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Thread: A keeper? - Please discuss

  1. #1
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    A keeper? - Please discuss

    This is one for people to practice their C & C on.

    Would you fall down on you knees in wonderment in front of it or screw it up and use it as a firelighter?

    I made it on Sunday and thought I had something. I looked at it on Monday and thought 'that's rubbish, bin it'. I looked at it again today and thought 'Mmmm?'

    Haven't had this sort of doubt for a while. Don't know why I'm not 'seeing' its merit .... or not, as the case may be. Maybe it's because I want it to work and it doesn't.

    What are your thoughts?

    You'll note, from the EXIF info below the image, that I had 5 stops of GND filter on board. The high sides of the glen make the bottom, where I was, quite dark. And there was a bright sky. I wanted to get that enclosed, almost claustrophobic feel into it. I loved the lushness and texture of all the foliage (trees, bushes, etc), but feel there's maybe too much of that in the left-hand half of the frame. There was quite a lot of dodging required to redress the darkness on the high trees caused by the GNDs, which were angled in my Cokin filter holder along the transition line of the trees and sky.

    And, yes, I had a slight upward tilt on the lens so that I'd get that distortion of convergence on the trees at the top.

    The horizontal fallen tree at the bottom of the frame is the same one as in this.

    A keeper? - Please discuss
    40D, Tokina 11-16 f2.8 @13mm. ISO100. 1/15@f11. 5-stop (3 + 2) GND
    Last edited by Donald; 10th May 2011 at 12:20 PM.

  2. #2

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    Re: A keeper? - Please discuss

    I will send my image when I get home today as the school blocks me from doing it here...go figure. However, what I found was a definite lack of bottom foreground held my eye in check for far roo long. I just seemed to plummet to the bottom of the frame and stopped dead in my tracks and it wasn't a comfortable feeling - to add to the silly quotes page, "It isn't the fall that kills you; it's the sudden contact with an object harder than yourself that does the job."

    Using what little foreground you had available, I added about 3/4 of an inch of funneled foreground, following the light/dark melding of your clouds best I could and copying that angle/direction. I also pushed your sahdows deeper into the forest in the bottom third, gradually lightening as I got higher up the slope. This gave more definition to the already lighter leaves, and helped to push the eye down to the log - Focal Point. It could probably stand even more foreground than I gave it...but with so little rock to work with, it was getting real repetitious.

    Perhaps this will help you in refining this image... I really do like the shot, especially the convergence of lines.

    Ty This; http://www.flickr.com/photos/5496593...in/photostream
    Last edited by MiniChris; 10th May 2011 at 12:35 PM.

  3. #3
    ktuli's Avatar
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    Re: A keeper? - Please discuss

    Donald,

    Honestly, I feel the biggest thing the shot needs is one step to the left and either one step forward or two steps back. Let me explain...

    First, the ever so slight bit of rock shoreline to the stream is kind of distracting as is. There is so little of it, and especially against the predominantly dark background I feel the brightness of it keeps pulling my eyes away from trying to search among those trees. One step forward would probably help you to frame it out - making the stream (which is black) the bottom of the frame, or two steps back would give you a bit more of the rocks to work with, thus giving more of them to act as a more stable groundwork to your photo. The problem with two steps back is that more rocks would brighten the overall tone of the shot, counter-acting your dark, foreboding, claustrophobic feel you were going for. It might be fixable with a crop, but I'm not quite sure - I think the change of perspective might do more than just a crop.

    And one step to the left... This is regarding the bare tree in the middle. I honestly feel (at least for me) that it becomes the main focal element here. Which is fine - for me, looking at the shot and getting that claustrophobic feel, I imagine that bare tree in the middle as the forest's last grasp to close in on me completely. However, I feel that the composition might be a little stronger - especially when going for the claustrophobic feel - if it were more grouped with the left side of the frame, and there was the slightest of gaps between it and the tree reaching across from the right bank. That gap would give the viewer the sense of one last path of escape from the trees closing in overhead. One step to the left (ok, it might take more than just one) would help to achieve that I think.

    At least for me anyway...

    - Bill

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: A keeper? - Please discuss

    A few simple words bring clarity to a confused mind!

    Thank you gentlemen.

    Chris - couldn't get to the image in Flickr. Will await you getting home to post it here. But already, I am trying to figure out how I can get time to get back there over the next few days to re-shoot. I'm determined there's an image there to be made. I shall persevere.

  5. #5

    Re: A keeper? - Please discuss

    Donald

    For me this fails to tick many of the boxes as a conventional landcape shot. So I tried to come at it from a different angle - texture and form. I was not getting any depth as there are too many midtones to clearly define the layers that would normally give depth. You have to hunt for a means of stepping into that scene. It is a place I want to explore but I can't get in. There is a strong diagonal running from top left to bottom right but the foliage meeting the diagonal in the lower half of the image consists of the same tones and texture as the area bisected by the diagonal on the left - so the power of that diagonal is lost.

