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Thread: My favourite pond

  1. #1

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    My favourite pond

    This summer anyway.

    As usual photographing birds and bugs but the early evening light was sort of a distraction.

    Please tell me how these look to you and what can be done to improve them or my sucky landscape work in general.

    Thanks.

    1.
    My favourite pond

    2.
    My favourite pond

  2. #2

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    Re: My favourite pond

    For me, Bobo, reflections usually need a fixed reference point above the reflection. Otherwise, unless told that it is a reflection, they tend to look like just an upside down blurred shot.

    The second one has great atmosphere.

  3. #3

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    Re: My favourite pond

    Thanks got it.

  4. #4
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: My favourite pond

    Hi Bobo,

    Because I know this problem only too well myself, I would ask just one question; what is the subject in these?

    It's late and that may not make sense, apologies,

  5. #5
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    Re: My favourite pond

    The first photo gave me the sense that I'd drunk too much but, even if it breaks lots of rules, something about it graps one's attention.
    Are those beaver lodges in the second photo?

  6. #6

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    Re: My favourite pond

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Humphries View Post
    Because I know this problem only too well myself, I would ask just one question; what is the subject in these?
    Ditto for me on both points, especially the first one. Considering that Terri is grappling with the question of what the subject is in landscapes and I think successfully so, I hope she is following this thread.

  7. #7

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    Re: My favourite pond

    Thanks Dave, Bruce, Mike.

    The subject - not that is a difficult one.

    The 2 pics - #1 is the right of the pond, nothing there but one long row of tall reeds. I thought it looked great with the evening light shining on it and some of the trees behind them. There was no foreground to speak of just more reed. So with the zoom at 70mm, panned the entire side looking for a representative shot that would show some of the reed and the trees. Actually the reflection looked much better then the actual trees so decided to take part of the reeds and the entire tree in the reflection.

    Pic #2 is the right side of the pond. Again no foreground to speak of except tall reeds on my right and a big expanse of water in front. But like the left side, the sun shining through the trees gave the water a nice glisten. So took a shot. There are 2 small points of interest - a great blue heron on the extreme left and a night heron to the extreme right.

    How is it that they do not convey the same as I felt at the time but only the same as I saw at the time?

  8. #8
    Ken Curtis's Avatar
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    Re: My favourite pond

    Bobo, I tried to respond yesterday, but could not upload a photo for the response - and still cannot - so this is a verbal description.

    I do not have any suggestions for the top image. It does not evoke any emotions in me - sorry.

    The second image has possibilities. As a thought, I would concentrate on what are the interesting parts of this image. The islands and clump of trees behind the islands appear interesting because of the subject and lighting. I would crop the image to about one-quarter of the entire image so that it only includes those objects. Also try not to vertically center the land-water boundary, but put it one third of the way up from the bottom. Wish I could have uploaded an image to show you.

  9. #9
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    Re: My favourite pond

    Bobo, I feel your pain. Here is a link to one of my first threads on the forum that has several helpful responses about the subject of landscapes. I asked the very question you did about not being able to convey what I saw. I think these threads have a lot of good info.

    Landscapes - defining the subject

    And here are a couple of followups:

    Update on Subjects in Landscapes thread
    A new landscape hopefully incorporating feedback from the last one

  10. #10

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    Re: My favourite pond

    Thanks Ken, Terri.

    Will do as suggested.

  11. #11

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    Re: My favourite pond

    Hi Bobo,
    Maybe this sound stupid but you can try it. Divide your picture in 1/3rds. 1/3 Foreground, 1/3 Middle ground and 1/3 Background. The main subject someware in the in the middle ground.

    You want my honest opinion on the shots above - delete them and try again. Sorry just being honest.
    Just don't give up.

  12. #12

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    Re: My favourite pond

    Thanks Andre.

    They won't be deleted. Will keep them to remind me of the "bad" days if I ever do get a good one in the future.

  13. #13
    John Morton's Avatar
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    Re: My favourite pond

    Hi, Bobo;

    I have a few thoughts for you to consider, as I too enjoy trying to incorporate reflections on water into my images.

