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Thread: Cotton Harvest

  1. #1

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    Cotton Harvest

    So it is Cotton Harvest time in Arizona. That means that my allergies are going crazy! But it also means that there is some photography opportunities out there. I missed a great one last night with an awesome sunset because I had to get prescriptions for my son. Hopefully we will get some cloud cover in Arizona again soon so we can have one of those beautiful sunsets. Anyway, I went out this morning and got some photos of some of the harvesting of the cotton that is being done. The first two photos aren't that great, and are really just for context on the third one. Tell me what you think.

    Cotton Harvest

    Cotton Harvest

    Cotton Harvest

  2. #2
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Cotton Harvest

    Quote Originally Posted by tamccain View Post
    The first two photos aren't that great, and are really just for context on the third one.
    I understand your point, Tim, but ..........!

    That first one.

    I really do feel that you've got something there with potential. Crop at the bottom to nearer the ends of the rows of cotton and make it more panoramic. Dial ina dose of Local Contrast Enhancement to make it 'pop'. Darken up the sky, possibly with a computer-induced Graduated Filter effect. And I think you'd have something to pleased with in its own right.

    On you main image, I'm not sure if there is enough information for people who don't know the cotton industry, to understand the picture. Also, I'm not convinced by the blurring of the immediate foreground. To my eyes it doesn't look right.

  3. #3

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    Re: Cotton Harvest

    Thanks Donald, When I get home I will work on what you suggested.

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    Re: Cotton Harvest

    I plan on getting out more and taking more photos during the harvest. I really want to get some pictures of the combines at work - if I can catch them at a good point.

  5. #5
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    Re: Cotton Harvest

    Hi, Tim.

    I didn't even know you guys grew cotton out there. Makes perfect sense, just never thought about it.

    That first shot is probably worth a re-shoot under more ideal conditions. You just had lousy light with no color in it. If you can get right down to those cotton rows, going wide angle from really low, excluding any of your current foreground and minimizing any sky unless it's really cool. The cotton into the mountains may well be a nice shot, cranking up the contrast and saturation. You'll need a nice tight aperture to get sufficient DoF, so a tripod will be in order.

    The third shot would only be usable in a set with the second (or first two)- by itself it looks like a beach with cabanas, and focusing on some stuffing from a child's cloth doll- just not enough info , as Donald said.

    On the second shot, remember that all elements must have a reason to be included. What doesn't add, detracts. Those featureless skies are a landscaper photog's nemesis, and should be absolutely minimized when possible.

    This was a good project to work on, and you've made a nice start.

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    Re: Cotton Harvest

    Cotton in Arizona? I'll be darned. If you were to combine the first and last images you might have a winner. Cotton balls in the foreground and a sea of cotton/rows stretching off to the horizon? Easy for me to suggest but I'd never pull it off...

  7. #7

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    Re: Cotton Harvest

    BTW, yes Cotton in Arizona - actually LOTS of cotton in Arizona. The southern parts of Arizona are filled with cotton fields. It makes for a rough allergy season.

  8. #8

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    Re: Cotton Harvest

    Kevin, thanks for the suggestions. I am going to try and get out this evening when the light is nicer. That shot was fairly early in the morning, but here in AZ the sun gets pretty bright and intense quickly.

  9. #9

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    Re: Cotton Harvest

    I went by the spot again this evening to see if I could capture something a little better. Here is what I got. It is at f/18 iso400 1/60sec. I edited the photo in PS CS2 and added a graduated filter effect in the little bit of sky that is there. I am not really happy with the amount of noise in the mountains. Maybe I'll go back tomorrow evening and try again.

    Cotton Harvest

  10. #10
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    Re: Cotton Harvest

    Tim, I think you've also lost the perspective of the vastness of the fields here too by shooting down low. I think that Donald's suggestion of making a photo very similar to your #1 shot above, but without the dirt mounds creating tension at the bottom of the shot is your best approach.

    Something about it just doesn't work - the mountains dictate vastness, the telephone poles dictate vastness, so the 'up-close' positioning of the cotton plants just doesn't feel natural.

  11. #11

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    Re: Cotton Harvest

    This is the piece of equipment that produces those huge bales of cotton from the original post.

    Cotton Harvest

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    Re: Cotton Harvest

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew76 View Post
    Tim, I think you've also lost the perspective of the vastness of the fields here too by shooting down low. I think that Donald's suggestion of making a photo very similar to your #1 shot above, but without the dirt mounds creating tension at the bottom of the shot is your best approach.

    Something about it just doesn't work - the mountains dictate vastness, the telephone poles dictate vastness, so the 'up-close' positioning of the cotton plants just doesn't feel natural.
    Thanks for the input Andrew, I was attempting to follow Kevin's advice where he said to go with wide angle really low. 35mm is as wide of a shot an angle as I have, so I used 35mm and got down as close to the cotton as I could while still being able to capture the mountains.

  13. #13
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Cotton Harvest

    Quote Originally Posted by tamccain View Post
    I was attempting to follow Kevin's advice where he said to go with wide angle really low.
    And it is all about experimentation until we gain the experience to have a better sense of 'what works'.

    Take a bit of advice. Try it. Does it work? Yes - Remember it and be ready to apply it again in a similar situation.! No? - Remember that too!

    It's all adds up to learning.

  14. #14
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    Re: Cotton Harvest

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew76 View Post
    Tim, I think you've also lost the perspective of the vastness of the fields here too by shooting down low. I think that Donald's suggestion of making a photo very similar to your #1 shot above, but without the dirt mounds creating tension at the bottom of the shot is your best approach.
    I agree, didn't quite work but it's progress. Maybe up close like your 2nd shot, not so low. This kind of scene is going to require some trade-offs, and hard to predict. Shoot from a variety of angles, even try some portrait perspectives. Those mountains are so far away, to do them more justice you might try a long lense e.g. 200mm. It might be fun to do a pano with multiple shots at long length (depending on how much coverage you get of the mountains with a single shot).

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