Jump to content
hedonist222

Photograph critique solicited

Recommended Posts

Hello everyone,

I recently used my Olympus TG-6 underwater and would like critique.

Is it preferable that I share the RAW images?

Thank you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 minutes ago, hedonist222 said:

Hello everyone,

I recently used my Olympus TG-6 underwater and would like critique.

Is it preferable that I share the RAW images?

Thank you.

If you are talking about posting them here, I would suggest posting 1200 -1600 pixel (long side) jpegs.  Raw files won't display in browser and people are more likely to look at them if they don't need to convert them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good point, Chris.

I was suggesting RAW in the hope that maybe someone wanted to edit a photography to demonstrate a point.

I guess I'll convert them to JPG without any editing.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Are you looking more for post-processing techniques, or composition, or more camera-specific things?

You can post a jpg and a link to the raw files too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
33 minutes ago, phxazcraig said:

Are you looking more for post-processing techniques, or composition, or more camera-specific things?

You can post a jpg and a link to the raw files too.

Looking for composition in water as a starting point.

Then PP technique as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Heres a photograph taken in RAW and converted to a jpg without any PP.

How can I avoid the hotspot?

Exif:

ISO: 100

EV: -0.7

F/6.3

1/125s

H9e0a40.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think that it is going to be hard to create an image in the circumstances you found these shrimps in..

When subjects are tucked away, it is very difficult to create a pleasing image. I think my advice would be to try and find another opportunity to take the picture when the shrimps are  in a better (easier) position. Good situations to find shrimps are, within anemones, or at night.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

adam, I'm referring to the hotspot from the light

I figured the brighter the light, the faster the shutter speed and lower ISO

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The hotspot on the right hand bottom of the frame is caused by the position of the light. Simply put, the area that is overexposed is closer to the light. The only way to deal with this would be to reposition the light, or look for subjects that are easier to capture!

If you adjust your camera's exposure to be correct for the area that is overexposed, the shrimps will be underexposed. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

adam, thank you

I figured that and was hoping that exposure compensation would compensate for over exposed areas

Bu this has also happened when I have set the light directly over the subject

Like this photograph

NM6aJp1.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As, Adam says, the problem is the proximity of the strobe to the piece of light coloured coral. Meter for that and the shrimps will be very underexposed.

Options might be to crop it out (which might make for a better composition), or use a snoot and only light the shrimps (which would be my preferred option) or see whether there isn't a better angle you can use which avoids a lighter coloured foreground which will light up more than the subject.

Then you could also try using, say, Lightroom to drop the highlights in the portion of the image (yeah, not the same as in-camera work for sure).

That particular shrimp (Thor amboinensis) tends to be, as Adam says, in photographically awkward places. I've found that exploring better angles is key but, even then, it can be extremely difficult. Snoot up! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you, Tim.

Do you suppose using a flash is advantageous over a continuous light LED?

I am using the backscatter macro/wide 4300 in macro mode.

I could try using the lower-brightness modes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, hedonist222 said:

adam, thank you

I figured that and was hoping that exposure compensation would compensate for over exposed areas

Bu this has also happened when I have set the light directly over the subject

Like this photograph

NM6aJp1.jpg

You have a smilier problem here: a very dark subject and a foreground/background which will reflect light much more than the subject. It's not helped by having the strobe right over the subject - and quite high. This is producing back scatter as well. Much better, in this image, to have the strobe at, say, 45 degree to the lens and on the same vertical plane - so it's aimed at the body of the subject. Even then though, there's a gof chance of lighting the foreground more than than the subject.

Again, you might have to underexpose the subject to not overexpose the foreground - then see if in post you can open up the exposure on the subject. Tricky!

But I would suggest different strobe positioning to play around a bit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, hedonist222 said:

Thank you, Tim.

Do you suppose using a flash is advantageous over a continuous light LED?

I am using the backscatter macro/wide 4300 in macro mode.

I could try using the lower-brightness modes.

