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Author Topic: Request for suggestions  (Read 8332 times)
howard smith
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« on: September 07, 2005, 12:30:04 PM »
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I would crop out the foreground land on the upper image.  It doesn't seem to add much and makes it harder for me to focus on the subject, the trees on the left.

I would crop some off the left side.  Personal preference.  I like the rule of thirds and shade it a bit.

No ideas on the color balance.  It looks acceptable to me.  Clouds make the light bluish but the brain corrects that  for you but not the camera.

I like the tree relections in the foreground.  They connect the trees with the water.

I would clone out some of the birds and white specs in the background.  The photographer in me wants to look at them.

Overall, I like the image but it isn't a showstopper for me.
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howard smith
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« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2005, 02:32:42 PM »
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I considered a crop with the trees on the right included.  I thought it made the right a bit heavy.  Also, to crop the sky on the right would make the trees on the left too close to the top.  I still like the top image better.
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jdemott
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« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2005, 03:25:36 PM »
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Do I understand correctly that the camera was not set in "RAW" mode? RAW would give more flexibility with respect to WB, colors, etc.
The shot was taken in RAW mode--I was just describing the settings changes that I made during the RAW conversion. I still have the ability to change all the settings.

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I had to borrow your image and store it on my album space. I'll delete it after the discussion dies down a bit (or now if you prefer).

Gordon, I consider copying for purposes of responding to a post such as this to be a fair use of the image.  I appreciate seeing how others would handle cropping and editing the image.

Thanks for taking the time to comment. I, too, enjoy the big picture and the trees at the right, although I would be reluctant to crop it since I like the reflections in the water at the lower right. It is interesting how many different ways there are to view a single scene.
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John DeMott
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« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2005, 03:55:06 PM »
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Howard, the shots were taken at Sparks Lake, located southwest of Bend, Oregon, on the eastern slopes of the Cascade Mountains.

John
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John DeMott
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« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2005, 04:10:02 PM »
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NOTE:  Interestingly enough, I did the following crop and, before I could compose the e-mail, took a long phone call.  When I came back to the screen gordonsbuck had posted an almost identical crop. (I came in a little on the left) Process that!

Here's my entry in the lastest edition of "Can You Crop This".  The original has another picture in the foreground -so lose it. A panoramic crop makes a nice balance between the horizonal and vertical elements. My crop preserves the more-or-less "S" curve of the water.  The highest point of the mountain is not quite in the center (not that in other circumstances I might put it squarely in the center).  The quiet couple of trees on the left balance the varigated stand of trees on the right.  I have no quarrel with the slightly elevated saturation.  Everyone sees crops differently [except gordonsbuck and me - in this case] - I pay particular attention to the shapes and proportions where the image touches the edges of the print.

[img]http://www.russarmstrong.com/archives/sparkslk crop.jpg\" border=\"0\"]
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Peter McLennan
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« Reply #5 on: September 07, 2005, 05:57:49 PM »
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I like the last crop/CC the best of the images posted.

At the risk of incurring wrath, I'd be tempted to try to remove the peninsula at the lower right corner and the landslide in the distant mountains. I find both distract me from the trees/meadow location.
I'd also try for more contrast between the mountain bg and the pair of trees at left and, since the mountains are shadowed, I'd go for more ominous contrast in the clouds.
Regarding the original question of colour saturation, I think that without the saturated yellows, the image would suffer.
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DarkPenguin
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« Reply #6 on: September 07, 2005, 09:01:30 PM »
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Just to clear up a minor point.  The original post contained two different photos--i.e., the smaller one is not a crop; it is an uncropped photo taken at a different focal length from almost the same vantage point.  I may have contributed to the confusion by posting the two shots at different sizes.  

