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Thread: can you have too many trees in the sunset shots?

  1. #1
    crisscross's Avatar
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    can you have too many trees in the sunset shots?

    I am just like a 6 year old when the sun emerges either for 10 minutes at the end of a grey day or for longer after several days of fog or low cloud

    The 1st 8 images in gallery http://www.pbase.com/crisscross/skyline are from just 2 such occasions.

    The critique question is how much 'content' does one need beyond the obvious sun itself and the colour wash from gold to turquoise or beyond; are tree shapes something that fascinate just me or others of you too? I would perhaps like some seaside stuff as an alternative, but only get there 4 or 5 times a year (some shots in East Anglia galleries, never in right bit of Cornwall).

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    Re: can you have too many trees in the sunset shots?

    Hi Chris - Thanks for this interesting post. No, you are not alone in liking tree shapes against setting, rising, or even midday sun. One reason for my interest is that I find an abstract quality in the shapes; I know it's a tree (especially if I've taken the shot) but the shapes can trigger different images in my mind's eye, rather like the old game (of my generation) of looking into the red hot coals of a fire and seeing different faces and shapes. The colours then enhance the mood.

    Whether you can have too many trees in an image is a matter of taste, but in principle, yes you can. However, I do not think your images fall into that category. I suppose the compositional balance to be struck is between regarding the trees in an image as individuals or as a group, ie several trees that combine into a composition or a group of trees that are the composition.

    Anyway, thanks again for those images, they're great.

    David

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    crisscross's Avatar
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    Re: can you have too many trees in the sunset shots?

    Thanks David, looks as if there are at least 2 of us out on the ned of this particular branch

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    Re: can you have too many trees in the sunset shots?

    3!
    I love silhouette trees with interesting sky's, or sunsets!
    I did one about a year ago, but It was kind of bad quality and now I think i ruined the image ( cant get original back to re-work).
    Which is a pity because it was GOOD.

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    Re: can you have too many trees in the sunset shots?

    Count me in as another "tree lover"

    There are two shots that I've always wanted to do well - one is a boat in the foreground with a simple but colourful sky in the background (on a millpond of course) (see this thread on my blog and the boat sunset photo)

    - the other is a single silhouetted tree against a blue sky on dusk transitioning to an orange afterglow at the bottom ...

    ... and I'm STILL after that tree! (Despite countless hours of driving around at dusk looking for it!)

    Cheers,

    Colin - pbase.com/cjsouthern
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 14th January 2009 at 10:02 AM.

  6. #6
    crisscross's Avatar
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    Re: can you have too many trees in the sunset shots?

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    Count me in as another "tree lover"

    There are two shots that I've always wanted to do well....
    - the other is a single silhouetted tree against a blue sky on dusk thansitioning to an orange afterglow at the bottom ...

    ... and I'm STILL after that tree! (Despite countless hours of driving around at dusk looking for it!)

    Cheers,

    Colin - photo.net/photos/colinsouthern
    I can lend you this one for now, but probably still a bit cluttered compared to your style
    http://www.pbase.com/crisscross/image/92566414

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    Re: can you have too many trees in the sunset shots?

    Thanks Chris!

    I actually saw one that might be suitable last night, but figured I might need a 600mm or 800mm lens to get it. Any excuse for a new lens eh?

    Cheers,

    Colin - pbase.com/cjsouthern
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 14th January 2009 at 10:03 AM.

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    Re: can you have too many trees in the sunset shots?

    Chris,

    I too love sunsets against trees and I think it is the complex yet delicate silhouette that makes this work. In terms of too many.... well probably there becomes a point where the composition is cluttered and the viewers eye becomes distracted, but generally most sunset silhouettes work because of the power and magnificence of the sunset as a background. I like your variety and the clouds are the feature that make these particular shots memorable to me.

    Cheers

    Ian
    Last edited by McQ; 10th January 2009 at 02:43 PM.

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: can you have too many trees in the sunset shots?

    I don't know about tress Chris, but I certainly I think I have proved you can have too many (foreground) twigs. Sadly the view from my bedroom window isn't quite high enough to clear the foreground clutter, unlike Colin's

    can you have too many trees in the sunset shots?
    and worse, the camera's autofocus would only focus on that and not further back

    Here's a wider shot with some clouds;

    can you have too many trees in the sunset shots?

    So, next time; a better location and manually focus on infinity, anything else I can do to improve them - C and C request

    Thanks,

  10. #10

    Re: can you have too many trees in the sunset shots?

    I am firmly in the "single lone tree" camp, but finding isolated trees with no distracting backgrounds has eluded me for year.

    Do I need to add "I love trees"?

    -Dendrophile
    Last edited by McQ; 10th January 2009 at 02:46 PM.

  11. #11
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    Re: can you have too many trees in the sunset shots?

    I think trees are very good for adding interest, perspective and framing a sunset. I don't think there is a rule of thumb as to how many trees because it depends on the sunset, clouds, geography, type of trees and the artist's eye. I think a single branch leading into or framing a sunset or might work as well as a whole tree or several trees. I tend to think less is more because simplicity is often more impressive than clutter but a sunset's color through a matrix of limbs can work too.

    I bet I'm not the only one who found his heart racing while stumbling around in the near dark with camera in hand trying to find a tree or rock or something to frame or add interest to a fleeting sunset. I think most sunsets, unless there are spectacular clouds or water to reflect in, need foreground interest. Your trees (excellent work) and Colin's boat are good examples.

    I will always remember the most incredible sunset I ever saw...it was a few years ago and I was new to digital photography and with less than great camera and lens. It was the aftermath of a thunderstorm with towering dark cumulonimbus clouds backlit in orange and with orange fingers of light shooting into the dark sky. It was almost dark and I was bathed in the orange glow. I remember holding my hand out to see them in the glow. I looked frantically for something to frame the sunset and had to settle for distant hills. I shot too quickly and didn't get the shot I should have but I will always remember that sight, my excitement and clumbsiness with the camera and the utterly frustrating feeling I had because I was alone and wanted desparately to turn to someone (expecially my wife) and say, LOOK AT THAT! You know the expression, a joy shared is doubled and a sorrow shared is halved.

    Pardon the digression and rambling. This thread and your sunset shots brought this experience to mind. I'm inspired to do more sunset hunting now.

    Chuck

  12. #12
    crisscross's Avatar
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    Re: can you have too many trees in the sunset shots?

    thanks Chuck - you describe a scenario we all know well.

    I adopted a policy of not binning weak shots of birds on the grounds that they would be there to inspire me to get better ones; and I do and the weaker ones then go out. Same with sunsets, one can gradually raise the standard. But even the best is only a reminder of the actual day.

  13. #13
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    Re: can you have too many trees in the sunset shots?

    Quote Originally Posted by crisscross View Post
    But even the best is only a reminder of the actual day.
    Well said. This is especially true of a photograph we take while experiencing the real thing. A split second of an analog experience will always fall short of the experience itself.

    Chuck

  14. #14

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    Re: can you have too many trees in the sunset shots?

    I'll throw one in for good measure ... I call it "Artery" (A Tree that also looks like one of those special X-Rays that they do to see how your arteries are looking (forget the correct name for it).

    can you have too many trees in the sunset shots?

    Cheers,

    Colin - pbase.com/cjsouthern
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 12th January 2009 at 02:49 AM.

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