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mkrzysztofowicz

Manta Ray in the Maldives

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Hello Everyone,

 

This is my second post so far on this forum :uwphotog: I have been reading this forum for quite a while and I really like the friendly atmosphere here :fishblue: I'm also really impressed with the expertise level around - hats off! :ninja:

 

Anyways, I was just wondering if I can ask you for an opinion and comment on one of the pictures I have borught back from the Maldives recently. I have posted it some time ago on one of the photography websites and it was rejected with the comment that it's lacking the impact. I have a sensation that some of the people don't fully get the underwater photography, but at the same time I probably am looking at my own pictures not objectively :) So - anyone care to share their thoughts? How can I improve my shot of Manta? Does it really have no impact? Is it a bad picture and it's just me being so excited about seeing the manta rays so close (and this one in particular) that I would just love it to be a brilliant picture, but in fact its not? :) be honest, I take criticism well :)

 

Thanks for your help!

Best Regards,

mike

 

3025098138_c484c3d95d.jpg

(see original on my Flickr page)

Edited by mkrzysztofowicz

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Mike

 

I like the image as the composition is good. This would look good printed on Kodak endura metallic paper to help everything to pop a little.

 

I think what people are saying on the impact is that it could use some contrast as its a little flat in the mid tones.

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Hi Michal,

It's very hard to say why some folks like images and others don't get excited. When divers see your shot they get excited because they remember how they felt when they dove with manta's or wish they could. Non divers could see it differently and a photo house or website has entirely different criteria they would judge on. I'm a terrible "judge" I rarely like the same images that win competitions, but that's just me so take my suggestions with a grain of salt. Ultimately the only thing that matters is if you like it. I cruisied around your Flickr page( very nice by the way) and it looks like your wide angle shots tend to have some large areas of underexposure. This could be from not being close enough, or strobe coverage(single strobe?) or a combination. A single strobe on a big manta can be a tough assignment. For the manta shot you posted you could try to crop out the empty area on the bottom and right. The bubbles are distracting too, if you want to get picky. Something like this maybe.

post-4526-1227811665.jpg

 

Sunballs are tough. Next time you're in the Maldives, you could try to get the image with the manta covering the sun. The D60 and the 10.5 (and you) did a nice job of getting a sharp image.

 

Don't be too hard on yourself, If It was mine it would be a keeper no matter what the naysayers would complain about.

 

Thanks for sharing,

Steve

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Hey Guys,

 

Thanks a lot for your feedback. I wasn't trying to say the other crowd were wrong telling me my image has no impact, I was just using that as a lead-in story for my post :uwphotog:

 

Steve - to answer your question, yes I do have a single strobe indeed. Living on this side of the pond means that the DS-125 strobes are really expensive, despite a very good exchange rate between Euro and US$. I bought the new setup (the Nikon D60 + Ikelite housing + flat port + 8" dome + the strobe and also the 10.5 fisheye lens) a week or two before the trip to the Maldives and I tell you, it was a big hit to my wallet :fishblue: I am planning to buy the second DS-125 or a DS-160 (as they seem to have replaced the 125 with it) to add to my kit. I do agree that some of the wide shots tend to be lit on one side and underexposed on the other..

 

Scubatooth - thanks for your kind comment. I'm glad you like the picture. I have order the print of this particular picture, both on the photo paper and on canvas to see how it comes out. I do agree that it could do with a little more contrast, I did however work on it quite a bit and I bumped up the contrast a lot after converting it to B&W. I guess I didn't want to over-do it :ninja:

 

In general - I still consider myself to be a newbie and I'm here to learn. I don't, unfortunately, have as many opportunities to enjoy taking pictures underwater as I would like - I do most of my diving in Ireland and most of these are working dives (I work as a dive instructor). I plan to take my camera with me in a week time though as I will be doing some fun diving on the west coast of Ireland - this will be the first cold water experience with that particular kit :) Hope the viz stays decent, otherwise I will have to revert to macro :)

 

Anyways - thanks a lot guys for your words of encouragement :) I really appreciate that!