To those who have asked in effect "why was it taken?" in reference to the first shot--my eye was caught by the stark formalism of the two trees standing in near isolation, and the contrast with the weathered stump nearby.  In the composition, I was mainly concerned with isolating and balancing those two elements as a purely graphic design.  Obviously, they are of less interest to some other viewers, so perhaps I should ask a further question--is there anything I could do to increase the appeal or presentation of those elements.
How about a square crop of your top image.  Put the two trees and the stump in opposite corners and remove at least the foreground piece of land.  (I'd remove the water too.)

I like the panoramic version.  The two trees feel like a vangard meeting an army.  Some odd conflict in a quiet scene.
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JeroenM
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« Reply #7 on: September 08, 2005, 02:17:26 AM »
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To those who have asked in effect "why was it taken?" in reference to the first shot--my eye was caught by the stark formalism of the two trees standing in near isolation, and the contrast with the weathered stump nearby.  In the composition, I was mainly concerned with isolating and balancing those two elements as a purely graphic design.  Obviously, they are of less interest to some other viewers, so perhaps I should ask a further question--is there anything I could do to increase the appeal or presentation of those elements.
Well,
most people try to show the isolation by referencing it to to open space and the group of trees at the right.
But if you want them isolated as graphical elements I'd leave more space at the top (the left trees are almost behaeded), less at the left and a lot less at the bottom. "Get closer", "fill the frame" kind of way.
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jdemott
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« Reply #8 on: September 08, 2005, 04:03:49 PM »
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I very much appreciate the helpful suggestions I have received so far. Some of you know that I was prompted, in part, to start this thread by discussion in another thread about whether image critiques have a useful place on a web site like LL. The thoughtful responses I have received answer that question quite clearly in the affirmative.

I chose the photos for this thread because they were taken of an interesting location, but were not satisfying to me as the best photos I could take at that time and place. I have continued to work on the photos a little more (taking into account the suggestions you have made) as a learning experience--realizing that post-processing is not a substitute for a better shot in the field.

For the first photo, I concluded that the foreground is a weak element, in part because it is lighter in tone than most of the rest of the picture so that the photo does not seem well anchored. I did some digital burning in to darken the foreground, which to my eye makes a stronger composition. I also did a little more contrast enhancement to make the trees stand out and some cropping to simplify the overall composition, although I agree with the comment by one poster that the image space feels confining.



The second image was originally posted merely for reference, but many of you suggested a panorama crop, so I decided to post one. As with the first image, I did some burning in and some local contrast enhancement. The crop is close to the crop suggested by several of you.

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John DeMott
jdemott
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« Reply #9 on: September 07, 2005, 12:02:02 PM »
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Here is a shot I would appreciate getting some input on.


Specifically my questions are:
1. Is the color balance too warm and saturated? I adjusted the color mode on the D2X to Mode III which gives a somewhat Velvia like effect (Nikon states it is intended for landscapes). Also, the day was mostly cloudy with some hints of direct sunshine so I adjusted the White Balance setting from the camera's auto setting which was close to a normal Daylight setting to a Cloudy setting, which made the tones much warmer. I really liked the effect of the changed settings on the water and the trees but I wonder if the grasses appear too golden (I remember them as more straw colored).
2. Is the foreground too weak? I'm concerned that the water in the foreground tends to just flow out of the frame leading the viewer's eye away. Would it be better cropped above the foreground water?

Other thoughts are welcome. FYI, here is a look at what the overall scene looked like.
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John DeMott
Gordon Buck
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« Reply #10 on: September 07, 2005, 01:53:50 PM »
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Actually, I like the overall scene better than the cropped one.  I'll bet it was the overall scene that first caught your attention.

That said, my feelings on processing and cropping are that these offer another opportunity to "make" the picture that I want.

Colors, etc look OK to me.

If the picture that YOU want is a variation of the cropped one, then my recommendation is to crop out the bit of land on the bottom.  That bit of land makes the water look more like a ditch - which obviously it is not.

I was about to recommend cropping some from the left hand side of the picture as well on the basis that it was unnecessary.  On doing this (mentally), I realized that the depression would also be cropped.  So I wouldn't crop from the left.

