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Thread: Terroir

  1. #1
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Terroir

    I'll just keep posting (until someone tells me to stop) what I think are those that are worth looking at from my recent holiday in the Beaujolais area of France, which produces 181 million bottles of wine per year .... and I'm working my way through them!

    If you're getting bored by these ... please don't tell me. It will hurt my ego!

    Anyway .... Terroir.

    Terroir is that lovely French word that has no English equivalent. Many people think it means the land on which the vines grow, but it's more than that. Rosemary George in her book 'The Wines of the South of France' explains terroir as, "Not just soil, but the whole environment in which the vines grow - microclimate, aspect and altitude, as well as soil."

    This is taken on the hill at the back of the cottage in which we were staying. I was lying flat on my stomach on all this uncomfortable, gritty ground, with the Manfrotto X55PROB tripod as low as I could possibly get it. So, I reckon the centre of the lens was about 9-10 inches (225 - 250mm) off the ground.

    As always, any constructive criticism is very welcome.

    Terroir
    40D, Tokina 11-16 f2.8 @ 12mm. ISO100. 1/4@f16. 3 stop GND

  2. #2
    spngr311's Avatar
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    Re: Terroir

    That's a cool image. I like how it is proportioned and how it leads the eye.

  3. #3

    Re: Terroir

    Good detail throughout the image and I especially like the moody sky cool pic!

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    Re: Terroir

    You do put yourself out to get a good a shot,Donald. I bet you needed a glass or two of wine after that effort

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    Re: Terroir

    I wonder Donald if a rectangular vertical crop wouldn't be better ?!
    Perhaps with a bit more under the stone.
    OK I know it is not "under" but I think I can transmit the idea...
    Perhaps also cloning the rock on the right

    I do like the contrast and the precision. I usualy appreciate the perspective with this "honesty" in spite of being off the axis. (My English is a disgrace today)
    Enough said
    I didn't know the word terroir in French... Very specific language.

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    Re: Terroir

    Donald, I love seeing the vision that you have in your mind, captured by you and your camera and then processed the way you saw it.

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    Seriche's Avatar
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    Re: Terroir

    Hello Donald,

    You recently encouraged me as a beginner to give critiques, and it's been interesting I don't know very much about photos, but I've done a lot of critiques of paintings in the past, so I work on the same principles in the hope that I'm getting it right

    I really like 'Terroir'. The foreground rocks work really well, even though 'the rules' would caution against placing them centrally, thus making you a bit of a maverick

    I love being led down that road, and like the contrasting textures of rock, grass and vines. I also like moody skies, but the only thing I would suggest is that the clouds are so dark that they compete with the vines. I took the image into lightroom and lightened the clouds just enough to make the vines win out for attention, and to me it looked better.

    I am, of course, always happy to be contradicted on this, as so much personal taste is involved, and it's a smashing image either way

    And seeing the results of your low viewpoint, I shall do likewise and lie out on the cold beach stones tomorrow; nice, rounded ones. You do believe in suffering for your art, don't you

    Seri

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    CBImages's Avatar
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    Re: Terroir

    Hi Donald

    Count me in as well - I like it.
    I do agree with Antonio - you need to loose that bright rock on the right of the path, it drags they to the edge of the image and then out of the image.

    At first I thought the image lacked a focal point somewhere along the path, a vine dresser or tractor but the more I looked at your image the more I like the lack of a focal point. My mind tends to invent something to appear of that brow of the hill in the distance and there lies the success of the image - 'suspense'. We look and wait and look again, our eyes wander around the image pick up the all the details, the sky, the vines but we always come back to the path just to see if anyone or anything is coming towards us.
    A simple image yet it is so very well done and cleverly conceived.

    Just a couple of points - there always are aren't there?
    1) Just admit it you were totally ratted after an afternoon on the vino, tripped and fell - that is how you really ended up on the ground.

    2) Terrior - the word doesn't relate to the land, the French were really saying 'terror'. They had nicknamed that drunken, rampaging Scotsman staggering around their landscape camera in hand - les terror!

    Regards or should I say Cheers

    Chris

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Terroir

    Thank you, everyone, for taking the time to comment.

    I'll do a version with that rock on the right taken out and see how it looks. It's always good to have the perspective of others to help you see things that maybe you've missed.

    Seri - Did you keep the version you did with the sky lightened? I'd be interested in seeing it. Post it up.

    Two of the lovely things about this hill behind the cottage in which we stayed ( which I went up every day and from which I still have one or two others that I want to post up) were:

    1. When enjoying the wine that caused me to fall over, which I'd bought from Andre Collonge whose cottage it was, I could look at the wine in my glass and know it had come from these vines
    2. Right in line with the centre of the road going through the vines in this image, 110 miles away (I measured it on Google Earth), is Mont Blanc in the Alps. And on a clear day, with good binoculars, you could see it and the rest of the high peaks of the Alps.

  10. #10
    Seriche's Avatar
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    Re: Terroir

    Donald, you said it would be a good learning experience for a beginner to critique on list, and you're so right Since I last posted I've been making that sky lighter and darker and noticing the effects of the change. It's been fascinating and surprising.

