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Thread: Waterfall composition

  1. #1
    terrib's Avatar
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    Waterfall composition

    We hiked almost 3 miles up a mountain yesterday to find St Mary's Falls only to give up within about 1/2 mile from our goal as the terrain got worse and we were worn out (and still had 3 miles to get back). So we had to settle for this small cascade on the way back. I have 3 compositions here for C&C. The 4th picture is just for reference to show the entire scene. Thanks, as always!

    #1 I like the look of the water best on this one but feel I've zoomed in too close.
    #2 I think this is my favorite because it shows a little of the environment around the waterfall and I like the little bit of color the fallen leaves show
    #3 Here I was trying to capture a bit more color into the shot by including the yellow leaves in the top left, but I feel that the whole top has become too distracting from the subject
    #4 Again - only to show what I had to work with

    #1
    Waterfall composition

    #2
    Waterfall composition

    #3
    Waterfall composition

    #4
    Waterfall composition

  2. #2

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    Re: Waterfall composition

    You asked about composition, so I'll first mention that I really like the way that you offset the water cascade to the right of center. I also like the second one best.

    However, I like it best for several reasons as well as its composition. I like how the leaves are accentuated in the second one. I also like the water best in the second one, especially where it lands in the stream.

    I'm guessing that you used a polarizer on the last three and not on the first one; there is less glare on the rocks in those three. Perhaps instead the sun came out from behind clouds on the first one, which would have caused the glare.

    I wonder why the overall color of the rocks varies so dramatically between each image. Is that caused by different post-processing methods?

    Are the first three images cropped in post-processing or did you compose the images differently in the camera? Hopefully it's the latter. I think at least the second and third one were composed that way in the camera. Otherwise, my comments about glare make no sense.
    Last edited by Mike Buckley; 11th September 2012 at 10:50 PM.

  3. #3
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    Re: Waterfall composition

    Hi, Terri

    I agree with you that #3 is the strongest overall. Adding the colors of the flowers was a nice addition, and gave a better balance.

    On a small area like this one, if you can safely and reasonably comfortably kick water over all the rocks, it avoids a light/dark demarcation, and really brings out the color and contrast within the rock surface.

    You might also play with dropping a gradient layer over the top third of #3 and increase the contrast, slightly reduce the exposure, and nudge down the highlights to bring out some more color in the flowers and grass. You might also consider selectively increasing the sharpness and clarity in the yellow flowers-yellow is an eye magnet. Hope this is helpful.

    Kevin

  4. #4
    terrib's Avatar
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    Re: Waterfall composition

    Mike, thanks for the feedback.

    First, you are right about the polarizer. I've yet to get used to using it so the first several pictures I took, I did not adjust it, although it was on.

    As to the color - I think the first one is due to the difference in the original. The last one, since I was only including it as reference, I did not spend any time in PP. #2 & #3 have as slight difference in white balance. I adjusted both from the originals and did not compare the end result. Mostly though I think the different composition makes them look different.

    As to cropping - The first image is as composed. I'm sorry to disappoint but #2 & #3 were both shot at 29mm where I was trying to compose to include the yellow leaves. So #2 was cropped probably 20-25%. #3 was cropped to remove the bright flat rock at the bottom that didn't bother me at the time but did when I processed it.

  5. #5

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    Re: Waterfall composition

    Terri I vote for #3, as it is more interesting that little bit of plant growth really helps to set it up better.

    Cheers:

    Allan

  6. #6
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    Re: Waterfall composition

    I got to go with number 3 also but there all nice. May be next time you might want to slow the shutter speed way down and get some of that silky smooth water stuff, just a idea.

  7. #7

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    Re: Waterfall composition

    Terri,

    Notice that most people prefer #3 and I prefer #2. That's consistent with my preference in general for tight crops.

    About the cropping: Try to develop the discipline to take multiple images of the same subject so you have to crop as little as possible during post-processing. Significant cropping works fine for displaying relatively small images on the Internet. However, when you want to print an image, the greater the crop, the more you are limited in the size of the print. Though we all get back to the computer and see a crop that works better than we imagined in the field, it's always best when we handle that aspect in the camera.

