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Thread: Fall Creek Falls

  1. #1
    cliffmccartney's Avatar
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    Fall Creek Falls

    This past weekend I attended a nature photography workshop at Fall Creek Falls State Park in Pikeville, Tennessee.

    I tried lots of new things, and I'd greatly appreciate any feedback / C&C on these.

    #1 - This was shot just before sunrise on the lake. I was trying to catch the reflection of the reeds in the water, but also add some of the texture of the water too. I was standing on the bank, about 30 feet away. Converted to B&W with Nik Silver Efex Pro. Tripod mounted Nikon D800 + Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 @200mm, ISO 100, 1/60th, f/3.2

    Fall Creek Falls



    #2 - Same story as #1, but I was standing a bit higher and a bit farther away. Converted to B&W in Nik Silver Efex Pro, and adding just a touch of sepia toning. Handheld Nikon D800 + Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 @70mm, ISO 100, 1/60th, f/5

    Fall Creek Falls



    #3 - The early morning sun was brilliant on this stand of trees, but the lake and sky on the left were blown out a bit. I decided to run with it and convert to B&W, increase the contrast and say I meant to do it Handheld Nikon D800 + Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 @102mm, ISO 100, 1/30th, f/8

    Fall Creek Falls


    #4 - This is a wild ginger plant. I'd never seen one, and I thought it looked amazing. It's not as sharp as I would have liked. My instructor let me use his Canon 500D close-up lens - the first time I've ever used one. I'm trying to decide whether I should get one of these or just take the plunge and get a 105mm macro. I'd appreciate any opinions. Handheld Nikon D800 + Nikon 300 f/4, ISO 200, 1/125th, f/5.6

    Fall Creek Falls


    #5 - When I saw this scene, it took my breath. It looked incredible. The water drops on the hemlock trees reflecting the sunlight shining on them was just beautiful. Add to that the "God beams" and the effect was truly spectacular. I only wish I could have done it justice with my camera. I think the image is ok, but I wish it was more like what I saw. Handheld Nikon D800 + Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 @70mm, ISO 800, 1/250th, f/8

    Fall Creek Falls

    Thanks very much for viewing!

    Cliff

  2. #2
    Ken Curtis's Avatar
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    Re: Fall Creek Falls

    Hi Cliff.

    Nice images. I enjoyed viewing them.

    Re #1, it is quite centered from top to bottom. The image might improve if you could have shifted the water line down. Another thing you can try is to use more negative space, that is have the reeds and reflections occupy a smaller percentage of the image and include more water. The composition is so simple, and there are few details in the reeds, so that you might tell a different story with more negative space.

    Re #3, I like what you've done. Good call on processing. I can see lots of detail to the right and everything disappears to the left, giving me an opportunity to use my imagination as to what is out there.

    Re #5, I would try cropping off the top so that you hardly see any sky except through the branches. The brightness of the sky pulls my eye up there, and it isn't that interesting, even with the sun. However, the rest of the image with the sun rays through the branches is really beautiful.

  3. #3

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    Re: Fall Creek Falls

    These are so nice that I wish you had posted larger files. As an example, you mention water droplets in the last photo and I can't see them other than as specular highlights. If you post a photo that is about 1000 pixels on the long side, we'll be able to click the images that are displayed in the thread to review the larger size.

    My favorites are the first and last photos.

    I'm not at at all concerned about the issues that Ken mentions about the first one, but that might be because I like relatively tight crops. Your post-processing is marvelous and I would have to see a different composition to know whether I would prefer it to the existing composition. Consider adding a very slight vignette to add focus to the reeds and their reflection, a vignette that is so slight that you don't notice it unless you remove it.

    I really like Ken's suggestion about cropping the last one. Doing so will help focus the viewer's eye on those gorgeous rays of sunlight.

  4. #4
    cliffmccartney's Avatar
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    Re: Fall Creek Falls

    Ken & Mike - thanks very much for the suggestions.

    Here is #1 with a very slight vignette (amount = -20 in Lightroom 4 post crop vignette):

    Fall Creek Falls

    And here is #5 cropped like I think you suggested, and a bit bigger:

    Fall Creek Falls

    Thanks guys - I really appreciate it!

  5. #5

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    Re: Fall Creek Falls

    That last one is a nice shot. The cropped version is an improvement.

  6. #6

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    Re: Fall Creek Falls

    Both revisions are improvements for me. Your vignette is tastefully done, not too heavy handed.

    I gather that you used a particular tool to automatically make the shape of your vignette. I've gradually come to believe that doing so, especially in such a plain image as this, makes the vignette more apparent. That's because the shape is so perfectly even. So, I generally make the shape of the vignette by painting it by hand using a brush. The irregularity of the vignette makes it less apparent to my eyes.

    If you explain that you hand drew the shape of the vignette, that would completely blow my theory.

  7. #7
    cliffmccartney's Avatar
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    Re: Fall Creek Falls

    Mike - your theory is intact. I used the "Amount" slider in the "Post Crop Vignette" section of the "Effects" panel of the Develop module in Lightroom 4.

    Your point is well taken, though. It is rare for me not to add a vignette to an image, even if it is only a slight one. I've never done a vignette by hand (not in the digital world anyway). I'd like to try it.

    Rumor has it, though, that Lightroom 5 will have the ability to use a different center point for vignetting. That will be nice.

  8. #8
    Ken Curtis's Avatar
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    Re: Fall Creek Falls

    Nice job on #5 cropped version, Cliff.

  9. #9
    cliffmccartney's Avatar
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    Re: Fall Creek Falls

    Thanks Ken - it was your suggestion, and a great one at that. I think it made the picture much better. I appreciate it.

  10. #10

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    Re: Fall Creek Falls

    Cliff I really liked 5 as was , #3 works good for me too. The crop is a definite improvement. Nice series.

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