Not sure there would be much difference between a flash and a continuous light. The issue is one of the camera's sensor not being able to cope and record an extreme exposure contrast.

Trying a lower brightness mode will certainly help although you may then find the subject underexposed - and, as I suggested, you might have go to lightening the subject in LR or some such program. 

Sometimes depending on your systems capabilities, you just have to accept that if you shoot x on a background of y it is going to be very tough to get a decent, balanced exposure.

As I suggested in an early reply, have a go with a snoot. Using one means you can just light the subject and leave the foreground/background in ambient light.

Here's an example:

TG51356.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, Tim.

I also have the backscatter snoot.

Will experiment with it after I've gotten accustomed to the light without a snoot aid.

So that I know how a snoot affects the system - if I use both at the same time,  I won't know what affect what has.

Get used to the light as a baseline, then can note how a snoot affects it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, hedonist222 said:

Thanks, Tim.

I also have the backscatter snoot.

Will experiment with it after I've gotten accustomed to the light without a snoot aid.

So that I know how a snoot affects the system - if I use both at the same time,  I won't know what affect what has.

Get used to the light as a baseline, then can note how a snoot affects it.

No worries. The snoot will make a huge difference. With that you are really controlling and guiding the light much more than you can with a strobe "blast".

Worth playing around little bit above water (although don't go too mad with the strobe in case of over-heating). But if you use some small household object as a model, say 1" high, 1/2" across and light that with the strobe; then add the snoot and shoot again. You'll see how much you can control the light and the effect by moving the strobe around. You only need one strobe.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, Tim.

You are a beacon of light.

Pun, decidedly, intended.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

LOL, I've been called worse :good:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would suggest also that the light you are using seems to have quite the hot spot - you said it was the 4300 macro wide?  Which beam option are you using?  For shots with everything illuminated maybe try the wide mode and angle it away from your subject a little?  How far from the subject is the light, getting it further back should broaden the beam.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, ChrisRoss said:

I would suggest also that the light you are using seems to have quite the hot spot - you said it was the 4300 macro wide?  Which beam option are you using?  For shots with everything illuminated maybe try the wide mode and angle it away from your subject a little?  How far from the subject is the light, getting it further back should broaden the beam.

Was using it in macro

 

Ahh your comment makes sense

I think the macro produces a hot spot because maybe it's intended to be used with the snoot

The snoot has a built in diffuser

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, hedonist222 said:

Was using it in macro

 

Ahh your comment makes sense

I think the macro produces a hot spot because maybe it's intended to be used with the snoot

The snoot has a built in diffuser

Could be or you are just too close with the light - play with  lighting position and both modes to see if it makes a difference.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, ChrisRoss said:

Could be or you are just too close with the light - play with  lighting position and both modes to see if it makes a difference.

 

Just surfaced from a dive

 

Macro mode does indeed celebrate the light into a narrow mean - this is offset by the snoot's built in diffuser.

 

Thank you

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/27/2021 at 2:20 AM, hedonist222 said:

Looking for composition in water as a starting point.

Then PP technique as well.

Others have talked about controlling the light at its source.  I have a slightly different path to end at the same point (proper exposure).  It actually reverses your sequence.  Look at it as an effective way to learn what works.

In short, START with your post-processing, and learn from it.    The more you learn in post, the more you can apply that knowledge in the water.

If you don't know how to compose for image in water, it's because you don't know what you're trying to get across in the image.  You haven't pre-visualized the image.   There is a way to learn composition, and that's simply by cropping the result until it 'looks good'.   Or looks like the way you wished you had shot it.  I'll come back to that point later.

If you don't know how to compose for lighting in water, that's probably because you don't have a feel for how far away to put them and how to angle them.  Again, you can learn this in post, essentially by finding out what's salvageable and what's not.   Let me use the example of a simple Sea Rod lit by strobe.   It's just an example of a subject that is easily over-exposed by flash.  So - what can be done with the flash, and what can be done in post?

