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Author Topic: Request for critique/suggestions  (Read 8534 times)
1IRISHBOY
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« on: July 10, 2005, 06:59:47 PM »
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It is very difficult to critique someone elses work. I am familiar with forest and lighting living in Arkansas. Your close to the mood intented. Your light source is more horizontal and I would like to see a wee more contrast (darker feeling, more dark area), lower perspective (crouch/sit) and horizontal format to match the incoming light. That's my take from not being there. I assume the shot is availlable again. You might try a differant time of day as well.
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glenndavyphoto
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« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2005, 07:47:01 PM »
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Just a FWIW John, this is a mature hardwood bush here in SW Ontario along the Niagara Escarpment (same with the other 2 shots). Notice how the bush is very open here with almost no foliage, but you can see many downed branches on the forest floor in the background. I would classify this forest as nearing climax (thus old growth) for this region. In the arctic on the tundra, 2 foot high arctic willow are a climax 'forest' for that region. So, you are quite right in your observations. Old growth can take many different forms.

Glenn

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glenndavyphoto
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« Reply #2 on: July 12, 2005, 06:37:29 PM »
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there is also the problem of dealing with the sheer size of the trees, and finding a way to convey the scale of the scene when it is reduced to a print on a small piece of paper

Try just shooting the bases to about head high on the trunks, and include foliage beside the tree that is small by comparison (such as a young tree) for scale.  Also, make good use of light and dark, and keep the darks really dark which adds impact.  You don't need sunlight streaming through for this, and in fact, sometimes it's better without (keeps it moodier thus again has more impact).  Don't even try to show the tops and the bottoms of the trees in one view.  I used the technique of showing a base of a large White Pine with an old clump of goldenrod growing at the base for scale in an image that was published.  It's kind of a tried and true technique that works  ::  .

Glenn
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Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2005, 11:24:18 PM »
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Lisa: the Lens Correction filter in PSCS2 would be a much better choice.

John: Except for the crop suggestion, leave your image alone. It's truly excellent as-is.
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #4 on: July 21, 2005, 04:35:19 AM »
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I would welcome any comments on this photo, as well as any suggestions (concerning composition, choice of subject, shooting conditions, technique and/or processing) that others have found helpful in shooting in a forest and capturing the special feelings of being in deep woods.
Hi there,

Nice image! I am often facing similar conditions in Japan, and have made a few attempts myself too. 2 quick examples:

http://www.photosig.com/go/photos/view?id=1465748
http://www.photosig.com/go/photos/view?id=1408484

I often find that flying snow can enhance the effect tremendously, but it does obviously further worsen the challenge...

Cheers,
Bernard
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A few images online here!
jdemott
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« Reply #5 on: July 06, 2005, 12:31:37 PM »
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Many of the favored locations for landscape photography have wide open vistas, such as the deserts of the Southwest U.S., or seascapes, or mountains. In western Oregon, where I live, much of the the countryside is covered with timber, which presents some unique photographic challenges. The forests have a special emotional appeal but the scale of the trees, combined with their close proximity and the difficult lighting can make it difficult to capture that feeling. Here is one recent attempt taken in the Columbia River Gorge area. Although these particular trees are probably 100 feet tall, this is a relatively immature stand (an old growth stand would have much larger trees and would likely be choked with underbrush and understory). This area has experienced a fire within the last ten years, which accounts for the lack of underbrush. I tried to capture some of the feeling of sunlight filtering into the dark forest. Often the contrast levels are too great when the sun is shining, and one is limited to photographing in overcast conditions.

I would welcome any comments on this photo, as well as any suggestions (concerning composition, choice of subject, shooting conditions, technique and/or processing) that others have found helpful in shooting in a forest and capturing the special feelings of being in deep woods.

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John DeMott
Geoff Wittig
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« Reply #6 on: July 07, 2005, 09:09:17 PM »
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You've put your finger right on the biggest issue with forest images- the impossible dynamic range on sunny days. There's just no way to reconcile inky black shadows and burned out highlights. I've tried blending exposures, but for forest scenes it generally looks artificial. Bright overcast is pefect for getting good details inside a forest. There's also a short window of opportunity for photos when the sun first creeps above the horizon; backlit trees and ferns can be beautiful, and morning fog can soften the contrast enough to make a good image feasible.
It also helps a lot to know when your forest local wildflowers are in bloom, keeping track of dates for future reference.
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glenndavyphoto
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« Reply #7 on: July 11, 2005, 04:58:01 PM »
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Personally, I think this shot is dead on and as perfect as one is going to make it. You nailed everything here - exposure, composition and lighting. "It don't get better than this" my friend.

