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My first image posted in the Appraisal Gallery

Discussion in 'Appraisal Gallery' started by Chester AP, Aug 10, 2018.

  1. Chester AP

    Chester AP Well-Known Member

    Taken early on Monday morning with the sun low in the sky directly in front of me. I have decided to put this up for criticism because, unusually, I like it and my wife hates it (particularly the reflection that is distorted due to the waves in the surface of the water). A few feathers from this year's cygnets have been carefully cloned out, but otherwise the image had been processed from RAW in Photoshop Elements 7, without any RAW sharpening, some noise reduction because ISO 640 was needed, and finally use of the unsharp mask on the JPG image to make the feathers clearer. I have found that sharpening this way does not emphasise noise from the high ISO, and works well on subject like this.

    The shot was taken at the long end of a Tamron 18-250 zoom, and turned out so well that I have had a 30 x 40 cm print done. The print, if examined very closely, has a small area of green fringing under the head and beak. If I get another print I may try to clean this up first.

    IMGP3340 FROM RAW 30 X 40 CM 1000.jpg
    Lindsay Pennell likes this.
  2. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    It is a nicely observed shot but I think I agree with your wife regarding the reflection. The difficulty with mute swans, other than exposure, is that their eyes tend to get lost. It is better to have the light falling on the side facing you. It's hard to tell on an ipad but to me the plane of focus seems a little far back on the wing.
  3. RovingMike

    RovingMike Crucifixion's a doddle...

    Yes I can see the green fringing. As Pete says, light is really the wrong side and the neck and head are not sharp. Focus has caught the main body.

    The first thing anyone looks for in judging a very normal portrait shot of a swan is detail in the feathers, because burnout is a common issue. I think you have just lost it on the sunny side, but there might be more on the raw. I personally like wiggly reflections, but they are normally going to be 1-2 stops darker..
  4. nimbus

    nimbus Well-Known Member

    I don't regard the reflections as an issue, in reality if the swan is moving it will disturb the water anyway, so a bit more from the breeze doesn't really spoil things, it's just how it was at the time. Holding detail in white feathers in sunshine is always going to be tricky.
  5. Chester AP

    Chester AP Well-Known Member

    I set the 'recovery' setting in RAW to 50 (half of the maximum), as using it a maximum sometimes appears to lower the image contrast.
    Perhaps I will try again at the maximum and see what I get.

    I was using spot focusing and F 8. I have tried F 11 in the past at this focal length, but the depth of field increase was very slight, and certainly not enough to get both the body and head sharp in this shot. Below F 11 the image sharpness falls off , and this lens is certainly at its best at F 8 or F 11 at 250 mm. Since the eyes are dark, having them sharper wouldn't make much difference, so I went for the body that is a larger part of the image. I have other shots 'side on' where the body, neck and head are all be in focus, but you lose the impression of the third dimension (depth).
  6. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    From this angle focus on the head and let the body go, not vice-versa.
  7. RovingMike

    RovingMike Crucifixion's a doddle...

    Well it will, yes.

    I find I sometimes have to resort to doing two raw conversions and simply pasting the bit from the darker one over the lost detail in the correct one and then adjusting a bit. You can't solve a dynamic range issue your sensor can't deal with by fiddling with the whole frame. Unless, that is, you're lucky and you can hold the detail with a darker conversion and then selectively lighten the rest.

    But on focus, given that DoF extends three times further back than forward, focus on the head is really essential. That's where the interest is and the eye goes to.

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