    There is plenty of close texture but too much of the same to hold interest. Again the eye has to hunt for the forms in the image, They are there but not enough definition in between them - Again due to excess of midtones. You usually perform the miracle of making midtone images really work but I think this may be a step too far. The lone trees are incidental and do not have enough power to lift the image.

    Well that was a hell of a lot of negative vibe. But to be honest I would rather see this boundary pushing than safe shots. The image quality and exposure is spot on so we are not looking at someone who has taken a snap shot of some trees expecting it to look how they felt it. We are seeing someone who is a very competent photographer taking up an almost impossible challenge. Trees, and particularly trees in full leaf, are a real sausage to shoot well. I think you have got all the ingredients in the mix but the issue was with weighing out the measures. Maybe a shot at a diffrent time of day will help so that the reflecting light and resultant shadows will give more structure to the depth of the image. In terms of 2D composition the only things that sing out is that I would have terminated that strong diagonal in the top left corner of the frame and I am not sure we need to see the pebbles and fallen log at the bottom of the frame.

    I am glad you posted this since it has given a great challenge to comment on it let alone shoot it.

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    Re: A keeper? - Please discuss

    [QUOTE=MiniChris;110885]I will send my image when I get home today as the school blocks me from doing it here...go figure. However, what I found was a definite lack of bottom foreground held my eye in check for far roo long. I just seemed to plummet to the bottom of the frame and stopped dead in my tracks and it wasn't a comfortable feeling - to add to the silly quotes page, "It isn't the fall that kills you; it's the sudden contact with an object harder than yourself that does the job."

    Using what little foreground you had available, I added about 3/4 of an inch of funneled foreground, following the light/dark melding of your clouds best I could and copying that angle/direction. I also pushed your sahdows deeper into the forest in the bottom third, gradually lightening as I got higher up the slope. This gave more definition to the already lighter leaves, and helped to push the eye down to the log - Focal Point. It could probably stand even more foreground than I gave it...but with so little rock to work with, it was getting real repetitious.

    Perhaps this will help you in refining this image... I really do like the shot, especially the convergence of lines.


    A keeper? - Please discuss

    Forgive the crudeness of the edit, but I had a herd of kids surrounding my desk when I made it and they hurried me right along.

  7. #7
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: A keeper? - Please discuss

    Steve - Thank you for adding and, Chris, for coming back in with your edit.

    I hope others have enjoyed this thread so far, because, for me it demonstrates the great strength of CiC - a place where you get honest, informed, thoughtful analysis.

    I would encourage others who are maybe still not sure of leaping in to engage in this sort of activity. Post up your images. Explain what you were trying to achieve. And ask colleagues to respond to specific points or questions that you raise. It is so instructive and you learn so much. And as you can see from the posts above, it is constructive and helpful, not condemnatory.

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    Re: A keeper? - Please discuss

    Donald,

    For me, personally, the open sky on the top left was taking away the feeling of claustrophobia. What do you think of this crop. I have burned the rocks in the foreground, a path down the hill on the left, and the innermost diagonal tree on the right (I am sure it can be done with more subtlety ).

    A keeper? - Please discuss

    PS: My compositional skills are horrible at best, and I am new to pp. So, please ignore anything utterly stupid that I might have said or done to ruin a nice photo
    Last edited by abhi; 10th May 2011 at 08:14 PM.

  9. #9
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: A keeper? - Please discuss

    Quote Originally Posted by abhi View Post
    What do you think of this crop.
    Interesting. Very Interesting. Thank you, Abhi, That has indeed given me more to think about.

  10. #10
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    Re: A keeper? - Please discuss

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    Interesting. Very Interesting. Thank you, Abhi, That has indeed given me more to think about.
    Glad I could be of help. Nice learning opportunity for me. Usually, I have little clue as to what I want my photos to convey , or what went wrong when I do know

    And, I can't believe that you replied in less time than it took me to correct my unfinished post

  11. #11
    Nass's Avatar
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    Re: A keeper? - Please discuss

    Composition looks fine to me although I'd be tempted to have tried a 4:5 ratio crop (4 wide) at 12 or 11 mm for a bit more foreground but about the same top horizon. But I can see why you went square. If you go back I'd try a couple of options, in particular some green filter variants to lighten the lighter greens which should give a bit more tone variety in the big mass of foliage on the left. You've got enough on the right and bottom I think (dark trunks to light stones). Also, a white sky helps here I think, the slight blue showing through detracts for me. A blue fiter with a deliberately low custom colour temperature, together increasing the contrast,would work too.
    Last edited by Nass; 11th May 2011 at 07:46 AM.

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