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Thread: The Ghost Forest of Neskowin.

  1. #1

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    The Ghost Forest of Neskowin.

    These are ancient Sitka spruce trees, or what’s left of them, still standing upright on the beach where they died centuries ago.
    This regiment of about 200 stumps, dotting the beach south of Proposal Rock, is called the Ghost Forest of Neskowin. From the moment they were uncovered by the stormy winter of 1997-98, the stumps have attracted both scientific and tourist attention. They aren’t exactly scary to look at, but to some, they offer quiet evidence of two rather frightening realities: earthquakes and global climate change.
    Most researchers who have examined these trees believe they died about 1,600 years ago when the soil beneath them was displaced by a “subsidence event.”

    C&C always welcome

    The Ghost Forest of Neskowin.

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: The Ghost Forest of Neskowin.

    The image helps us understand how the area got its name. I think the problem is the challenge faced in trying to portray the scene in a way that both captures the starkness of the scene, but at the same time gives enough detail to make it an image that captures attention.

    Without your explanation, I don't think we would have known what we are looking at. That's one part of it. The other question I had is whether the image needs all what we're seeing in the lower half of the frame. If you were to crop it on the half-way horizontal line and turn it into something close to a 2.5:1 ratio image, do you think that maybe emphasises the starkness of the scene even more?

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    FlyingSquirrel's Avatar
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    Re: The Ghost Forest of Neskowin.

    Connie,

    Thanks for sharing this. Interesting stuff I've never seen or heard of.
    My personal thoughts/opinions on the photo...
    I feel that the focus of the photo should be the eery "graveyard" of stumps amid the fog/mist (at least I think that's what it is). However, I feel the stumps are instead lost in the background, and the foreground elements demand too much attention. This is because the foreground is larger, sharper, more contrasty, and has more implied motion. I think a much more effective composition would be a more selective view of the stumps, either by getting closer to them physically, or by extracting them with a longer lens. I think both methods would yield interesting results, and personally would experiment with them. In this case, you could perhaps crop the photo to remove the bottom half of the frame, thereby leaving a panoramic image of the mystical scene in the background. Hope this helps.

    Edit: Donald, you beat me to it!

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    MilT0s's Avatar
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    Re: The Ghost Forest of Neskowin.

    Connie thanks for sharing both the wonderful image and story.

    I have to agree with donald about cropping the lower part of the sea as it attracks the eye more than the trees.

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    Coinneachmhor's Avatar
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    Re: The Ghost Forest of Neskowin.

    While I agree with what's been said above, having seen this "wider picture" view, along with the information you provided, I think this subject would be fantastic for doing a photographic series on. I'm particularly thinking of tighter crops in the golden hours - tides permitting.

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    Re: The Ghost Forest of Neskowin.

    Connie, I like this very much. There is something otherworldly and eerie about it. And, with the story behind it even more so. I tried moving the image down in the browser to crop out the portion suggested and in my opinion it does work well.

  7. #7

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    Re: The Ghost Forest of Neskowin.

    To all thank you, I am new at this and having been there it all seems important to me so have a hard time knowing where to crop. I have several shots at this spot and will play with them. I didn't get closer because the tide was coming in and that water in the foreground was about 10 feet wide and 14 inches deep and I wasn't prepared to swim or wade that day. Off to play with Photoshop Elements 11 and your suggestions to see what I come up with.

    Just spent a few minutes with the originals and realize I didn't shoot enough of them and should have waded across that "river" to get more trees instead of the just the forest. The only solution I can see right now is another trip to the beach and take more pictures.
    Last edited by CLK; 5th December 2012 at 02:12 PM. Reason: Further comment

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: The Ghost Forest of Neskowin.

    Quote Originally Posted by CLK View Post
    and having been there it all seems important to me
    With that statement, Connie, you have hit right at the heart of one of the major points on the learning curve - About developing your own critical abilities to assess what works and what doesn't and what you need to include and what you don't.

    I don't know about other people on here, but I can identify so easily with that statement. It was exactly the same feelings that I had about my pictures and when people made the same points as I and others have made above, i really struggled for a while to resolve them with my own views.

    And that ability is only going to come with practice and experience. And the more you ask yourself - What is it I'm wanting to show here? What is it that's needed in the frame to show that? What's the best way of showing people what I want them to see? - the better you'll get at doing it.

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    Re: The Ghost Forest of Neskowin.

    The Ghost Forest of Neskowin.

    Here is the cropped picture and you all were right it does look better. Do I have the proportions correct? I have just about as much experience with PP as I do with taking the pictures.
    The whole scene cries for more pictures and that is just the excuse I need for a day trip to the beach, now if only it would quit raining for a day or two.