By the by, one misconception I might clear up for you - an old growth forest would have less undergrowth, not more. Old growth forests have quite low diversity actually, which is partly the definition of an "old growth" forest. Only very shade tolerant plants will grow from the floor in an old growth system, and often even they have a lot of trouble. Conifers, for instance (typical of a climax forest), drop fairly copious amounts of their needles on to the forest floor below. These needles are quite acidic and believe it or not, new conifers don't handle acidic soils well (at least, not this acidic). As such, nothing much grows up from under these trees, thus the trees "protect" their own space. Most other species don't like acidic soils either, so you get very little undergrowth. Fire and blow-downs change that by knocking old trees down making a clearing that now gets a lot of sunlight, allowing pioneer (sun-loving) species to move in and the cycle starts afresh.

Anyway, I'm sure that's a whole lot more than you wanted, or cared to know, but there you go. In any event, your image is beautiful. Nice work!

Glenn
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glenndavyphoto
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« Reply #8 on: July 11, 2005, 07:29:13 PM »
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Oh for sure John, there's a lot of variation in an old growth system. In the boreal forest, "old growth" generally means wall to wall jackpine, which will only regenerate themselves with a fire. More southeastern regions have more in the way of deciduous trees which will allow for more undergrowth. There's variations in between that too.

In terms of me knowing where old growth systems are, Temagami is the only one I'm familiar with at the moment. That's northeastern Ontario (Canada). They are getting very hard to find now. I suspect the James Bay Lowlands region is also old growth, but those places are a very long way from you . I do wish there were more of them. They may be low on diversity, but they are a natural progression - something we humans seem bent on interrupting Huh .

Glenn
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jdemott
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« Reply #9 on: July 11, 2005, 10:13:38 PM »
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That photo is a nice illustration of your point about the forest floor.  About how old would you guess those trees to be?

I agree completely with your point about different locations.  We have areas here on the east side of the Cascades which are near the tree line with low rainfall where trees only a few feet tall are over 100 years old and where downed trees take many decades to decay.  In the temperate rainforests near the coast, the situation is completely different--trees grow to enormous size and then decay rapidly when they die.
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John DeMott
glenndavyphoto
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« Reply #10 on: July 12, 2005, 05:02:44 AM »
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Hard to say on the age of these John. Maybe 100 years, but possibly younger than that.

I know what you mean about size and decay. When I worked up on Great Bear Lake in the Northwest Territories (Canada) our Spruce were about 500 years old, but only my height (this was quite close to the treeline). Altitude=Latitude, and vice versa, so I was seeing the same thing as you (roughly) but due to being further north, not higher up.

Don't you just love how things work on this planet :: ? You can study it a lifetime and not know that much about it.

Glenn
PS - there are some old growth cedars not far away from here near the edge of the Niagara Escarpment that date back almost 1,000 years!! THAT is "old-growth"!!  :p
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jdemott
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« Reply #11 on: July 12, 2005, 03:16:13 PM »
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Have you considered the redwood groves along the northern California coast for old growth?

Yes, I've been there a couple times. Great location. As with all photography in a forest, I struggled with ways to get the composition and the mood I wanted. Of course, those problems aren't unique to forest photography. With the redwoods, there is also the problem of dealing with the sheer size of the trees, and finding a way to convey the scale of the scene when it is reduced to a print on a small piece of paper.
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John DeMott
Lisa Nikodym
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« Reply #12 on: July 20, 2005, 10:12:17 AM »
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I like your photo of the redwoods.  You've done a great job of capturing the wide dynamic range and making it look realistic.  My only suggestion is that the lens makes the trees appear to be leaning in to the photo.  You might try playing with the Edit>Transform>Perspective feature of Photoshop a little bit to reduce that effect--PS is a decent solution for those of us who don't have LF cameras with tilt/shift capability.

Thanks.  Actually, the two large trees in the middle *were* noticeably leaning  towards each other - there may be some lens distortions (especially near the edges), but the trees in the middle are leaning about as much as I remember them doing in reality.

I'll keep the Perspective and Lens Correction commands in mind for future reference, though.  I've used the former before a time or two, but not the latter yet.

