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Thread: Some more desert southwest

  1. #1
    Downrigger's Avatar
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    Some more desert southwest

    I really enjoy this site - I learn from the images and the great C&C
    Having thrown in some comments on the work of others, I decided I'd better contribute some images myself, for much needed C&C for my own efforts.

    Here are some desert images from this beginner’s recent trip to the area around Nevada’s valley of fire. I certainly got a feel for the importance of quality of light on character of color. You can't "fix" light, but I am sure there are ways to take best advantage of the light you get. I struggled with scale a good bit – it is hard to communicate scale well. Vegetation helps. I think all three of these to some extent have the scale problem, but especially the third.

    For the geologically inclined, the first and second images are of interest because they show the black caprock of the muddy mountains. These Paleozoic limestone/conglomerates are thrust over younger Mesozoic (red, orange, yellow) sandstones as a result of the Sevier overthrust event that runs from here in Nevada up through much of Utah.

    Some more desert southwest

    Some more desert southwest

    Some more desert southwest

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    Re: Some more desert southwest

    Looking at these smaller images, Mark, I was thinking that they need a little bit of extra 'zip'. But when viewing at full screen size they completely change, and are absolutely fine as they are.

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    Downrigger's Avatar
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    Re: Some more desert southwest

    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff F View Post
    Looking at these smaller images, Mark, I was thinking that they need a little bit of extra 'zip'. But when viewing at full screen size they completely change, and are absolutely fine as they are.
    Thanks Geoff. They all got a little tweak of the tone curve for pop, and the first, with the dullest light, got some push on clarity and saturation. There's some sensor dust on these (it's that sort of country) that I healed out subsequent to posting these. None of them are quite right, though, better than a random snap, but still not enough to compel despite how compelling it was to be there.

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    Re: Some more desert southwest

    Hi Mark. Sure looks like a beautiful place to photograph.

    The top image has an interesting sky and interesting land. I think it might benefit by giving more weight to the land, which is far more unique than the sky. Here is a crop that emphasizes the land. You may or may not like it.

    Some more desert southwest

    The middle image is interesting and I like the colors. There appears to be multiple main objects, the hill on left, hill in center, hill on right and the vegetation on the floor. My eye keeps scanning each of the four looking for something to dwell on. The photo shows what the region looks like quite well, but I keep looking for something really special to dwell on in the image.

    I agree with you on the bottom image not showing scale. If you could have had a person in the image, that would give the viewer a sense of scale.

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    Re: Some more desert southwest

    All have very nice color and demonstrate creative compositions.

    Photo #1: I agree with Ken. I like tight crops, so I would crop even more off the sky than he cropped.

    Photo #2: Consider cropping the top to just barely above the mountain on the left. Doing so puts more attention for me on the middle mountain, which really makes the photo in my mind.

    Photo #3: I don't think it needs scale; it's more like an abstract. I would crop to eliminate all but the tiniest bit of sky so it becomes an obvious study in texture, shape and contrasting tones.

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    Re: Some more desert southwest

    I agree with what others have said, Mark. With the first one, you might have achieved a better sense of scale if you had photographed the scene from a lower angle. eg. if you had moved up closer to some of those rocks in the foreground and dropped down on your knees (assuming your knees still work, of course ).

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    Re: Some more desert southwest

    Hi Mark,

    When you say "you can't fix light" are you referring to "time of day" when these images were captured?

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    Downrigger's Avatar
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    Re: Some more desert southwest

    OK, Mike, Ken: Crop. I have resistance to it, somewhere I must have gotten the idea that it is “cheating”. But you are both right, these images need some and I’ll work on that. I prefer your version with the enriched foreground, Ken. Here’s what Mike suggested – I think (change aspect ratio?)

    Some more desert southwest

    I think especially with glasses, I think I am photographing what I see in the middle of the frame, ignoring the stuff going on at the margins. So I can address this shortfall by paying more attention to the whole viewfinder frame, and starting out with an image that contains what I aimed to show – not a lot else. This is the kind of help that I think will make a difference for me if I can apply it.

    John, for the first, the light was milky and diffused and mid-day. For the second and third I guess I can’t complain.

    Greg – looking at this makes me think you’re right. My knees still work – sorta - and I should use them more, I guess.

    Thanks to all for the terrifically helpful suggestions.

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    Re: Some more desert southwest

    Mark,

    Now that you are open-minded to the sort of thinking that leads to a cropped image, capture the image knowing how you will crop it. As an example of your latest version, if you had thought of that crop before releasing the shutter you might have included more of the scene in the bottom part of the frame. Maybe not, of course, depending on what was available to capture.

    All of this goes to the important point that we need to envision the final outcome before releasing the shutter. Otherwise, we're left up to luck rather than control.

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