    First, try a few vertical shots, with the camera on its side - much easier to get both the reflection and whatever is being reflected in the same photograph!

    Second, you don't actually need what is 'above' the reflection to give your viewer a sense of where you are - you can just as easily include something in your foreground, in front of the reflection. Now, this means 1) that your reflection-as-background will be blurred if your foreground is in focus but, well reflections tend to lend themselves to being blurred so that can work really well for you; and 2) generally you need to expose a reflection longer to be able to see it well so it might help to keep your eye open for situations where the foreground is shadowy and the reflection is sunlit; so that would be in the morning or evening, with the sun behind you and striking the area being reflected, on the other side of the pond. This might mean that your foreground subject is dark to the point of being a silhouette, but, that just catches the viewer's eye and draws them into the photo to 'reflect on' the reflection - which is your main point of interest anyway.

    I've found a photo of mine where I was after the reflection in a small pool so I'll post it here for you to see what I mean about vertical format. I used High Dynamic Range (HDR) techniques for this one and of course, a tripod and cable release. I find that HDR is excellent for capturing reflections, since they really do usually need a different exposure than the rest of the photo requires.

    My favourite pond

  14. #14

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    Re: My favourite pond

    Thanks John. That image is very good.

    Thanks for the reflection tips and the HDR method. Will try out everything at the same place this week. Have written them on a piece of paper so that I don't forget this or that.

    I may have to draft the ducks and turtles as my foreground....

  15. #15
    John Morton's Avatar
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    Re: My favourite pond

    Well Bobo, you don't have to try out everything all at once! When I head out for some photography, I usually just bring one lens - on my camera. That means there are certain types of photos I can get, and others that I pass on trying to capture; but that is something I decide before heading out. I might go for landscapes, taking a tripod and a shift/tilt lens; but then I can't get any close in or far off details. I might bring a long zoom; or a macro telephoto for close up shots; or just a plain old 50mm lens for walking around: but I don't try for everything all at once!

    You could try just experimenting with vertical format; or you might find that your usual horizontal format would work well with using foreground subjects. The important thing is, make sure you are still enjoying the scenery and having fun doing some photography ;-)

    P.S. I really like the second photo you posted, it is very 'Gainsboroughesque' and very peaceful. A bit of post processing would really make it shine. The first one I would keep, too: someone mentioned that it might look like an "upside down blurry picture" so you know what? I would flip it over because the solid form of the reeds would make a good base for the reflection presented as if it were the actual scene (as upside down now turned right side up).
    Last edited by John Morton; 29th August 2012 at 06:30 PM.

  16. #16

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    Re: My favourite pond

    Thanks again John. That is what I usually do - one lens but it is usually the long one. This time I will take both - first objective is always the birds but as they go to bed quite early then can switch to the wider one and wait for the evening to set in.

    You are right of course, cannot do everything in one go. Since the autumn colours are starting to come out and the birds are migrating it is time to turn to the landscapes and get a handle on them. Just need to tune in more.

  17. #17

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    Re: My favourite pond

    Just a thought, Bobo, but try the second one with a little boost to the highlights. Possibly an adjustment layer and mask may be needed if you get a few tiny hot spots.

    Admittedly, no real subject here but I rather like the tranquility of a late summer evening which this shot evokes.

  18. #18
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: My favourite pond

    I can see now that perhaps I didn't express myself too well last night, I should have said what is the focal point of the composition? I find it usually helps to have one, although I guess it could be argued this makes it a shot of that thing and not a landscape

    I dunno, this has me stumped

  19. #19

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    Re: My favourite pond

    Thanks Geoff and Dave.

    There is nothing much that can be done for these images and a reshoot with all the expert tips on paper is on the cards. Hopefully will have learned something to get better impact images.

    As per some of the pp suggestions have redone both like this. Really more to placate myself on another landscape job badly done.

    1a.
    My favourite pond

    2a.
    My favourite pond
    Last edited by Bobobird; 29th August 2012 at 09:47 PM.

  20. #20

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    Re: My favourite pond

    Sorry Bobo,

    My favourite pond

    I should not be doing this - it is your work.

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