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    Re: The Ghost Forest of Neskowin.

    It seems ok to me, Connie. Hopefully someone more knowledgeable will chime in. I also hope another trip to the beach will work out for you.

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    Re: The Ghost Forest of Neskowin.

    Quote Originally Posted by Coinneachmhor View Post
    I think this subject would be fantastic for doing a photographic series on. .
    I think Kenny is right about this. I love your picture as it is. It's hauntingly beautiful, yet it doesn't tell the story of the subject. If that is your goal, I don't think it can be done adequately in one picture.

    I personally like the detail in the original foreground. The crop doesn't seem to have the clarity--the mist makes it seem kinda blurry to me --even though I know it isn't. The original has more perspective-and is more to my liking.

    Thanks for posting, now I have to do some googling on the subject. CIC is always and adventure!

  12. #12

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    Re: The Ghost Forest of Neskowin.

    If you haven't found it already here is the link that I used. http://www.oregoncoasttoday.com/nesk...ostforest.html

    I have mixed feelings about the original vs the cropped. The posters here have a lot more experience than I do and I really appreciate the input. I have little or no confidence in my own ability to see "a different or better way" or to know if "I see the beauty because it is my child" and the picture is screaming dissonance at everyone else. In my original I see the water in the front as putting distance between me and the forest, like the distance in time between then and now. I have the advantage of knowing that the water in the front was reasonably deep and fast moving, at least for me at that time as unprepared as I was to spend the rest of the day in wet sandy clothes. I didn't take enough pictures of the forest because I was trying to catch the waves breaking over some of the rocks further out. I wasn't really aware of the significance of the trees at the time either because I had never been there before and all my daughter could tell me was they were trees.

    I think the cropped picture does emphasize the trees and their aloneness and it was pretty hazy/foggy on that portion of the beach so setting them alone in the fog says something different to me altogether. I am sure the next time I go to that beach the story will be different because as beaches do all over the world they change when your back is turned. I am looking forward to going back. The delight of the little town of Neskowin is that it only has about 170 population, no big resorts or hotels and I think only one restaurant so the chance of massive crowds is a little less.
    Last edited by CLK; 6th December 2012 at 04:19 PM. Reason: added link.

  13. #13
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: The Ghost Forest of Neskowin.

    Quote Originally Posted by CLK View Post
    Do I have the proportions correct?
    I'd say 'Yes'. That, in my view, is a much stronger image.

    Quote Originally Posted by CLK View Post
    I have mixed feelings about the original vs the cropped.
    And that's okay, because some of us did challenge (constructively, I hope) your perceptions about something that you were holding quite dear to you - an image that you had created with a clear goal in mind of what you were trying to show. It's sometimes not so easy, especially when we are quite inexperienced and are wanting to achieve high quality, to hear criticism that challenges in this way. It hurts a bit. And remember - You are allowed to prefer the original. It's your picture.

    But the fact that you have recognised that and are thinking it through ("I have little or no confidence in my own ability to see "a different or better way" or to know if "I see the beauty because it is my child" and the picture is screaming dissonance at everyone else") puts you, I suggest, way, way ahead of the pack in terms of you ability to learn. The very fact that you've been able to write that should make you pleased and proud that your already thinking about your photography and your learning, at a level that many people never reach.

    Keep being critical and analytical of your own work.
    Last edited by Donald; 6th December 2012 at 05:46 PM.

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    Re: The Ghost Forest of Neskowin.

    Thank you, much appreciated.

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    Re: The Ghost Forest of Neskowin.

    Quote Originally Posted by CLK View Post
    If you haven't found it already here is the link that I used. http://www.oregoncoasttoday.com/nesk...ostforest.html

    I have little or no confidence in my own ability to see "a different or better way" or to know if "I see the beauty because it is my child" and the picture is screaming dissonance at everyone else. In my original I see the water in the front as putting distance between me and the forest, like the distance in time between then and now.
    I think you should have lots of confidence in your abilities based on what I've seen here. as Donald says it can be a challenge at first to process the feedback you get and as I have gone through the same process since joining the forums in September I fully understand how you feel at the moment but would say that I have learned more in the past few months through my posts and reading other's C&C than I did in the previous 12 mths. You definitely have a gift and I can't wait to see some more of your images.

  16. #16

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    Re: The Ghost Forest of Neskowin.

    Thank you I am learning a lot from the forums and posts.

  17. #17
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    Another Ghost Forest

    This one is located on Alaska's Kenai Peninsula. The sign provides the information that this area sank ten feet (~10 meters) allowing salt water to flood in during the earthquake that devastated Alaska in 1964...

    The trees being closer together makes it easier to shoot and, of course, the sign adds the needed information.

    The Ghost Forest of Neskowin.

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