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Thread: Orange Aspens

  1. #1
    Tobman's Avatar
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    Orange Aspens

    Looking for comment and critique. I took it with the intent of showing the color orange within some of the millions of Aspen trees currently ablaze here in Colorado, USA. I took the shot with a Leica V-Lux 2, RAW with some PP (brightness, shadows and highlights, adjusted levels some). Thanks.

    If I were to take the shot again, I'd not cut off the top of the mountain in the background; it's distracting. I'd also try to get more of the dirt road to follow with one's eyes.

    Orange Aspens
    Last edited by Tobman; 3rd October 2011 at 09:35 PM.

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    Tobman's Avatar
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    Re: Orange Aspens

    Is it OK that I started a new thread with this? Or should I have put it into an existing thread, like Landscapes?

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    Re: Orange Aspens

    Hello Tobman

    They are lovely trees. I think your comments about cutting off the top of the mountain etc are correct. A wider shot may have looked better. Also the image doesn't look terribly sharp. It may have lost something in the posting to this site or you may not have sharpened it much with your pp ? - actually it almost looks to me like the focus is not spot on but I'm not sure.

    A couple of pp suggestions :

    Apply a brightness gradient to the bottom quarter of the image - it looks a bit bright to me and hence distracts from the trees

    Add a duplicate layer set to Colour Burn blending mode and adjust opacity to something around the 10-20% mark. This will add a bit more colour depth to the shot and bring out the lovely orange red colours more.

    Increase the sharpness using either Sharpness or Unsharp Mask.

    Cheers Dave

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Orange Aspens

    Quote Originally Posted by Tobman View Post
    Is it OK that I started a new thread with this? Or should I have put it into an existing thread, like Landscapes?
    It's absolutely perfect that you've started a new thread. That's the best thing to do if you are inviting comment and criticism.

    I notice you haven't put a post in the New Member introductory thread (don't worry, there's no obligation to do so), so let me wish you a warm welcome here. Thanks for joining CiC.

    Just one other point to consider......

    You've maybe seen that most of us tend to use our real names on here. It makes communication more friendly and CiC is that sort of site. Did you know you can go to Edit Profile and enter your proper name under 'Real Name'. Then it will appear underneath your Username in all your posts. You can also enter your location so that it does the same, just as in my details alongside this message. Then we all know where everyone is in the world.

  5. #5
    Tobman's Avatar
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    Re: Orange Aspens

    Profile updated, thanks for the suggestions. I will introduce myself in the New Member thread as well. Thanks for the suggestions. I love your site, it's awesome. Keep the new tutorials coming.

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    Re: Orange Aspens

    Toby...I love Aspen trees, and since I am a rank amateur I have no suggestions, everyone else gave good ones. The colors are beautiful.

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    Tobman's Avatar
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    Re: Orange Aspens

    Here are a couple more:

    Orange Aspens

    Orange Aspens

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Orange Aspens

    Quote Originally Posted by Tobman View Post
    Orange Aspens
    Toby - Just a thought ......... I wondered if this one needed so much foreground grass? If you were to crop to a 4:5 portrait ratio using the existing top as the starting point that would also have the effect of moving the line formed by the bottom of the trees as they go into the grass, off the half-way line and to near the bottom third line

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    Re: Orange Aspens

    Ever the perfectionist this Donald of ours! And am I glad he that he is. On the downside now I get super critical with my own shots. Grrrrr

    2 things come to mind about the piccs.
    1 - almost all autumn shots are chock full of colour which translates in chock full of trees. The fact that you chose to keep it simple is a plus.
    2 - pic 3, as Donals says but on the other hand, the grass is a lovely brown and killing 2 birds with one stone (shot) can't be all bad. But of course it depends on whether one wants to show off the trees or the environment in general.

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Orange Aspens

    Quote Originally Posted by Bobobird View Post
    Ever the perfectionist this Donald of ours!
    I always feel that if you aim for the stars you might at least get as high as the first cloud base!

  11. #11

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    Re: Orange Aspens

    You mean something like this ?

    The greatest failure in life is not aiming too high and missing. It's aiming too low and hitting.

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    Re: Orange Aspens

    Hi Toby and welcome to CiC.

    I cannot judge colour on this screen so I wont try. I love autumn colours and I note in the initial post you mentioned shadow/highlight adjustment. I am not sure but I think you have removed too much shadow detail. Images need shadow to show form and texture. These look a little flat becaue there is no shadow detail I find the default Amount of 50% is way too high and start around 25% when using this command. You then normally need to add back contrast once applied to rebuild the structure of the tones in the image.