The problem in a nutshell is that you have an extremely wide dynamic range to capture.   The bright parts of the coral are extremely reflective and look like they are somewhere between glowing and nuclear apocalypse.  The first thing you figure out is that you put the strobes too close or had too much power.   But if you drop the strobe power 2 stops to get the highlights under control, you have a well of darkness for the rest.   Must you sacrifice the highlights to save the shadows?  Or vice-versa?   Maybe, maybe not.   Let's see what you can get away with in post.

Here's an example: 190923-140006-0-D850.jpg

 

This Sea Rod has been heavily post-processed to try to tame the dynamic range.   All those white areas were glowing like the sun and obscuring the details.  Essentially I exposed mostly for the highlights, avoiding the blinkies if possible.  Still, the original had far too much brightness in the highlights.  Reducing the overall exposure helped, but lost the shadows and midrange.

But (in Lightroom), the basic idea is reduce highlight brightness while simultaneously boosting shadows and midrange.  It's a bit of an art trying to balance various issues.  But I'm not afraid to pull the highlights down 80-100%, boosting shadows as needed and playing with exposure to shift everything away from a histogram edge as needed.

Maybe this works, maybe it doesn't, but you will learn from the process.   And then you start knowing what to do in the field to get the results you want on the computer in post.

First: get that ISO low!   The name of this game is having maximum capability to capture dynamic range (so you can do all that manipulation later), and maximum dynamic range lives right at base ISO.  For my camera, that is ISO 64.   Works with macro, not with wide so much.

Second: put the strobes where they need to be.   Lots of info out there about all that.  Learn from your experience.  If you shoot at ISO 400 and keep blowing highlights, either lower your ISO or back off your strobes or strobe power.

Third: compose better.  By that I mean that once you've learned the limits of how much you can play with your files in post, you'll be realizing that you can't just stick a strobe too close to a reflective subject.   Which means you need to recognize a hotspot before you shoot it, and avoid them.  If you now realize putting a strobe where you thought it should go will cause a problem, you'll be more likely to re-visualize the scene with the strobe placed elsewhere.  In other words, post-processing taught you something about composition.

A bit on composition.  Until you are more sure of your composition,  you'll probably shoot a subject from various positions and distances.  Here's my simple key to figuring out composition.   Rate your images.  Make a quick pass through your shots without cropping and without extensive post processing.   I like a rating system that only shows you unrated images at first, dropping them from the display as you add ratings.  Do a quick pass, then wait a day.   Go back after you've left things for a bit and observe your ratings.  Which ones do you like more, in general?   For me, that's often - "I like the closer ones best'.   That will teach you to start shooting closer, or just skip the shots you now know are too far away.   Rating your images, then trying to understand what makes a shot a 3-star versus a 2-star can teach you things.   If you find a close image has a defect, go back to a more distant one and crop it.  Don't worry about pixels, worry if the result looks good in a thumbnail.  You can later get closer or perhaps get a camera with more pixels.  Cropping is not a sin.

Here are a few examples of before-and-after post-processing I threw together one year after some exclaimed how my camera took so much better shots than their camera.   Mostly just crops and white balancing.  I had other examples up on my Facebook page before I burned it down. https://www.cjcphoto.net/beforeafter/index.html

OK, in summary, don't put strobes too close to reflective subjects, and use the highlights slider to tame highlights.   Shoot at as low an  ISO as you can for your lighting.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/31/2021 at 12:44 AM, phxazcraig said:

Others have talked about controlling the light at its source.  I have a slightly different path to end at the same point (proper exposure).  It actually reverses your sequence.  Look at it as an effective way to learn what works.

In short, START with your post-processing, and learn from it.    The more you learn in post, the more you can apply that knowledge in the water.

If you don't know how to compose for image in water, it's because you don't know what you're trying to get across in the image.  You haven't pre-visualized the image.   There is a way to learn composition, and that's simply by cropping the result until it 'looks good'.   Or looks like the way you wished you had shot it.  I'll come back to that point later.

