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Author Topic: taking the plunge, finally  (Read 3835 times)
teague_l
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« on: December 06, 2007, 09:01:37 AM »
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I haven't posted photos for comment before, but Brian has inspired me to start with a couple of my South Carolina shots so I can take advantage of all the great experience on this forum. I would appreciate comments on these two photos taken a few weeks ago in Horse Range Swamp:

http://picasaweb.google.com/teaguelynn/HorseRangeSwamp

Thanks for any help!

Lynn
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larsrc
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« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2007, 09:09:56 AM »
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Quote
I haven't posted photos for comment before, but Brian has inspired me to start with a couple of my South Carolina shots so I can take advantage of all the great experience on this forum. I would appreciate comments on these two photos taken a few weeks ago in Horse Range Swamp:

http://picasaweb.google.com/teaguelynn/HorseRangeSwamp

Thanks for any help!

Lynn
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=158672\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

While the images are technically fine, the composition is lacking: There is no direction or clear focus point, the eye kinda slides over the images and makes me go "what's she trying to say?"

-Lars has made way too many pictures with that problem:)
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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2007, 10:10:04 AM »
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The second one works better for me than the first. In the first, the leafless tree at the far right distracts from the nice foliage of the trees in the middle. In the second one there is still a leafless tree at the right and one at the left, but they seem to bracket the colorful trees in the middle better.
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-Eric Myrvaagnes

http://myrvaagnes.com  Visit my website. New images each season.
wolfnowl
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« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2007, 02:56:14 PM »
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Hi Lynn:

I think the point has already been well made, but to add my own $0.02 I'd say that you've tried to add in too much to the image and the eye is left wandering all over the place, not sure of what to look at.

Looking at the first picture, I might have tried to make photos using just the fence on the right side, or maybe just the water with the colour refections of the trees in it, or a vertical image emphasizing just a few of the trees...  Because almost all of the elements in the image are at a distance, you have no real depth of field effect, so everything is in focus.  Getting closer and focusing on one element and letting the background blur out can bring focus to a certain area of the photo too...

Mike.
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If your mind is attuned to beauty, you find beauty in everything.
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My Flickr site / Random Thoughts and Other Meanderings at M&M's Musings
teague_l
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« Reply #4 on: December 07, 2007, 09:38:27 AM »
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Thanks for the comments -- I need to focus on how to get across my idea here. What I'm trying for in these and other photos (and I haven't gotten there) is to give a sense of the depth and encompassing world of swamps and floodplain lowlands, which to me give a sense of timelessness. Thus the decision not to focus on a narrower range of elements in the composition was intentional, but doesn't seem to be accomplishing what I'd tried for. So, I'll keep working on it . . .

Lynn
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MatthewCromer
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« Reply #5 on: December 07, 2007, 02:33:28 PM »
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I disagree with the other posters.

The first image is a bit weak, but the second is a good composition and very attractive scene.  You're doing just fine with some tough subjects to photograph.
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santa
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« Reply #6 on: December 08, 2007, 11:44:51 PM »
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Composition is something that is critical to study. The OP's comments relate primarily to conveying a sense of the swamp. The responses relate to composition, primarily. Good composition helps to convey a message or feeling in an pleasing way, but -how- you convey something in terms of composition is not the same thing as the sense you are trying to convey.
    That said, at this point if you don't have a good sense of why Range 2 is compositionally better, it would be useful to find some books and tutorials on composition. Horse Range 1 shows very poor composition. The superior composition of Range 2 is what people are responding to. Until an image "works" compositionally, it can't succeed in terms of being emotionally emotive. Sometimes one needs to break normal rules of composition in order to make an image work, but Range 1 wasn't an example.
    The multiple S curves in Range 2 as well as the loose adherence to the rule of thirds make it dynamic and pleasing to the eye.
    In terms of photography and attempting to convey a sense of the swamp, I would look to accentuate the water and leaves. I would put on hip waders and bring my camera and tripod right to the water so my lens was not much more than a foot at the most, above the water. Before doing so I would walk around at the edge of the swamp as close as possible to previsualize the final image.
    I did the same thing I am espousing in this shot, where I brought the camera down reasonably low, and as close to the water as I could to add the foreground I wanted.
  I am sure there are dozens of ways to convey a sense of the swamp but they all start with understanding composition. Grab a wide angle, walk around looking straight up (occasionally  ). Seeing involves looking, and looking.  gluck
    BTW...yeah...I understand the following image breaks many rules of composition. No problem.  
http://www.pbase.com/santa/image/49293707/large.jpg
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teague_l
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« Reply #7 on: December 09, 2007, 08:45:29 AM »
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Thanks for the comments. I especially appreciate your thoughts about getting closer to (and in) the water. I'm going to get out my rubber boots more often.

I do understand that the earlier comments addressed composition. However, the first comment on my images noted that my intention wasn't clear. My response was to clarify that aspect, because any compositional solution has to follow from that. The earlier suggestions (for example, focus on a few elements in the foreground against a background of bokeh) could produce a good image, but they wouldn't help me do what I want to do. Sure enough, once I clarified my intentions, you made suggestions that were more consistent with what I'm after.

