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Thread: Losing Tranquility

  1. #1
    Tony M's Avatar
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    Losing Tranquility

    I went to take photos of a Roman bridge in the mountains near Madrid and found the river a more interesting subject. This photo shows a tranquil, steadily flowing river fall a short distance and turn into rapids. It was a sunny morning, and I used a polarising filter and ND8 filter so that I could slow the shutter speed enough to capture the movement of the water.

    It'd be nice to get some opinions on the composition. I like the photo for its portrayal of smooth turning into rough; the gentle curves of the water becoming chaos, much of which is left to the imagination as it is out of view. The two rocks in the background and the submerged one in the foreground form a triangle which somehow is attractive.

    Losing Tranquility

    Canon EF70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS; focal length 115mm; ISO 100; 1.0 sec at f/16

    Tony

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Losing Tranquility

    I think the most important thing is that this image is the product of planning and thought. It has not happened by accident. You had a view about what you wanted to achieve and how you wanted to use the various elements in the scene in order to create youir image. And then you executed it. I believe that this level of conscious planning is they key to achieving a consistency in terms of quality.

    With regards to this specific image, the first thing that grabbed my attention when the image opened, was that rock at the back left and not the water in the foreground, which I think should be the main attention-grabber. The reason for that, I think, is that it is much better positioned in the image than the water coming over the foreground rock. The tumbling water is squeezed right into the bottom right hand corner where, I think, it gets a bit lost.

    I think the idea behind the composition (the rocks forming the triangle) is wonderful, but I wonder if there was any opportunity to look fro an angle on the shot that would have allowed you to get that water up the frame a bit and more into the scene. If you thought my views were worthy of some consideration, then it might be that the looking at the crop of the frame could allow a re-work.
    Last edited by Donald; 31st October 2012 at 09:32 AM.

  3. #3
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    Re: Losing Tranquility

    Hi, Tony

    I think Donald said it masterfully, and I can only second his conclusions with one addition. As our eyes are pulled to brightness like moths to a light source, that splash of sunlight on the rock formation in the background acts as a strong competitor to the water flow.

    I wonder if shooting from a slightly higher vantage point would perhaps strengthen the triangular
    structure you were envisioning, and at the same time give you a compositional crop of that bright backgtound wall (he says blithely having no idea if you can ever get back to that site ).

    I think this is one of those "oh, so close" shots that fell just short of nailing it. Hope this was of some use.

    Kevin

  4. #4
    Tony M's Avatar
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    Re: Losing Tranquility

    Thanks Donald and Kevin for your helpful comments. I think that my critical faculty is somewhat diminished when applied to my own photos; I probably would have made the same comments as yours if it were not my own.

    I did crop it quite a lot, as I wanted a panoramic view. However, you're quite right about the weight and position of the elements in the photo, so I have re-cropped it below. I also took on board Kevin's comment and reduced the brightness of the rock wall in the background.

    I plan to go back to the location again, hopefully this weekend, so I will try different viewpoints.

    Losing Tranquility

    Tony
    Last edited by Tony M; 1st November 2012 at 06:41 PM.

  5. #5
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Losing Tranquility

    Immediately, the point of attention is shifted.

    You have got a wonderful location there, so do make the most of it.

  6. #6
    Tony M's Avatar
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    Re: Losing Tranquility

    I went back to this location again last Sunday. This time, it was a cloudy day and the light was quite different. I tried Kevin's suggestion to shoot from a different viewpoint, but there was also a low over-hanging branch which made it impossible to shoot from a much higher viewpoint. Below is the only alternative I could find. It captures another element in addition to the three from the previous week's photo: the rock at the lower right corner. I think it adds depth to the image, although it does somewhat overshadow the other rock in the foreground.

    Losing Tranquility
    3.2s at f/16, ISO 100, focal length 85mm

    And here's another from further away.
    Losing Tranquility
    3.2s at f/16, ISO 100, focal length 85mm

    And from the other side of the river.
    Losing Tranquility
    1s at f/11, ISO 100, focal length 28mm

    And finally, another photo showing the bridge overlooking it all. It's not known if it's Roman or Mediaeval. I used a graduated ND filter during post-processing to reveal the clouds; I wish I had used the filter while taking the photo.

    Losing Tranquility
    1/60s at f/11, ISO 160, focal length 17mm

    Comments are appreciated.

    Tony
    Last edited by Tony M; 10th November 2012 at 03:36 PM.

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    Andrew76's Avatar
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    Re: Losing Tranquility

    Hey Tony, that's a great set. Very nice shots! The only, very small criticism I have is that in shot #1, the rock in the bottom right of the image foreground has a very unnatural edge where it meets the water. I'm not sure what it is, but it appears as though it was dropped into the image from another separate photo, and the blending was not spot on. I don't know how else to describe it, and it may just be my monitor, but I wonder if it's been over sharpened, or clarity driven up too high? I truly like the shot, but my eye is constantly drawn to that harsh line.

  8. #8
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Losing Tranquility

    It all depends on the image the photographer wants and it's the photographer's decision as to what image he/she makes, but I prefer the faster shutter speed used at the first visit. If you want to study how to blend images to work on the effect given by moving water, a very good place to start is Frank's first post in his Project 52 thread, which you can find here.

    It is this sort of practicing that informs and teaches us about what works and what doesn't.

  9. #9
    Tony M's Avatar
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    Re: Losing Tranquility

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew76 View Post
    The only, very small criticism I have is that in shot #1, the rock in the bottom right of the image foreground has a very unnatural edge where it meets the water. I'm not sure what it is, but it appears as though it was dropped into the image from another separate photo, and the blending was not spot on. I don't know how else to describe it, and it may just be my monitor, but I wonder if it's been over sharpened, or clarity driven up too high? I truly like the shot, but my eye is constantly drawn to that harsh line.
    It does look over-sharpened. I rolled back the "creative sharpening" and I think it's better.
    Losing Tranquility

    Donald, I saw Frank's post some time ago, and do intend to try it some day. I get the impression that you prefer less of the cottony look of the falling water; Frank aimed to preserve that effect (albeit to a much lesser extent) and to freeze the motion of the still, or slow-moving water.

    I quite like the cotton-wool effect of the water, but am always keen to experiment.

    Tony

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