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Thread: Monument Valley

  1. #1

    Monument Valley

    Here's a photo I took last year at Monument Valley. F/8 at 1/160th of a second. Taken on a Canon 30d using the EF-S17-85mm IS USM lens. Photo has the exif data if you want to know more. Shot in RAW, post-processing in Adobe CS2, some lab L-channel sharpening.

    Artistically, does it work? Would re-shoot to keep the right hand side of the tree in the shot, if I could afford the flight back to the US. :-)

    Any comments or criticisms accepted!

    -Dendrophile
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  2. #2
    crisscross's Avatar
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    Re: Monument Valley

    Hi Graham

    It looks as if the mountain part would take a lot more sharpening so as to stop the tree taking over the show (in attached I have selected the land form (not forgetting to RH of tree) and applied mix of unsharp, high pass and brighten+contrast). Next it never does any harm to have things horizontal/vertical. Lastly, I have removed a few frayed edges from RH of tree, would like to do same on LH but too difficult on a reduction, to simplify the tree shape.

    But I am sure it is worth both keeping AND going back for more!

    Chris
    Last edited by crisscross; 21st March 2009 at 01:46 PM.

  3. #3

    Re: Monument Valley

    Thanks Chris! I've never noticed that the horizon was not quite horizontal, but yeah, you are right! Thanks for your other comments. I guess I have seen the photo as a photo of a tree that just happens to have one of the buttes from Monument Valley - so some differential focus.

    That whole Utah/Arizona area is amazing.

    -Graham/Dendrophile

  4. #4
    crisscross's Avatar
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    Re: Monument Valley

    I suppose I ought to have known from your screen-name that you would be more interested in the tree! Still don't think it a good idea to have equal weight bits of a composition with one a bit out of focus.

    There are a number of superb shots of this area (and a lot more west coast) posted by a guy called Jack (I think Jack9019 or similar no) on www.worldphotographyforum.com. I got thrown out of that forum for complaining about the baner advertising...continuing in PM

    Chris

  5. #5

    Re: Monument Valley

    Tell me more about this composition thing?

    I tried to put the butte at the bottom left third of the photo, as per standard advice. The knot above the butte is at the top left third. Most of the trunk covers the right third. Not that I am trying to do this by some magic composition formula! :-) The tree looks sharp and spiky, very textured. The sky and butte are meant to be softer and fluffy. I see now why you were trying to sharpen the butte in the version you kindly did for me!

    Do you think there is ever a place for differential focus in essentially landscape shots? I'm all up for breaking rules... but I need to know what the rules are first, lol.

    Genuinely interested in hearing your views.

    Will take a look at that forum, but after reading some of the posts from the last few days, forums can be big scary threatening places.

    -Graham aka Dendrophile

  6. #6

    Re: Monument Valley

    well well i guess as we just found that the horizon is slanting and then i feel the whole pic actually looks incomplete too me the tree looks incomplete,cz more tree shown could have been better and the background looks blurr so i guess u have no choice but to fly back to that place and shoot all over agiain u just have to reshoot it

  7. #7
    Richard's Avatar
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    Re: Monument Valley

    Hi Graham,

    I like the subject and the composition and the colouring - and I think Chris's suggestion is better - and I agree with taken that a bit more tree would possibly finish it off. Any more from the same area?

    Cheers, Richard.

  8. #8
    crisscross's Avatar
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    Re: Monument Valley

    Quote Originally Posted by dendrophile View Post
    Tell me more about this composition thing?

    ...

    Will take a look at that forum, but after reading some of the posts from the last few days, forums can be big scary threatening places.

    -Graham aka Dendrophile
    composition is what works; I have found that entering competitions at a local camera club does elicit some useful suggestions from SOME judges and other members to fine tune one's eye. I gave up on the nearest club (Beacon) as they were hell bent on achieving publication/sales; next friendly one (Newent) is fun and about sharing. Grit teeth with judges that fail to see pic as whole and crit dismembered details. Same goes for forums.

    WPF is perfectly friendly, my trouble there was that they derived revenue (I gather a lot) from having 2 banner ads, which could both be animations...imagining spoiling a nice clean well designed one like this with that sort of stuff; a battle ensued between them and Firefox adblock which I am afraid they won as if the ad didn't reply 'up and running/jumping', the site stopped. But I may be sensitive about such things not having a TV to be brainwashed by.

    Chris
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 22nd February 2009 at 09:28 AM.

  9. #9

    Re: Monument Valley

    Fantastic textures in the tree, works well in monotones.

    Thanks for sharing

    Lincs1

  10. #10

    Re: Monument Valley

    To answer Richard, yes I have *plenty* more from the same area. I've been lucky to spend a couple of weeks in the Arizona/Utah area with my camera and me. Will post some more shots over time. (Didn't want to splurge a whole bunch of shots onto the site in my first couple of posts... as excited as I was about getting some feedback from like minded photographers.)

    And to Chris, I spent a couple of very happy years with the Sevenoaks camera club. Got some good feedback on some of my prints, and agree wholeheartedly that critique is very much part of the artistic improvement process. I guess my question was about the role of differential focus in landscapes. I'm guessing that there isn't a role for it, at least not traditionally.

    -Graham aka Dendrophile

  11. #11
    crisscross's Avatar
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    Re: Monument Valley

    Quote Originally Posted by dendrophile View Post
    I guess my question was about the role of differential focus in landscapes. I'm guessing that there isn't a role for it, at least not traditionally.

    -Graham aka Dendrophile
    A difficult question, probably no definitive answer. After your explanation that the tree was the main thing I wondered if maybe then the rock formation should be blurred slightly more; I just didn't like something with such a strong shape just off focus.

    Chris

  12. #12

    Re: Monument Valley

    Bingo! Now I think you've helped me understand. Because I took the photo I know the Butte is not meant to be in focus, but because, as you say, it's only just out of focus, it looks wrong. That makes perfect sense. Thanks for everyone's comments.

  13. #13

    Re: Monument Valley

    My question would be to ask what you planned to be the
    main subject in the photo....as is now they are in conflict.
    When an element is in the foreground with a strong background, I
    try to make the foreground out of focus by using an open lens
    as much as possible...takes practice to achieve the best result.
    There is no magic rule re this.......a good practice to try is always
    shoot a scene with a long shot, medium and closeup....regardless
    of the subject. You will be surprised at some of the excellent shots
    you end up getting.

    My problem with the buttes at MV is when I was there no clouds
    were in the sky, and I have to find some to put in.

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