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Author Topic: The obvious  (Read 6095 times)
Riaan van Wyk
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« on: August 16, 2010, 02:33:14 PM »
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The more I look at this image the more frustrated I get with it. It seems to me that the composition is so obvious that anyone can shoot this in a likewise fashion. And therein lies my own dilemma. I had a choice of looking at this and thinking aah it's common/ has been shot by all and sundry/ must pass it on but still went ahead and got it as record of a "representative" stream image. And then I post it here on this respected site. Doesn't make sense to me. Is it a case of perhaps (for the inexperienced like me) to at least have some "stereotype" images? I don't know..   
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wolfnowl
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« Reply #1 on: August 16, 2010, 02:44:45 PM »
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Every image is unique and must stand on its own merit.  Is it 'representative' of a certain genre?  Certainly.  Does it speak to you?  Does it say what you were trying to capture in that moment?  Those are the questions to ask... IMHO.

Mike.
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kpmedia
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« Reply #2 on: August 16, 2010, 04:17:06 PM »
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I don't see what you see. If I were standing by that creek, I probably wouldn't have shot that.
In fact, I wouldn't really know what to shoot. Nature landscapes are not my thing.

Put an animal or bug in front of me, and I'm good to go.
Throw me into any sporting venue, and I'll hold my own with the best shooters there.

Dump me in the forest and say "shoot" and I got nothin'. Smiley

So don't assume anything.
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Riaan van Wyk
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« Reply #3 on: August 17, 2010, 01:40:52 PM »
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Every image is unique and must stand on its own merit.  Is it 'representative' of a certain genre?  Certainly.  Does it speak to you?  Does it say what you were trying to capture in that moment?  Those are the questions to ask... IMHO.

Mike.

It is exactly what I tried to capture Mike as I had visualized the image even before the tripod's legs were unfolded. But it doesn't "speak" to me as you say. It feels like a "tick the right boxes" image. I need to think about the "why" some more.   
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Riaan van Wyk
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« Reply #4 on: August 17, 2010, 01:48:10 PM »
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I don't see what you see. If I were standing by that creek, I probably wouldn't have shot that.
In fact, I wouldn't really know what to shoot. Nature landscapes are not my thing.

Put an animal or bug in front of me, and I'm good to go.
Throw me into any sporting venue, and I'll hold my own with the best shooters there.

Dump me in the forest and say "shoot" and I got nothin'. Smiley

So don't assume anything.

My words with the image should have had the addition " for those who frequently shoot these type of images" perhaps. My garbled thoughts would have been clearer then. I apologise for that.       
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kpmedia
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« Reply #5 on: August 17, 2010, 02:44:06 PM »
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If nothing else, you know how to shoot it. It was practice. And judging from your comments, now you know what you DON'T like. And that can be just as important as knowing what you DO want to shoot.

I have that shot, too. It was practice. I was just mimicking those who came before me (or stand beside me now).

A lot of people will think it's great. I don't (referring to my image). You don't (referring to your image).

I'd suggest that knowing you shot a standard image is a good thing, too. You're not going to run around asking for praise like so many newbies and amateurs do.
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jdemott
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« Reply #6 on: August 17, 2010, 07:03:36 PM »
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Nature and landscape photography is difficult and it takes a lot of work to get good results.  Any location can be photographed in a mechanical ("obvious") fashion and any location can be photographed with more emotion.  Find a location that interests you which is convenient to your home so you can visit it on multiple occasions.  Photograph it intensively and then examine your results critically.  What worked and what didn't work?  Go back and photograph it again.  Repeat the process as much as you can stand it.  Explore different compositions, different times of day, different seasons, and different techniques.

Regarding the photo you posted--the thing I see that I like is the feeling of the two small waterfalls, with the one in the background echoing the feeling of the one in the foreground.  What I would like is a composition that would let me move my eyes from one to the other following the flow of the stream.  Unfortunately, I find a number of distractions in the image.  The foreground rocks take up too much visual space without contributing to the scene.  There appears to have been some fill flash used which has emphasized the rocks and the bits of leaves and twigs that are on the rocks and in the stream which then draw my attention because of the high contrast and sharp lines--it distracts me from the nice flow of the stream.  The area between the two waterfalls is relatively dark compared to the better lit foreground so there is a visual break between the two waterfalls, making it difficult for the eye to move back and forth between them.

