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Thread: Old Maine farmhouse

  1. #1

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    Old Maine farmhouse

    Rear view - any comments welcome...

    Old Maine farmhouse

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    Andrew76's Avatar
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    Re: Old Maine farmhouse

    Susan, I like it, but it quickly loses my interest. I think I know what it needs, but I don't know how to fix it - here's my circular train of thought:

    - You've done a good job of the conversion. Nice tonal range, great clarity, and I really like the patterns/textures. So don't change any of that.

    - I think it needs a crop to draw more attention to those great qualities that I've listed above, to give it more of a 'BAM'.

    - But that's all I can offer, I've tried several different crop ideas in my head, and I'm not getting the result I had originally imagined, so I'm at a loss. I'm not sure why you've chopped off the chimney, and the nearest peak of the roof, but maybe that has something to do with it.

    OR, and more probably, I could be totally off base!

  3. #3

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    Re: Old Maine farmhouse

    Nice conversion! I would like to see either all of the top of the roof line or less of it.

    More important, what are your thoughts about your photo?

  4. #4

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    Re: Old Maine farmhouse

    Thanks Andrew and Mike for your comments - I appreciate your thoughts!

    Andrew - what's funny is I took lots of photos closer up of different architectural details and I ended up culling them - I really like my images to be grounded and to make sense proportionally. Maybe that's something I will have to loosen up on...

    The house was really big and I couldn't get far enough away from it to get the whole thing - I was backed up against a barn. Since I missed the peak and the top of the first chimney I initially decided to scrap the image, then I thought a crop of the whole thing - losing all the edges just a mite would balance it for me.

    Mike - I like it a lot and am very happy I was able to salvage it... I have a personal connection to the house itself and I think I captured the feel of it - the weathered wood from the sea air and the loneliness of it. I do realize my thoughts are quite subjective and part of what I see and feel is from my own memories, that is why it is interesting to see how others respond.

  5. #5

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    Re: Old Maine farmhouse

    Quote Originally Posted by pasusan View Post
    I have a personal connection to the house itself and I think I captured the feel of it - the weathered wood from the sea air and the loneliness of it.
    I couldn't agree more that you captured those aspects. It's especially nice to learn that you have a personal connection with the home, making the image even more special for you.

  6. #6

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    Re: Old Maine farmhouse

    Susan: I like the building very much, because of the size is very hard to fix in, expecially if you are backed up against a barn. So I am going to put my 2 cents worth in. I was thinking what if you copied to a new layer, isolated just the sky, and working the sky to more lessen the brightness making it more grey so the eye focuses on the house and not drawn to the bright sky.

    Cheers:

    Allan

  7. #7

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    Re: Old Maine farmhouse

    Thanks a lot, Mike...

    Allan - I am sort of new to PP - I am definitely going to be diving into layers and will hopefully be able to fix up many of my (bright) grey sky images. Thanks very much for your comments.

  8. #8

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    Re: Old Maine farmhouse

    If you change the sky, be sure to make a similar change at least to the upper two windows on the end of the building that seem to be reflecting the sky.

    I wonder if I forgot to view the image in the Lytebox. When I do that now, I sense that modestly more sharpening would be helpful.

  9. #9

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    Re: Old Maine farmhouse

    Susan, I'm sympathetic toward this type of picture that's a photograph of a "thing." Right now, for the viewer, it's just a picture of an old Main farmhouse. I think this type of photo, to make it come alive, needs to be accompanied by telling us something about its history that makes us want to look at. For example, here's a photograph of an old knife. Okay. Big deal. As opposed to here's a picture of George Washington's first knife. Oh, cool. I now really want to look at it.

    Susan, just some thoughts.

    Karm

  10. #10

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    Re: Old Maine farmhouse

    Great black and white conversion of the house the detail and structure are fine. However to me the composition is not there, an image of this type the must be seen in it's landscape, this house takes up almost the entire frame but there is nothing to engage me the viewer other than it is a wooden house albeit a fine old and interesting house. To my mind this type of image should engage the viewer, was there a road or fence/ tree line leading to the house to draw the eye towards it? If I was to shoot this house I would try to establish it in the landscape and then try to use this type of full frame composition to accentuation some of what mist be interesting details in such a fine old structure. Thank you for showing the image

  11. #11

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    Re: Old Maine farmhouse

    Thanks very much for commenting Karm and Dave. I was hoping that the image was interesting without explanations, but maybe not. I do seem to have trouble extricating my own feelings when viewing my images and it is something I will have to work on. Also, Dave - I was thinking that with a farther away shot the details of the weathered wood wouldn't show very clearly. I do see what you mean that the house in context with the land would be more interesting... Thanks!

    Edit... After walking away and thinking about what everyone has said... Maybe I will make a new post with a series of a few shots of this house to make the whole subject more interesting. I will have to convert a few more images and then give it a go. Thanks again everyone...
    Last edited by pasusan; 16th March 2013 at 12:05 PM.

