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Thread: C&C on Round Bales

  1. #1

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    C&C on Round Bales

    Hi everyone, I have not been able to resist taking a lot of round bale shots as I drive around the countryside. I'd really appreciate some C&C on these. I've already had a few lessons taken from Steve (Wirefox) and Donald's posts in the Landscapes thread. Page 20 posts #386 & 389
    Landscapes

    Mine are not in the same class, so I'd really appreciate some C&C on these. Good, bad, ugly. I'm also curious as to how they appear on screen with regards to colour and brightness and any othe abberations, as I'm panicking about screen calibration again. Spyder is next on my list.

    #1 - 1/80s: f14: ISO 200: 30mm: Matrix no EC
    C&C on Round Bales

    #2 - 1/160s: f10: ISO 200: 24mm: Matrix -1/3EC
    C&C on Round Bales

    #3 - 1/60: f11: ISO 200: 200mm: Matirx -1EC
    C&C on Round Bales

    #4 - 1/500s: f5.6: ISO 200: 200mm: Matrix -1 1/3 EC
    C&C on Round Bales

    #5 - 1/200s: f5.6: ISO 100: 135mm: Matrix -1 1/3 EC
    C&C on Round Bales

  2. #2

    Re: C&C on Round Bales

    Wendy

    Shot #1 is a classic case of needing an ND grad filter. The bright sky has caused the camera to shut down the exposure for the land area. Cokin Filters do fairly cheap kits to correct this. I did an edit to show how it might have looked. Shot #2 has a similar problem, but really just lacks exposure and contrast. In both shots I'd try to get the main bale away from the corner, and more on the thirds intersection.

    C&C on Round Bales

  3. #3
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: C&C on Round Bales

    Quote Originally Posted by ScoutR View Post
    #4 - 1/500s: f5.6: ISO 200: 200mm: Matrix -1 1/3 EC
    C&C on Round Bales
    Compositionally and as a 'photograph', this is the one for me. Don't know what you've cropped off where. But is there something left at the top and the right that you could bring back in to a re-work so that the position where the bales ends up is more left and lower in the image? At the moment they're too high and central for my liking. But what is beautiful is the angle you've got on the shot and, as a result, the light falling onto the bales.

    EDIT - I don't mean crop any more off the left or bottom. Just get more onto the top and right.

    I'm with Rob on #1 & 2.

    #3 doesn't hit-the-button for me. The idea was right, but it just doesn't come off. I think it works better if you crop it just below the bottom the left-hand window space and lose the vegetation.

    #5 has too much going on. There are round bales, straight lines and then a lot of irregular tree lines etc in the background

  4. #4

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    Re: C&C on Round Bales

    Thanks Rob, I'm one step ahead this time. I ordered some Cokin filters yesterday. Just 2 to start, can't remember the values right now, but they will be in next week and then I will have to practice using them.
    Thanks for the feedback.

    Wendy

  5. #5

    Re: C&C on Round Bales

    Wendy, first off I really like the compositions in 3 and 5. You do not appear to have the benefit of the amount of light I had with my attempts.I shot between 9 and 10 in the morning for the shots with the sky and 6 and 7 in the evening for the fields of gold. It does beg the question of why a negative EV was used here. For the first and second shots I would have spot metered of the bales, fixed that exposure (* button on my 40D) focused on the bale, recomposed and then shot. You will always risk blowing the sky with this method but with these light conditions the sky could be recovered in PP if need be. With number 3 I would have done the same but spot metered off of the shed in the foreground. 4 and 5 just about work lighting wise and I can see why you have used neg EV for these. It is very difficult not to blow the highlights on the reflections off the bale surface (see my b/w close up shot).

    Now this may not be the way others would tackle these shots so it will be interesting to see what other comments come in. Atthe end of it all you were shooting in tough lighting conditions. Although its a bit of a cheat I would personally shoot with more available light and adjust the warmth in PP to get that late evening/early morning look. You are definitely on the right track with these, especially with composition so hang in there and consider the dynamic range that you are asking the camera to cope with

    Steve

  6. #6

    Re: C&C on Round Bales

    I forgot to add (after seeing Rob's post) I used a CPL. ND grad would be much better

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    Re: C&C on Round Bales

    Hi, Wendy;

    #1 and #2 are the most interesting concepts, to me. By having one of the bales large in the foreground, it both shows that it's the point of the image, and helps give a sense that it's a substantial object. Then with the field full of them, the story is complete: the field has been emptied, collected into these huge bales; imagine what that took, imagine what happens next.