    Now I'm not at all sure that the sky needs lightening at all. I was doing too much thinking and not enough seeing. I thought that lightening the sky would bring more focus on the lines of the vines, and that's the way I saw when I first made the change, but on looking closer, and in a way I don't understand, as the sky got lighter, so did the vines. Not drastically, but enough to detract from their impact.

    Also, the sky above the horizon lost it's luminosity, of course, when no longer contrasted against the darker clouds.

    On top of that, when the clouds were lightened the whole image seemed to lose tonal punch - even the rocks at the front. So now I'm leaning towards thinking that the dark clouds are integral to the effect as a whole.

    Here's the altered image to illustrate the point. It was done in LR3 using the graduated filter, so please excuse the crudeness of the effect. I would love to understand why lightening the sky seemed to have a paradoxical effect on the rest of the image

    Seri

    Terroir

  11. #11
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Terroir

    Seri

    Thank you for doing that. You are absolutely right in the suggesting that it's this sort of exercise that really stretches and develops our thought processes and critical faculties. As you say, it can be fascinating and surprising to do as you have done and then critically appraise the impact on the whole image, not just that part you have worked on.

    What was happening for me (and I saw the clouds as darker in the finished image when I took the photograph) was the fact that, before I pressed the shutter, I had already named it 'Terroir' and in so doing I was thinking about Rosemary Geroge's description of that term (I've had her book for many years) as copied in my first post above. And I saw the dark clouds as being a 'cap', a 'lid' topping off the Terroir, so that under it and within the frame I would have captured the microclimate and environment of this group of vines.

    Probably far too much thinking for my own good.

    But you have provided some food for thought. Thank you.

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    Seriche's Avatar
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    Re: Terroir

    And thank you again for sharing the image and describing what your thoughts and feelings were. I find it fascinating to read photographers' though processes. For me, it makes looking at the images even more enjoyable.

    I've been told many times that I think and analyse too much too. I'd like to see if more emotionally or physically-inhibited people like me tend to reflect that in their photography, of if they can let rip instead? Choice of subject must mirror what we are in some way too....but there I go again, swinging off-topic Curiosity running wild, that's me. If I wanted to discover more about things like this, would I start a thread in the 'General Photography Discussion' area or elsewhere?

    Seri

  13. #13
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Terroir

    Quote Originally Posted by Seriche View Post
    If I wanted to discover more about things like this, would I start a thread in the 'General Photography Discussion' area or elsewhere?
    Go for it (General Discussion area of the site seems appropriate).

  14. #14
    Seriche's Avatar
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    Re: Terroir

    Thanks. All done

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    Re: Terroir

    this puppy sure is bi-lateral,eh?

    but that's good thinkin' !!!

    paul

  16. #16
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Terroir

    Quote Originally Posted by paulwilbur View Post
    this puppy sure is bi-lateral,eh?

    but that's good thinkin' !!!

    paul
    Sorry, Paul, but you're going to have to translate that for me.

  17. #17
    Mongwopman's Avatar
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    Re: Terroir

    Really like this one Donald, the image and detail is so crisp! How did you get that right?

  18. #18

    Re: Terroir

    Donald, once I had gotten over the disappointment of opening the thread and not seeing a west highland terrier with a tartan collar and a wee bonnet this one really started to grow on me. I just love the sheer loneliness of it. The brooding clouds contrast well with the almost bleached foreground. I would be tempted to make the cloud more consistent at top frame by cloning out the lighter areas.

    Seri, I can see exactly why you would be tempted to lighten the sky but one of the things that marks a good b/w image is contrast...unless you are Donald. But we will not go there. It gets way to complicated. There is a heck of a dynamic range in that shot and skilfully captured and enhanced. The heaviness of the sky makes it oppressive but the lightness of the foreground gives a surreal effect that is lost with a lighter sky. I applaud you - actually I will give you a standing ovation - for wading in with the C&C. Far more beginners should do this.

  19. #19
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Terroir

    Damien

    Thank you for taking the time to comment.

    I suppose the clarity and crispness starts at the time of capture - get the focusing and the exposure right. Getting the exposure right at this stage makes life a lot easier further down the road; i.e. in the digitial darkroom at the post-processing stage.

    There's a live discussion going on in another thread (here) at the moment about Hyperfocal Distance. I'm a devotee of the concept and seek to apply it strictly to the capture of photographs such as this. My posts in that thread refer to the tutorial on this website and to another one that I have found useful.

    The other part (in the digital darkroom) is getting sharpening right. Again, the tutorials on CiC on the subjects of Sharpening and the use of Local Contrast Enhancement are, I believe, as good as you will find anywhere else on the web.
    Last edited by Donald; 12th July 2011 at 04:39 PM.

  20. #20
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Terroir

    Quote Originally Posted by Wirefox View Post
    ... once I had gotten over the disappointment of opening the thread and not seeing a west highland terrier with a tartan collar and a wee bonnet
    Sorry, I'm getting slow. Took a couple of minutes for me to get that!

    Thank you for coming in with your words of wisdom.

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