I like the trees on the right hand side in the overall view.  I'd check out a "panorama" made by cropping it from the bottom.

Do I understand correctly that the camera was not set in "RAW" mode?  RAW would give more flexibility with respect to WB, colors, etc.

A nice shot, especially as a record of being there.
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Gordon Buck
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« Reply #11 on: September 07, 2005, 03:11:58 PM »
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John, this is what I meant:



But to make this variation, I had to borrow your image and store it on my album space. I'll delete it after the discussion dies down a bit (or now if you prefer).
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howard smith
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« Reply #12 on: September 07, 2005, 03:28:51 PM »
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Could I ask what the subject of the image is?

Where was this image made?
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Lisa Nikodym
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« Reply #13 on: September 07, 2005, 03:58:59 PM »
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I think the colors in your original image look just right.  No complaints there.

Regarding the subject and composition, on the other hand, I see nothing in the original (cropped) image to catch my attention and interest me.  I agree about the foreground water looking too much like a ditch.  Gordon's cropped panoramic version has a lot more interesting things going on in it (the trees on the right, the mountain in the background), and a pretty good compositional balance.

I'm also interested on where it was taken...

Lisa
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jule
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« Reply #14 on: September 07, 2005, 04:04:05 PM »
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jdemott, in response to your questions.
1. I find the colour saturation acceptable with the luminosity of the yellow/green grasses creating interest.
2. I percieve the water in the foreground as some sort of drain with confusing direction. Cropping out would remove this, but also limit the scope and expanse of the image even more.

Now for my other thoughts - as a personal response. I feel trapped in the image. Before I scrolled down to see the original landscape, I felt confined and then I realised why. The cropping you have chosen makes me feel forced into the confines of the space. In the original landscape, the trees on the right are interesting and make me feel like I would like to explore amongst them, and their reflection unifies them with the water. I ask myself what the purpose of the image is, or what is its' intention, or what meaning is it trying to convey...and my response is that is perhaps a record of visiting a location.
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jdemott
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« Reply #15 on: September 07, 2005, 04:28:15 PM »
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Just to clear up a minor point. The original post contained two different photos--i.e., the smaller one is not a crop; it is an uncropped photo taken at a different focal length from almost the same vantage point. I may have contributed to the confusion by posting the two shots at different sizes.

To those who have asked in effect "why was it taken?" in reference to the first shot--my eye was caught by the stark formalism of the two trees standing in near isolation, and the contrast with the weathered stump nearby. In the composition, I was mainly concerned with isolating and balancing those two elements as a purely graphic design. Obviously, they are of less interest to some other viewers, so perhaps I should ask a further question--is there anything I could do to increase the appeal or presentation of those elements.
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John DeMott
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« Reply #16 on: September 07, 2005, 06:39:05 PM »
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maybe .....





 i like very much the light in the trees on the right side
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Gordon Buck
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« Reply #17 on: September 07, 2005, 09:43:40 PM »
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my eye was caught by the stark formalism of the two trees standing in near isolation, and the contrast with the weathered stump nearby

Thanks for the correction about the two images. I certainly thought that the top one was cropped from the bottom one.

Could it be that a long focal length lens was used for the top image and that part of the problem is the compression effect? If so, perhaps you were "seeing" everything but everything you saw was not brought into the image. In that case, a bit of wading and a wide angle lens might produce the effect that you intended to convey.
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tony@tonyhowell.co.uk
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« Reply #18 on: September 20, 2005, 06:15:13 AM »
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Dear John, no offence, but I would ditch both images. They're okay, but there isn't a strong enough element in either to warrant fussing over tones etc. Go out and take some more pictures ASAP!
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alainbriot
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« Reply #19 on: September 28, 2005, 06:06:28 PM »
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I adjusted color and contrast, added a border and sharpened it a bit. Let me know how you feel about it. You may want to try toning down the midtones by -5 points if it looks too light:
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Alain Briot
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