On my monitor, this shot looks more like a painting than a photo. Still, you captured this lovely early morning scene very well.
I also think that a little bit more contrast would probably give it more depth, but without trying, I can't say for sure.
If you can afford it, then a new monitor is the way to go. Nothing worse than having to work digitally without knowing where you really are, colorwise. Unfortunately, professional LCD screens don't come cheap. But you have high standards when it comes to photography, so one day you will have to have a monitor that matches your photographic ambitions. Anything else is a letdown and will have you guessing only instead of making concise decisions.
If possible, go for EIZO or SAMSUNG screens; the ones they make for the printing industries and graphic artists. They come with a splendid color management system.
Eizo is the one I want to buy sometime in the undefined future... I really don't like over saturated and contrasted photos and without seeing what ACTUALLY I'm doing I am scared of pushing the sliders more than +10 .
Although that I work on laptop I can say it has great capabilities. Once I tried to calibrated it to see the actual difference from the standard and I was surprised with only 7% deviation from it. The one that teases me is the surrounding light that one must have viewing the photo to capture its dynamic fluctuations and colors.
Now, viewing the image I can see all the tones and details I've captured with the camera. The very same details I've missed seeing in the morning when I post the deviation.
Eizo is the way to go; I'm sorry to hear that this has to happen in an undefined future. Christmas is pretty close, but it would be a lot to ask for ...
Most laptop screens don't go anywhere near the Adobe RGB color space. What they lack in color they try to make up with saturation and contrast. I work with an Eizo monitor; and whenever I have to watch stuff I've done on a laptop; I'm in shock. All the tonal ranges I worked so hard on seem lost and the average shift in colors is mindboggling. As much as I would love to own a laptop, I wouldn't dare to do work with on photographs I've taken. I'm glad yours does a decent job. I went through a series of your works at random and, from what I see on my screen, most of it looks good or even splendid. Some shots seemed a bit pale and lacking a bit of depth and "color-dynamics", but that was the exception and not the rule.
You put a lot of sweat and talent into your photography (even at the risk of your own health, considering your latest mishap ), so you really would deserve a top-range monitor to work with. Let's hope the undefined future is near already.
ahaha Wish me luck! I just passed the first interview for a JOB! Let's hope that I will pass the next 2 for the very same position... and the undefined future may become a bit more defined. Here I would like to periphrase a friend of mine: Ain't no lucky living somewhere in East Europe!"
Ahm, the things with the monitors are kind of complicated, because you would need two things that actually should work with AdobeRGB : the software and the monitor. Many of the programs available work with sRGB so the really PRO monitors are not a must. But yes, laptops are not anywhere near the acquired representation. I have 2 laptops, and I do see the difference between them. The one is mid-class Toshiba, and the other is Pro-class media model of Toshiba. I wouldn't retouch any photo on the mid-class laptop.
Would you point me to the one you find pale and colorless? I would like to calibrate "my mind". Actually I do like them when they look more natural. May be the problem is the subjective perception of colors and contrast?
I certainly wish you all the luck there is! But why 3 job interviews for the same job? Did you apply for CEO of an International Banking Conglomerate? This sounds pretty tough to me. And about "There ain't no lucky living somewhere in Eastern Europe": I can only hope this is not true. But if it is, I'm still hopeful, because through dA, I had contact to many people from Bulgaria, Romania, Ex-Yugoslavia, the Ukraine, Russia etc. And this was remarkable: so many seem to be highly intelligent, very well educated, highly talented and very polite. I can't see how you could fail in the future. Once corruption and the influence of the ex-communist parties take a backseat, things will improve. That's a thing I'm absolutely convinced of. It's impossible that all this intelligence and talent won't find its place in the future. As we here in the glorious west get more and more saturated, slack and inflexible, you in the east will pick up where we will fail. And fail we will, unless we remember that for our current living standards we had to work hard. And still should, if we want to keep it that way.
These are a few examples where I think that they lack a bit in being "alive", because of their colors appearing to be kind of flat:
Autumn Explosion, Fall Elements, Morn2, Lady Bug In Contra, R6 Above the Clouds, The road to Rhope Mountain
Now that's nothing to loose sleep over it, because they are still great shots. For one thing, as you stated, it has something to do with subjective perception, and for the other, I'm being overly picky here because of our discussion about monitors and how we kind of work in the dark, as we have no idea how our stuff will show on somebody elses screen.
