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Thread: Walnut in winter

  1. #1

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    Walnut in winter

    G'day, we had a little snow recently and i thought that the walnut tree on the edge of the woods looked great with a dusting of snow, it seemed to emphasise the tree's shape.
    I like this shot but it doesn't quite do it for me. I'd appreciate all C&C. (this is my first posting for critique so let me know if there's a better way of going about it. On, go easy on me !)
    I've not used any PP on this shot,
    Canon 5D II, cloudy conditions, pre-sunrise...
    Walnut in winter

  2. #2

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    Re: Walnut in winter

    Hi Mat, and welcome. I'm a newby as well, so take my suggestions with a grain of salt. I recently received some good advice on a photo I'd made and I'll pass it on. If the tree is the subject, make it the star of the show! I had a go at trying to do just that, and here are my efforts. I converted to B&W, cropped (to focus more on the tree as well as eliminate the power lines), de-vignetted, and sharpened the tree up a little. I'm in no wise an expert, I just thought I'd try my hand. I don't think I've done justice to the snow, however. For what its worth...
    Walnut in winter

  3. #3

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    Re: Walnut in winter

    Thanks Andy, I like what you've done. I appreciate your (newby) advice !

  4. #4
    kdoc856's Avatar
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    Re: Walnut in winter

    Hi, Mat

    I love tree photography, and it's harder than it looks. Our eyes are great at picking out a specific element from a scene and concentrating only on it, but it gets all blended and simultaneously revealed in a photograph. I tend to think of trees as having a personality, and their pictures to be a portrait.

    Finding a way to isolate your subject is a major goal. It requires some clear separation from its background, whether that be color, contrast, texture, form, or space. The entire tree does not have to be included in the image- our brains will supply the missing elements, such as branch tips. It's the "essence" of the tree we are after.

    With your shot below, it might have been helpful to get down low and tight, shooting up into the tree, to separate the lower boughs from the background, get some detail in the bark texture. Andy's edit is a good one, and gets your tree out of the dead middle of the shot, and says immediately that the tree is the star of the show, that our eyes should start there and only move from there once sated.

    You'll often find a focal length of about 20mm to be helpful, but a long lense to isolate and better control DoF will be needed at other times. Just keep shooting these, and look at lots of photos that really appeal to you. Playing copy-cat can teach a ton.

    Cheers,

    Kevin

  5. #5
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Walnut in winter

    I think there's some very sound advice been given above. And it's, hopefully, constructive and helpful to make comments on an image that someone has thought about and put effort into. As a first image posted for C & C, it's pretty impressive and, I'd suggest, having the eye to see the beauty in a subject like that is a skill that's often not recognised and appreciated.

    I, too, am a lover of trees and think they make the most wonderful subjects.

    A factor to consider with a subject like this is whether you need to the whole tree in the frame to show of its beauty and grace.

    I have one tree in particular that I love to photograph. There are three images of it that I've posted on here (two in this thread and one that's linked from that thread). As you'll see, it's in only one of these that you see the whole tree.

    I think Kevin's advice about isolating the subject is important. In the image above, I think the one weak point is that dark bush below the bottom branch on the left. I think it takes all the attention away from the tree.

    But if you have easy access to this tree, then you have a brilliant subject that you can spend hours with ............. and they won't need a coffee or toilet break and won't demand a fee!
    Last edited by Donald; 31st January 2013 at 03:05 PM.

  6. #6

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    Re: Walnut in winter

    Kevin, Yes you're right I was trying to capture/catch the 'essence' of the tree. The personality of the tree as I think you put it. I hadn't thought of tackling it as if it were a portrait in the classic (human) sense. I will revisit it with that in mind. My widest lens is 24 mm so close and low followed by along lens to seperate from the B/G. Thank you for viewing and bothering to comment,
    mat

  7. #7

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    Re: Walnut in winter

    Donald, yes I have found it helpful and constructive. Though I did have to pluck up some courage first, is that weird or even a little bit sad ?
    As the second person to suggest not necessarily shooting the whole tree I will give that double attention and take it on board. I do have access to this tree as it's about 50 ft from the house so I will continue to study it in all lighting/ weather conditions. I appreciate your links and have looked and enjoyed your tree shots (much to see, much to learn. . .)
    Not only do trees not need coffee/ toilets & re-assurance, unlike my other favourite subjects, they don't fly away or try to sting you !!
    Thanks for your kind manner,
    mat

  8. #8
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Walnut in winter

    Quote Originally Posted by moopy goops View Post
    Though I did have to pluck up some courage first, is that weird or even a little bit sad ?
    No way. It took me ages before I was brave enough to first post an image. And then I waited in fear and trepidation for any response. None came (it wasn't on this forum, I hasten to add), which was pretty deflating. That's why I still hate to see images posted and no-one commenting on them.

    But, on the other hand, the poster also has an obligation I think to say something about what they are trying to achieve and invite comments ... just as you have done.

    If anything, I think a bigger problem is when folks dive in too quickly, post images with a 'Tell me what you think' message without, first, having done their own analysis and arrived at some view about the image quality.
    Last edited by Donald; 31st January 2013 at 08:59 PM.

  9. #9

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    Re: Walnut in winter

    Hey Mat, I finally got over the first-post jitters just recently and dived in. This thread illustrates why I like C in C so much. It's not even my image, and I'm learning a ton. Thanks everyone, keep it up!

  10. #10

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    Re: Walnut in winter

    Yeah Andy, for the past few months I've just been reading everyone elses' threads and questions which has taught me loads. Time to stop being a wallflower and join the dance now !!

  11. #11
    kdoc856's Avatar
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    Re: Walnut in winter

    Same here. I read the forum for several weeks before I joined, then several weeks before I posted. But the folks here seem genuinely pleased to see each other learn and grow, and have created a really "safe" environment for it.

    I also found that as I started to comment on other's work, that I took a lot more time and concentration on their work than before, and started to regularly think more in photographic terms, with more attention to detail. so, as Mat says, "join the dance". We cant look silly here.

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