If you don't know how to compose for lighting in water, that's probably because you don't have a feel for how far away to put them and how to angle them.  Again, you can learn this in post, essentially by finding out what's salvageable and what's not.   Let me use the example of a simple Sea Rod lit by strobe.   It's just an example of a subject that is easily over-exposed by flash.  So - what can be done with the flash, and what can be done in post?

The problem in a nutshell is that you have an extremely wide dynamic range to capture.   The bright parts of the coral are extremely reflective and look like they are somewhere between glowing and nuclear apocalypse.  The first thing you figure out is that you put the strobes too close or had too much power.   But if you drop the strobe power 2 stops to get the highlights under control, you have a well of darkness for the rest.   Must you sacrifice the highlights to save the shadows?  Or vice-versa?   Maybe, maybe not.   Let's see what you can get away with in post.

Here's an example: 190923-140006-0-D850.jpg

 

This Sea Rod has been heavily post-processed to try to tame the dynamic range.   All those white areas were glowing like the sun and obscuring the details.  Essentially I exposed mostly for the highlights, avoiding the blinkies if possible.  Still, the original had far too much brightness in the highlights.  Reducing the overall exposure helped, but lost the shadows and midrange.

But (in Lightroom), the basic idea is reduce highlight brightness while simultaneously boosting shadows and midrange.  It's a bit of an art trying to balance various issues.  But I'm not afraid to pull the highlights down 80-100%, boosting shadows as needed and playing with exposure to shift everything away from a histogram edge as needed.

Maybe this works, maybe it doesn't, but you will learn from the process.   And then you start knowing what to do in the field to get the results you want on the computer in post.

First: get that ISO low!   The name of this game is having maximum capability to capture dynamic range (so you can do all that manipulation later), and maximum dynamic range lives right at base ISO.  For my camera, that is ISO 64.   Works with macro, not with wide so much.

Second: put the strobes where they need to be.   Lots of info out there about all that.  Learn from your experience.  If you shoot at ISO 400 and keep blowing highlights, either lower your ISO or back off your strobes or strobe power.

Third: compose better.  By that I mean that once you've learned the limits of how much you can play with your files in post, you'll be realizing that you can't just stick a strobe too close to a reflective subject.   Which means you need to recognize a hotspot before you shoot it, and avoid them.  If you now realize putting a strobe where you thought it should go will cause a problem, you'll be more likely to re-visualize the scene with the strobe placed elsewhere.  In other words, post-processing taught you something about composition.

A bit on composition.  Until you are more sure of your composition,  you'll probably shoot a subject from various positions and distances.  Here's my simple key to figuring out composition.   Rate your images.  Make a quick pass through your shots without cropping and without extensive post processing.   I like a rating system that only shows you unrated images at first, dropping them from the display as you add ratings.  Do a quick pass, then wait a day.   Go back after you've left things for a bit and observe your ratings.  Which ones do you like more, in general?   For me, that's often - "I like the closer ones best'.   That will teach you to start shooting closer, or just skip the shots you now know are too far away.   Rating your images, then trying to understand what makes a shot a 3-star versus a 2-star can teach you things.   If you find a close image has a defect, go back to a more distant one and crop it.  Don't worry about pixels, worry if the result looks good in a thumbnail.  You can later get closer or perhaps get a camera with more pixels.  Cropping is not a sin.

Here are a few examples of before-and-after post-processing I threw together one year after some exclaimed how my camera took so much better shots than their camera.   Mostly just crops and white balancing.  I had other examples up on my Facebook page before I burned it down. https://www.cjcphoto.net/beforeafter/index.html

OK, in summary, don't put strobes too close to reflective subjects, and use the highlights slider to tame highlights.   Shoot at as low an  ISO as you can for your lighting.

 

 

Thank you very much for this informative and detailed explanation

I  intentionally took my time reading this while going through photographs I already took

It appears that I need to re-adjust lighting position when the area has a high HDR (bright surfaces that will reflect and appear over-exposed)

I also like your comment about working backwards - meaning knowing what I can do and cannot do in PP which will determine what kind of photographs I take

 

thank you very much!

