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Author Topic: Through the locks  (Read 7233 times)
fdr
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« Reply #20 on: February 15, 2007, 03:14:30 PM »
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Maybe an improvement, but I see some backward steps which tend to detract from the improvement. I'm not sure what the net improvement is. Just for fun, here are some impressions and an attempt at analysis.

1. You've lost the round shape of the lock walls at the extreme edges of the composition, which was quite pleasing. I get the feeling you should now crop the remainder of that curved wall.

Interesting observation. I'll try it and see how I feel about it.

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2. The second set of lock gates are now a more significant part of the image, as you intended, but tend to merge with (or not stand out against) the sky which you've darkened to a shade of grey too close to that of the far lock and tree.

Good point. I guess, seeing as I've already handed reality its hat, I could make the sky lighter toward the horizon. I was resisting this temptation, but it would definitely provide needed contrast with the second set of gates.

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3. The sky itself now attracts more attention and as a consequence tends to become a competing element in the composition. Is the second set of lock gates really the focus of interest or the sky?

The sky cannot help but be a large part of this composition however, the second set of gates is still the focal point. Perhaps the rendered texture could be scaled back a bit. An improvement might be to fade the texture almost completely by the time we get down to the horizon.

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4. I don't see any snow in the air, so maybe this is part of the problem; the jpeg is not detailed enough.

It's the jpeg. There's a lot of snow in the air. It looks very good at 14000 x 6000 (the file-size, not my monitor ) This also points out a problem with squinting at a little jpegs on your monitor. This composition was intended to be printed at least a metre across, but still viewed at a fairly close distance.
I haven't much experience with printing my work larger than 40cm on the long side. What's the general feeling on the effect of intended print size on composition?

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I still think David Plummer's version is the best so far. The eye tends to be attracted to bright areas of an image, or the reverse; black or dark patches set against a bright background. Any compositional lines leading the eye to such areas reinforce this effect.

The open lock gates represent strong compositional lines leading one's attention to the second set of lock gates and tree. What David has done is not only enlarge that central interest, as you have also, but has kept it tight, whereas you've actually widened the gap between these two major structures on the left and right.

An intentional decision on my part. I tried several variations (including one very close to David's version) and felt that the wider opening worked better to reveal the second set of gates. What remains is to better focus the eye on those gates.

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David has also created some additional gradations of movement (for the eye) from the top of the image to the point of central focus, and from the bottom of the image, by darkening the sky at the top and darkening the snow at the bottom of the image.

Good point. As I mentioned in my last post, I was using 'careful' burning (in the same areas). I didn't want to make it blatantly obvious that I was burning the edges of the snow. I'll do some more work there ... (throwing caution to the wind in the process )  

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The central point of focus for the eye is now more interesting as a result of greater contrast. There's light surrounding those far locks and tree. There's something happening over there. This raises some questions in the mind of the viewer. What is that light? Is it the dawn, or perhaps a break in the weather after a storm? You could even let your imagination run riot. Maybe it's the beginning of WW lll. That's the glow of an atomic explosion 200km away.

My intent for this image is not to imply that there is some monstrous catastrophe occurring just over the horizon    . This is supposed to invoke (and amplify) the feeling of isolation (almost claustrophobic) that you get when standing outside in the middle of a snow storm. It's like standing in a studio with incredible sound damping. The world beyond what you can see does not exist (you can't even hear someone talking a few metres away). Perhaps being able to see all the airborne snow in this image would help you here. I'm definitely going to lighten the sky at the horizon, but I'll steer clear of the nuclear detonations  


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« Last Edit: February 15, 2007, 03:29:28 PM by fdr » Logged

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Dieter Raths
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fdr
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« Reply #21 on: February 15, 2007, 03:23:53 PM »
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Since you are planning to re-shoot this scene, go for the sunrise, sunset or some other dramatic lighting effects that result in very bright and very dark areas.  Then take a series of bracketed exposures, probably five, and assemble a High Dynamic Range (HDR) image.

Even if you don't like the HDR effect, you can use some of the bracketed exposures for improvements in sky and shadows.

You can also work up an HDR color image and then covert it to B/W.
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Hi Gordon,

It's hard to get dramatic lighting to work at this location. In this image, you are looking approx. ENE. In winter, the sun rises just to the right of centre, but you can't see it until it's significantly above the horizon. At sunset, this location gets thrown into shadow about 30 minutes before the sun dips below the horizon (you don't get that really nice low angle light). The sunrise cooperates more in the summer, but then, this composition would put me about 3 metres underwater
This location works best during a storm, and that's what I'm attempting to capture here.

I went back and reshot some different compositions about  week ago, but there is still something about the original images (taken on January 29th) that compels me to keep going on this one.
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« Reply #22 on: February 15, 2007, 06:34:11 PM »
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It's the jpeg. There's a lot of snow in the air. It looks very good at 14000 x 6000 (the file-size, not my monitor ) This also points out a problem with squinting at a little jpegs on your monitor. This composition was intended to be printed at least a metre across, but still viewed at a fairly close distance.
I haven't much experience with printing my work larger than 40cm on the long side. What's the general feeling on the effect of intended print size on composition?

I get the impression that certain compositions lend themselves to being printed large. Also, large prints, say 24"x36" and larger, seem to require greater local contrast. The snow in the air is completely lost in the small jpeg. I think you should make the most of this. Bring it out as much as possible with 'local contrast enhancement techniques'.
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fdr
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« Reply #23 on: February 18, 2007, 06:18:05 PM »
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Here's the latest revision:

[attachment=1882:attachment]

(the sky appears to be quite dark in the jpeg. It's really a little lighter than this)

I removed the rendered snow. It was just obscuring more than contributing to the image. I've worked on the sky and the snow to pull the eye to the second set of gates. Additionally, I used a subtle S curve (and some more careful PhotoKit sharpening) on the background to provide a little more contrast.

What else... Oh, yes; I cropped to the edge of the foreground lock gates and immediately felt much better. Good call, Ray

I experimented with the width of the foreground locks and I find myself still preferring the wider opening. I'm relatively happy with the image now (a definite improvement over my impression of the original image). I'll probably need to revisit some contrast tweaks as I start printing trials on various papers.
« Last Edit: February 18, 2007, 09:51:56 PM by fdr » Logged

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Dieter Raths
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« Reply #24 on: February 18, 2007, 08:12:51 PM »
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Much better!  
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fdr
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« Reply #25 on: February 18, 2007, 09:51:08 PM »
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Much better! 
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Thanks, Ray

This is probably a good time to step back from it a bit. I've been spending time on this every day for the past 3 weeks now.

I'll be back with something new ...
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