Lisa
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Ray
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« Reply #13 on: July 21, 2005, 12:03:04 AM »
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There are several factors that make this evaluation very subjective. All our monitors (I use a Viewsonic 19" flatscreen LCD) and room lighting are differant for one. So I would think we are all looking at a differant picture.
I'm going to go almost comptletely off topic here. If you've calibrate your monitor, then you've probably changed the intensity of the individual RGB channels of your monitor. Having done this, then everything must appear slightly different, whether it's web viewing or precise printing with custom profiles. Is this not the case?

Having made this point, the forest shot seems just right to me.
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1IRISHBOY
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« Reply #14 on: July 12, 2005, 10:00:22 PM »
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There are several factors that make this evaluation very subjective. All our monitors (I use a Viewsonic 19" flatscreen LCD) and room lighting are differant for one. So I would think we are all looking at a differant picture.

I copied your picture into P/S and went +8 on contrast and +3 on saturation and got more (exactly) what was pleasing to me. As I said the picture is very close (very excellant) to the mood intented. I think Glenn is saying close to what I said in my original response, that being I would like to see more dark area ("for impact") crouch or sit horizontal ("head level") The trees in my opinion are not really what make the shot but the contrast and lighting that set the mood.

As is, it may be great for some and while no one should/could argue with the quality of the shot I have found over the years that differant looks never hurt. I suspect you know this as you asked for ideas. Those above would be mine. No harm, no foul. Nice shot.
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jdemott
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« Reply #15 on: July 19, 2005, 10:06:46 PM »
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Lisa,
 Thanks for the comments and suggestion. I see what you mean about the tree along the right edge.
 I like your photo of the redwoods. You've done a great job of capturing the wide dynamic range and making it look realistic. My only suggestion is that the lens makes the trees appear to be leaning in to the photo. You might try playing with the Edit>Transform>Perspective feature of Photoshop a little bit to reduce that effect--PS is a decent solution for those of us who don't have LF cameras with tilt/shift capability.
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John DeMott
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« Reply #16 on: July 21, 2005, 10:21:16 AM »
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Those are nice shots, Bernard. I keep hoping for some heavy mist combined with sunshine during one of my forest hikes, to give some more dramatic atmosphere to the shots. There is a little bit of it in the shot I posted. Unfortunately, our heavy mist often comes with rain and clouds, which isn't always as interesting.
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John DeMott
Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #17 on: July 06, 2005, 08:19:33 PM »
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I think you have done well. I like the picture and its mood.

I have always found photographing forests to be very challenging, mostly because of the huge dynamic range. Now, with digital cameras and RAW, I would be tempted to make two or three exposures and combine them in Photoshop using the techniques that have been discussed elsewhere in this forum.

Eric
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-Eric Myrvaagnes

http://myrvaagnes.com  Visit my website. New images each season.
jdemott
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« Reply #18 on: July 11, 2005, 06:53:34 PM »
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Thanks for the comments and compliments.

Glenn, I was interested in your comments about old growth. On the east side of the Cascades, the mature Pondersosa Pine forests are very much as you describe, with large, tall trees and a relatively open forest floor, due in part to the regular thinning by fire that does not affect the older trees, as well as the thick blanket of acidic needles that Ponderosas seem to generate. On the west side, the places I have visited that have been identified as "old growth" (such as Opal Creek) seem to be much more choked with vegetation. There seems to be a definite upper story or canopy, an under story of younger trees and smaller species, and then undergrowth (ferns, immature trees growing from nursery logs, moss hanging from lower limbs, etc.) With the large amount of moisture available on the west side, every available inch of ground seems to be taken.  The variety of vegetation plus the copious amounts of downed timber generally don't seem to give very open sight lines. Obviously, you are correct that the thick canopy of old growth timber and the acidic soil suppress many types of vegetation on the forest floor, but the visual impression is of a very crowded place.

The forest in the photo does have undergrowth, but it is very low level--less than eye height. There isn't much in the way of intermediate height growth and the sight lines are relatively open, so one sees just the repeated vertical lines of the larger trees. If you have any favorite old growth photo locations, I would welcome hearing about them.

John DeMott
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John DeMott
howard smith
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« Reply #19 on: July 12, 2005, 01:45:07 PM »
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Have you considered the redwood groves along the northern California coast for old growth?

"Blown highlights" add valuable information and do not need to be unformly fixed.  White without detail is a valuable tone.
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