Don't try to "calibrate your mind" just because of statements like the one I did above. As you can't see what I see here, you will never know for sure where you actually stand. It's much better to go by what you see on your good laptop and what your own feelings about your shots are. Any "post-production" you do on your computer must be done to satisfy your eyes first, everybody else comes second.
You touched an interesting point by mentioning the difficulties that arise from Adobe RGB, sRGB, software that works in sRGB only and so on. This is a real pain. For a long while, I was completely insecure about how to achieve the best results in a way that can be controlled by myself. A real headache it was. I believe I solved this problem for me, that's why I give you a short overview concerning my workflow. All this in the hope that I don't bore you to tears along the way.
I use an Eizo screen which I calibrate regularly for all work involving pictures.
I shoot in camera RAW only.
These shots get imported into Lightroom 2, where I use the Develop Modul to develop them.
Once this is done, I export them as 16 bit, Adobe RGB, 300dpi, .psd files.
I re-open them in Photoshop (working RGB is Adobe RGB), resize them to the desired size (but always keep the 300 dpi) and then I do any "post-production" I think is needed. This involves very often Nik software (Dfine 2, Color Efex Pro 3, and Silver Efex for b/w conversions).
Once finished, I save them as .psd files (still Adobe RGB, still 16 bit, still 300 dpi).
Then they get re-imported into Lightroom 2, from where I export them as JPG's for my dA account. The export settings are: sRGB (8 bit only is available), 300dpi, no compression (100%).
This ensures a JPG that is virtually indistinguishable from the Adobe RGB, 16 bit, .psd file.
This seems tedious and a lot of work, and it truly is. But still, it's mostly fun, and I always learn something new in the process.
A remark concerning save as JPG: I get much better results in Lightroom when exporting as JPG than when doing the same in Photoshop. The files are smaller and better. Why this should be so, I have no idea.
Once again, I hope I wasn't too much of a bore by listing the main steps in my workflow.
And once again, I wish you luck with your job interviews. You deserve this Eizo monitor, especially since you don't mind working for it too.
Not at all! It is interesting for me to have this type of conversations.And.. wow you do a lot of work with your photos. I am kind of lazy because I don't like them that much and do it for fun. Most of the time there isn't enough time to play a lot, so all I do is to open the raws (I shoot only Raw), see if I can do anything with the curves, if not I open the image in sRGB color space and save the image. Then resize it for web and save again .. I know it is not much, but for me is enough...
The pictures U pointed at (except Autumn explosion) look to me even a bit oversaturated
Romania is way further that Bulgaria and people DO get dumber with every other year. It kills me watching how things go around. Some people get richer and richer, other more poor then ever. I've spent all my mature life in Germany and being back in Bulgaria make me see the things a bit different from the people who never lived abroad.
But anyway, if I get the job, which I doubt, I will share what it will be Than I could buy all the Technical Toys I want to have, like PC with greater capabilities and Eizo... Tomorrow is the second interview! Sleep with fingers crossed
another beautiful shot, even though it looks a bit boring in small view but once you enlargen it and discover all the details it's very impressive... personally I'd suggest a bit more contrast/saturation but that's just me
Сега видях, че коментираш цветовете. Екстра са за въздействието което трябва да песъздаде. Добре си се справила. Иначе те разбирам напълно. Отварям снимка на лаптоп и...само се пуля и... се чудя какво изобщо трябва да се пипне, па да не стане по-зле даже
За неща дето си личи, че са направени със старание и мисъл, такива които са ми харесали много, мразя да си изсмуквам критика от пръстите колкото за идеята Просто - И мисля, че те разбирам като казваш, че те кефи повече
Нинам Алекс, снимките дето мен си ме кефят са абсолютните аутсайдери и обратното... То тук нямаше особено много труд... даже съм снимала на 400ИСО, поради абсолютната си глупост... И въпреки че лаптопа ми е добър, си остава лаптоп и наистина предпочитам да не пипам много за да не омажа нещата....