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As for working backwards, which is sort of how I approach things, you need to know your limits in post-processing.  Which basically means being comfortable squeezing all that dynamic range into something that 'fits' a typical display via JPG.   Take an image at base ISO, then ISO 400 and then ISO 800 and try boosting shadows and pulling down highlights in all three.  I suspect you'll find a huge difference between base ISO and 800, and quite a lot of loss of range at 400.  I lose the ability to pull down highlights pretty quick.

I learned that it is more important - on my cameras - to expose for the highlights.   If you have something like a Sea Rod that gets bright hot spots, you'll want to pull down the strobe power and shoot at base ISO as much as anything.  I'm not sure it does much good to just pull the strobes away farther (as opposed to reducing power), but certainly it doesn't help to have a strobe situation right next to a hot spot.   For example, a strobe sitting close to white coral sands on the bottom may give you a hugely distracting element that would otherwise not have been there with a different placement.   Of course this means recognizing hot spots to start with.  I think it helps to give yourself assignments to shoot certain subjects when you see them and then practice post-processing on them in particular.

One thing that can help taming highlights from a strobe point of view is using diffusers, but you may or may not want a hard edge to the lighting for some scene you have in mind.  Another is multiple strobes if you are shooting with only one.

If you have not heard of the concept of ISO Invariance, you might want to look that up and read about it.  I summarize it as saying it is at least just as good to shoot at base ISO in the field and boost in post as it is to shoot at a high ISO in the field to see a properly-exposed JPG.   Basically, if you are good a post-processing, you may get better results doing your own exposure boosts in post as the camera would do for you in-camera.

In all cases it will become obvious to you in post that you can do more pulling and pushing at lower ISOs than higher.  I find it amazing how fast my images lose dynamic range by ISO 800.   When I'm trying to color balance and push shadows and pull highlights, there just isn't any room left for adjustments as the high ISO has already boosted everything to the limit.   It's like the difference between post-processing a RAW file and a JPG.

One thing you will find is that you become suspicious of using high ISO's.   They work fine when contrast and dynamic range is low, but underwater subjects lit by strobe are frequently wide dynamic range subjects.   Learn to shoot at base ISO first.   Nothing tames a highlight better.

Other subjects do have low dynamic range.    They look pretty flat because there are not very dark and very bright areas in the same frame.  Doesn't much matter if you shoot ISO 3600 then.   But if you are shooting a barracuda (or any silvery-scaled fish) at high ISO you may have to give up on recovering data from the highlighted areas where the strobe reflects off the scales.

Sometimes you just can't win.  I learned early on that there are shots not to take, because the lighting is poor.  Or maybe the subject is compelling, but conditions aren't good.  Just don't expect too much.   Here are two shots that might help explain.  Each has defects.  One is lit by strobes that were too far away, the other is what you get in ambient.

190924-112539-5-D850.jpg

190924-112551-7-D850.jpg

The ambient exposure is very grainy and has loss of detail in the subject.   The flash-exposed version suffered from unfixable hot spots (not enough dynamic range in the image to pull down the highlights) and loses the background.   I just could not get close enough as the subjects were skittish and keeping their distance.  Pretty much any time I'm shooting wide angle I'm having issues below 30 feet or when the sky is cloudy.   Strobes can never light everything, and then I have color balance issue between subjects and backgrounds.

Some of the solution is a slower shutter speed, but that gets into other problems, meaning blurry fish.   I really try to shoot at 1/160th as a sweet spot - faster loses too much strobe power, or in some cases hits a sync limit and gives a black line across the frame.  Shooting slower leads to blurry fish.  I'll go slower, but it depends entirely on the subject.  Sometimes you use a very lot shutter speed, take 20 shots, and hope one of them is OK.

I think many people never really try to understand and solve the issue of highlight detail.  They just let hot spots blow hot and ignore them.

It's a challenging environment to shoot in.  Make it much more fun when you get a good result.

Craig

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sponsors

Advertisements



×
×
  • Create New...