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Thread: Forest Portraits from Hawaii

  1. #1
    terrib's Avatar
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    Forest Portraits from Hawaii

    These three are from "The Road to Hana" on the island of Maui. The tourist write-ups say that the drive on the crooked road (estimated 600 curves and 54 one lane bridges) to Hana is the point. My husband might agree. I'm thinking "been there, done that, don't need to do it again". There were many pretty sights along the way, but finding space to park among all the other tourists and tour buses to see them wasn't really much fun.

    Here are 3 portrait shots I managed to take. The last two hold the best memories because we were alone in the forest - NOT surrounded by a bunch of other tourists trying to get their vacation shot. (yes I realize I was a tourist too)

    #1 One of the many waterfalls along the way. I took several waterfall shots but like the composition on this one best. Most of the others had too much other vegetation around them. I'm not sure I like the shutter speed I chose. The water looks out of focus. In this situation, I didn't want cotton candy but I don't think I got it fast enough. Opinions welcome.

    Forest Portraits from Hawaii

    #2 I tried to figure out how to make an interesting picture out of a bamboo forest. I composed this with the plant on the bottom right thinking the light shining on it would draw the eye there first and then you would move up the bamboo stalks to the lighter area at the top. I do like the lighting here. This was shot in portrait orientation but I cropped it at 9x16 to enhance the length. Does it work?

    Forest Portraits from Hawaii

    #3 I think busy forests are hard to photograph but I liked the look of these 3 large trees and looked for an angle that exploited them best. I'm wondering if what I ended up with worked.

    Forest Portraits from Hawaii

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Forest Portraits from Hawaii

    Quote Originally Posted by terrib View Post
    #2 I tried to figure out how to make an interesting picture out of a bamboo forest ......Does it work?

    Forest Portraits from Hawaii
    Yes it does. I don't think it should, but it does.

    There is another thread running at the same time as I'm writing this and in that one I commented that I didn't think there was one clear point of interest on which to 'anchor' the eye. With this one, I think it's the fact that there are three strong ?stalks/stems/trunks grouped closely together, gives us that anchor point. That, as well, as what Terri's intention was, that the foliage at the bottom of those three stalks/stems/trunks is well lit.


    I think busy forests are hard to photograph but I liked the look of these 3 large trees and looked for an angle that exploited them best. I'm wondering if what I ended up with worked.

    Forest Portraits from Hawaii
    For me, the interest is the pathway that runs between the trees. I wondered about cropping a lot from the top ('cause I don't think there's a lot of interest there) and forcing more attention onto the lower part of the tree trunks and that route through the trees.

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    terrib's Avatar
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    Re: Forest Portraits from Hawaii

    Here are a couple of crops on the tree photo. It's funny because I think of including more of the trees as portraying their size. But without anything to put their size into perspective, these shorter crops make them seem even more imposing and definitely focuses more on the trail. I'm really tempted by the square crop but it almost seems too much.


    Forest Portraits from Hawaii

    Forest Portraits from Hawaii
    Last edited by terrib; 9th May 2013 at 02:03 AM.

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    Re: Forest Portraits from Hawaii

    Terri;

    I enjoyed these shots and agree with Donald about the bamboo shot - it is lovely. I have been back to it a couple of times and for some reason keep seeing it in black & white and think that the light that you captured might be enhanced by loosing the color?

    As far as the crop on the trees - well the comments on that shot is why I participate here at CiC. I, like you, would not have thought of cropping tighter to increase the perception of the size of the trees but it works! Just to be difficult I think that a crop somewhere between the last two that you posted would be perfect.

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    Re: Forest Portraits from Hawaii

    You put such great thought into making your photos and the results are immediately evident. These are wonderful photos that do much more than document an enjoyable vacation.

    The waterfall: The issue of the shutter speed is relevant only to the look that you had in mind before you released the shutter. If you wanted to show a bit of motion, you chose an effective shutter speed. If you wanted to stop the action, your shutter speed was too slow.

    For me, blowing up the image in the camera's LCD to examine a capture of falling water is effective only when I want the creamy look or the stopped action. The LCD is ineffective with anything in between those two choices because I can't see enough of the image at 100% and when I reduce the size to something that might be small enough, I can't see sufficient detail. So, when I want one of the choices in between the two extremes (which is rare), I make exposures at several shutter speeds and wait until I get to a larger display on a computer monitor to decide which one works best.

    The bamboo: The composition works great for the reasons that you had hoped.

    A technique that I try in this type of situation (you may have already tried it) is to darken and reduce saturation of everything except the bamboo. Similarly, increase the brightness and saturation of the bamboo. Doing so emphasizes the subject. Both adjustments have to be done very judiciously, but I find that once I have become even slightly too heavy-handed, it's easy to back off by simply reducing the opacity of the adjustment.

    EDIT: After examining the image a third time, I realize that the height of the bamboo that you hoped to emphasize is unimportant to my enjoyment of your photo. I would like it just as much if you had used a more traditional aspect ratio. I mention this just in case your chosen aspect ratio makes you feel a bit uncomfortable, though I'm not at all uncomfortable with it.

    The trees:
    Quote Originally Posted by terrib View Post
    It's funny because I think of including more of the trees as portraying their size.
    It took far too long for me to learn that the opposite works better. Congratulations on learning it so early in your serious pursuit of photography!

    In my mind, reducing the amount included in the frame works better because it leaves more up to the imagination of the viewer. We should never underestimate the power of the viewer's imagination.

    But without anything to put their size into perspective, these shorter crops make them seem even more imposing and definitely focuses more on the trail.
    By directing the viewer's attention to the trail, you are also drawing attention to the small details such as the foliage near the ground. Those details provide the scale because we all know the size of foliage.

    The square format works best for me. That's because the image seems more dramatic and I like drama.
    Last edited by Mike Buckley; 9th May 2013 at 12:21 PM.

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    terrib's Avatar
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    Re: Forest Portraits from Hawaii

    Quote Originally Posted by ShaneS View Post
    I enjoyed these shots and agree with Donald about the bamboo shot - it is lovely. I have been back to it a couple of times and for some reason keep seeing it in black & white and think that the light that you captured might be enhanced by loosing the color?
    Hi Shane, thanks for the suggestion but I really like the color in this shot. Someone with more experience might be able to make it look good in monochrome but I think it's too busy for me to do it effectively.

    Quote Originally Posted by ShaneS View Post
    As far as the crop on the trees - well the comments on that shot is why I participate here at CiC. I, like you, would not have thought of cropping tighter to increase the perception of the size of the trees but it works! Just to be difficult I think that a crop somewhere between the last two that you posted would be perfect.
    That's really my thoughts too. The two crops shown are standard aspect ratios but I think I'd prefer just a little off square.

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    terrib's Avatar
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    Re: Forest Portraits from Hawaii

    Mike, thanks for your detailed response. It's very helpful. I'll give your suggestions on the bamboo a try. Sounds like a great idea.

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    Re: Forest Portraits from Hawaii

    Hi Terri,

    I like all of them. Very enjoyable to view and absorb.

    Especially the tree shots. Nice colors, contrasts . Reminds me of trekking through forests with the birds chirping above.

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