So, I did understand what the earlier comments where addressing, and I think this is a good example of how the back-and-forth of these forums provides a good tool for learning. Thanks!

Lynn
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Dale_Cotton
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« Reply #8 on: December 09, 2007, 08:59:07 AM »
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Sorry, but I strongly disagree that there is anything wrong with the composition of either picture. Both work for me.

In my experience it's extremely difficult to judge complex images from little jpegs; images that work superbly as A2 prints are often totally eviscerated when chopped down to 800x600 pixels. Best I can tell the "problem" with the first image is that the contrasts within any given region of the scene are lost due to the size reduction, giving a false impression of overall blandness.

Assuming, given all that's going on in these pictures, that there is enough detail in the image files to support your chosen print size and that your sharpening is on the subtle side, I would be surprised if both do not make prints I'd very much enjoy looking at time and again.

Matthew Cromer wrote:
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You're doing just fine with some tough subjects to photograph.
Right on!
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OK - the original poster has responded with nice spirit as I'm writing this, but I'll still add the following for others who may be following along:

A bit of (doubtless unwanted) advice to novice artists from someone who's been deeply involved in the arts for most of the past 60 years: You're going to get yourself into a lot of trouble if you start changing your work for any reason short of your own eye and heart. For every 10 people who hate what you're doing you're going to find 10 more who are lukewarm about it and 10 more who love it. Input from all quarters is fascinating, but trying to please all camps is a task to make the labours of Sisyphus seem like a stroll in the proverbial park.

If you could have hung around the coffee shops of Paris a hundred and thirty years ago (a bit before even my time), you would have heard artists like Monet, Renoir, Pizarro, etc. vehemently arguing over each other's output. I'm sure that according to Monet, the latest Renoir was often total trash and vice versa ... yet these are all paintings that now happily hang on museum walls. (Of course it's sad they didn't have high megapixel colour digital cameras in those days, but they did the best they could with the primitive technology at hand.)
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teague_l
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« Reply #9 on: December 09, 2007, 01:01:29 PM »
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Thank you for your encouraging thoughts. You're quite right that these images suffer from reduction to small size. They are both taken from RAW files (16 and 15 MB respectively), shot with a Canon 5D and a 24-105mm f/4L lens, and have abundant detail before reduction for the web.

And you're quite right that there is a world of variation in artistic preference and judgement. My interest in photography is closely tied to my hope to convey something of my own experience of these swamp and lowland settings, which have been very important to me since childhood. However for more than 30 years I was busy being an archaeologist in Arizona. I'm well aware of the irony that many people find their greatest happiness in traveling to the Southwest to photograph sunrises on mesas and buttes. For 30 years, I was paid to do work that involved watching the sun rise over these places (with 115 degree temperatures at mid-day, you sure want to get to work early and leave early!). However, the Southwestern deserts and plateaus usually didn't make me want to grab a camera. It was coming home to the swamps that did that.

Thanks again!

Lynn
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wolfnowl
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« Reply #10 on: December 10, 2007, 12:35:42 AM »
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A bit of (doubtless unwanted) advice to novice artists from someone who's been deeply involved in the arts for most of the past 60 years: You're going to get yourself into a lot of trouble if you start changing your work for any reason short of your own eye and heart. For every 10 people who hate what you're doing you're going to find 10 more who are lukewarm about it and 10 more who love it. Input from all quarters is fascinating, but trying to please all camps is a task to make the labours of Sisyphus seem like a stroll in the proverbial park.

If you could have hung around the coffee shops of Paris a hundred and thirty years ago (a bit before even my time), you would have heard artists like Monet, Renoir, Pizarro, etc. vehemently arguing over each other's output. I'm sure that according to Monet, the latest Renoir was often total trash and vice versa ... yet these are all paintings that now happily hang on museum walls. (Of course it's sad they didn't have high megapixel colour digital cameras in those days, but they did the best they could with the primitive technology at hand.)

This can be very good advice, or not.  When I was first starting out in photography I also worked in the camera section of a department store.  One of the other clerks worked full time for the Armed Forces as a photo tech and part-time at the store.  I'd often show my work to him for his opinion, and that man could go through a stack of prints so quickly I often wondered what exactly he was looking at.  I remember one time, I had a custom 8x10 enlargement that I brought in to show him and from about 15 feet away he glanced up at the photo, said, 'They do sloppy work', and put his head back down.  He was a harsh critic, but he also took the time to show me how I could improve my work, how to crop an image for best effect, how to compose, how to see photographically, what to look for, tricks of the trade, etc.  So many things.  That was more than thirty years ago, but I'm still thankful to Claude for his time and his expertise.  So, yes, if someone says, 'I like your image' or 'I don't like your image', that's an opinion and that's fine.  But there are a lot of people on this list with a lot of expertise, and they can be worth listening to...

My opinion anyway.

Mike.
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If your mind is attuned to beauty, you find beauty in everything.
~ Jean Cooke ~


My Flickr site / Random Thoughts and Other Meanderings at M&M's Musings
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