I made a few rough edits to your image to try to show what it might look like with less emphasis on the foreground, fewer distracting objects and a composition that tries to connect the two falls in a smooth visual flow.  I'm not saying this is necessarily better but it illustrates the sort of critical analysis that you need to use when you review your shots.  Or you might want to try simplifying it even more in B&W to give an even less obvious treatment...just experiment.  Hope this helps.
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John DeMott
Riaan van Wyk
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« Reply #7 on: August 19, 2010, 12:44:27 PM »
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Thank you JD. I now see that the image has no "flow" and why the fg rocks are too much. Your words make sense and helps, thank you.
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JohnKoerner
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« Reply #8 on: August 21, 2010, 08:14:39 AM »
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The more I look at this image the more frustrated I get with it. It seems to me that the composition is so obvious that anyone can shoot this in a likewise fashion. And therein lies my own dilemma. I had a choice of looking at this and thinking aah it's common/ has been shot by all and sundry/ must pass it on but still went ahead and got it as record of a "representative" stream image. And then I post it here on this respected site. Doesn't make sense to me. Is it a case of perhaps (for the inexperienced like me) to at least have some "stereotype" images? I don't know..   


My first thought when I saw your image was, "Nice shot, but you were a bit too close."

As a viewer, the first thing I wanted to do was try to "step back" and take-in more of the whole scene ...

Jack



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Patricia Sheley
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« Reply #9 on: August 21, 2010, 05:37:45 PM »
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If you were presented with only the bottom one third of this image (between 1/3 and 1/2) how would you critique it for that photographer seeking your impresssions?
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Riaan van Wyk
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« Reply #10 on: August 22, 2010, 12:15:16 PM »
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My first thought when I saw your image was, "Nice shot, but you were a bit too close."

As a viewer, the first thing I wanted to do was try to "step back" and take-in more of the whole scene ...

Jack



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Problem is that there wasn't much else ( scene) than this Jack, unless a well trodden path that would bisect the frame in the foreground is considered a requirement.
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Riaan van Wyk
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« Reply #11 on: August 22, 2010, 12:18:59 PM »
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If you were presented with only the bottom one third of this image (between 1/3 and 1/2) how would you critique it for that photographer seeking your impresssions?

I would probably say that the rocks in the foreground dominate the image too much, Patricia. If presented in the manner you suggest.
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JohnKoerner
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« Reply #12 on: August 23, 2010, 08:17:49 AM »
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Problem is that there wasn't much else ( scene) than this Jack, unless a well trodden path that would bisect the frame in the foreground is considered a requirement.


Well, if that's the case, I think perhaps the scene itself, while very pleasant, simply lacks enough merit to qualify as "fine art." In fact, I think most photos (and landscapes) we all try to take are like this.

Quite frankly, there are hundreds of times I find myself thinking, "Wow, that's pretty!", when I view a scene I am walking through ... or a flower I see ... or a butterfly I chance across ... things that are pretty for my eye to behold ... and yet they are not pretty enough to qualify as a photo. In other words, while many (if not most) scenes we find in nature are beautiful to hike through, to enjoy, and to behold ... they simply are not pretty enough (when captured on camera) to prompt someone to hit their hip pocket and buy it. They may be nice to look at, but they really aren't so exceptional as to make someone pay cash for it (even we who took it).

In the end, it takes a truly extraordinary scene/subject, as well as an extraordinary perspective on same, to qualify for this kind of impact ... and so most of what we all capture falls a bit short. I think this is the basic feeling you have for the above.

Thanks for sharing,

Jack




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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #13 on: August 23, 2010, 08:51:57 AM »
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Well, if that's the case, I think perhaps the scene itself, while very pleasant, simply lacks enough merit to qualify as "fine art." In fact, I think most photos (and landscapes) we all try to take are like this.

Quite frankly, there are hundreds of times I find myself thinking, "Wow, that's pretty!", when I view a scene I am walking through ... or a flower I see ... or a butterfly I chance across ... things that are pretty for my eye to behold ... and yet they are not pretty enough to qualify as a photo. In other words, while many (if not most) scenes we find in nature are beautiful to hike through, to enjoy, and to behold ... they simply are not pretty enough (when captured on camera) to prompt someone to hit their hip pocket and buy it. They may be nice to look at, but they really aren't so exceptional as to make someone pay cash for it (even we who took it).