 

Best Regards,

mike

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Hi Mike, I actually quite like the shot as is. Nice clear sharp shot of a Manta.

 

 

Regards

Gary

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I agree with all the comments made so far. I too would reduce the amount of black on the right and the mid-tones need a little boost.

Having said that, it a nice shot and I would have liked to have taken it. I also think it looks great in black and white. What remains is a matter of taste, and there everyone is different (thank goodness!). I for instance quite like the bubbles !

 

Well done on the shot !

 

 

manta.jpg

Edited by cpix

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steve - I like your crop as well, as much as the original as both do the image justice, but to me there is something about a black negative space in the image that really makes it fit to me.

 

Mike - you say you did the conversion and adjusted it, i would say that maybe there needsto be a little dodging on the underbelly of the manta to lighten it up a little bit and change the contrast level a little bit. Please do let us know how the prints come out as a web image is one thing, but a good print can really breath life into a image. If you havent tried the kodak endura metallic paper before see if you can find a lab that uses it because it adds extra snap to a image and in some cases can add a 3D effect to the image to help it stand off the page. This extra snap in the image is why most of my UW and high saturation images I print on the metallic paper.

 

Dan

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Interesting. I like the shot, I also like the darkness. Maybe it's because it's so centered, other than that, cool pic. I have not heard about the metallic paper, any idea where to send of pics for this? Scott

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Hey Mike,

Sorry I can't leave your Manta shot alone, there is treasure buried there. I actually really like Cpix's crop before he deleted it. I tried something else. I brought the whole image up 2 stops in LR then used a graduated filter starting upper left corner to adjust exposure back to original for the water. It has the effect of lightening up the manta so the right wing tip pops more. See what you think. I'm starting to wonder if this image isn't begging for a square crop to get Dan's black at the bottom.

post-4526-1228017936.jpg

 

Having fun,

Steve

Edited by Steve Williams

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Thanks Scott, took about 30 seconds in Lightroom. I really love that program. I've got to go diving so I can play with my own stuff. :uwphotog:

Steve

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Scott

 

For the endura metallic I get it from 2 labs locally where they still do hand prints, in addition to lightjet and lamda prints. for online sources I know that WHCC (www.WHCC.com) and Mpix (www.MPIX.com) do print on the metallic and the cost is about 25% more then normal gloss or matte stocks.

 

hope this helps

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Steve - I like the edit you did as that looks just like what i would have done in PS, but in lightroom. arrgh the more i see people work with Lightroom the more i realise that i need to update my version and get craking on getting my backlog cataloged so I can get my stock file updated.

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arrgh the more i see people work with Lightroom the more i realise that i need to update my version and get craking on getting my backlog cataloged so I can get my stock file updated.

 

Definitely upgrade to 2.1. The graduated filter is perfect for underwater images and worth the cost of the upgrade all by itself. There is a new video up on the Lightroom Killer tips site that shows how to "erase" the areas of the graduated filter so you can leave areas as they were shot. Simple, powerful technique that would work really well on Mikes image.

 

Have fun,

Steve

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Hey Lads,

 

Thanks for all the tips! I'm using LR2.1 myself and this is how I have come up with the B&W version of this shot. I really didn't expect anyone to take my post so seriously so as to start working on my image - I'm blown away with your reaction guys, thank you :uwphotog:

 

I would still say that I prefer the shot with the black negative space to the right of the picture. I know the Manta is too centered, but you know yourselves, guys :fishblue: things can happen pretty quickly under water... especially when you're watching the show of 14 Mantas having shower on the Manta cleaning station.

 

Steve - I like your idea of using a grad filter - never thought about it, actually. That only goes to show you how little I know about post-processing.

 

Again - thanks a lot for all your kind comments and word of encouragement!

 

Best Regards,

mike

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