    I would love to spend some time in the USA around fall, it just always look warm and inviting.

    I look forward to seeing more.

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    Re: Orange Aspens

    The images, while lovely, appear kind of flat to me. I am not sure if it is the reproduction on this site or that the day is gray and overcast. I am including this shot of aspens turning in Utah to see if it reproduces with some more vibrance, not because I am claiming that it is any better than yours.

    Orange Aspens

    One of the things I love about our mountains in the Western States is that the air is generally so clear. This was shot in late September/early October a few years ago on a bright and sunny day which might be the difference maker....
    Last edited by rpcrowe; 6th October 2011 at 03:18 PM.

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    Tobman's Avatar
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    Re: Orange Aspens

    All good suggestions, thank you. I think there are several things at play here with respect to the tonality of the colors. 1) It was an overcast day; 2) we've had a lot of dust and haze in the sky this fall, so the skies are not as clear as they often are, as Richard's pic shows so well, and 3) I shot in RAW and am still learning how to post-process to get the most out of my shots, and am still not sure what I need to do to the RAW files. It seems the most important adjustments for ALL RAW files is sharpening and exposure/brightness, as on initial import (I use Aperture 3) the RAW pics are flat and lifeless, and I think there is still some of that in the pics above. I will work on the shadow detail, also something I am still learning.

    As for cropping, I debated taking out more of the grass, but decided to leave it as I like the color and the way it carries you into the shot, but it does de-emphasize the trees, so I might try re-cropping to see how it comes out.

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Orange Aspens

    Quote Originally Posted by Tobman View Post
    It seems the most important adjustments for ALL RAW files is sharpening ...
    I don't think you'd get any disagreement on that one.

    All the 'bits' of post-processing are important when the image being worked on demands that (whatever it may be) particular treatment. But, above all, sharpening is the single thing that cuts right across them all.

    I take on board what the guys have said about things looking a little flat. I like to work in lower contrast areas and not necessarily have the black point and white point right up to edges of histograms. So, my perception of 'flatness' is maybe in a slightly different place than that of others.

    But, that notwithstanding, and given where you currently are on the post-processing learning curve, the one thing I'd suggest seeking out in the tutorials on CiC is 'Local Contrast Enhancment'. That's the thing that can really make images 'pop' and is just made for the sort of subject material that you've got in these images. Like all tools and techniques, it's got to be practiced and used proportionately. If you're anythign like me, you go completely over-the-top with it when you first discover it and things come out looking a bit odd. But you learn to crank back a bit on the sliders as you get more experienced.

  16. #16
    Tobman's Avatar
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    Re: Orange Aspens

    Thanks. I am just now working through the PP tutorials and am almost to that one. Still trying to wrap my head around the difference in histograms between RGB and luminosity. Cheers, Toby

  17. #17
    Tobman's Avatar
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    Re: Orange Aspens

    What I find interesting and perplexing is that not all shots seem to require sharpening. The one below I took with the same camera, low ISO, and a tripod, in RAW, and did zero post-processing. It's tack sharp. So it seems to depend on conditions. Although I might be able to improve the detail in the darker part of the wings if I did some PP.

    Orange Aspens

  18. #18
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Orange Aspens

    Orange Aspens

    Toby, I hope it is okay to post up this sample of why I think that every RAW image needs a degree of sharpening.

    I don't understand the technicalities of it (and hopefully someone who does will come along and explain it), but it is impossible, as I understand it, for a RAW file to contain data that's as sharp as it needs to be in a finished image.

  19. #19
    Tobman's Avatar
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    Re: Orange Aspens

    Wouldn't you say the one above is sharp? Maybe I should double check that it's not actually a jpeg, as my camera records both.

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Orange Aspens

    Quote Originally Posted by Tobman View Post
    Wouldn't you say the one above is sharp?
    Mmmm. Not really.

    It's not blurred and it doesn't look out of focus. But that's what I'd call a bit flat. It isn't 'bright' (not in the sense of the opposite of dark, bit in terms of a little bit of 'zing'). For example. I think the eye and around about are a bit dull in your original.

    The other point about this is that we must note that we're working on a down-sized image here, not the original RAW file. So we should only be discussing the principles of sharpening RAW data as opposed to using this image as the definitive example.

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