is reversible until you flatten the image. Not so critical for web images, but if you are trying to squeeze the most quality out of the image for a big print, I think it makes a difference.


I must admit i have tried dodging and burning before and have not had much luck with it, probably my lack of skills. I am going to try it again though to see what the outcome is. I will also do as you have suggested and use a couple of layer masks as well and see what they look like side by side.

Cheers once again

Stew

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#11 stewsmith

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Posted 26 March 2009 - 02:51 PM

does this work better or not? Ive had too much beer tonight and it looks ok with these eyes.

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#12 loftus

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Posted 26 March 2009 - 05:20 PM

does this work better or not? Ive had too much beer tonight and it looks ok with these eyes.

Stew

I think you've done a good job with the moray, but I like a little detail in the background; maybe the beer made you a little heavy handed with the burning in. :D
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#13 stewsmith

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Posted 26 March 2009 - 11:21 PM

I think you've done a good job with the moray, but I like a little detail in the background; maybe the beer made you a little heavy handed with the burning in. :D


That was a great tip about sharpening twice, i would have never tried that. I was shocked when I see the difference between the un sharpened and the double sharpened.

I think your right about the effects of the beer.

Stew

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#14 tdpriest

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Posted 27 March 2009 - 01:07 AM

I really like this shot as it was so difficult to get...


I say that a lot, too...

... but in your case the image is strong, anyway. I would agree (as I've been trying it) with Alex's thoughts about the balance between strobes, and seperating the subject from the background, 'though I'm still at the "Photoshop" stage, rather than the "in camera" stage.

What I don't like is the title underneath: it is, in my opinion, much too bold and much too large and distracts from the boldness of the image itself. You can't get more contrast than black/white letters on a white/black background, so I would have thought about grey letters, in a less dramatic font; perhaps framing the image in a grey rectangle and putting the lettering over that background.

Tim

:D