    I don't think I can add anything to the other comments about how to capture, except that I like the furrows in #2: the additional texture helps bind the space together, and reinforces the story.

    Cheers,
    Rick

  8. #8

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    Re: C&C on Round Bales

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    Compositionally and as a 'photograph', this is the one for me. Don't know what you've cropped off where. But is there something left at the top and the right that you could bring back in to a re-work so that the position where the bales ends up is more left and lower in the image? At the moment they're too high and central for my liking. But what is beautiful is the angle you've got on the shot and, as a result, the light falling onto the bales.

    EDIT - I don't mean crop any more off the left or bottom. Just get more onto the top and right.
    Thanks Donald. I see what you mean and I think I can do that. I'll have to go right back to the start though, as Cropping was the first thing I did and then I edited the cropped version. I'll have to rethink that step in the future.

    I'm with Rob on #1 & 2.
    Filters are on order. No gaurantees on whether I will be able to figure out how to use them though.

    #3 doesn't hit-the-button for me. The idea was right, but it just doesn't come off. I think it works better if you crop it just below the bottom the left-hand window space and lose the vegetation.
    LOL, yeah I thought it was so cool when I noticed the bales through the windows. Took awhile to get them where I wanted them. I still sort of like it but it's not as great as I thought it would be.

    #5 has too much going on. There are round bales, straight lines and then a lot of irregular tree lines etc in the background
    Thanks Donald. This was supposed to be the context shot. I like all the individual elements, but I can see where it might be a bit much. I just tried a crop trying to keep in mind the rule of thirds and removing a few of the Elements (the cornfield on the left and one band of grass in the foreground) I like it much better, but unfortunatly the shot does not stand up to more cropping. This one will need a reshoot.

    Thanks for the feedback. I am off to work on #4. I think I can do what you suggested on that one.

    Wendy

  9. #9

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    Re: C&C on Round Bales

    Quote Originally Posted by Wirefox View Post
    Wendy, first off I really like the compositions in 3 and 5.
    Thanks Steve, just goes to show, horses for courses. I think 3 would be much better, as Donald said, without the undergrowth in front of the barn.

    You do not appear to have the benefit of the amount of light I had with my attempts.I shot between 9 and 10 in the morning for the shots with the sky and 6 and 7 in the evening for the fields of gold. It does beg the question of why a negative EV was used here.
    Good point. Exposure is still my Nemesis. Spot metering makes more sense to me and for awhile that's what I was using, but seemed to be getting myself confused so went back to letting the camera do the work. Now I use Matrix and the blinkie method. However, I ALWAYS get blinkies with the Nikon, and then when I get the shot on the computer I end up brightening adding fill light and lightening shadows, sometimes I just add back in the same amount of exposure that I dialed out on the camera.
    I'm glad you pointed this out, because it confirms my thoughts and experience over the last few months. I'm almost always shooting -EC to get rid of blinkies somewhere or other in the shot.
    I know it seems otherwise, but I am paying attention. One of these days, it is all going to come together, I think it will be soon, at least I feel like I am getting a better handle on it than I had a year ago.

    For the first and second shots I would have spot metered of the bales, fixed that exposure (* button on my 40D) focused on the bale, recomposed and then shot. You will always risk blowing the sky with this method but with these light conditions the sky could be recovered in PP if need be. With number 3 I would have done the same but spot metered off of the shed in the foreground.
    That is similar to the method I was trying out last winter except I would more than likely have metered off the sky in the first and second shots and the bales through the window in the third shot. My main goal always seems to be to avoid blown highlights.

