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Old Mar 23, 2005, 1:15 PM   #1
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Here's a pic I took of my Aunty & Uncle's cat this past Christmas. What do you think? I lucked out with the lighting as the background is dark while the foreground is illuminated from the flash. Here's the exif:

Fuji S3000
Original = 1536 x 2048 (edited to 250KB)
Exposure Time = 1/60s
FNumber = F8.2
Focal Length = 6mm
ISO 100
Shutter Speed = 1/64s
Flash Fired in Macro Mode
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Old Mar 25, 2005, 7:14 PM   #2
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Ryan,

It's a good picture of a pretty cat, but I think that it can be improved a bit. The bright fabric of the chair in front of the cat detracts from its face. I recommend cropping off most of the chair. The front foot is also brighter than the face so it brings the viewers eyes away from the cat's face. In the picture below, I've made my attempt at improving these two things. Also, I smoothed out the noise in the background and made the background a bit darker. The blue jeans are now darker and blurred so they are less prominent. I re-sized it to fit in my browser's window better.

What do you think? Are these improvements or bad changes?

Gordon
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Old Mar 25, 2005, 7:18 PM   #3
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Ryan,

After seeing my version posted, I realize that what I was calling noise in the background is mostly posterization due to high jpeg compression of the the picture. It is hard to post a high quality picture with the size limitations that are necessary.

Gordon
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Old Mar 28, 2005, 3:09 PM   #4
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Thanks for the comments. I didn't do any editing and I agree it's hard to show subtle features when the posted picture has to be compressed.

Agreed on the couch fabric it does take away from the focus on the cat. I am not sure on how to take away brightness from the cats front paw w/o effecting the overall picture quality. As for the jeans in the background I didn't notice them until I viewed the pic on another monitor. My home monitor must have lower darkness settings than most b/c I never noticed the jeans before. That should be easy to get rid of.

Thanks for your advice the improvements should make for a better 4x6 printout.
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Old Mar 28, 2005, 5:06 PM   #5
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Because of the size of the post, I'm scrolling up and down and can't get the whole pic with one glance, but that made me realize that I find the forground material out of synch with the pic in general, and I would say the cat cropped just below it's paw is a sweeter pic overall. Just my impression...best regards,

KennethD
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Old Mar 28, 2005, 6:58 PM   #6
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Everyone is fishing for a solution here. They see that something isn't working, but really have no clue what it is. Though, I'd like to see a tighter crop here, it isn't because a tighter crop improves the overall technique or result. A tighter crop simply minimizes a distraction that will remain in the scene. I'd prefer to see a tighter crop because part of the cat is framed out of the picture.

Where the light falls is the problem in this shot. The background is completely dark with all the light falling on the foreground fabric and the kitty. The kitty has enough white in it's fur to gain attention, but not enough to prevent the better lit foreground from becoming a distraction.

This image is a snapshot and has all the characteristics of such. Indeed, there are touch-up techniques that will improve the overall impact, but only a well thought out composition will render more professional looking images. Before you press the shutter, know what your intended Center of Interest(COI) is. Determine what you have in the scene that will distract from the COI. Know how your equipment works. If you are using on-camera flash then it is important to know it's range and remember that elements closer to the camera will receive more light. Position your subject or camera angle so that the subject is the element that receives the most light from your flash. Practice shooting the kitty outdoors in natural light or near a window to eliminate the need for the on-camera flash as the primary source of light.

I look forward to viewing more recent work from you.

Rodney
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Old Mar 29, 2005, 9:48 PM   #7
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Sometimes we have to get the shot and fix it later, as the circumstances will never be quite the same. This is especially true with pets and children. I generally prefer natural light, if I can get it, for these kinds of pictures, but think you did a good job with the camera flash.

The foreground and paw are, as the others have said, distracting because of the brightness. Cropping out most of the foreground helps, but that paw adds character and needs to be there, but not so bright.

I used a graduated filter on the foreground and paw to just remove some of the highlights.

brian
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