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Thread: Tree against the sky

  1. #1
    terrib's Avatar
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    Tree against the sky

    My husband spotted this tree on top of a hill. We moved around for this perspective and I waited until there were clouds in the shot. I have cropped the image in HD (16x9) to remove some sky and grass and also to move the tree more away from the center. I hope you will give your thoughts and feedback for improvement. Thanks!

    Tree against the sky

  2. #2

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    Re: Tree against the sky

    Nice angle and composition, Terri. I like that the overall shape of the branches creates the effect as if they are reaching up to the upper right portion of the image.

    Try using the Levels & Curves to place a slight S shape in the curve. I think you'll see the image pop.

    Depending on the story you want to tell, consider darkening the grass and adding a tad bit of contrast to it afterward.

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    Re: Tree against the sky

    Terri: great looking image, I agree with Mike about the image, however I see something different, you have blues, whites, greens, yellows and oranges, put them all together and you have the right mixture for a possible great B&W image.

    Cheers:

    Allan

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    Re: Tree against the sky

    Very nice composition Terri. Taking the time to really 'see' the subject and background can really bring out the best in a subject.

    For some reason that I don't think I understand, often, an image looks better with the subject in the right third of the frame opposed to the left third as it is here. No guarantees, but you may want to flip the image horizontally and compare the two views to see which looks best to you.

  5. #5
    terrib's Avatar
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    Re: Tree against the sky

    Thanks, Mike for the specific suggestions. My first attempt at the S curve didn't look right. I need to spend some time with the tutorial on Curves because I don't yet understand what is really going on. I'll do that and post an update in a few days.

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    terrib's Avatar
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    Re: Tree against the sky

    I think you are right that this has the potential for a good black and white image but I've not really learned the best way to post process a black and white. This site has made me think more about B&W, but I still don't appreciate them as much as I do color. Thanks for the suggestion to consider it as a possibility.

  7. #7
    terrib's Avatar
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    Re: Tree against the sky

    It's interesting that you often like images with the subject on the right third. My son-in-law often comments on my pictures that he would have flipped them to place the subject on the right. In this particular case, this is the way I saw the tree. I don't have a philosophical issue with changing a photo from reality, but usually when I flip the image, I don't like it as well. Maybe my memories of reality are affecting my judgement. And when cropping an image that I didn't originally compose one way or the other, I tend to gravitate toward the left unless it's an animal looking toward the left that needs space. Not sure why this is my tendency.

    Here is the flipped image. It would be interesting to hear what people prefer.

    Tree against the sky

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    Re: Tree against the sky

    Considering that you haven't become comfortable using the Curve tool, I applied it to your image and provided the curve that I used.

    Tree against the sky

    Tree against the sky

    Notice that there is only a very slight S curve. That's because it's really easy to overdue it, especially because this scene already had a reasonable amount of contrast in the midtones.

    The very simple explanation of a classic S curve: The lower left dot pulls the curve downward. Doing so darkens the tones in the image represented in the graph that are a bit to the left and right of the dot. The upper right dot pulls the curve upward. Doing so lightens the tones in the image represented in the graph that are a bit to the left and right of the dot. When I was first learning how to use the Curve tool, the light bulb turned on for me when somebody explained that the part of the curve that is in between the two dots happens to be closer to vertical than any other part of the curve. The more vertical a section is, the more contrast will occur in the tones represented in that section.

    The reason the classic S curve is so popular is that it boosts the contrast in the midtones, as evidenced by the most vertical part of the curve in the graph. That helps many, many photographs.

    By the way, always adjust the curve after you use the Levels tool, not before.

    It doesn't matter for me whether this image is flipped.
    Last edited by Mike Buckley; 28th July 2012 at 04:47 PM.

  9. #9
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    Re: Tree against the sky

    Quote Originally Posted by terrib View Post
    It's interesting that you often like images with the subject on the right third. My son-in-law often comments on my pictures that he would have flipped them to place the subject on the right. In this particular case, this is the way I saw the tree. I don't have a philosophical issue with changing a photo from reality, but usually when I flip the image, I don't like it as well. Maybe my memories of reality are affecting my judgement. And when cropping an image that I didn't originally compose one way or the other, I tend to gravitate toward the left unless it's an animal looking toward the left that needs space. Not sure why this is my tendency.

    Here is the flipped image. It would be interesting to hear what people prefer.
    I like both of them with perhaps a slight preference for the flipped image as the diagonal lines formed by the clouds and tree branches start in the lower left and reach toward the sky on the right.

    Right third verses left third may be a very personal preference but in the training tutorials on this subject they seem to favor the right third for the subject.

  10. #10

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    Re: Tree against the sky

    Quote Originally Posted by FrankMi View Post
    in the training tutorials on this subject they seem to favor the right third for the subject.
    I wonder if one position matters more to people who read from left to right and the other position matters more to people who read from right to left.

  11. #11
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    Re: Tree against the sky

    Quote Originally Posted by FrankMi View Post
    Very nice composition Terri. Taking the time to really 'see' the subject and background can really bring out the best in a subject.

    For some reason that I don't think I understand, often, an image looks better with the subject in the right third of the frame opposed to the left third as it is here. No guarantees, but you may want to flip the image horizontally and compare the two views to see which looks best to you.
    Hi Frank; you noticed aswell. Maybe it has something to do with dominant eye, which would be wrong for me as years were spent trying to correct that.

  12. #12
    terrib's Avatar
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    Re: Tree against the sky

    Quote Originally Posted by FrankMi View Post
    Right third verses left third may be a very personal preference but in the training tutorials on this subject they seem to favor the right third for the subject.
    I, too, have seen tutorials that prefer the right. Either way, thanks for mentioning it because it's something I rarely think to consider so it's good to be reminded.

  13. #13
    terrib's Avatar
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    Re: Tree against the sky

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Buckley View Post
    When I was first learning how to use the Curve tool, the light bulb turned on for me when somebody explained that the part of the curve that is in between the two dots happens to be closer to vertical than any other part of the curve. The more vertical a section is, the more contrast will occur in the tones represented in that section.
    Mike, as always your responses are so thorough and helpful. Your lightbulb moment also helped me understand. I've a ways to go and need to practice but your explanation along with the C in C tutorial has really helped. These tutorials are helping me to get away from the "Auto" adjustments.

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    Re: Tree against the sky

    Thrilled to know that another light bulb has been turned on, Terri. Wishing that you, I and others continue to have more of them lit on a regular basis.

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