    I can see why it is so important to have a plan before clicking the shutter. The plan for the final shot determines what to expose for and what might be easiest to correct. I'm having another deja vu moment, I know I've been here before. I always seem to get back to this exposure issue, and I don't think there is a wrong or right. It's knowing what you want, knowing what the camera is capable of and then planning the shot around those parameters. I'm starting to understand this but I'm still not big in the planning department. and still trying to come to terms with what the camera can and cannot do.

    Now this may not be the way others would tackle these shots so it will be interesting to see what other comments come in. At the end of it all you were shooting in tough lighting conditions. Although its a bit of a cheat I would personally shoot with more available light and adjust the warmth in PP to get that late evening/early morning look. You are definitely on the right track with these, especially with composition so hang in there and consider the dynamic range that you are asking the camera to cope with
    Many thanks for taking the time for such a detailed reply. I too am interested to hear others views. These might be tough lighting conditions, but it's the type of light I like for landscapes so I need to learn to get it right.

    BTW, I sure hope this is helping others, because the exposure thing is getting a bit embarrassing for me.

    Wendy

  10. #10

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    Re: C&C on Round Bales

    Quote Originally Posted by rick55 View Post
    Hi, Wendy;

    #1 and #2 are the most interesting concepts, to me. By having one of the bales large in the foreground, it both shows that it's the point of the image, and helps give a sense that it's a substantial object. Then with the field full of them, the story is complete: the field has been emptied, collected into these huge bales; imagine what that took, imagine what happens next.

    I don't think I can add anything to the other comments about how to capture, except that I like the furrows in #2: the additional texture helps bind the space together, and reinforces the story.

    Cheers,
    Rick
    Thanks Rick, 1 and 2 are my favourites too. It's a starting point. Now if I can just get out there again before everything is removed, perhaps I can make some improvements.

    Wendy
    Last edited by ScoutR; 8th August 2010 at 07:18 PM. Reason: typo

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    Re: C&C on Round Bales

    #3 almost gives the viewer a sense of size, not totally but gives some sense of reference.

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    Re: C&C on Round Bales

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    Compositionally and as a 'photograph', this is the one for me. Don't know what you've cropped off where. But is there something left at the top and the right that you could bring back in to a re-work so that the position where the bales ends up is more left and lower in the image? At the moment they're too high and central for my liking. But what is beautiful is the angle you've got on the shot and, as a result, the light falling onto the bales.

    EDIT - I don't mean crop any more off the left or bottom. Just get more onto the top and right.
    Hi Donald: I've tried working on this, but there is nowhere to go on the right. The top is cropped at the skyline which has some silhouetted pines against a blown sky. I thought I might be able to include more of the top and then clone out the sky, but made quite a mess of it. It would have quite easy to compose it right in the camera though. Compositionally what you have suggested made quite a positive difference, but I'm afraid with this shot and my PP skills I can't make it any better. Lesson learned though, I see what you mean about the comp.

    Thanks
    Wendy

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    Re: C&C on Round Bales

    Quote Originally Posted by ScoutR View Post
    Hi Donald: I've tried working on this, but there is nowhere to go on the right.
    That's just the hand we get dealt sometimes. The important thing is to appreciate what you did get in terms of the compositional idea your craft in getting the tones and light as you did, and learning from that. Even as it is, I like it.

  14. #14
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    Re: C&C on Round Bales

    Hi Wendy.

    I came in on this thread late as I was in the snow photographing this weekend. I like the idea of #3 and agree it needs to be cropped to make the framed bales the centre piece of the image.

    I have tried hay bales myself and find the hardest part is getting a good composition within the bales themselves; i.e. lining them up so they donít look a mess. Often you cannot do this from the roadside but moving a bit left and right can help.

    Below are two images. The first I took when I first saw the bales. The sky showed some promise and I thought this should be a good shot. When I looked at it the bales seemed a mess in the paddock. Next week I was passing the field again (and they were still there) so I thought I would have another go. I moved only 10 meters to the right but now the bales lined up nicely with two diagonal leading lines in converging directions. I decided to crop it into a panorama to take strengthen these lines.


    C&C on Round Bales

    C&C on Round Bales

  15. #15
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    Re: C&C on Round Bales

    Quote Originally Posted by ScoutR View Post

    BTW, I sure hope this is helping others, because the exposure thing is getting a bit embarrassing for me.