  12. #12

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    Re: Old Maine farmhouse

    Quote Originally Posted by pasusan View Post
    a series of a few shots of this house
    Sometimes we hobbyists simply don't have the means to properly tell the story of a subject, especially when the subject is as large as a house. Perhaps a "cherry picker" is needed to elevate you to the ideal height. Perhaps you need to be a lot farther away but don't have access to the spot that would make that possible. There could be a whole host of other issues that make it difficult to tell the ideal story in just one photo. That's when a series of photos can be a big help.

    Similarly, some subjects are made more interesting by telling us a bit about them. (I see professional photos in the newspaper all the time that require the written explanation to bring an understanding of the image to fruition.) If your connection to the home isn't so personal that you wouldn't mind sharing it with us, that information might also add a lot, as Karm mentioned.

    Having said all that, I get the sense that the simplicity and starkness of this image works better for me than for some others, and that's okay too.

  13. #13
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    Re: Old Maine farmhouse

    I like the texture and the light on the right side of the house; it really works well to emphasize the warping of the boards and weathering of the wood. And the three quarters view (45 degrees to the walls) is the view I use most for these old buildings as it is the best angle for most buildings. Square on is usually the most boring view.

    I really think you need to use a wide angle lens to get the rest of the building, including the far left part. Perhaps moving a bit to the right will allow you to get more in and still have a mainly three quarters view.

    Someone is going to a bit of trouble to maintain this place. Good windows, maintained gutters/downspouts and well manicured grass. Great for the building, bad for the feeling of an old place. Maybe bring a sack of rocks next time and touch up the windows a bit to get that abandoned look.

    Black and white is an great treatment for these old buildings. However sometimes colour will bring out more. I don't know how the wood weathers in your part of the world, but the wood here goes black with red streaks in the shade and bleaches to a pale grey in the sun. The bleached wood is very reflective of light. Consequently black and white works poorly, the building just looks weird. It is judgement and just a point to consider.

  14. #14
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    Re: Old Maine farmhouse

    Susan, if your object doesn't fit in 1 picture
    Take a couple of pictures overlapping the object.

    Then stitch it together with Microsoft ICE

  15. #15

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    Re: Old Maine farmhouse

    Thanks Mike - I'm glad you have a similar feeling as me and hopefully you will enjoy seeing my new post...

    Trevor - You know, now I am starting to rethink my conversion. The original image is already quite B&W except for the green, green grass. Which is one of the reasons it struck me as a good candidate. I'm thinking that will be my next job - desaturating the grass and going from there... As far as taking another shot, well - that house is many miles away - hopefully I'll get another chance.

    Mr. Splashy... I'm working hard to get used to the PP software I've got - and I should be able to do panoramas in PSE, but, I don't have the shots to put together at this point (see above).

  16. #16
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    Re: Old Maine farmhouse

    Quote Originally Posted by pasusan View Post
    and I should be able to do panoramas in PSE, but, I don't have the shots to put together at this point (see above).
    Often the in camera pano doesn't work so good and gives a lower resolution.
    With this program you can make different horizontal or vertical rows of overlapping pictures, the advantage here is, moving objects are often better processed and will have a high resolution panorama picture.

  17. #17
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Old Maine farmhouse

    Hi Susan,

    Not withstanding all the excellent ideas above, I felt the image hadn't been 'final sharpened' (after downsizing) as well as it might and it could have benefited from some Local Contrast Enhancement (LCE).

    I hope you don't mind, I tried these and present the result here (but it can be removed if you prefer).

    Old Maine farmhouse

    Because I was starting from a finished jpg, the result is not as good as it might be if worked on from RAW. For example; I have introduced halos on the sky/building borders - and I had to initially contract (by 10 'inwards' from each end) the dynamic range you had got just right - this was so that I could apply the LCE without losing too much highlight or shadow detail.

    LCE using USM at 15%, 250px Radius, 0 threshold.
    Sharpen using USM at 40%, 0.8px Radius, 0 threshold.
    Sharpen using USM at 65%, 0.4px Radius, 0 threshold.

    I then subtly 'helped' a few shadow areas with a bit of 'dodging'.

    UPDATE after posting and comparing in Lytebox:
    I think these things have helped with the texture.
    I then found another downside to my sharpening; which I applied 'all over' (i.e. not selectively) was that some of the window frames on the shadow side were a touch too bright, so I went back and 'burned' them down a bit.

    If you compare in the Lytebox, as the image is quite large (1003px tall), to see the full effect, it is essential that you view full size, so "F11" on keyboard to put browser in full screen mode, then "F" when in Lytebox and use left/right arrow keys to switch between them.

    Hope that helps,
    Last edited by Dave Humphries; 17th March 2013 at 10:55 PM.

  18. #18

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    Re: Old Maine farmhouse

    Thanks Splashy - sounds interesting...

    Dave... Thanks very much for your modifications and your explanation. I'll have to try it out. I hope you saw my new thread with different photos of the same house here: Old Maine Farmhouse Revisited - Series

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