    Remember that it was just a few weeks ago that you might have made this image in such a way that the subject might not have been immediately obvious. You've really come a long way in a very short period of time. You're now advanced to the point of worrying about white balance, how to use the polarizer to your advantage, etc.

  8. #8
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    Re: Waterfall composition

    Hi Terri,

    I think well done for spotting the image in the first place - I find it's harder to look when I get tired. Looking at the EXIF's, it must have been pretty dark in there, too. I guess you were carrying a tripod - or you must have very steady hands!

    Like Mike, I like tight crops, so I go for #2 overall. However, going the other way, I also like #1, I think because structurally it's very nice, even if that wasn't what you were aiming for. I copied it to my PC and desaturated it - I think it makes a strong image and the reflections from the rocks then really add to the composition. (That's just an amateur opinion, I would certainly bow to Mike's and Kevin's expertise!)

  9. #9
    terrib's Avatar
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    Re: Waterfall composition

    Quote Originally Posted by kdoc856 View Post
    Hi, Terri

    I agree with you that #3 is the strongest overall. Adding the colors of the flowers was a nice addition, and gave a better balance.

    On a small area like this one, if you can safely and reasonably comfortably kick water over all the rocks, it avoids a light/dark demarcation, and really brings out the color and contrast within the rock surface.

    You might also play with dropping a gradient layer over the top third of #3 and increase the contrast, slightly reduce the exposure, and nudge down the highlights to bring out some more color in the flowers and grass. You might also consider selectively increasing the sharpness and clarity in the yellow flowers-yellow is an eye magnet. Hope this is helpful.

    Kevin
    Thanks Kevin, although #2 was actually my favorite. Your response is very helpful. I would have never thought to wet down the rocks and it probably would have been possible here.

    Your feedback on PP is also appreciated. I will give that a try.

  10. #10
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    Re: Waterfall composition

    Allan, thanks for taking the time to respond and telling me why you chose your favorite.

  11. #11
    terrib's Avatar
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    Re: Waterfall composition

    Paul, thanks for taking the time to look and respond. As to the look of the water, your idea is a perfectly valid choice, but I actually got the look that I wanted in the water for this particular scene. It's a purely personal preference.

  12. #12

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    Re: Waterfall composition

    I like these. Being me, I like the first one with it's close crop. The way the rocks seem to separate the water at the top into two streams is interesting to me. Thanks for posting.

  13. #13
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    Re: Waterfall composition

    Quote Originally Posted by terrib View Post
    Paul, thanks for taking the time to look and respond. As to the look of the water, your idea is a perfectly valid choice, but I actually got the look that I wanted in the water for this particular scene. It's a purely personal preference.
    Yep I was thinking you got the shot you wanted just thinking how it might look with a lower shutter speed

  14. #14
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    Re: Waterfall composition

    Quote Originally Posted by davidedric View Post
    Hi Terri,

    I think well done for spotting the image in the first place - I find it's harder to look when I get tired. Looking at the EXIF's, it must have been pretty dark in there, too. I guess you were carrying a tripod - or you must have very steady hands!
    Thanks Dave for recognizing my condition. When we first got there, I really didn't care I was so tired. But I found the angle I wanted and sat down. If I'd have needed to stand, there probably would have only been one picture! And yes, my dear husband was carrying the tripod. He's a good sport!

    Quote Originally Posted by davidedric View Post
    Like Mike, I like tight crops, so I go for #2 overall. However, going the other way, I also like #1, I think because structurally it's very nice, even if that wasn't what you were aiming for. I copied it to my PC and desaturated it - I think it makes a strong image and the reflections from the rocks then really add to the composition. (That's just an amateur opinion, I would certainly bow to Mike's and Kevin's expertise!)
    Thanks for taking time to explain what you like and for working with the image. I'll take a look at that.

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