In the end, it takes a truly extraordinary scene/subject, as well as an extraordinary perspective on same, to qualify for this kind of impact ... and so most of what we all capture falls a bit short. I think this is the basic feeling you have for the above.

Thanks for sharing,

Jack
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I think Jack has hit on a very important point and one that is difficult for many of us to deal with.

I shoot lots of landscapes and, like many other photographers, at the end of each day's shoot I pick the ones that look as if they are worth further processing. At this point my only criterion for selection is "Do I like it?" and not "Is it a great photo?"

Many of my "keepers" function only to remind me of how beautiful a place was on a particular day. They have that kind of meaning for me, so they belong in my "souvenir" or "personal" collection. For me, it is usually only when I am trying to pick photos for an exhibit that I can get a bit more critical and ruthless and seriously try to consider how an image might speak to someone who wasn't there when I took the picture.

As for the photo you posted, I would certainly have taken one very much like it if I had been there, and it would probably stay in my "personal" collection.

Eric
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Riaan van Wyk
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« Reply #14 on: August 23, 2010, 12:03:03 PM »
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Thank you Jack, Eric. Makes perfect sense.
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« Reply #15 on: August 25, 2010, 10:50:31 PM »
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While your image doesn't make me say, "Wow, that's a fantastic image," it is a good image. You could easily use this as a stock image.

I shoot landscapes and nature, and I often take a photo that I'm not sure if it's a keeper or not. But I feel it's better to be home and say I don't want to use an image, than to wish I had taken an image.

Keep questioning your work, as that's a great way to improve.

Have Fun,
Jeff
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« Reply #16 on: September 09, 2010, 09:07:25 AM »
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I like the image; and I think Mike's observation is the thing - every composition represents a particular moment - the shape of the water, for example, the mercurial nature of the light. It can't be compared to another moment.

"No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he is not the same man."
~ Heraclitus
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William Birmingham
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« Reply #17 on: February 23, 2011, 09:56:12 AM »
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..Many of my "keepers" function only to remind me of how beautiful a place was on a particular day..
..I would certainly have taken one very much like it if I had been there, and it would probably stay in my "personal" collection..

I can only echo what Eric said.
Sometimes I wonder if the art of photography is not a selfish one - more to your own pleasure and as a reminder of a place in time & space & mood.
It so easily that your personal collection never seen by others is "millions" more than the ones you exhibit.

I concur, this photo would make it to my collection for the serenity it implies.

-- Will Silent
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Patricia Sheley
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« Reply #18 on: February 25, 2011, 07:30:52 AM »
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If you were presented with only the bottom one third of this image (between 1/3 and 1/2) how would you critique it for that photographer seeking your impresssions?

After seeing jdemott's black and white...what I intended in this question was to ask, if shooting at that proximity, there is a beautiful a lovely square format image above (in the top 2/3 rds ) playing the fern off well toned water, including both spillways...

When I saw my question I couldn't understand what the f I was thinking directing attention to the fg ...took me awhile to realize it was my dumb esoteric way of trying to get you to consider its elimination...glad someone brought this back...sorry for my lack of clarity slider...
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John R Smith
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« Reply #19 on: February 25, 2011, 08:11:51 AM »
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Quite frankly, there are hundreds of times I find myself thinking, "Wow, that's pretty!", when I view a scene I am walking through ... or a flower I see ... or a butterfly I chance across ... things that are pretty for my eye to behold ... and yet they are not pretty enough to qualify as a photo. In other words, while many (if not most) scenes we find in nature are beautiful to hike through, to enjoy, and to behold ... they simply are not pretty enough (when captured on camera) to prompt someone to hit their hip pocket and buy it. They may be nice to look at, but they really aren't so exceptional as to make someone pay cash for it (even we who took it).


I think it is "pretty" that is the problem. Pretty and art don't equate in my mind, and landscape photography is not necessarily about "pretty". Think about Ansel's "Frozen Lake and Cliffs" - pretty it is not, profound it certainly is.

John
« Last Edit: February 25, 2011, 08:18:16 AM by John R Smith » Logged

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