    Wendy
    Hi Wendy
    You can be certain it is helping others who read with interest but haven't asked the question.
    Some might say low light action photography is difficult - but at least the lighting is constant - maybe constantly bad or difficult but constant none the less.

    So thankyou for posting & for all who have replied - regarding landscape exposures -as these comments along with Colin's Portrait course are great.
    Whilst these 2 areas might 'not be our thing' I think techniques and knowledge learned will 'crossover' to other areas.
    Even for the sportsfan or Macro enthusiast 'people or places' are involved.
    Whilst out at my sporting events - I am now trying to think about these other techniques.
    I hope it's ok to put a sporty shot in a lanscape thread to show what I mean.
    I was trying to catch her 'framed' within the tree trunks, and when in front of the 'low frequency' background
    I should have had more space in front of her to show where the ball is going to...but that's a whole other topic!
    C&C on Round Bales

  16. #16
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    Re: C&C on Round Bales

    Quote Originally Posted by wilgk View Post
    Hi Wendy
    You can be certain it is helping others who read with interest but haven't asked the question.
    Some might say low light action photography is difficult - but at least the lighting is constant - maybe constantly bad or difficult but constant none the less.

    So thankyou for posting & for all who have replied - regarding landscape exposures -as these comments along with Colin's Portrait course are great.
    Hi Kay,

    Not wanting to hijack this thread but I have probably as good an understanding of your issues with light as most as we live close by each and shoot in similar conditions. The light in Australia is significantly brighter than, for example, the UK. Whenever I come back from an extended period in the UK I really notice the difference for a while until I acclimatise again.

    Because we need to shoot in these conditions we need to understand how to control exposures in-camera and post production to even out the dynamic range. Control starts in the camera but for you and I control also comes from post production.

    A lot of what you read on exposure is written by authors who do not have to deal with the brightness/contrast issues we have to down-under.

    If you shoot jpeg then using the shadows/highlights command in Elements or PP will help greatly. The standard 50% increase in Shadows is too much and should start around 25% and adjust upwards to around 33%. After using this command the image can look a bit flat so you need to apply a Levels adjustment layer and bring in the black and white clipping points a little to re-establish the dynamic range. You may also need to increase Saturation a tad. It is very important not to blow the highlights when you shoot or you will not get the detail back. Having said that, sometimes you need to give up on some unimportant highlights to get the majority of the image exposed correctly.

    I normally use matrix metering; in fact very seldom move off it. I shoot in RAW and use the ‘expose to the right’ mantra to capture my exposures. In the summer I usually start with a standard in-camera setting of + 0.7 EV value because the light is so bright. In the winter I normally drop back to zero. Depending upon the time of day I shoot I then normally double process the images in RAW – once to correctly expose the main areas and once for the highlights and then blend in PP to balance out the dynamic range.

    Let me know what you shoot and what post processing software you use and I will see if I can help further.

  17. #17
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    Re: C&C on Round Bales

    Cheers Peter!
    I will get out in the great outdoors this weekend & try some examples, then post.

  18. #18
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    Re: C&C on Round Bales

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Ryan View Post
    A lot of what you read on exposure is written by authors who do not have to deal with the brightness/contrast issues we have to down-under.
    Oh dear, I'd better not come to Aus then - I was struggling with exposure this weekend even with UK sunshine

    In my case, maybe it was just a bad choice of subjects; dark ducks on the (dark) river, but with bight white or yellow beaks, etc., will post in a day or so.

    The ones exposed to stop the blinkies look awfully dark on screen (not attempted PP yet), so you're not alone Wendy!

    Cheers,

  19. #19

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    Re: C&C on Round Bales

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Humphries View Post
    The ones exposed to stop the blinkies look awfully dark on screen (not attempted PP yet), so you're not alone Wendy!
    Cheers,
    I feel better being in such good company. Thanks Dave

    Wendy

  20. #20

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    Re: C&C on Round Bales

    Hi ScoutR,
    These studies of framing different shapes together are very attractive.Below I tried to amplify the "slide effect" and finish this unfinished image.
    C&C on Round Bales
    Thank You for understanding
    Radu Dinu

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