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Thread: Llamas overlooking Machu Picchu

  1. #1

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    Llamas overlooking Machu Picchu

    This is almost certainly my best travel photo. I captured it in September 2000 on color slide film and converted it today to two monochrome versions. I would appreciate it if you would please let me know if you have a clear favorite of the three versions.

    C&C is encouraged, as always.


    Llamas overlooking Machu Picchu



    Llamas overlooking Machu Picchu



    Llamas overlooking Machu Picchu
    Last edited by Mike Buckley; 6th July 2012 at 04:15 AM.

  2. #2
    jeeperman's Avatar
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    Re: Llamas overlooking Machu Picchu

    I do like the 1st although the furthest right Llama gets a little lost. If you can get him a little more seperated from the background I think it would be better. As it is #3 is my favorite. The only drawback being the reflection? nect to the Lamas head. All three look slightly over sharpend in the bushes and rocks mostly seen in the lower laft half.

    Good work, I like the composition.

  3. #3
    Lon Howard's Avatar
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    Re: Llamas overlooking Machu Picchu

    Hello Mike,

    A great look at a great spot! For me the first one works far better than the others because my 'eye' is not confused as to where to go. I start with the hottest spot, the llama in the foreground. He's looking at the village, which is the next hottest spot; so my eye goes to where he's looking, then my eye continues on that same line which takes me between the two peaks and on and on beyond. It's a fun ride and I'm not distracted by anything else in the frame. Of course I have a sense of the grandeur in the rest of the frame which gives depth to the ride but my eye doesn't really wander.

    In the second image my ride is sidetracked somewhat because the tones in the village are not that much different from those in some of the ridges below and to the left of the llama so that starts me wandering about the image. Not as much fun as the first one, and the more moderate tones don't have quite the drama as in the first one.

    I am sorry but the colors in the last one just don't work for me. I don't know about others but I see a lot of green in the llama in the foreground and that seems very odd in itself (admittedly I don't know a lot about llamas! ) It also de-emphasizes the llama because of the green turf right next to it.

    Congratulations on a fantastic shot!

    Lon

  4. #4

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    Re: Llamas overlooking Machu Picchu

    Thanks for the helpful comments, Paul.

    When you mention the reflection, I assume you're referring to the area to the left of the white llama's head and neck. Right? If I showed you the original slide, you wouldn't believe how bad that area is. It has something to do with a consumer-grade zoom lens made about 25 years ago, when they weren't nearly as good as they are now, and the way it dealt with the bright light reflected off the llama's neck with the dark light in the background. I've actually never seen anything like it, never had to post-process anything like it, and did the best that I could to touch it up.

    I like your idea of providing more separation between the dark llama's head and the background. I'll work on that.

    You mentioned the oversharpening. I wonder if you reviewed the images at their large size. The reason I ask is that I was surprised to see the oversharpening in the exact same area that you mention in the small images. I don't see it in the larger images. I wonder if CiC or TinyURL applies sharpening to the downsized images that are displayed.

  5. #5
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    Re: Llamas overlooking Machu Picchu

    Hi Mike, I like #1 the best. IMO my eye jumps to the bright spots , the Llama, the village then the bright sky. Personally I would try and reduce the brightness/exposure of the sky top left so that I stay in the picture with the main subjects. A slight vignette to concentrate the eye might also help. I also just want to shepherd the Llama on the right out of the way as it is a distraction. I think working from a slide you've done a good B&W conversion.

  6. #6

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    Re: Llamas overlooking Machu Picchu

    Thank you also, Lon, for your critical eye.

    I believe the entire color image has a slight green cast, now that you bring that to my attention. That's easy to fix both overall and in the llama's fur. The fur could be reflecting the green grass that was literally all around the animal and on vertical surfaces right next to the animal. Regardless, I hate green casts and will attend to it.

    Your exact description of how your eye is led through the various parts of the image is also very helpful.

  7. #7

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    Re: Llamas overlooking Machu Picchu

    Very helpful ideas, Clive!

    I remember toning down the left area of the sky that you mentioned when I processed the scan of the color slide. Now that you mention that area in the black-and-white version, I'll try toning it down even more in that version.

    It's interesting that I have never considered getting rid of the llama on the right. I could do that rather easily simply by cropping to eliminate the torso and neck and cloning to get rid of the head. However, the result seems static to me, as if the second llama is necessary to provide balance to the larger foreground llama. You're probably glad that I didn't try to include the two llamas standing immediately to my left that were just as close to me as the two that I did include.

    I had never considered a vignette, so I'll give that idea some attention also.

    Thanks again for your help!

  8. #8
    Lon Howard's Avatar
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    Re: Llamas overlooking Machu Picchu

    Funny, but when Paul first mentioned the second llama, I wondered how he could be 'offed,' or otherwise separated from the background. If he were simply cropped out, that would eliminate a portion of the torso of the main character llama, which seems detrimental, IMO. Well, I guess he could be photoshopped out. Hmm, doesn't qualify for nature anyway because of the village.

    What do you think??

  9. #9

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    Re: Llamas overlooking Machu Picchu

    Well done getting this shot.

    This is one of those classic Machu Picchu shots that seem to find their way into travel catalogs or NG. Similar in ways to those Asian pics of the farmer with a buffalo overlooking sloping rice fields.

    I have no particular preference as each has its merits.

  10. #10

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    Re: Llamas overlooking Machu Picchu

    Quote Originally Posted by Lon Howard View Post
    Hmm, doesn't qualify for nature anyway because of the village.
    True, but this forum is also intended for images of "architecture and all other photography."

    It's ironic that you mention this topic, Lon. When I first began perusing CiC, my primary dislike was that there are only two forums pertaining to the thematic content of images -- this forum and the People & Pets forum. After about three weeks of participating (I have been here only for about two months), I came to think that this is actually one of the primary strengths of the website.
    Last edited by Mike Buckley; 6th July 2012 at 12:35 PM.

  11. #11

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    Re: Llamas overlooking Machu Picchu

    Thank you for the compliment, Bobo.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bobobird View Post
    This is one of those classic Machu Picchu shots that seem to find their way into travel catalogs or NG.
    About a month before going to Machu Picchu, I showed my wife the cover shot of a major photography magazine. The image was of at least one llama (I can't remember how many llamas) overlooking the village. As I showed it to her, I mentioned that we would probably never see such a scene, much less capture it.

    When we entered the park, four llamas were in the middle of the village's large open area. We saw none on the mountain sides at the time. Later that afternoon we came upon the same four llamas on the mountain side. They were literally blocking our way on a relatively narrow path. I squeezed between them to get this image. The opportunity was pure luck with no planning. I'll take it.
    Last edited by Mike Buckley; 6th July 2012 at 12:33 PM.

  12. #12

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    Re: Llamas overlooking Machu Picchu

    Thanks to all the great critique, I modified the black-and-white version as follows:

    1. Darkened the sky in the top left corner
    2. Increased separation between the far right llama's head and the background
    3. Added a slight vignette (that I won't be disappointed if you don't notice it)

    Llamas overlooking Machu Picchu

  13. #13
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    Re: Llamas overlooking Machu Picchu

    I liked #1. What a magical place. I have been to Lima but never Machu Picchu. The place seems magical.

  14. #14

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    Re: Llamas overlooking Machu Picchu

    Thanks for the feedback, Steve. If you get to Peru again, I recommend making the effort to visit Machu Picchu so long as you stay there at least one night. You will surely get there through Cuzcos, which is also a wonderful place to visit.

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